World’s prettiest village slammed as crowds feel like ‘sweaty sardines’

Italy’s gorgeous Cinque Terre was recently named the world’s most beautiful village. The pretty coloured houses overlooking the coast were a deserved winner.

However, the area’s beauty could be becoming its downfall as tourists have taken to Reddit to complain about excessive crowds. Around 2.5 million tourists visit the five tiny villages each year.

A tourist ‘zozobinx’ wrote on Reddit: “Cinque Terre, Italy in August. Felt like sweaty sardines everywhere we went.”

Another tourist said: “We got there super early and managed maybe 30 minutes of tranquillity. But then it got steadily busier and we found ourselves stuck on a station platform for 20 minutes trying to leave.

“Kids screaming, old people trying to find seats, tourists getting frazzled in the heat. And so many influencers posing, shouting into their cameras etc. We decided it wasn’t for us and that we were part of the problem and left.”

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The overcrowding is often made worse by cruise ships, which usually drop off thousands of tourists for the day. However, a few tourists shared their tips for visitors who want to explore Cinque Terre without feeling like a sardine.

One person ‘hiddenproverb’ said: “If you ever want to go back, April was really nice! Not crowded, easy to get away from the crowds there were, and still pretty cool outside but not cold. August in Europe in general is miserable.”

Visiting Cinque Terre outside of peak season is one way to beat overtourism. The quietest times to explore are usually during the shoulder season, late April or late October. In winter, tourists could find that cafes, shops and hotels are closed.

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Another person said: “Cinque Terre in summer is like Venice, enjoy it early morning at night. The upside to Cinque Terre is you can swim during the day in most of the towns.

“We did early morning urban exploring in Vernazza and I remember at like 10am we were really high up in the town. I saw a ship filled with hundreds of people getting ready to invade.”

Tourists who get up early might get the chance to explore the villages before other visitors arrive. Cruise ships usually run to a timetable which can be checked online.

Cruise tourists will usually only have time to visit the region’s highlights so heading further up the hiking trails could be a way to avoid the crowds.

But it’s not just Italy struggling to cope with a huge influx of summer guests. A top destination in Paris has left some tourists feeling like herded cattle.

The UK also has its fair share of over tourism and one of London’s most famous royal attractions was recently described as “chaotic”.

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