Day three of our Crystal Cruise brings us to La Spezia. This is a smaller city on the west coast of Italy. More importantly, it is the starting point of our journey into Cinque Terre!
Cinque Terre, or five villages, is situated on the rugged west coast of the Italian Riviera. The five villages, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso have been declared world UNESCO cites and as such attract a lot of world travellers. Each of these villages is absolutely gorgeous. Similar in size, these picturesque hamlets all sit along the shores of the Mediterranean.
The villages of Cinque Terre are relatively close together so getting to each is not too difficult. You can easily travel by ferry or you can travel by train. A third option for those with a little more energy is to hike to all five. This journey usually takes about six hours and ranges in degree of difficulty from easy to challenging. Most people we spoke to, and a varied age group it was, said it was fantastic! All raved of the splendid views and wonderful scenery they enjoyed as they traversed the well groomed hiking paths.
Our choice was to travel by train. A twelve Euro ticket allowed you to hop on and off the train as you wished. The trains were fairly frequent so you never had to wait too long for the next one. However, at times the train was quite full and on occasion, things got very cramped! Fortunately, the time between most villages was only 5 to 7 minutes.
Certainly each village was beautiful and quaint with lovely cafes and shops. Each had splendidly bright coloured homes perched on the cliffs. Monterosso had a lovely beach and Corniglia sat above the coast with gorgeous views of the aquamarine waters. Our favourite was Vernazza. A little beach as well as Mediterranean waves rolling up against some rocks added to the magical ambiance of Vernazza. Sitting in a wonderful little street café enjoying the sun and local wines certainly added to this wonderful oasis in our world.
Ixtapa Travel Staff