Cinque Terre refers to a magical section of Italy's north western coast marked by five beautiful seaside towns. Each town is as unique as they are colorful so be sure to see all five when you go. The best way to do that is to travel between them by foot.
We originally planned to take a bus from a port near La Sepzia (the closest city to Cinque Terre) but the day of our visit the waves were too high from a storm the day before. We ended up taking the train from La Spezia to Monterosso to begin our day. You don't necessarily have to start in Monterosso as you can bop between each town easily by train but we wanted to hike the entirety of the trail in one day so that's where we chose to begin.
We did not spend much time in Monterosso as the main draw is the beach at it was too early in the morning to enjoy laying out. Most of the other towns are set cliffside so if you want to get your beach fix, Monterosso is your town.
Before you get hiking you'll need to purchase a Cinque Terre Card for around €7 from one of the 5 Welcome Centers located in each town.
We next moved on to Vernazza which was my favorite of the five towns. It has a character and charm that was somehow unique from the others. It had a beautiful yellow church and a gorgeous view from the cliff above. Watch out, you WILL get wet.
The next town is worth the steep hike! (And don't think you'll avoid it by taking the train. Even riders will have to brave the 300 plus stairs to get to this town.) Reward your efforts by taking lunch in beautiful Corniglia. They are famous for their pesto so that is a must try. I highly recommend the spaghetti ai frutti di mare at Osteria a Cantina de Mananan. However, if you are more the "do it for the insta" type, you have to go to Bar Terza Terra Corniglia. The views from their patio are unreal.
After lunch, head to Manarola, the poster child of Cinque Terre. If you try to picture Cinque Terre in your head, you are likely thinking of Manarola. It is also the oldest of the five towns and is known for its sweet Sciacchetrà wine. Take some snaps and sip some wine quick cause the sun it probably setting and you still have one town to go!
The last hike is, thankfully, the shortest. Use the last of your sunlight to make your way down to the dock finding a perch on some rocks and get ready to take in Riomaggiore by sunset. This is the largest of the 5 towns and is a great place to end the night because there is plenty to do. Stay for dinner if you have a hotel near by. We only had time to play a match of calcio (soccer) with some local kids before their mothers called them for dinner and it was time to go.
The day I spent hiking Cinque Terre will go down as one of my all time favorite hikes. I started to enjoy the time between the towns just as much as the towns themselves. You walk along dusty paths with plump grapes dangling from their vines to your right and the endless turquoise Mediterranean Sea to your left. The best part is, if you get tired, you can either rest with a glass of Chianti or take a train to the next town instead!
Will you be seeing Cinque Terre by foot?
Let me know if you have any questions before you go.
Go confidently travelers!
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