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November 30, 2019

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Cinque Terre National Park and the famous Blue Trail


Italy is a country known for it's amazing cuisine, stunning coastlines, great art, culture history, and much much more. Aside from these great aspects, Italy was home to some of the more memorable hikes I have done. One of these said hikes is the Sentiero Azzurro or the Blue Trail. The Blue Trail can be found in the northwest coastline of Italy, linking together the world famous Cinque Terre National Park seaside villages. As the name suggests, Cinque Terre is a series of 5 cliffside villages that look out into the Ligurian Sea. 

It is commonly misunderstood that Cinque Terre is one of the seaside villages, when it is not. It is just the name of the region overall. The villages of Cinque Terre consist of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Each of these villages rests in unique locations, and each is just as vibrant as the next. The most famously recognized picture from Cinque Terre comes from the village of Manarola. The picture at the beginning of the article is that said village, and the iconic photo.


I ventured to this wonderful region of Italy on the last few days of my trip to Italy in the fall of 2018. It was a well needed resting point after being constantly on the road for the previous few weeks. My most fond memory of this destination was the peacefulness and tranquility that was felt here. It gave me a lot of good time to reflect on life during the evenings hours where I wasn't on my feet traveling between the coastal villages.  


The time of year that I went (November) was perfect as there were not a whole lot of tourists like myself around. There were no huge crowds, many of the businesses had been closed for the season, or had restricted hours. The only downside to this was that the weather may be a bit more rough, and as mentioned before, business hours may be a bit more inconvienent (like trying to find groceries later at night!!). 



A few days prior to my trip here, there was actually a rough series of storms that had hit Italy, and had caused some dangerous trail conditions, and some mud slides. This closed off some access to some of the trails, but I was still able to make due and find some great adventures. In all honesty, people were still going around the barriers, but it was a go at your own risk scenario. Though when you go hiking, aren't you always going at your own risk?!


Sentiero Azzurro


One of the must do activities while in Cinque Terre National Park is hiking the Sentierro Azzuro or Blue Trail. It is a relatively easy cliffside trek that connects to all of the villages in the park. I say relatively with some hesitation as when the trail is wet, the rocks with a blueish tone become quite slippery, along with the mud. There were several occurrences where I almost or partially slipped. So take note, good footwear is important! 


There are also spots on the trail that are a little more challenging and require some decent fitness as well. Though the trail overall is quite easy. I think I may or may not have wandered off on some side trails, which may account for some of the harder portions.