Cinque Terre is a rugged and stunningly beautiful section of Italian mediteranean coastline in the region of Liguria, just North of La Spezia in Lunigiana.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and consists of five ancient villages (five lands), clinging to cliffs beneath coastal mountains, and overlooking a sea of incredible clarity and marine diversity. It can be explored by boat, by train and on foot. This route uses all three methods of transport to visit all five villages!
Opportunities for a leisurely drink abound . However, please note that to follow this itinerary you will need to buy a return train ticket - Aulla to La Spezia (6), a single boat ticket - La Spezia to Riomaggiore (12), a Cinque Terre access card (5) and a single train ticket from Monterosso to La Spezia (6). (That totals ~ 30 for a remarkable day out).
Cinque Terre has vast areas of terraced vineyards , and 100s of miles of dry stone wall terracing.
It remained largely unknown to the outside world until the railway line between La Spezia and Genoa was built approximately 100 years ago. The local trains call at all five villages.
After arriving by boat from La Spezia to Riomaggiore, walk north-west along the sea front to Manarola (1.5 miles) .
From here, climb up the cliffside on Path 6b to the village of Volastra (1.3 miles) . Then traverse the cliffs north-westwards for a further 2.5 miles , enjoying fantastic views .
On meeting Path 7a descends south-westwards for 1.2 miles down to Corniglia .
From here walk nort-westwards, just above above the coastline, for 3.2 miles to reach Vernazza, a pretty postcard village built on and below a large rocky promontary . It's worth stopping for refreshment here in one of the many bars in and around the seafront .
Then continue north-westwards for another 3.8 miles to Monterosso (Path 2) . From here, after further refreshment, catch the train back to La Spezia and on to Aulla.