The marvelous villages that compose the Cinque Terre are located in a stretch of the east coast of Liguria still partially wild thanks to the improved safeguards put in place during last years by the “5 Terre National Park”. It is their particular position, between the sea and the sky, to make them so fascinating and characteristic but at the same time not simple to reach. The railway arrived here only around 1870 simplifying lives of the 5 Terre citizens, especially commuters, which were often forced to move to La Spezia for any kind of needs. Today things are different and the tourists are very “busy” in order to find the easiest way to visit this charming angle of Liguria, that must to be visit slowly and with the right preparation.
How to reach the Cinque Terre
The 5 Terre can be reached by rail, by boat and by car through the coast road that connect La Spezia to all the villages. The first possibility is the easiest and most practical one also considering the implementation in the service with more trains and connections starting from La Spezia. This new service is called “5 Terre Express” and allow to reach the 5 villages with regional trains scheduled every 15 minutes. from April to November 2017. The second way is the most romantic: using the boat service that depart from the Gulf of Poets. Costs are higher compared with the train one but the view of the coast and of the villages that you can enjoy fully repaid the price.“Consorzio Marittimo”, this is the name of the company that performs this service, starting from ports located between La Spezia and Versilian coast with different timetable for each season. The third and last possibility to reach these fantastic places is by car. It is the less comfortable way to go there mainly due to the lack of parking in these small urban centers. This choice could be good to take in consideration in low season or if you have more days and time to take the coastal road starting from La Spezia and follow it admiring the beautiful views while passing through the little and incredible villages.
How to move within the Cinque Terre
To move from one village to others there are several possibilities. In addition to the train that represents the cheaper and fastest option you can use the capillary paths network that connect all the locations and represent one of the main important activities to do in the Park. Completely immersed in the Mediterranean maquis, caressed by the Ligurian sea, the 120 km of paths is probably the most interesting choice if you want to explore the 5 Terre understanding the nature, fragility and beauty of this place. Most of the paths are for free and they are divided considering their difficulty (some of them not required any particular athletic training and equipment, while for others is absolutely necessary) It is always advisable to check weather conditions before taking any trails because safety is the first aspect to be taken into account. Unfortunately for many years the “Via Dell’Amore”, the famous and romantic path that connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola, is closed due to a landslide that confirm how delicate is this part of Italy and how is important to dedicate strong effort in order to protect it both from public administration and tourists side. All detailed information on trails, rent bicycles, and any updates can be found on the site of the Cinque Terre National Park. There is no bus service between villages with the exception of small eco-friendly buses that stop in the same village or, in some cases, in the neighboring villages. For example, from Manarola the bus connects the village of Volastra and from Monterosso to the Sanctuary of Soviore, which is the oldest one in Liguria. The “Cinque Terre Card” is absolutely mandatory if you want to visit the small villages by train and walk through the paths’ network. The Card has the dual purpose to facilitate visitors with favorable rates which include access to the Regional trains, Paths and other attractions and, at the same time, it is a very important tool that have the local Administration for the maintenance and preservation of the Park.
Whether you want to get to the “5 Terre”, by car, by train or by boat it will be a unique experience you will never forget and It is always a great pride for me while walking for one of the wonderful villages have the possibility to speak with a tourist coming from a far country that describe these places with admiration and tells about the beauty of this stretch of coast I will have in my heart wherever I go .
Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre
(Credits Serena Borghesi-all rights reserved www.viaggi-nel-tempo.com)