Sunset on Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre, Liguria in the northern part of Italy. The national park includes the five towns Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. There are a lot of hiking trails in the park featuring spectacular views of the landscape and the towns.
The accessibility to fantastic photo locations of the towns are nothing but unique. In Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore it is just a 5 minutes stroll to a breathtaking view of both water, town and - if the time is right - sunset.
The 5 towns are connected by hiking trails running along the coastline (Via dell Amore - 8€ daily fee to use them) but due to a flooding in 2011 only the part between Monterosso and Vernazza is open (2015). Luckily, there are many trails inland that are open and free to use. For the less adventurous types the towns are also connected by train (running hourly) and ferry (except Corniglia) if the weather permits it. The towns look amazing from sea so going at least once by ferry is highly recommended.
It becomes very hot and very crowded during the summer so my best advice are to visit during the shoulder in spring/fall. We were there in the beginning of April and hiked in short sleeves and shorts. 2 out of 3 hiking days were great but the last we had rain pouring from early morning until late afternoon.
Accommodations book up quickly in Cinque Terre but gives you a bit more flexibility not having to catch the train going home in the evening. The towns north of Cinque Terre are charming and a good alternative to staying in the park.
And by the way: The local wine isn't bad either :)