Cinque Terre , the "Five Lands" , was on my wish list for a long time.
These five little villages on Italy coast line, that were declared as Unesco World Heritage since 1997 , are a dream for photographers.
Colorful houses on cliffs, amazing sunsets, and the city lights that turn on just on the right time...
Each one of the villages is a bit different... here is my impression of each one of them from north to south :
The Biggest village, has an amazing beach to spend the whole day.
A nice 2 hours hike is open between Monterosso and Vernazze.
Photography wise, not as nice as the other ones...
Very Small village, with the nicest big Square near the water.
A big tower is rising on top of the cliff. Many Colorful houses.
A nice 2 hours walk connect this village to Monterosso and another 2 hours hike to Corniglia.
Highly recommend to stay in this village for few days, to enjoy the atmosphere early in the morning and later in the evening when all the tourists are gone :)
2 amazing sunset locations :
1) At the beginning of the trail to Monterosso, after you climb a little , you have an amazing view of the town.
2) At the beginning of the trail to Corniglia , you are getting to a high lookout over the town and the tower, facing the sunset - get there early to catch your spot.
This village has a vibe! located on a cliff with no water access, Corniglia is different from them all.
To reach the town you have to climb 382 stairs or take the shuttle bus , but walking along the little village narrow streets is relaxing and easy.
I Wouldn't recommend sleeping in this town because of the difficult access ,but this is a must visit.
Photography wise, it's a street photography dream. Less of the landscape.
I Believe this village is the most famous one. The houses on the Cliff , each one in a different color, organized perfectly...
Highly recommend staying in this village for few days..
A Great sunset location will be a little up the hill across the town, facing the town.
You can carefully jump a little fence and walk down to the rocks to get a lower angle.
The lights at the town lit up just at the right moment at the blue hour.
This village is also quite big.
walking down to the water gives you a great location for photography, as the houses rise from the water to a steep cliff.
Getting there :
Between the villages there is a train that runs every 30 minutes.
its about 5 minutes ride from village to village.
Best way to arrive is by train either from Milan or from other destinations in Italy.
If you prefer driving, note in most villages driving is prohibited inside the village.
Roads are very difficult to drive and parking is limited and expensive.
You can drive to LA-SPEZIA or LEVANTO , 2 bigger towns outside of Cinque Terre ,
And take the train from there. Parking is cheaper and sometimes free over there.
Closest international airport is Milan.
Some General Tips :
1) During the days the villages is flooded with tourists coming from outside by trains. That's why sleeping inside the villages gives you the relax vibe this towns have in the early morning and evenings. highly recommended.
Manarola or Vernazza are my recommendations for sleep over.
2) Bring a light Tripod , wide angle lens and Filters. You can do magics in Cinque Terre.
3) Bring Cash - Its Italy , they don't like credit cards.
4) Plan your meals - Restaurants are open usually 12-15 for lunch , 19-22 for dinner.
and breakfast ? if they are not too tired, they will open for you :-)
5) If you are staying for a night in Milan, Early morning at the Duomo is great photography opportunity. Light is great and it is empty from people.
6) Nice day trip from Cinque Terra can be the Nice town of Portofino, accessible by train.
7) There are walking trails between all villages. Some of them closed due to constructions as of June 2107.
8) Sunrises is usually behind the mountains so you don't get the nice colors as sunsets, but the town is empty and quiet.
If you want to photograph the narrow streets without people that is your time of the day...
Hope you'll enjoy the magic as i did.