Visiting the Cinqueterre fishing villages was a highlight or our holiday in Italy. Having heard that they are best seen by train, we left our holiday accommodation in the Parma Appennines mountains, reaching the seaside town of Levanto after an hours drive. With convenient parking at the station, we quickly purchased four Cinqueterre cards – inclusive tickets which covers the cost of the train ticket as well as park entrance.
We then decided that we would start with the furthest village first, so that we could backtrack and see as much as possible at a leisurely pace. After a brief journey through tunnels, with only occasional glimpses of the villages in between, we arrived at our stop – and got our first breathtaking views of Riomaggiore.
Riomaggiore truly is a stunningly beautiful place, and we spend a wonderful hour exploring the maze of alleyways between the iconic tall buildings carved into the hillsides. This soon made us thirsty and hungry and to delight we found several places offering good fresh seafood for very cheap take away prices.
As the coastal paths were closed due to some renovation works, we hopped back on the train and got out at Manorola. We immediately made for a cafe by the harbour, where he had some Italian ice cream that was excellent as usual, and then spent some time climbing around the cliffs outside the village.
The youngest member of our group was eager for a swim, so we decided to skip on the next village, Corniglia, the only one not directly on the sea, and made straight for Vernazza.
The beach at Vernazza was easy to find. Head straight out of the station, go down the hill past a few shops and houses, turn into the small alleyway on the left, and you will see a cave like opening in the cliffs that leads to the beach.
Our last stop was Monterosso Al Mare, the largest and visibly most wealthy of the five, but by that time our exitement had gone. Having seen three other villages already, we were hungry and tired, but luckily there was a wide choice of restaurants along the beach and in the streets of the town. The sun had already disappeared behind the cliffs to the west, but he we had a fine view of the coast with the other villages glistening in the sunset.