Cinque Terre: "Europe's most beautiful walk" and how we failed it

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Mar 24, 2011 / 0 comments

"Europe's most beautiful walk" is how the National Geographic described the Cinque Terre coastal walk in Liguria Italy.  It's normally done in five-hours, but not our first effort.  Read how our day went, or click on the link at the end of the article to learn how you can experience this beautiful region trouble free when traveling in our April or September programs with our friend Pamela.

Like many on this trek, our day started in the small village of Riomaggiore, walking down the paved pathway of the Via Dell'Amore ("The Love Walk") towards Manarola. This is the walk's easiest section and because of that, the trail was crowded. But that dissipated soon afterwards because there was a gate closing the walk due to a rockslide.

This is not unusual during certain times of the year, for this section turns into a narrow foot trail bordered by steep mountains and cliffs. More rational people would have turned back to grab the ferry or the train which connects these small villages, but not us. We chose instead to head up, through brush and past the small rock-terrace vineyards that can only be harvested with a winch. After half an hour of uphill, we reached the top trail and were rewarded by a wonderful view of the sea.


Cinque Terre Map

We still however had three more villages to reach, and by the time we
reconnected with the main trail and had reached Vernazza (the fourth and
most picturesque village) we were sweaty, hungry and tired of climbing up and down.  A friend had told us to look for the red umbrellas that marked "the best place for lunch", but to our dismay, we found them perched far over our head, near the top of the medieval tower that defines this village.  After much grumbling, we summoned our last bit of strength, and again trudged uphill. The restaurant, of course, was fabulous and because we were famished, our lunch turned into a feast. It was well into the second bottle of the wonderful white wine that can only be found in this region that we realized that now, the last village was just too far away. So although we had to settle for walking the "Quattro Terre", we grabbed our train home agreeing that it was one of the best days of our lives.

Vernazza, Italy

Vernazza, Italy 



Discover Italy's Cinque Terre the old fashioned way, by eating and drinking your way through the villages of Liguria.  Join our regional expert, Pamela, an acclaimed American cookbook author who moved her family to Italy more than 15 years ago. Walk your way through the Cinque Terre and meet artisan winemakers, farmers and specialty food purveyors on this 5-night food lovers dream vacation. 11 - 16 April 2011  or 19 - 24 September 2011. This five day tour costs 2650 Euros per person double share (approximately $3737) with most meals, guide, and the culinary program. Transfers are not included.

For more information, please see:


Article submitted by Larry Martin, Food and Wine Trails