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The Latest From the Cinque Terre (PHOTOS)

05/27/2015 05:46 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2016

The Cinque Terre is my favorite stretch of Mediterranean coastline. On this two-month research and TV production trip, I gave myself one day off, and I slotted it in right here.

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Unfortunately, cruise lines are now stopping in La Spezia (the gateway to the Cinque Terre), and their thousands of passengers are congesting these otherwise-peaceful towns. When the cruise ships are in, midday can be miserable, both in the towns -- like Vernazza, pictured here -- and on the trails. But if you're out early (before 10:00) or late (after 17:00), there are no crowd problems at all.

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Enjoying a sunset from the castle in Vernazza at Ristorante Belforte is one of the most romantic experiences you may ever enjoy.

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The restaurants of the Cinque Terre make delightful seafood antipasti plates. When in the Cinque Terre, your best restaurant tip: Order seafood.