Best Weekend Getaway: Cinque Terre

For a lovely getaway from Genoa, look no further than Cinque Terre. These five colorful villages, each hundreds of years old and perched on rocky outcroppings, are connected by gorgeous hiking paths, boats, and a straightforward train system. Come to drink wonderful wine, hike along the stunning coastline, and sun on the beautiful (and sometimes hidden!) beaches.

Via Guidoni, 19018 Vernazza SP, Italy
Any meal served in an eleventh century castle overlooking the sea has to be good. But dinner at Belforte in Vernazza (Cinque Terre) is an experience to be rivaled by few others. Daniele can tell you about the most recent catch, the housemade pesto, and the choice half-carafe of local wine. Come early. And just linger. Enjoy all the courses. You will pay mightily for the food, but the sunset over the Ligurian sea is simply priceless. (You can also rent the castle apartment for that extremely special occasion!)
Piazza Rio Finale, 8, 19017 Riomaggiore SP, Italy
One of the highlights of my trip to Italy was walking Cinque Terre. I would travel back to Italy just to do this walk again. My favorite part was the Via dell’Amore, or Walk of Love that went from Riomaggiore to Manarola. This is a picture of one of the many tunnels built into the mountain. The walls were covered with this amazing grafiti. The colors were so vibrant and bold. Right after this tunnel is where you start to see the thousands and thousands of locks couples in love would add with their names on them. Such a romantic and spectacular walk.
19017 Riomaggiore SP, Italy
Sometimes it’s nice to get off the beaten path. You can take the normal pathways around Cinque Terre (and they are spectacular in their own right) but you can also veer a bit off the normal journey and take the ‘high road’ to catch a glimpse of some breathtaking vistas. Leaving Riomaggiore through the back road on foot, keep walking up hill until you see a small set of stairs under the main road that lead down to a grass path. Follow this path under the stone bridge, and begin your ascent up through the vineyards and terraced gardens. When you reach the top, soak up the unrivaled sea views. From some out-perches, you can see four of the five villages at one time.
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