My Italian voyage had only just began when I entered the ‘Five Lands’ of the Cinque Terre. This was the first time I ever experienced love at first sight.
The Cinque Terre is located on the North-Western coast of the Italian Riviera. Crowned a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997 (just a little more proof that people out there think it is as amazing as I do!!!) you HAVE to add this to your Eurotrip- even a day trip will blow your mind!
The Cinque Terre literally stands for The ‘Five Lands’, being the cities of Monterosso Al Mare, Corniglia, Vernazza, Riomaggiore and Manarola.
When you arrive (usually by Train from La Spezia Station- park here and catch the train as driving is impossible even though there are little roads to Vernazza!) I suggest starting at the Monterosso end and making your way down to Riomaggiore. The hardest part of the whole treck is between Monterosso and Vernazza- so you will be tired by lunch! You can grab a Cinque Terre train pass from La Spezia (about $13) that allows you to jump on and off the train at any of the stops- plus return to La Spezia station. Oh and did I mention the train heads through Tuscany? Pretty amazing views! This is great for those who can’t do the hiking portion or if you’re not feeling up to a full day treck just train between each point. If you plan on staying the night- just get a two day ticket (around $20).
Monterosso is the oldest and largest of the Cinque Terre villages and you can feel the history oozing from the walls. You will find majority of shopping, dining and hotel here but I would hold off until Vernazza- it will blow your mind. Head up the tiny trails and walk the hundreds of steps (about 2 hours) until you reach the ULTIMATE view- most postcards and images of Vernazza are of this… can you see why?
Vernazza is like a little piece of Italian heaven surrounded by clear waters and rock ledges overlooking endless horizons. Although this town is small- it has so much to offer. Spend an hour or so walking through the tiny alleyways and discover secret café’s, bars and restaurants. Don’t forget the Gelato!!!!!
After your little break, head off again to Corniglia, the ‘rural’ style town. This a good place to grab some supplies before another big hike- make sure you reapply the sunscreen, grab water and get the camera ready- there is more beauty ahead! Corniglia has some great views- and a beautiful little church so grab some snaps and keep going!
Next stop- Manarola! This is the town known for its seafood restaurants as the port is still a vital part of the community! Grab a big lunch, take in the beach and harbour and take a seriously good stroll down the to the harbour- sometimes the view from the bottom is just as good as the top!
Now for the last leg- following the Via Dell’Amore (Lovers Lane) to Riomaggiore. Lock your love for the Cinque Terre (or your partner of course) on the railing and throw away the key! Enjoy the sunset and be proud that you just accomplished a 7 hour trek through one of the wanders of our beautiful world. See you soon my love xx