The Cinque Terre has long been popular among visitors willing to hike for rewarding scenic views. And in addition to hiking the hills, there are a number of other outdoor adventures to be found. Here are a few ways to explore the Cinque Terre.
The trail connecting the five towns of the Cinque Terre is the most popular for hiking in the area, but it's by no means the only trail. There are other, more rugged hiking options higher up the cliffs, some of which are best visited with a guide who knows the way. The less-traveled trails offer fantastic views and far smaller crowds, while others are also good for mountain biking. And not far from the Cinque Terre, travelers can climb into a saddle and go horseback riding through the countryside, passing medieval castles and towns along the way. For an added thrill, try out paragliding to admire the spectacular coastline from the sky.
Though tourism has been the main contributor to the Cinque Terre economy for years now, the villages were once primarily centered on fishing. Some fishermen still take to the waters nearly every day, and you can head out on a fishing excursion with a local to find out how to catch the seafood seen on restaurant menus throughout the five towns. Alternatively, relax on a sailing trip along the Ligurian Coast, or pilot your own craft with a kayaking trip, spotting wildlife and paddling close enough to the shore to see caves and inlets inaccessible from land.
Built as they are into the area's steep hillsides, Cinque Terre vineyards are fascinating and the wine coveted, given that it is rarely exported. Visit an area winery to learn about the unique harvesting methods used by local winemakers and sample wines you may never have heard of before. Add a little hands-on fun to your winery trip with a cooking class, and you'll get the bonus of a souvenir you can use for the rest of your life—enhanced kitchen skills.