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Cinque Terre | Italy’s Best Kept Secret

Daydreams of sunnier climes, breezy clothes and winter destinations have been occupying the top spots in our minds. We know that you are always up for a summer vacay, so here’s my scoop on one of Italy’s treasures (believe me, it cost me a part of my heart to share this vacation spot).


Everyone thinks of Italy as the country of pasta, gondolas; cue music on the accordion please. I have an ongoing love affair with this country, and believe me when I say ongoing because this beautiful country is always on my mind! When on holiday, I am always up for a little off-the-beaten-track location or adventure so when a dear friend insisted that I pay a visit to the most fantasy-fulfilling stretch on the Italian Riviera, I knew it was going to be one of the best and most memorable places of my vacation.


The Cinque Terre (pronounced as CHINK-weh TAY-reh, which means “five lands”) is a series of villages clinging to a remote stretch of the Riviera coastline. Accessible by train from Milan Centrale Station, the ride to this rugged portion of the coast is nothing short of breathtaking. Having names a little more tricky to pronounce than Bolognaise, each town is a variation of the same theme; a pastel jumble of homes filled with the air of the beauty and the sea which is undisturbed by traffic or modern development. The “five lands” are namely Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola and Monterosso al Mare.


Each village has a flavour of its own and to sample them all in true Backpacker style, put on your most comfortable walking shoes and go for hike. Follow the fragrant trail through sunny vistas from Riomaggiore to Monterosso – five hours or more when you linger and soak up the ambience and beauty of Cinque Terre. If you want to opt for a less taxing adventure, each village is connected to one another by train so hop on and hop off at each station!


Curb your inner wanderluster people because these towns are set to enchant you. Riomaggiorew, the first town is where you can find the Path of Love (people leave locks along this path to in hopes of their eternal one true love) and it also has a reputation for seducing artists into becoming residents. Corniglia is the only town that is not on water and sits smugly on its hilltop, and those who reach Corniglia are rewarded by the area’s finest wine. Vernazza is as rugged as you can imagine, overseen by a ruined castle. Manarola, has some of the best deep-water swimming around (imagine people jumping from high cliffs into gorgeous deep-blue water). Finally, Monterosso al Mare, boasts the area’s only sandy beach and is famous for its many lemon trees (I had the best lemon everything here – tea, croissant and jam). It’s almost unfair how much intense beauty, great cuisine and amazing aromas are jampacked in such a compact area.

You may have no plans for a vacation, leaving for one next week or just landed from a flight a few hours ago. But in our books, a true voyeur is someone who is always planning for their next holiday destination. Have faith in us and discover of one of Italy’s best-kept secret, Cinque Terre.  Nowhere else does the lure of the Mediterranean and Italy combine so potently to shipwreck a speedy itinerary.


Time to hit the road and give your holiday pants a little out-of-the-ordinary kick in the pants!


-Liyana Meer


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