26 April 2009

Hiking in Cinque Terre

Although Cinque Terre also seems to be popular with one-day visitors that just enjoy life in the villages, the claim to fame of the area is the hiking possibilities. There are trails between all villages (called the low trails) which are of varying difficulties - ranging from very easy (a paved path between Riomaggiore and Manarola) to moderate (Vernazza to Monterosso) - and if reasonbly fit the full length of the low trail can be hiked in one day with plenty of time to have lunch and gelato breaks in the villages. Unfortunately the trail between Vernazza and Corniglia was closed due to land slide while we visited so for this stretch we had to catch the train.

Although we enjoyed the low trails very much, it was our second hike on one of the higher trails that really showed us what Cinque Terre has to offer lovers of nature.

We had opted for another high trail but that was inaccessible due to the same land slide - but boy, were we happy with the one we ended up on?!

It was absolutely stunning to be standing high up on the cliff; in the midst of a vineyard looking down towards Corniglia with the smell from lemon groves surrounding us. It was so peaceful and invigorating that we think this was the ultimate highlight of a trip otherwise full of only great experiences!

In addition, the trail itself was varied - paved steps through olive groves, dirt tracks across vineyards, grass-covered paths through forest, and cobble stone closer to the villages - and so were of course also the surroundings. This hike certainly contained all the elements that we could wish for!

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