Cinque Terre in Italy is a world-renowned spot and on nearly every Italy must do.
Since it’s not only beautiful but can be quite a hike and adventure, Hannah and I couldn’t resist and had to give it a go.
The spot is located on the North West side of Italy on the Liguria sea and part of the Italian Riviera, and consists of 5 small towns (cinque = 5 in Italian) built right into the edge of the cliffs on the coast. They’re beautiful historical towns, dating back at least to the 11th century. You can get to each by train these days (have heard by car is the most difficult and not the way to go), but the hike between the towns along the coast is where the magic really happens.
Many hyped known touristy spots can have a tendency to disappoint, but Cinque Terre certainly did not! We were pinching ourselves looking at the scenery as we walked between the towns.
Travel Recommendations Learned from Our Adventure:
- Give it a Google before you head down to Cinque Terre 🙂
- Check before you go that all the trails are open.
We quickly learned that hiking trails on mountain cliffs can be very temperamental and have a tendency to shut off especially if it’s rained recently…
- Stop at a Tourist Center to get the most up to date information and recommendations. They have maps and day-of info that might not be on the internet yet.
- Some of the trails are “at your own risk” style
- The train is your friend – if getting on a trail isn’t working out, don’t stress you can still get to each city and have a great experience.
Monterosso al Mare
You can either start at the top or the bottom so we decided to start at the top! Took a nice train, and got there about mid-morning. As expected there were people everywhere.
There was a sign that said it would take about 5 hours, but that’s assuming you don’t start off going the wrong way… which we did. Good thing they had signs up letting all the wayward tourists like us know they were headed in the wrong direction… Felt a little better seeing we weren’t the only ones! There were a few groups that turned into familiar faces as we all circled each other figuring out what was going on and our next move.
A quick stop into the tourist info for a map and some up to date information, a train ticket to the next town, and we’re off again!
Vernazza -> Corniglia
Even just walking around the towns, the views were beautiful. Even a little frustrated by our directional mishaps, we were still getting to explore the amazing towns and couldn’t be mad at all. Plus once we made it to Vernazza and started our hike between towns towards Corniglia, the scenery was everything we’d hoped for!
Beware, once you get going on the trails it can take even longer than expected because you’ll be compelled to keep stopping and staring at the scenic views! They’re absolutely spectacular. There were doors built right into the cliff edge onto the trails. Imagine immediately stepping out into that beautiful site each and every day!
Once we got going, it was easy to see what everyone had been talking about and why Cinque Terre is so high on the list. On our first actual trek from Vernazza to Corniglia, it was nice and hot, and there were stairs for days… and TOTALLY WORTH IT!
Have you been to Cinque Terre?? Which one was your favourite village? I loved Vernazza (the one in the pic) but they’re all stunning in their own way…. I mean ocean views, colourful buildings, top notch gelato 🍧 it’s heaven 👌👌 🇮🇹 . . . . . . . #visititaly #discoveritaly #cinqueterreitaly #vernazza #europeantour #beautifulviews #passionpassport #topitalyphoto #topitalyofficial #italiantravel #italy_vacations
Also, definitely recommend stopping at the half-way-there shop to get some deliciously refreshing orange juice. Even the small shop provided an amazing view out the window. And hey, not far down the road there was a lot for sale… Not sure what living in and around Cinque Terre is like, but the landscape definitely had us stopping to dream on it for a bit. Didn’t hurt that just a little further up Hannah found an extremely friendly mountain cat 😉
Corniglia -> Manarola
After about an hour and a half walk all into Manarola, we were psyched and ready to head off to Manarola.
The cities themselves are full of people, but as we walked to the next town and scoped out spots off the beaten path the people quickly became scarce. I couldn’t get enough of it, to the point my camera died on me!
Further exploring of the Cinque Terre Towns
Doing things as true to Italian style as possible, we started our morning with a true coffee (not Americano, Americano is not coffee! As Italian shopkeepers keep reminding us). We even made it ourselves in the standard Italian (European?) coffee pot on the stove!
Then, we hopped on a train and headed back to Monterosso where we had begun our journey hiking between the Cinque Terre towns.
Once again tourists, everywhere! But hey, we’re some of them.
Our goal, rent a boat to cruise from town to town on the sea and take in the beautiful views that way. We went from one far end to the other, starting at Monterosso and ending with Riomaggiore.
Tickets and timetable in hand, we started out on our journey. As is typical for centuries-old places like this, there’s always some added excitement working your way through the old school ways of tiny walking planks into rocking boats. Adds to the charm an adventure!
As we made it to Riomaggiore, the weather turned on us and we had to hide out from the rain for a bit. But in a place like this, we were still all smiles. Plus, there’s nothing like rain to make tourists clear out. Once it stopped, it was almost as if we had the gorgeous city to ourselves to explore.
And once again, we found ourselves stopping to not only take in the scenery but inspired to scope out the best spot for where we would choose to live. Current plan, at the edge of the cliff where there’s a great view but also a road that a scooter can be taken down into the bigger part of the city, and has plenty of space for a garden.
Last, but certainly, not least (or the last time we would be getting some), don’t forget to stop by a Gelateria for some delicious Italian gelato!
More Reading & Resources:
- How To Start A Blog For The Price Of A Coffee
- Camera, Drone and Gear List I Use
- How I Earn A Living While Traveling Full-Time
- Additional Travels and Suggestions
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