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Cinque Terre + Portofino see + do

If you like spectacular scenery, great walks, and good food and wine, you'll love the Cinque Terre. Portofino has all these things, too, but the impossibly picturesque fishing port here adds international yacht-set glamour to the mix. At the eastern end of the Italian Riviera, just before the Gulf of La Spezia, the five villages known as the Cinque Terre (meaning five lands, or territories) occupy one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline on the Italian mainland. Only the Amalfi Coast can compete in terms of sheer natural grandeur. But the Cinque Terre have one advantage over their southern rival: There's no coast road. Instead, the five villages are connected by train via a series of tunnels, and by a well-trodden network of footpaths. You can walk for miles along the beautiful coastline undisturbed by cars as you pass from village to village, stop in a trattoria for lunch, and get the train back to where you started. See individual descriptions of the five Cinque Terre villages, which are, from east to west, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare.

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Vernazza

With its ripple of bright houses on a rocky promontory and its main piazza chock-full of fishing boats above a pocket-sized harbor, it's easy to see why many...more

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Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is the closest of the five villages to the urban sprawl and naval dockyards of La Spezia—which provide employment for a number of...more

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Portovenere

Though it's not strictly one of the Cinque Terre villages, it would be a shame to miss out on a visit to historic Portovenere. The town lies just around the...more

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Portofino

This tiny harbor, circled by the gaily painted facades of what were once fishermen's houses but have since become millionaire's retreats, is excessively pretty....more

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Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso is the only one of the Cinque Terre villages that even begins to resemble a seaside resort. Significantly larger than the other four villages, and...more

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Manarola

Manarola is just as picturesque as Vernazza, but it feels a little more reserved and private—though privacy is a relative concept in high season, when the...more

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Corniglia

On a rainy day in January it may be difficult to see its charms, but come here on a weekend in August when there are pedestrian traffic jams down in Vernazza,...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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