When I first fell in love with Cinque Terre… I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been dreaming of visiting Cinque Terre. Even though Cinque Terre was not really on the route I had planned for our Italy trip previous summer, we decided on a little detouring because I couldn’t let go the idea of finally visiting this special place. Cinque Terre means five little villages: Riomaggiore, Manorola, Vernazza, Corniglia, Montorosso al Mare. Cinque Terre is one of these Italian slices of paradise which seem almost unreal, like walking into a postcard. I remember when Alex and I started our Italian road trip one year ago and when we approached Cinque Terre by car, we first laid eyes on Riomaggiore from above right before sunset. The last rays of sun were reflected in the water, the coast line had a magical glowy light and when I saw the colorful houses caved into the mountains, my eyes filled with tears. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen and I felt overwhelmed and touched by the magic and this beauty…
In case you are planning some Italy travels, I can only recommend visiting Cinque Terre. Though, Cinque Terre is not the casual desintation which needs no explanations at all. There are quite a few things which are good to know before planning your trip and, therefore, I decided to share some tips with you on how to make the most out of your Cinque Terre visit.
Which is the most beautiful among the five villages?
Well, this question almost seems to be impossible to be answered. Even during my time in Cinque Terre I changed my opinion a couple of times!;) So far I have visited four out of five Cinque Terre villages and they are all unique and charming in their own ways!
Most of the time I stayed in Riomaggiore and the moment I arrived, I loved this place. Riomaggiore has some accommodations and is very lively. My favorite thing about Riomaggiore is the area next to the water. During sunset most visitors grab a pizza and a beer and everyone is looking for a nice spot to enjoy the atmosphere. You can climb up some stairs which lead to a rocky area. Sitting here, you can watch the sun going down behind the colorful buildings – What a priceless view!
What I love most about Manarola is the panoramic view point which is easy to be reached. Even if you are not into hiking – Manorala’s view point is only a few hundred meters away from the train station and the way up couldn’t be any easier. Going further up there is a picnic area and a nice bar where I celebrated my birthday and where I spent most of my evenings. To me this spot simply offers the best views in Cinque Terre.
I visited Vernazza for the first time in the early evening and immediately fell for the charme of the village. The waterfront is way broader compared to Riomaggiore and Manarola and there are lots of restaurants close to the water which offer a nice waterfront table plus views. The way up to the viewpoint is way longer and steeper and when doing the hike during daytime you will most probably burn in the heat! 😉 Vernazza is definitely quieter and more romantic than Riomagggiore.
Monterosso al Mare is the village which is probably the best suited for relaxation and a classical vacay. It’s the only village with a real beach and I just love being close to the sea! Also the beach of Monterosse is super cute with all its colorful umbrellas! I loved wondering around the promenade, watching the sea to my right and the colorful houses to the left. Monterosso al Mare is also stretching out quite a little and offers some real hotels, whereas most of the Chinque Terre accomodation means renting a small apartment.
Cinque Terre by car or by train?
When I was planning my trip, I read that it totally makes sense to arrive by train. Well, we rented a car for our roadtrip and as we booked one day in advance I decided that taking the car might give us more flexibility. When arriving from Pisa, Riomaggiore was the first village of Cinque Terre. But when you drive further North, the road keeps getting smaller and is winding up and down. You can drive from Riomaggiore to the next village Manarola in a rather short period of time, but it takes forever to get to the other villages – especially when comparing timings by car with the short transportation time you’ll have when taking the train. Also, there are only few parking spots and you have to pay about 20€ per night, even when you park in front of your hotel or apartment. When visiting Cinque Terre, you should definitely take the time to figure out how to get there. You can take a train from Milan or Pisa to La Spezia which is really close to all the villages. The train which is connecting the villages is running frequently and it’s just a few minutes to get from one to the next village. Even when you take the train form Riomaggiore in the very South to Montorosso al Mare in the very North, it will only take about 1o minutes. Arrive early as there might be a long queue at the ticket counter. 😉
What and where to eat in Cinque Terre?
One thing needs to be said: Italians are no breakfast lovers! They enjoy having a croissant and an espresso at the bar and, therefore, you mostly find no breakfast or brunch restaurants when travellign in Italy. Therefore, I was happy to book a hotel with breakfast option so that you can fuel up at the hotel before starting the day. Also, as a vegetarian, options are a bit rare since Cinque Terre is known for seafood! My favorite places are Nessun Dorma, Manarola for the most amazing views, cheese plates and the best bruschetta, Da Eraldo, Monterosso for antipasti and Lunch Box, Vernazza in case your craving for vegetarian options and some fresh smoothies gets to big. 🙂 Other than that: Just grab a pizza to go and enjoy the views! 🙂
BATHING SUIT: Eres (here)
BATHING SUIT: Eres (here)