Cinque Terre in Italy has long had a reputation for being one of the most beautiful and scenic coastal routes that you visit. With the rugged and dramatic coastline of the Mediterranean Sea on one side of your path and traditional Italian fishing villages nestled in green mountains on the other it is easy to understand where this reputation for beauty has come from. But as a walking trip, how does the route fare and who might it be suitable for?
Cinque Terre is a coastal strip of five small villages all connected by the Sentiero Azzurro, or blue path. The path itself is even, flat and some of it is even wheelchair accessible. This makes it an ideal starting point for those just beginning to walk as a hobby or for fitness. However, the route is equally suited to more experienced walkers who can put in a pacey performance whilst soaking in the scenery against a dramatic backdrop.
If you walk the entire route with no stopping to explore the villages or eat it is a five hour hike. However, most visitors walk the route over a couple of days, stopping in the villages for the evening and sometimes taking advantage of the local rail network in cases of bad weather. Another alternative to walking is taking the coastal ferry which stops at each of the five villages and runs regularly throughout the day.
An additional bonus when hiking in Italy of course is that you get to sample the delicious local food from the village trattorias. Be sure to sample the local pesto, a source of much pride in the area, which has a strong and distinctive taste due to the use of locally grown basil. Perhaps a nice glass of crisp white wine to go with your pesto and pasta lunch? Look no further than the rare and delectable Sciacchetrà, a locally produced wine that is simply divine.
So now I’ve sold you on the trip, now all you need to do is get the gear packed up and get on the next flight! If you’re not sure what is essential to cart around with you then ask an expert in an outdoor shop, visit a specialist website such as nightgear or even perform a simple internet search asking your question. Even Wikitravel has something to say about it so you’ll be sure to find some advice if you start searching in the right places.
Happy hiking and don’t forget about those local delicacies!
Photo Credit: antmoose