The ‘Cinque Terre’ gets its name from the five picturesque villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The area, now a major National Park, is a unique part of Italy. For over a thousand years people have lived in this dramatic landscape, slowly altering its features and cultivating the steep hillsides that lead down to rocky shores. An extensive network of ancient mule tracks – today used as footpaths – takes you through an extraordinary landscape of terraces, built by hand with stones and earth. But the region of Liguria has more to offer: the small towns of Portovenere, with a wonderful island just in front of it at the entrance to the ‘Gulf of Poets’, and the lively Levanto, a charming medieval town with a broad beach, both nearby.
This is a moderately easy tour which is suitable for those who have some experience of walking and a good general physical condition. Most of the walks are on good paths, some of them just recently restored by the local authorities. Parts of the paths are waymarked. Elsewhere you have to follow the route notes provided together with the maps.