Cinque Terre (Five Lands) is the collective name for five of Italy’s most picturesque coastal villages. Located in Liguria, these postcard-perfect places are all within just a few miles of each other, linking together to form perhaps Italy’s most mesmerising destination.
The chain’s southern end begins with Monterosso – the Cinque Terre’s only true beach resort, complete with a spectacular half-moon of sand and laid-back cafes dotting the coast. Next along is Vernazza, perhaps the most photographed village of the group, and arguably the Cinque Terre’s jewel. This beautiful little village is packed around a tiny harbour in a rainbow-coloured jumble, with tiny houses and fishing boats adding to the charm.
Right in the middle of the five villages is Corniglia – the only location to not be directly situated by the sea. Instead, this colourful commune is perched on top of a steep hillside, with some of the best scenery found along the coast. Fourth stop is Manarola, which is one of the smallest of the Cinque Terre. This stunning village spills down to the water from a sheer cliff top, and is one of the most colourful of the cinque, with green scenery and deep blue seawater contrasting the with terracotta-topped houses.
The fifth village, Riomaggiore, maybe be one of the least photographed of the Cinque Terre, yet is also perhaps the most enchanting. Built around the impossibly steep walls of a narrow valley, this seafront village is very difficult to capture in one glance, proving endless narrow alleyways and hundreds of little town houses. Together, the five form one of Italy's most-loved destinations. Choose your favourite two if you are up against time, but we strongly recommend hopping between all five for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.