Italy: Say the name and gorgeous Italian lakes, scenic mountain cliffs sprawling out to the sparkling sea waters, lush vineyards and pastel coloured houses pop into one’s mind.
It was a tough choice finalizing the places to visit and knocking off a few from the list hoping that God will be generous enough to let me visit Italy second time around.
After going through various forums on trip advisor, blogs, vlogs etc, I decided that I was going to definitely go to Venice, Florence, Rome, Pisa. That left me with choosing between the infamous Amalfi coast with its quaint towns or Cinque Terre with its 5 most scenic fishing villages. A lot of reviews mentioned that its better to go to Amalfi but I was so torn by the choice that I decided to go to both and I was so glad that I didn’t miss out on Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre consists of five small villages (“cinque terre” means “five lands” in Italian) which is where colorful houses and vineyards cling to the Ligurian cliffs along Italy’s western coast, also known as the Italian Riviera.
The raw beauty of these fishing villages makes it a very popular tourist destination in Italy. The footfall of visitors has increased a lot since the past few years.
The 5 famous villages of Cinque Terre;
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Getting around Cinque Terre:
Travelling to the 5 T via train is by far the cheapest and most convenient option. 1 day CT Card costs 7.5E whereas unlimited train pass costs 13 E / pax. It includes the Ecological park bus, Trekking paths, free access to the washroom & wifi connection at the station. Each station is at a distance of 5-7 mins from each other via train The best way is to get down at one village, explore the same and then take the train back to the next village.
You can also explore the villages by taking the ferry though that would be a more expensive option and would cost approx. €35 for adults.
Train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore:
The first day we headed out to Riomaggiore. If you ask me this town doesn’t get it’s share compared to Manarola and Vernazza. However this village has so much charm.
As soon as one arrives at the train station, one is greeted with clear blue skies and sparling sea. There is a small pathway, Via dell’Amore coastal trail, next to the train station that offers the most scenic views of the sea.
Beach anyone ? This is the only village of the cinque terre that offers a large beach with sunbeds and its blue umbrellas. If you are a beach person then this village might work best for you..
Trekking from Monterosso to Vernezza:
I had read so much about the paranomic views offered on the hikes of Cinque terre that I was dying to experience them first hand. We braved ourselves for the long 3 hour hike from Monterosso to Vernezza (Blue Trail) ready with water and some snacks.
The way up the mountain is not easy what with big stones and uneven road to follow on. However making out way through the lush green vineyards and waterfalls in some places made up for the effort.
Note: Wear comfortable walking shoes.
One of the most picturesque town of Cinque terre offering some stunning views off the trail. There are various restaurants and shops near the sea side. We stopped by to have some pizza and gelato.
Vernezza does have a tiny beach and we decided to relax our feet and take a dip in the ocean looking at the setting sun.
Note: You can also rent a Kayak/sail boat or just hang out the near the rocks overlooking the boats.
Arguably the most scenic town of the cinque terre offering the best sunset views. Upon arriving in the afternoon, Manarola was bustling with tourists trying to get their pictures clicked. It was a hot afternoon and the warm breeze upon climbing the narrow pathway up the mountain was welcome.
We headed to the infamous “Nessun Dorma” Offering unreal views of the colourful houses perched on the cliff and stunning views of the sea. We were lucky to find a table instantly (this place is always crowded and involves some waiting time).
We treated ourselves to some mouth watering bruschetta and pesto sandwich and probably the best orange juice that I had in Italy!It was the perfect end to a beautiful day in Cinque Terre.
Hope this post inspired you to visit Cinque Terre and plan your perfect 2-3 day itinerary. Believe me you do not want to give this place a miss.
If you are looking for a 2 week guide to Italy then click here
Until next time. Cheers!