If you find yourself on the Mediterranean Sea or in Italy then be sure you make your way to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre, or "The Five Lands" (in Italian), is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, which make up the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is little or no "corporate development" here. The place has changed little over the past few hundred years and it is picturesque to say the least with turquoise blue water, dramatic sea cliffs, and terraced hillsides full of grape vines and olive groves.
Hiking is the best way to experience Cinque Terre and to get the feel of the five distinct villages. I enjoyed the first hike so much that I decided to do it again a few days later. The vistas are magnificent and I would suggest stopping to spend time in each village to sample their distinct wine, have a snack in one, lunch in another, and gelato at the end. You are in Italy after all!
Plan on the hike consuming your day so that you have time to take in the views along the way, spend time in each village, and swim a few times along the way. I also recommend starting in Riomaggiore and ending in Monterosso (and take the train back to whichever village you are residing in during your stay). Plan on a five-hour hike that can be rather strenuous at times. Wear comfortable shoes (not flip-flops) and wear sunblock. You can buy food and water along the way and bail to the train anytime.