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CINQUE TERRE


BONNIE RAKHIT

thestyletraveller.com

Cinque Terre (meaning 'five lands' in Italian) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated on the Italian Riviera. It's comprised of five villages built into the side of steep cliff faces overlooking the sea, with each village linked by spectacular walkways.

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Cinque Terre is a beach resort, so take your most glamorous swimwear – remember, this is Italy and no one does things by halves here. Heels are worn (by the locals) but are highly impractical for the cobbled stone paths – so I opted for luxe thong flip flops that are equal parts stylish and comfortable.

Cinque Terre is a beach resort, so take your most glamorous swimwear – remember, this is Italy and no one does things by halves here. Heels are worn (by the locals) but are highly impractical for the cobbled stone paths – so I opted for luxe thong flip flops that are equal parts stylish and comfortable.

If, however, you're more into cafés and coffees in the sophisticated town square, then fashion rules apply. Channel 'I just got off my private yacht' vibes with a breezy white dress and a sleek metallic bucket bag. You’ll fit in perfectly with the locals and, what’s more, the look will take you stylishly from day-to-night.

For evening, opt for a show-stopping red jumpsuit – it’ll offset tanned skin perfectly.

The villages

Each village has its own personality. The first is Riomaggiore famed for its deep rust-coloured buildings and great views. It's small and quirky and the perfect introductory stop before heading out on the route. Manarola should be your second stop – it has the best views. Head up into the Via Dell'Amore (Lovers’ Lane) for panoramic vistas (but check it's open before you do the long hike uphill).

Each village has its own personality. The first is Riomaggiore famed for its deep rust-coloured buildings and great views. It's small and quirky and the perfect introductory stop before heading out on the route. Manarola should be your second stop – it has the best views. Head up into the Via Dell'Amore (Lovers’ Lane) for panoramic vistas (but check it's open before you do the long hike uphill).

Vernazza is the largest of the villages, with a big central square filled with cafés and bars. This stop is great for lunch with a view, looking out over the square and sea – but remember Italy runs on siesta time, so make sure you eat before 3pm. Montrosso is the fifth and final stop – head here for a gelato and a swim, followed by a wander through the rose-coloured, picture-perfect old town.

The warm nights and streets blooming with bougainvillea had me feeling a little dolce vita, where a well-fitted lace dress worked wonders for a long dinner in the old town.


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MY CINQUE TERRE TIP

Hike the 13km walk between villages or meander through smaller sections, taking in the breath-taking vistas and rustic, Tuscan colour schemes of the building facades. The lack of visible corporate developments and a ban on cars gives the area its old world charm and distinctive character.

Stay at the fabulous design hotel Principe Forte Dei Marmi, with its own private beach. Expect to see Ferraris and Lamborghinis aplenty lining the seafront promenade. The beautiful shops are mostly high-end designer boutiques and the expensive restaurants in town even provide stools for your expensive handbags to sit on.

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