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The Cinque Terre - A view from our expert author
Manarola’s colourful pink, brown, yellow and light-green houses are the subject of many postcards in the Cinque Terre © Mikadun, Shutterstock
The loveliest way to explore the Cinque Terre is on foot. The five towns are linked by the 14km-long Sentiero Azzurro, the Blue Footpath. It is the only footpath you have to pay for in the entire country but there are also 137km of free footpaths, still with spectacular scenery.
The Cinque Terre, despite being one of Italy’s main tourist attractions, is actually quite a mellow place, if you know where to go, and is absolutely stunning. It’s made up of five little villages that sit like limpets on the cliffs. The water here is exceptionally deep and the marine wildlife is the richest along the coast. The five villages of Monterossa al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore have retained much of their original charm and the area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. To see the Cinque Terre properly, it’s best to stay a night or two in order to catch a real feel for the place.