We camp at a coastal town slightly further up the coast called Deiva Marina. From here a coastal train runs right through all the villages including these five. You can extend your walk to include a number of other towns on either end, but these are the main five. To hike these 5 you need to purchase the Cinque Terre Card for 5 Euros at the start of your journey (or actually at any number of booths along the way that check for your card). We take the train to our first town called Riomaggiore (pictured above) very early in the morning to use as much of the cool of the day as possible.
Above is the town map of Riomaggiore. It is always handy to find this as soon as you enter a town to have some notion of whether or not you are in the main bit.
The first thing I notice in the town are the murals. Mostly done by Mario Andreoli (pictured above).
Apparentley this first town is the easiest to get to by road making it the most crowded. But at this early hour it certainly isn't busy at all. Although before long a few tour buses start to arrive.
The harbour is really nice and we wander around since the office to buy our passes has not yet opened.
This town was settled in the 8th century by Greek settlers fleeing persecution in Byzantium.
The view with the harbour.
The first walk between the villages is the shortest and easiest. Named Via dell'Amore (Lover's Path), it is a gentle and paved 20 minute walk. Somehow we delude ourselves into thinking that the rest of our journey will be relatively the same. In fact, before I came I always thought the towns were so far apart that you had to spend a day hiking between each with your tent and sleeping bag on your back, finding a campsite each night to bed down. Very Canadian thoughts, I now realise. Nigel on the other hand thought it was a nice easy stroll on paved ground between each and even said he expected to be back at our campsite just after noon. Well, the reality was somewhere in between those. Or another option that a lot of tourists choose is to get a day train pass between all the towns and just train it to each. As we arrive after hiking between each town we repeatedly note the same young American couple sitting at a new restuarant in each town. Clearly someone is not walking those trails!