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Everyone Needs To Visit The Idyllic Seaside Region Of Cinque Terre At Least Once In Their Lives

This is what pure paradise looks like

Picture what pure paradise looks like in your mind, and we're pretty sure that Cinque Terre in the north of Italy is the image you have in mind.

A winding coastal trail of five connecting fishing villages, this six-mile stretch of heaven offers a simple lifestyle with incredible local food, organic wine, and the clearest blue waters in the Italian Riveria.

A Unesco World Heritage site since 1997, Cinque Terre (which translates roughly as five earths) may no longer be the hidden gem of Europe, but that doesn't mean it's lost its charm; if anything the tourist boost has added an extra buzz to the peaceful region, with the once-quiet streets now fairly hopping after dark.

A mix of sun flushed tourists and friendly locals will provide chats over an Aperol Spritz in the evening, while the winding streets can still be deserted enough to trick you into thinking you're the only person in the town.

What to expect?

If you like fresh seafood, incredible coastal views and pastel-hued stone streets, then this is the place for you.

No cars can travel on the winding mountain roads, so the only option for transport is to either hike between the five towns or leave the car at nearby La Spezia and take the pretty-as-a-picture local train to all the stops.

With no traffic to worry about and each town having its own individual atmosphere, you could easily while away a week or so in this beautiful corner of the globe. Midnight squid fishing, live music in village squares and delectably soft gelato are just some of the highlights you'll experience here.

Cinque Terre is the kind of place that forces you to relax and settle in to the slower pace of the Italian good life.

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Where to visit?

Must see towns are the breathtakingly colourful Vernazza, the true gem of the region with a ruined castle in the hills and a natural stone harbour dotted with gelato shops, restaurants with tables built right into the cliffs and an ultra pretty central square.

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Monterosso, the largest and flattest town, is a good place to base yourself as it has the most options for a place to stay. Hotels are largely old-fashioned, but the majority have sea view rooms with pretty wrought iron balconies.

This is also where the best beaches and liveliest nightlife spots are to be found.

The three other towns, Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia are well worth a look-see if staying for longer than a few days.

Riomaggiore is slightly more hustle 'n bustle than the rest, with outdoor DJ nights and concerts on weekends during the summers, while Manarola is a rocky but picturesque marina where you'll get some seriously stunning Instagram shots.

Corniglia is the highest of all the towns, and the only one with no access to the sea, so despite its ancient laneways and fine wines, you won't come across any tour groups up here.

What to eat?

The answer to this is simple: everything and anything that's on any local restaurant's menu. Steer clear of obvious tourist traps and you'll get to taste fresh off the boat fish and homemade breads.

Just be sure to make the effort to climb a bit higher for a table with a view...

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Cones of fried seafood have become the must-try dish, and everywhere you glance in Riomaggiore you'll see people popping crispy calamari, anchovies and squid into their mouths with long wooden skewers.

The local Ligurian speciality is also particularly yum - trofie pasta, a short twirly pasta paired with the region's claim to sauce fame, pesto.

What to do?

Anything you goddam like baby. From snorkeling and scubadiving, paragliding or kayaking along the coast, Cinque Terre is a place where the outdoors reigns supreme.

WInemaking is a traditional industry of the area, and the terraced vineyards of the hillsides make for an idyllic day tour.

Chill on the beach, eat amazing Italian food all day long and make everyone back home insanely jealous with your saturated snaps.

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Put this Mediterranean beauty down on your Bucket List, pack your cutest floppy straw hat and get ready to have the trip of a lifetime - you'll never forget it.

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Written By

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Deputy Editor at Lovin Media Group, Sarah is obsessed with food and travel.She's also never come into the office without winged eyeliner. Seriously, not even once.Email: sarahc@lovin.com. Social: @sazzyclay

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