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You want to visit Cinque Terre, but aren't quite sure where to begin to plan your vacation? No worries. There are plenty of resources that you can use to help plan a great trip along the Italian Riviera. To plan your vacation while still at home, you could log on to the website of the Consorzio Turistico Cinque Terre. Here you will find general information about travel within the area, including a link to a map of the trails that connect the five villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. This site also has information on the area's climate, events and festivals that occur during the year, and what there is to do at the various villages.
The entire Cinque Terre area -- including the villages themselves -- is a National Park. The National Park has a website -- http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/ (click on the UK flag for the English version), but also the Italian Parks website has a dedicated section -- http://www.parks.it/parco.nazionale.c... -- which is a lot more user friendly, particularly when it comes to describing walking trails and other outdoor activities.
Once you arrive in the Cinque Terre, take some time to drop by one of the tourist offices that are located in Monterosso or Riomaggiore. The Cinque Terre National Park Office is located on P. Garibaldi, 29 in Monterosso. Open daily between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., here you can buy Cinque Terre Cards which are required to walk the trails, but can also be used to travel between the five villages by train Be aware that they shut for lunch between 12 noon and (when there in July) 3pm.The Pro Loco office, located at Via Fegina, 38, near to the train station, has information on boat services, and hiking trails in the area. This office is open April through October, Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. There also is a tourist office located in the train station in Riomaggiore. From this office, you can gather information on trails, day trips, and accommodation in the area. However they only sell walking tickets if their section of the track is open. If not, you need to catch the train to the section which is open and buy tickets there. The Riomaggiore tourist office is open June to September, Monday to Thursday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday to Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.