Browsing the archives for the Cinque Terre tag.

UNESCO World Heritage Program – USA World Heritage Sites

National Parks, UNESCO, World Heritage, yosemite, yosemite half dome california

Just back from Yosemite National Park in California I’m even more convinced that the UNESCO World Heritage Site list is a great way to guarantee you find fantastic places as you visit countries around the world.      Obviously no small list can be completely fair or inclusive, especially for the huge territory of the USA, but this is a GREAT group of extraordinary natural and cultural places:

Clearly this approach to travel in the USA would probably be supplemented by at least a few days of big city sightseeing.     Many coming to America may want to see places like Las Vegas and  Hollywood which are unlikely to ever have “UNESCO World Heritage” status.    But the UNESCO list is a  superb starting points for your travel, especially to unfamiliar areas.     For the trip to Vietnam I was happy that the list seems to match up well with the “word of mouth” information I’ve been collecting from my Vietnamese pals and others.    There I’ll be able to take in most of the UNESCO sites such as historic Hoi An, Saigon, Hanoi, and Ha Long Bay near Hanoi.      In Italy in June my favorite place was the Cinque Terre – a UNESCO site.      Interestingly, the Cinque Terre and some places really seem to play up this status where I didn’t even know Yosemite was on the list until I checked this morning.

Fishermen in Vernazza Harbor, Cinque Terre


Over a month home now, the place that sticks with me is the Cinque Terre on the Northern Italian Mediterranean Coast. Brimming with charm and beauty, this area is one of the most enjoyable places I’ve been and I can’t wait to return there in the future.    Here, in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Italian National Park, five cities (“Cinque Terre”) cling to the cliffs near the coastline, each offering it’s own blend of charming beauty.

We stayed in Vernazza with a beautiful tiny harbor that is still home to fisherman who I think are usually catching anchovies which are then served up both in the salty way that is not very popular in the USA but also in a light lemon oil which for me was a very tasty treat along with the rest of our meal at Il Pirata Cafe in Vernazza, one of the Cinque Terre’s best restaurants.

Booking Europe with TripAdvisor and Venere

train travel, Travel, travel and history, travel and leisure, travel blogs, travel guides, travel websites, tripadvisor

As I wrap up our hotel bookings for the Europe adventure I’m very pleased with the many reviews I’m finding at and the booking services at, though I think Venere is best for the major cities where TripAdvisor is very helpful even for smaller city destinations like Vernazza in the Cinque Terre.

For Paris, Rome, and Venice I was very pleased with Venere’s ability to sort through thousands of listings and give me high rated properties at lower cost.    Most importantly I was able to reserve them with my credit card with very reasonable  cancellation policies – in one case better than that at the hotel website.     Plans can change in Europe and I’m concerned about the fact that some areas – like the Cinque Terre – are not at all cancellation friendly.     Although my understanding is that you can usually find a nice place in the Cinque Terre without a reservation I’m not risking that with a family in tow and the area surging in popularity pretty much every time a Rick Steves show, book, or magazine extolls the beauty and charm of the area.

Although it’s time consuming, a good approach for smaller destinations is to review the TripAdvisor listings for your destination and then use Google search to find the specific hotel website.   From there I’m finding friendly hotel folks who seem genuinely apologetic when they can’t find me the right room.

Thanks again to Eurail Pass, for helping to sponsor our European Rail Adventure

Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

< Europe Trip Planning Post>

Vernazza is one of the five cities of Cinque Terre Italy, where we’ll be in about 3 weeks during the European Rail Adventure. It’s hard to find anybody who *did not enjoy* their trip to Cinque Terre, and although I’m guessing that all the travelers are stressing the charm of the place I’m confident this is still one of the world’s great travel destinations.

Thanks to TripAdvisor we’re finding a lot of nice “out of the way” places that have been reviewed by people or books but have not found their way into the major consolidators like Kayak or even Venere – the European equivalent of Expedia / Travelocity / Etc.

Thanks to for helping us make this dream trip possible!

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