Visiting the town of La Spezia, you can’t not visit Cinque Terre. Pronounced as “chink-eh tear-eh” (of course with an Italian accent), you find these beautiful villages built on enormous rock faces. Each of the 5 are located on the north west coast of the Italian Riviera. It’s shores touch the Mediterranean and trails lead you through this surreal, mystical world.
Before leaving La Spezia, we figured out what trails were open (weather plays a huge factor in this decision). It turned out the one we wanted was! It connected the second to last village to the final one.
You are able to take the train quite easily from village to village – and the tickets aren’t pricy. Arriving to the town Vernazza, we walk out of the train station to see colourful buildings and wandering side streets.
Fishing was a common trade/resource of the inhabitant of the Cinque Terre. Apparently the colourful houses were used for the fisherman to see their house and to seemingly know their wives were still at home doing house work (but I like to think that wasn’t completely the reason…haha.)
A group if us decided to hike the trail that connected Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare (the final town). I have hiked a heap of trails back at home, but this was so different (in an amazing way).
The trail would start in town. You would climb steps past peoples houses until you made it onto the actual trail. The trail itself was well kept–narrow at times with limited railing, but overall safe enough. During our trek, we past this house that had become victim to an awful landslide a while ago. There were still clothes in the closet!
I think what I enjoyed most about hiking this trail was seeing all sorts of foliage that I don’t see at home. You were also walking along the water. Looking to your right, you’d see passing rock faces, gardens, vineyards and homes; and to your left was the misty Mediterranean.
This particular trail was hike-able in TOMS (thank god, they are my only closed-toed shoe). At one point there was the “never ending staircase” that seemed to take forever to climb down.
Before we knew it, Monterosso al Mare was in the distance! It worked as a great spot for lunch and a plunge in the sea!
After lunch and experiencing the freezing sea, we decided to hike back the same trail we took originally. Of course it seemed shorter – which was nice.
Wanting to see the other three villages before dark, the train seemed quite appealing. It nice having this kind of transport in between towns. The ride is about 3-4 minute from each!
Corniglia was the next one over. It’s based more on top of its cliff – so stairs were involved. It sounds like I’m a wimp, but that morning hike included a load of steps and my calves were on fire at this point! Not to mention having only eaten pasta and pizza for the past week and a half, my fitness level also wasn’t up to snuff. Anyways…corniglia was cute, but quieter than the other two we visited. It was pouring as well, which made the experience a little less enjoyable. All in all, I was glad I got to see that town and it’s tiny coffee shops.
Manarola is the next village over. In my opinion, I was the one with the best views of the town itself. Many photos were taken here!
The last town was Riomaggiore. I loved the water access and to see all the colourful (are you surprised) rowboats lined up.
Riomaggiore was also the town were a few of us grabbed dinner. Cinque Terre is known for its anchovies (yuck!) and pesto (uhh yes!!) I swear to god, it is the freshest pesto you’ve ever tasted. I had the pleasure for dinner to enjoy my well-deserved (on my end) pesto pizza! I also forgot to mention for lunch in Monterosso al Mare, I experienced a local dish of Cinque Terre: trofie al pesto. It’s a type of pasta made of flour, water and a bit of potato which is then (of course) covered in the delicious pesto!
My day in Cinque Terre was definitely one of my favourites. I remember getting back to the hotel, only to realize all I was able to pack into one day! It took a while for it to sink in — that’s for sure.
I tell you, if you don’t mind being breathless for a day or two, take the time and visit this renowned place. I can now understand why this national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having an amazing day!