Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Wed June 22 2016

Take Homeric’s Whirlwind Tour of The Cinque Terre

Tour Operator | Homeric Tours | Kristina Rundquist | June 22, 2016

Take Homeric’s Whirlwind Tour of The Cinque Terre

PHOTO: The Cinque Terre can easily be a quick side destination from Rome (Photo courtesy of Homeric Tours)

Monterosso. Riomaggiore. Vernazza. Corniglia. Manarola. Together these five quaint fishing villages, set along some of Italy’s most dramatic stretch of coastline, make up Cinque Terre.

And Homeric Tours can take you there.

Dating back to the early medieval period, these villages were initially established by hill dwellers who moved up to the cliffs to escape invading barbarians and later by Greeks who were fleeing persecution. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, Cinque Terre is connected via footpaths over steep cliffs. Cars have been banned so if hiking isn’t an option, travelers can take a 19th-century railway line that cuts through mountain tunnels.

Corniglia is the only one of Cinque Terre’s villages without direct sea access, but its surrounding vineyards more than make up for the fact. Manarola is breathtaking thanks to its abundance of grapevines covering the village’s structures, and it’s no wonder then that it is famous for its sweet Sciacchetrà wine. Vernazza, with its tiny harbor, is often called the quaintest of the Cinque Terra villages. Its center offers visitors a chance to step back in time with cobbled streets, intimate cafes and Genoa-style caruggi, or narrow lanes, where at every turn pedestrians are treated to a stunning view of the sea.

READ MORE: Show Your Faith With Homeric Tours

Monterosso, meanwhile, is the most accessible village and has a nice beach for swimming and relaxing in the sun. Known for its lemon trees and anchovies, the town is divided into new and old sections, linked by an underground tunnel. Riomaggiore is the largest of the villages and the perfect place to take in a sunset meal as its pastel buildings seem to glow as the sun goes down.

There may be no better way to explore the Italian Riviera than with Homeric Tours, which offers a host of tours that introduce travelers to the real Italy.

Bellissimo Italia. Three nights in Rome, three nights in Florence, two nights in Portovenere (Italian Riviera), three nights in Milan. Begin your Italian adventure in Rome with a tour that includes all the highlights including a guided tour of the Vatican, the Sistene Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Also on the agenda are the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, and the Baroque Quarter.

Guests also enjoy a day of leisure to explore Rome on their own terms. From Rome, it’s off to Florence with stops in Sienna and Chianti for a wine tasting.  Two days in Florence mean plenty of time to take in the sites. The first day offers an afternoon guided tour with visits to the Piazza Della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo with Giotto’s Bell Tower and Ponte Vecchio.

Day two is at leisure. From Florence, depart for Portovenere for a full-day tour of Cinque Terre, before returning to Portovenere for the night. From there, head to La Spezia, and take a train trip to Milan. The afternoon brings a guided tour. The next day head to Lake Maggiore, Italy’s largest lake and the largest in southern Switzerland. The following day, travel to Lake Como, one of the most spectacular of Italy’s lakes. Overnight in Milan before transferring to the airport.

Extension: Italian Riviera. Take in the best of the Cinque Terre with this two-night journey starting in Florence. Travelers depart after breakfast for Portovenere on the Italian Riviera with stops in Lucca and Pisa to see the famed Leaning Tower. From there, guests continue to Cinque Terre for a full-day guided tour. Travelers return to Portovenere for the night, before returning to Florence.

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