A guide to the most beautiful place in Italy- Cinque Terre
10 sec- takeaway: Cinque Terre is a group of 5 villages in Italy close to Pisa, Milan & Florence. If you’re visiting any one of these cities, Cinque Terre “SHOULD” be on your list. It is these small colourful villages which have a lot to offer for a 2-4 days getaway- Clear beaches, Natural Park trail by the sea, amazing local wine, breathtaking views and food to die for.
Trip Type: Leisure, Beach
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’d know I’m a sucker for off beat things/ places/ activities during my travel. As much as I love to do the mainstream and check out all the mainspots, I’m always on the lookout for something different.
This thirst of trying something new & different during my Italian vacation led me to Cinque Terre during my research (See how I sneaked in my thorough research habits). I had not heard of this place and all the pictures and blogs about the place looked surreal to me. I had my return tickets booked via Milan and this was a couple of hours away so it made in to the final itinerary for my first Italian vacation.
When I landed in Milan and shared my plans with fellow hostel mates, everyone gave me a thumbs up for the choice of places. Also, everyone mentioned Summer was the perfect time to be there! My excitement knew no bound and I was really kicked about visiting this new, not so popular part of Italy. I took a train from Florence to La Spezia which is where I booked my Airbnb apartment- it is the province which houses the villages. (Hit me up if you need stay suggestion).
Initially, I thought Cinque Terre is a place itself but later learned that it’s a collection of 5 villages that makes Cinque Terre (Cinque=5, Terre= Villages). I was bewildered to visit this land of beauty. All the 5 villages are exceptionally natural and beautiful and cater to the requirements of a tourist looking for beaches, refreshment, calm and composite environment. All these villages are 5- 10 minutes away from one another by train and the trains run from 6 am- midnight so great connectivity and easy access.
The first village I headed to was Riomaggiore which dates back to the thirteenth century. It has some of the most beautiful and old houses lined by the coast most of which have tower shaped architecture. Riomaggiore also has a castle and a church and ofcourse the street is lined with a lot of restaurant and gelato options. It showcases exceptional marine beauty and I rushed further down to it right after the lunch. Via dell’ Amore is a place to fall in love with. This is where Blue Trail hiking starts off and just for 5 Euros you can get a daily pass. This is an easy-to-go hiking trail and romantic views of the surroundings have named it the Path of Love.
The next village northwards is Manarola. It is a great place to visit and refresh oneself. I had the best wine and Italian food in Manarola. Getting an amazing dinner at this village in a totally natural atmosphere outdoors was a one-off experience. This also is a one street village with a small harbor, perfect to swim.
After spending time in Manarola and Riomaggiore, I headed to the most remote town out of all the five ones. This is Corniglia and the sweetest one to visit. The most famous point was almost 365 steps climb above. It was a good place to visit but honestly for me was overcrowded to stay there for a good time and enjoy effortlessly. I was quite surprised to come to know about the Guvano beach, the clothing-optional beach. Being the shy one, I didn’t head towards that beach, I accept it J
The next day, I headed towards Vernazza in the early morning. Its flamboyant atmosphere makes it a unique port to visit. This is called the beauty queen of Cinque Terre and Its main street Via Visconti is all crowded with tourists and its main square is a good place to take some photographs. Vernazza is where I hit the waters in my kayak. The view was so beautiful I ended up kayaking for 2 hours as against my original plan for an hour. The picturesque view of clean blue waters on one side and gorgeous mountains on the other, what else can you ask for!
Honestly, it was hard to leave Vernazza but I wanted to hit the beach and had heard so much about Monterosso’s white pebble beach that I headed there next. Monterosso is comparatively bigger and has larger streets, more restaurants and ofcourse more people. Monterosso has a picture perfect beach and you can spend the rest of your day swimming by a private beach and also walk up to the beach front restaurants while you enjoy some fresh catch from the sea you are watching.
So, my experience in Cinque Terre was spectacular and I would highly recommend this not in usual itinerary place in your next trip to Italy.
Below are some tips to help you get started on your planning for the trip.
How to get there:
If you want to fly, the closest airport is Pisa & its over an hour long train ride from Pisa.
If you’re going to be in Milan/ Florence, take a train to La Spezia which will take you around 3- 4 hours. The trains are convenient and according to me the best mode of transportation within Italy.
Where to stay:
There are budget hostels in Riomaggiore and Vernazza that you can look up on Hostelworld. If you want to stay in an apartment, look up Airbnb for La Spezia. If you’d like to know where I stayed, ping me & I’ll share the details.
How to get around:
You can take one of the many trains that connect the villages and my suggestion would be you buy a 24/ 48 hour pass for unlimited rides. If you’re the adventurous type, you can hike the trails as Cinque Terre is a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Where to eat: Da Billy, Manarola | Ristorante Belforte, Vernazza | Da Eraldo, Monteresso | Lunch Box, Vernazza | Nessum Dorma, Manarola | Il Grottino, Riomaggiore |
Photo Album: Click here for more pictures from Cinque Terre
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