Strung along Italy’s picturesque western coast, you will find five enchanting little villages collectively known as Cinque Terre. It is possible to hike along the cliffs from the first to the fifth village in just a few hours. Despite this proximity, each town possesses its own unique character. Four of the five villages have a charming old-world ambience characterised by narrow lanes brimming with haphazardly stacked multicoloured old houses. In contrast, Monterosso is far more modern, with its contemporary apartment blocks and upmarket tourist resorts. Each of the villages offer excellent swimming conditions. Some boast lovely beaches, others tiny harbours and Manarola is blessed with a deep swimming hole where visitors can swim off the rocks. Must-see sights include Cinque Terre Marine Reserve, the old castles at Monterosso and Vernazza, and of course the remarkable terraced vineyards around Corniglia.