I had never mentioned Cinque Terre before in the blog, yet it is a destination I know quite well, I think I have been there 3 or 4 times and I never get bored of it. Why does anyone get sick of the Cinque Terre? I don’t think it’s possible.
I consider them an “evergreen” destination, at any time of the year, except maybe the winter ones, they are the perfect choice for a weekend by the sea! Finally, I will put on digital paper some useful information for those who want to visit Cinque Terre preferably by train. Also, at the end of the article you will find a small tip-tip for visiting a village located west of Levanto.
Where are they located and what are the Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre are located in Liguria in the province of La Spezia and in sequence are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola e Riomaggiore.
All settlements have access to the sea except Corniglia, which is 100 meters above sea level, translated: 382 steps to reach it. The Cinque Terre National Park is developed around them and includes numerous hiking trails.
How to appreciate the Cinque Terre
However, I am not going to dwell on what to see in the Cinque Terre park since I believe that the beauty of these places is not so much “what to see” as it is more about feeling the sensations that the villages give you.
What you need to do is to wander around the villages, eat a focaccia near the sea with the waves crashing on the rocks and acting as a soundtrack to your lunch, stop at the various craft stores and/or, if you are in summer mode, indulge in a dip in the sea. In short, you need to enter relaxation mode and live the day slowly.
On the other hand, those who prefer and prefer physical activity to sea-view focaccia will be displaced by the many hiking trails that wind through the Cinque Terre. Unfortunately, some trails, including the Love trail, are closed.
A word of advice: to be able to appreciate them best, avoid peak hours by taking a break…I have noticed that the middle hours of the day are particularly crowded. This is because, as I understand it, people disembarking from large cruise ships flock to the Cinque Terre. The advice is to visit Cinque Terre in the morning or late afternoon so as to avoid the chaos, especially if, like me, you will be in the company of your dogs.
Visit the Cinque Terre: by train with the Cinque Terre Card!
Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are all small villages; it would be unthinkable for the amount of people who visit them every day to always be driving between lands. Excluding the car, either you move on foot via the trekking routes or you can visit the Cinque Terre by train or ferry.
Visiting the Cinque Terre by train is very convenient, they are not far from each other and the stations, apart from the one in Corniglia, are close to the historic center and the sea. In short, once you leave the stations you have practically arrived.
Why visit the Cinque Terre by train?
Because it is definitely the fastest and most practical means, perhaps the least scenic, but if you want to see the 5 terre in a day and you are on a tight schedule, the train is the best solution. They are frequent and the travel time from one of the Cinque Terre to another is within minutes.
Since you will have to get off and on the train several times, it does not make sense to buy a single ticket for each trip. On balance you would pay more and also find yourself every 3×2 in line at the self-service machines to get a ticket for the route. The solution I recommend is to purchase the Cinque Terre Card as I did.
It allows unlimited travel between Levanto and La Spezia. It costs 19,10 € for an adult person and 12,30 euros for children
Visiting the Cinque Terre: by ferry with the day pass
Another very interesting option to discover the beauty of the Cinque Terre is by ferry. From the sea it is fascinating to see the entire coastline and the villages nestled among the rocks. This past weekend I did not choose the ferry option because I was pressed for time.
On a previous visit I made to Cinque Terre I traveled a few sections by sea, if I remember correctly between Monterosso and Vernazza, and it was very nice. The frequency is not equal to that of the trains so you need more time. In addition, the daily cost is also more substantial. Again, the number of routes is unlimited.
If you have more days and are not into trekking, a good idea would be to visit the Cinque Terre one day by train and the other by ferry. Or why not, renting a sailboat with a skipper. This is a little dream that I will realize sooner or later.
To Cinque Terre with dogs…Can they be taken on the train?
Over the weekend in Cinque Terre my two little dogs accompanied me. They are two small sizes that reach a maximum of 6 kg. Before departure I had inquired whether it was possible to go on the train with dogs and, yes, it is possible free of charge only if they are a small size. From the medium size you need to purchase the Cinque Terre Card for “kids.” In any case it is necessary to have a leash and muzzle.
I took the opportunity to take them with me and show them around, sometimes I had to hold them because of too many people so the advice is to prefer morning and pre-evening times.
Five Lands: where to sleep with and without a dog?
It is certainly intriguing to sleep in one of the Cinque Terre, but at the same time it can be uncomfortable. Most tourists plan to base themselves in Levanto, which is larger and there are parking lots where they can leave their cars. In this regard, especially if you want to visit this part of Liguria with your dog, I recommend the Park Hotel Argento.
It is a beautiful facility, structured magnificently for those with dogs. Some rooms on the ground floor have a tiled courtyard as if it were a small garden where you can leave your dog in the open air and not locked in a room. I enjoyed it very much and my dogs enjoyed it as well.
The tip: discover Bonassola, a village not far from Levanto
Everyone flocks to this slice of Liguria’s coast to discover the Cinque Terre; they base in Levanto and take the train east to La Spezia. Few, however, know about the small village of Bonassola west of Levanto, according to the hotelier. And even fewer people walk the stretch of a few kilometers that leads from the far west of Levanto to Bonassola via a bicycle and pedestrian path built using the tunnels of the old 19th-century railway.
The cycle-pedestrian path is paved with a divider between pedestrians and cyclists’ lanes. It consists of five more or less long tunnels that leave room for open stretches with isolated beaches. The waves crash on the rocks and the rumble can be heard in the silence of the tunnels. It is a very pleasant walk and perfect for those who have a dog and want to take it for a walk. Most of the walk is inside the tunnels, and the shade refreshes the dog and does not tire him.
Actually, the trail does not end near Bonassola but continues to Framura and its total length is 6km.
I consider Bonassola to be a little gem; certainly it does not have the charm of the Cinque Terre but it is still a nice little village where you can spend a few hours. There is a beach and many bars with a sea view. A nice alternative for a day trip that is not necessarily related to the Cinque Terre!
My impression of the Cinque Terre
I told you…for me Cinque Terre is an evergreen. Every time I set foot there they fascinate me and in each one I sit and watch time go by, life flowing by and the sea and waves dispensing peace and serenity. I usually do not return to a place I have already visited; I always like to vary. In the case of Cinque Terre, however, I am always ready for the exception!