Cinque Terre, translated into “The Five Lands”, is one of the most beautiful places I’ve traveled in Italy so far. There are five villages along the coast: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. Before I left, everyone told me how easy it is to travel from one village to the next, but I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical. Once I arrived, I realized how simply you could walk through all five towns in a little less than 5 hours (not including the path from Manarola to Corniglia, which is closed due to flooding). Even if you get a little tired, don’t worry; you can buy a day’s worth of walking the trails and traveling on the train for just 10 Euro.
I am so happy that I had the opportunity to spend two full days in these villages, although I would’ve loved to stay even longer. There were plenty of tourists traveling through Cinque Terre, but I really enjoyed watching the locals and seeing how close all of them were with one another. Cinque Terre had a true, charming Italian feel!
Two girlfriends and myself took an early morning train from Florence, which only took about two and a half hours, and arrived in Riomaggiore to start our hike on the Via Dell’Amore—The Walk of Love—to the village of Manarola. Starting off your day strolling along the coast of Italy is not too shabby, I must say. You can climb on the rocks, look at all the love locks (I found one where the couple returned on their 25th anniversary!), and take plenty of beautiful photos. Hopefully I’ll come back here someday and I would love to stay in Manarola, it was my favorite of the villages!
Since the path from Manarola to Corniglia was closed, we hopped on the train, which took about three minutes to arrive in Corniglia. Here we walked up 368 (!) steps to the city center and enjoyed delicious pizza at a small restaurant overlooking the next town, Vernazza. It was absolutely stunning!
Our last stop was Monterosso al Mare, where we strategically chose a hotel close to the white sand beach. The afternoon was spent soaking up the sun, and resting from the hiking and strenuous task of eating pizza. Then, we checked into our quaint hotel a few miles up from the beach, Green Quiet. This place was the best! Even though it’s not directly on the water, they have air conditioning, a free shuttle to take you to the beach, the most comfortable beds, and the best breakfast buffet I have seen in Italy. Also, you can get a chance to practice your Italian, since they speak hardly any English.
We took the shuttle down to the water to enjoy a meal overlooking the ocean. Of course we ordered seafood because this area is known for the fresh fish, being right on the coast and all. I love how meals tend to last about three hours in Italy. This really teaches you how to savor and enjoy not only the food, but the company your with! I hope I bring this home with me.
Our second day in Cinque Terre was mostly spent on the beach and in the beautiful ocean. You can see all of the other four villages from the Monterosso beach, which really puts it into perspective how close they are!
Cinque Terre is such a unique part of Italy; with all the colorful houses stacked on top of one another on the coastline, a pathway that connects the five villages, and the bright blue ocean surrounding it all. It is extremely reasonably priced and easy to get to—so take advantage of your weekends in Italy and make the trip to Cinque Terre.