Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre
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Hiking the Cinque Terre- Trail Update 2013
Hiking the Cinque Terre is an extraordinary way to explore the Ligurian Coast. Five villages connected only by hiking trail and rail with breathtaking coastal views and colorfully quaint villages. As of July 2013 the trail was only open between the three villages of Monterosso, Vernazza and Corniglia. (You cannot access the trail from Riomaggiore and Manarola). The trails can be challenging at times and it is recommended to wear proper footwear (I felt terrible for those in flip flops). Also allow for 1.5 hours of trail time between the villages. You also will need to procure a hiking pass 5 euro for one day 8 euro for a two day pass. Passes are available at tiny huts at the entrance from each trail (outside of the respective villages).
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Walking along Via dell Amore.
This trail hugs the mountainside from Riomaggiore up to Monterosso. Cinque Terre means "Five Lands" in Italian, and you can stop at any of the 5 towns along the way. The first section between Riomaggiore and Manarola is called the Via dell Amore -- the Walk of Love. On several parts of the trail you can see dozens of little locks hung on railings or wired above the rocks -- many have notes or ribbons or even photos. These are placed along the trail by lovers who want to show they are "locked" in love with each other and will never part. I'm not sure how many come back to this place after the "never" part doesn't work out, but the locks are still a lovely sight.
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Hiking Through Cinque Terre
You can't visit the Italian Riviera without hiking through the five coastal villages of Cinque Terre. It just wouldn't be right. It's possible to hike through all five towns (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore), but it's better to split up the trek over several days so you can soak in more of each town's unique character. The hike is fairly easy for most people, but you'll still want to wear some shoes that you don't mind getting dusty from the rocky trails that hug these cliffs of the Mediterranean coastline.
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A suggestion in Cinque Terre ...
A suggestion to friends of Cinque Terre: Our vision is to leave a sustainable world for future generations. The Cinque Terre face unprecedented challenges: dwindling natural resources, declining economies, a rapidly changing climate and other threats require that all of us begin to work together to reach common solutions. More than ever before, we must find innovative ways to ensure that the Cinque Terre National Park can continue to live. This is a time of opportunity. A time to move conservation from the sidelines of global priorities to the center of the world stage because the future of these lands depends on a safe, diverse and protected environment. The Heart of Cinque Terre
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Sitting on top of the the Cinque Terre
As I hiked the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia, I came up to a point where I had this fabulous view of Vernazza where I had spent the previous night. The Cinque Terre (5 lands) was a place I had wanted to visit for a few years. Being here, looking down on this picturesque town, I felt like I was on top of the world. These 5 towns, which also include Monterosso, Riomaggiore and Manarola, are beautiful, seeming to be ready to tumble into the Ligurian Sea. There is a trail connecting the 5 towns (best way to see them) or a train for those who aren't into the walk. Most of the towns don't allow cars, but they can get crowded with tourists during the day. Stay a night...or 2 or 3...and savor one of the towns in the evening when it seems more authentic. This town, along with Monterosso, suffered severe flood damage back in October. From what I have read, they are quickly rebuilding and will be ready for travelers come spring. So don't let the flooding deter you. Go! And if you want to donate to help in the rebuilding efforts, here are some great links:
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Sweating in Paradise
The Cinque Terre is made up of five small towns along the Ligurian coast. There is a hiking trail that links all the towns together and was once used as the main gateway for the townspeople to meet up with one another. One can hike the entire route or just portions of it. I had the pleasure of doing just that and will never forget the experience. The path is rugged in parts and surrounded by desert vegetation, which I feel quite at home with since that's where I come from, but then it drops into an expanse of stunning blue ocean foaming against the rocks below. At the end of each trail section is a small jewel of a town where, at the time, I happily ate pizza, gelato, and drank Diet Coke (yes, I paid those amounts for a Diet Coke, sometimes the caffine is just worth it!). Quite the thrill for a desert girl like me. Today Vernazza (pictured above), also my home base for the trip, and Monterosso are still digging out from horrific mudslides that took place in October, 2011. But they are slowly regaining their magical towns back and portions are open. Today these ancient fishing villages thrive on tourists, I know they'd appreciate people visiting once again.
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Boat Ride in Cinque Terre
Situated along 18km of serrated cliffs on the Italian Riviera is the Cinque Terre (the Five Lands), one of Italy’s treasures. It is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, and along with the breathtaking coastline and spectacular hillside filled with olive groves and vineyards, it is without doubt one of the most scenic areas in Northern Italy. Over centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea, and unlike other popular tourist destinations, there has been little to no development in this area. Hence, the Cinque Terre has maintained its charm and it's as if time has stood still for a century. Each village has its own flavor, and to sample them all, you can hike through miles and miles of breathtaking trails or ride a ferry boat from one to the other … we opted for the ferry boat ride.
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Being Bold and Beautiful in Portofino

I first laid eyes on Portofino watching an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful they had shot on location.  From that moment, I knew I had to see this breathtaking scene firsthand. 

