|The Harbour of Portofino|
It is here where you will find the Cinque Terre national park, a UNESCO world heritage site. The entire park is only accessible via railway, boats or trails. You could drive within a mile or so distance to a couple of villages, but Cinque Terre is best enjoyed walking. The five villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggioreare are connected via four well marked trails (though two are currently closed due to the devastating floods of 2011), and is via these trails that I recommend you enjoy the national park. There are also other off the beaten path hiking trails around Cinque Terre.
|Have a cocktail in Manarola|
We went in early June, just after the bank holiday and before the school holidays. The weather was sunny and warm (about 22 C average), though it also got very wet in the evenings due to the geographically nature of the region. It wasn't too busy and most holidaymakers were Italians with the odd Americans, Germans and Brits. Incidentally, the path of Cinque Terre are ticketed and you can also include the usage of unlimited train rides between the villages within your ticket.
|Vernazza of Cinque Terre|
The Italian riviera might not be as well known as the French riviera and Amalfi coast, but if you want to enjoy good food (pesto and seafood), amazing coastal towns that appeals to both backpackers and celebrities, I would recommend making this region of Italy a top priority to visit in the near future. In fact, we are already planning a return visit for next year.