July 17, 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, you have a piece of my heart. The Cinque Terre is a group of five small towns on the western coast of Italy. You can take day trips here, but I highly recommend staying and hiking and exploring! It was really and truly one of my favorite places in Italy.

Part of the charm of Cinque Terre is that there are not a lot of people. This is partly because of its inaccessibility. Local trains or some group travels are really your only way to get in. However, in the same breath, Rick Steves, UNESCO, and a bunch of other people are making this a very popular place to go. I always struggle with telling people about beautiful parts of nature. You don't want to overrun it with people, but you want to see and take in the beauty. So take the train to Monterosso, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola, or Riomaggiore and begin to enjoy the magic that is the Cinque Terre!

Getting There
First off, getting there! We took a train from Florence to Riomaggiore. Well technically Florence to La Spezia. La Spezia is a town close to Cinque Terre that can provide you with regional trains to the Cinque Terre cities.

Getting to all of the other cities involved us hiking. I highly recommend doing that and visiting this post here for all that good info.

We stayed in a really great Airbnb in Riomaggiore. The host was extremely nice, the place was clean and private, and it was very close to the train station. That becomes important when you have luggage and will spend a lot of time walking around. We wanted to hike through all the towns so it was important for me to stay in either Riomaggiore or Monterosso. Riomaggiore was less crowded, and I like that!
Riomaggiore is the southernmost town. At the top of the town, you can explore a church with some awesome panoramic views.

We also enjoyed grabbing a pizza and bottle of wine and heading to the trailhead of The Lover's Lane (Check out this post about hiking through the Cinque Terre Cities) and just eating watching the sunset over the water. Having a bottle of wine out in a public place is totally acceptable in Italy btw...
Yeah that is fresh swordfish on that pizza and it was amazing. I took a picture and miss that pizza!

We then made it to the next town Manarola. We visited the Chiesa di San Lorenzo which was a beautiful church and looked at the beautiful views! Despite the clouds and some drizzling rain through here and Corniglia, it was beautifully colorful.

All of the towns were small, but Corniglia is the smallest. It is not directly on the water (the only of the five towns) and instead up on the cliffs with some great views. The town is postcard perfect with colorful homes lining the streets and providing a striking contrast against the jagged cliffs and ocean.

Vernazza is very picturesque. There are so many colorful buildings and a rocky beach. Prepare for lots of stairs down and up to a beautiful little city. Totally worth it though! The sun came out for us in this town and I just loved seeing the vibrant town alive.

We ended in Monterosso. We ended up having some amazing dinner at Trattoria Via Dell'amore. We got to Monterosso just time time as the sun was setting. It was beautiful. We were tired and hungry and enjoyed our time eating there. Of the five cities, it is the biggest and so there are many places to shop and eat here. We then took the train home to Riomaggiore, tired and happy from a good long day.

Have you been to the Cinque Terre?
If not, when are you planning on going?

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