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Ready to Drink Italian Wine & Watch the Sunset
Riomaggiore is one of the towns part of The Cinque Terre National Park on the Western coast of the beautiful country Italia. Tourists and the like flock to this area to do the infamous Cinque Terre (Five Town) hike! Ranging anywhere from 5-7.5 hrs (we did the 7 hr one), you climb and hike along the coast taking in the cliffsides, lush greenery, cacti, Italian vineyards, and pass through 5 towns the size of movie sets. Every moment will take your breath away. Out of this 3 month European trek I did, Cinque Terre was by far the most memorable and my all-time favorite destination.
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...hiking along the mountainous coast of the Ligurian Riviera on a hot afternoon, through vineyards with the occasional shade of lemon and olive trees, with the promise of a gnocchi dinner at trail's end in a Mediterranean port--if this is 'roughing it,' then give me more! After sunset, sipping limoncello and looking up at the stars while grandparents play with their grandchildren in the background...
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Riomaggiore, Italy
This is my favorite picture from Cinque Terre. The colors were absolutely stunning.
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Vernazza cliffside houses.
The colors of these houses were breathe taking. One after another, stacked on top of eachother. It was a sight to see.
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The Five Villages
Hike, boat, or do a little of both. And try the wine along the way =)
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A day trip in Cinque Terre
Yes, it's possible to see the Cinque Terre in a day! I was hoping to hike from village to village, but that trail is closed now because of the recent floods. So i took the very convenient little train that ruins about every half hour from one town to another. I also hiked on a 2.5h long trail that runs over the mountain between Corniglia and Manarola. It was so beautiful. It was perfect. It was such a hot January day i had to take off most of my layers. As much as it's possible to do it in a day, i'll go back as often as possible, because even though i saw all 5 villages, you can never have enough i guess! :)
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Italy's Five Lands
When I was 20 years old, I had the opportunity to live and study in Florence, Italy. Every weekend I would jet off to a new location whether it was another part of Italy or neighboring country in Europe. I know, hard life right? The very first trip I took outside Florence was to the rugged Italian Riviera. Cinqueterre literally means "the 5 lands" or the "five villages." It is a collection of coastal towns that are less than a mile apart from each other. I decided to hike through all the towns since they are hardly accessible by car. My hike encapsulated these glorious visuals which took me back in time: jagged hillsides, weathered homes built right into cliffs overlooking the ocean, narrow winding passageways, brightly colored buildings and terraces, docked boats waiting to be taken out to sea, and laundry lines hanging from balconies. The towns boasted character at its finest. I hiked 6 hours until I reached the last town where I was ready for a big cup of gelato! Thirst quencher ;) Later that evening just as the sun set, I skinny dipped in the warm Mediterranean waters...after all it was magical summer in could I resist?!
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Pulling off to the Side
In Cinque Terre, you will receive an authentic taste of the Italian Riviera and experience not one, but "five towns." West of La Spezia, Cinque Terre consists of rugged landscapes, cliffs that meet the sea,and buildings built right into the steep cliffsides. While it may be a popular tourist destination for those visiting Italy, do not let it keep you from 'doing it with the rest' - Cinque Terre has a unique feel in that it is inaccessible by car and is only connected to the mainland by train or boat. Whether you are soaking in the sun on the beach, taking a hike through the rugged terrain and along the cliff coastline, grabbing a bite to eat, or doing some wine-tasting, this is your quick getaway from Italian sites that is right at the tip of your hands - only a few hours by train from Florence, Italy. A must see World Heritage Site that will take your breath away.
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camel trekking in Merzouga desert, Morocco
This camel trekking tour start afternoon around 4pm from your hotel near the sand dunes in Merzouga. We will ride camels into the the highest sand dune in the heart of the Erg chebbi. You will have perfect opportunity to take lovely pictures for the sunset and next morning also for sunrise from the highest sand dune. After we arrive to desert camp – bivouac , we will take sand boards and we walk to the highest dune to watch the sunset. We will have dinner and Berber music around a camp fire in the middle of the Sahara desert. The next day ,we will wake up early morning to watch the sunrise riding camels back to Merzouga , you’ll have the breakfast and shower in the hotel in Merzouga.

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