When God created The Cinque Terre, he was particularly inspired. He took the best ingredients from his stores: verdant mountains that plunge straight into crystalline seas, valleys full of lush nature and tiny islands. Then man came along and embellished them with simple and beautiful colourful architecture (something which rarely occurs) . The result is a place in which history, tradition and architecture blend together in a balanced way, in harmony with the ecosystem, playing the same tune.
In order to really enjoy a dish as rich as this, we need to choose the right wine. Let us to act as your sommelier – in this article, I will tell you which is the best “pairing” to truly enjoy this area, in a simple, natural and authentic fashion.
1. Exploring the Cinque Terre by sea in your kayak
Very often visitors to the Cinque Terre visit only Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. However, it is also those wild stretches of coast that divide the villages that make this a unique place in the world.
The kayak is the best means with with to explore all of the marvel to be found here. Between one hamlet and another, the rocky, wild coast is riddled with grottoes and tiny coves which are inaccessible by sea and by boat. But with a small, light and agile vessel like the canoe, you can disembark practically anywhere, enjoying the uncontaminated nature of the Cinque Terre Natural Park.
But exploring the wilds isn’t the only option – a kayak lets us disembark and move around independently between one town and another. This of course may lead to you licking a homemade ice cream or sipping a cold beer in Vernazza, between each visit to a waterfall and grotto. Besides, this is what the Cinque Terre are famous all over the world for, isn’t it?
Here you can find all the info you need for planning a kayak trip to the Cinque Terre
2. The real Cinque Terre wine (Heroic agriculture)
The Cinque Terre area is also famous the world over for its wine. Back in Medieval times, local wine sold like hot cakes to the courts of half of Europe, earning itself the title of “Wine of Kings”.
There is a place In Riomaggiore, but above all a person, who has taken charge of his family inheritance without betraying the great responsability of producing a true and natural wine. At “Possa”, you can visit a vineyard cultivated by “heroes” (heroic winemaking) – with terraces of land overlooking the sea, the roots of the vines tap more into the brine that into the earth.
Strolling amongst the rows of vines, you can sip a glass of wine at sundown while Heydi (Bonanini ndr) tells you his story – it’s an experience that will reach inside you, it will start to flow in your veins and will remain there, forever.
2. Palmaria island: trekking and/or kayak
If we’re being pedantic, we’re not actually in the Cinque Terre here. Palmaria island, together with the tiny isles of Tino and Tinetto, makes up a minute archipelago facing Portovenere (about 5 miles East of Riomaggiore).
Palmaria is the largest of the three. The trekking loop (which takes around 3 hours 30 minutes) along the well-kept paths is an explosion of flavours for the passionate hiker, but is still suitable for all levels. It offers breathtaking scenery (views over all of the Cinque Terre, towards Portovenere and of the other islands), Mediterranean scrub and even encounters with the local wild animals, but has one great difference with respect to the trails (which are just as charming) of the Cinque Terre Park. Here mass tourism has still not arrived and the experience is decidedly more “intimate”…
The same circumnavigation can be completed with a kayak for a more salty and less arduous experience (as you avoid the ups and downs!). My personal advice? If you can, try out both experiences. Discovering an island from these two different angles is fascinating and surprisingly diverse!
When to visit the Cinque Terre
Any time is a great time, there aren’t any periods that I would advise against – every season has its plus sides.
- The Cinque Terre in summer
Pros: an excellent period for sea activities. It’s warm, days are long and the weather is generally stable. Cons: an enormous number of tourists and its too hot for trekking.
- The Cinque Terre: in spring + at the start of autumn
Decidedly my favourite moment. The climate is ideal for any sort of outdoor activities and tourist pressure is not excessive.
- The Cinque Terre in winter
Pros: there are very few tourists about, the “locals” are more relaxed and welcoming, prices are lower Cons: if you are unlucky you may find yourself in not idyllic weather conditions (but it’s not a foregone thing..)