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My friend recommended Cinque Terre to me as a great place to hike and enjoy a more laid-back vacation from the city-hopping I used to do. It was a change from my typical travel style, but nevertheless worth a try. Cinque Terre consists of five towns along the western Italian coast that has its roots in fishing. Walking trails connect the towns and cars are not allowed in town.

It was a wet spring season, and the tourism authorities thought it was best to close the trails along the coast. Had they been open, it would be possible to cover all 5 towns in a day since they're only a few km from each other. I start in Corniglia, which was perched on top of a cliff with stunning views of the Mediterranean. Here is a view of the next town.

I didn't expect cactus to thrive in this part of northern Italy.

The village consists of small houses, not too tall, and narrow streets. It most certainly had an Old World feel, and there were plenty of local residents, albeit somewhat offset by an odd tourist shop now and then.

It is definitely not designed for wheelchair access.

Trains connect all the towns, but in this town, the station was near the coast, with a 300+ step staircase.

Since the main coastal trails were closed due to prior days' rains, we went on the far more dangerous mountain trails. Ironically, the tourist board only charged for the coastal trail, so probably weren't so concerned about the more dangerous trails. The great detour up the mountains begins!

The trails were nothing more than a few stones in the mud along a gradient. The first few hundred metres weren't so bad since it didn't slope up too much, but we soon found out the steeper sections were very trecherous. The views were great to compensate.

Manarola's setting is quite stunning from the top of this hill.

Terrace farming is very famous in this part of Italy. They claim these are the 2nd longest walls in the world after the Great Wall.

The clouds rolled back in after about 3 hours of hiking.

The whole set :
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