Places visited: Monterosso, Manarola, Vernazza
From the very first time when I saw the pictures of Cinque Terre, I knew it’s a place that I had to go and finally last September I turned my dream into reality.
Cinque Terre is made of five sun-drenched villages on the coast of Italy – Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, it is also a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site. All five villages share a similar theme, so for first timers like us, it was really hard to decide which village to visit especially if you don’t have enough time to see all five. We finally picked Monterosso as our base and visited Manarola and Vernazza because Monterosso has the biggest town with beaches and Manarola and Vernazza appeared to be the most photogenic. We took a train (you can get your tickets from Trenitalia) from Rome to Monterosso, the ticket is about 35 Euro per adult. We were greeted by the dramatic scenery of the Italian Riviera as soon as we got off the train after 4 hours of travelling.
To See & Do
Monterosso – We picked this place as our base because it’s the biggest village among all five villages, it has a beach and a dozen of restaurants to choose from. I can say we were really happy with our decision, I mean look at that view in the picture below..Manarola – The only town with a natural port. It’s pretty much a one street town and there isn’t too much you can do there. Still, it’s going to take you hours to finishing walking it because every corner is worth taking a snap. I would not recommend picking Manarola as your base but it’s definitely worth spending an afternoon there.Vernazza – The most popular village among tourists. Getting lost in those beautiful cobblestone lanes that are lined with little cafes is the best thing you can do there! This place is incredibly photogenic, I promise you every picture you take there is gonna be “instagrammable”! 🙂Hiking – It is a very popular activity in Cinque Terre as the hiking trails are apparently breathtakingly beautiful and you might need some exercise after eating all the irresistible Italian cheese, wine and pasta! You can actually hike between the five villages for about 5 – 6 hours, we didn’t have time to do that but I find this blog post pretty useful if you are planning to hike in Cinque Terre.
To Eat & Drink
Spritz All Day – Nothing beats watching the sun dances off the ocean with a glass of Spritz in hand when in Italy.
Deep Fried Calamari from Batti Batti (Vernazza) – You can smell the aroma of the deep fried calamari as soon as you get off the train, follow the smell and you should have no problem finding this little gem.
I tend to write down a list of restaurants or food that I want to try when I travel but I didn’t do that for Cinque Terre as I felt it is a place where you should live spontaneously rather than having everything planned. If you have any restaurants that I shouldn’t have missed, let me know! 🙂
We picked a little place called Hotel Souvenir, it is about 10 – 15 minutes walk from Monterosso train station with comfortable rooms and complimentary breakfast.
The train is the best way to travel between five villages as some parts of the villages are “car-free”.
Sadly we only had two days there and didn’t have enough time to see everything we wished to see in Cinque Terre but I can confident to say that it is truly a place that will make you feel the reality is way better than dreams.