Those looking for a relaxing vacation that will help them escape from their daily routines should look into traveling to Cinque Terre in Italy. This area is home to five fishing villages, beautiful coastal sceneries and uplifting spirits. This is definitely a serene place to visit and is sure to enlighten all who visit. Not only is a visit to Cinque Terre going to help you relax, you will also be able to explore historic sites that date back to the medieval period.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Monterosso

Founded in AD 643, Monterosso is the oldest of the Cinque Terre villages. This area was founded when hill dwellers made the move down the coast in an attempt to escape from invading barbarians. The beautiful cliffs and coastlines make it possible to take a relaxing walk along the shoreline in Monterosso. Before leaving on your long walk, stop by Focacceria Enoteca Antonia for a picnic lunch featuring one of 15 different kinds of hot, fresh focaccia.

Top attractions to see while in Monterosso include the Torre Aurora, Villa Montale, The Castello and The Church of San Frencesco. Popular places to eat while in the village of Monterosso include Ristaorante Da Sciensa, Ristorante Al Carugio, Ristorante da Miky and Ristornte Belvedere.

A relaxing vacation to the village of Monterosso is not complete without a stay in a comfortable and quaint village inn or hotel. Popular places to stay in the area include Hotel Cinque Terre, Hotel Suisse Bellevue, Hotel Villa Steno, Hotel Pasquale and Hotel Villa Adriana.

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Riomaggiore

It is believed that the village of Riomaggiore was established in the 8th century. Stories state that Greek settlers came to the area to avoid persecution in Byzantium. Those visiting the village of Riomaggiore will find Torre Guardiola, a nature observatory featuring birdlife and local flora. Those wanting an underwater adventure will have fun diving or snorkeling in the waters of a protected marine park at Cooperative Sub 5 Terre. Other must-see attractions in the village of Riomaggiore include visiting Cerrico Castle, Cappella dei Santi Rocco e Sebastiano, the Church of San Giovanni Battista and Via dell’Amore.

Those looking for a place to stay will find comfortable accommodations at Ca dei Duxi. Other popular places to stay in Riomaggiore include Hotel la Zora and Hotel Villa Argentina. While staying in Riomaggiore, travelers will find some of the finest restaurants, serving up classic Italian dishes. Popular restaurants in this village include Vertical Bar Riomaggiore, Il Pescato Cucinato, Bar O’Netto and Enoteca Dau Cila.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Vernazza

Those visiting Cinque Terre will definitely be able to relax in the smaller villages, including Vernazza. This village is home to many different historical sites, including Doria Castle. This castle is a cluster of fortifications, walls and towers for visitors to explore and climb, giving them a panoramic view of the area from the top. Another must-see attraction is the Church of Santa Marherita d’Antiochia. There are not as many places to stay in Vernazza and many of the accommodations do not offer any extras or frills. Popular places to stay in Vernazza include Gianni Franzi, Albergo Barbara and Camere Giuliano Basso. Just like all of the other villages, Vernazza is home to many restaurants, featuring local cuisine options. Popular restaurants in the village include the Lunch Box, Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre and Gelateria Vernazza.

Corniglia

The only village in Cinque Terre that is not directly on the water is Corniglia. This village is located atop of a cliff, making this location perfect for those who like to go hiking. Must see historical sites in the area include the Church of San Pietro and the Oratorio dei Desciplinati di Santa Caterina. Those who do not mind the hike to get to the village are sure to enjoy staying at one of the quaint hotels and bed and breakfasts that are nestled atop the Cliffside. Popular places to stay include Bed and Breakfast Le Terrazze, Sandra Villa Rooms and B&B il Gatto. Top places to dine in Corniglia include Bar Terza Terra Corniglia, Alberto Gelateria, Bar Pan e Vin and Un Mare di Yogurt.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Manarola

Located a bit south of the other villages, Manarola will offer travelers a more rustic getaway. This is one of the villages that is less populated by tourists and will definitely offer a relaxing getaway. It is also very easy to get to by taking the Vil dell’Amore, also known as the “Road of Love.” This road also travels to Riomaggiore. Must-do activities in Manarola include visiting the Church of San Lorenzo and the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora della Salute. Other activities include enjoying the view of Ligurian homes while relaxing at the Palaedo marina.

Hotels in the Manarola village include Hostel Cinque Terre, La Torretta Lodge, Le Coste and Arpaiu Bed and Breakfast. Top restaurants in the village include Trattoria dal Billy, Trattoria II Porticciolo and La Scogliera. All of these are must-experience restaurants for those wanting an authentic Italian dining experience.

Transportation Tips

There are several different ways to travel to and among the villages of Cinque Terre in Italy. When arriving by plane, the closest airports are at Pisa and Genova. Select airlines offer flights from the United States to Italy’s Pisa’s Galileo Galilei International Airport. From there, local train lines will take travelers to the villages. All of the villages are well connected and easily accessible by train.

It is possible to get from village to village by train, however, some travelers enjoy having a car. By renting a car, travelers will be able to get around Cinque Terre on their own schedule. Boats are available to take travelers from one fishing village to another, however, this is one of the most expensive transportation options.

Walking around the villages is the most popular means of transportation. Travelers can take coastal paths that link all of the villages together. This is also a great way to see the many different sites up-close and is a great way to relax along the coastline. A pass is required to walk along the trails between the villages. These passes are available at information offices near train stations.

Overall, a visit to Cinque Terre will take visitors back in time where they can explore historical features nestled on beautiful Italian coastlines. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation, consider planning a getaway to Cinque Terre. You are sure to return home feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.

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