Vernazza - Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza is a tiny picturesque fishing village with just 500 residents, it is the only natural port in the Cinque Terre. In the winter it's perfectly formed harbour can see waves crashing up onto the paved area which is the little piazza facing the sea. In the summertime this area is crowded with tourists, either at the restaurants and bars all around the square or sunbathing on the small beach area here.
Vernazza is steeped in history and dates back to roman times when it was the wealthiest village in the Cinque Terre, this is very much reflected in it's elaborate architecture. In the piazza church of Santa Margherita is one of the main features and it is also worth the walk up high to the Castello Dorica, an ancient castle which was built in 1318 with a watch tower over looking the sea. Many paths run up and around Vernazza offering an enchanting panorama from all angles.
Vernazza is a firm favourite with tourists especially as on top of all it's wonderful attributes it also has the convenience of having two banks, a grocery store, an internet cafe and a laundrette. It is also easy to access the other four Cinque Terre villages from Vernazza either by foot or by train.
When walking from Vernazza to either Monterosso or Corniglia you will pass through the National Park paths as such a fee must be paid during the peak periods. Both walks are generally the same timescale, about ninety minutes for the more experienced walker without a camera. If walking to Monterosso be sure to look backwards at Vernazza where you too can capture the stunning view of the & village & harbour.