OK. It has been forever since my last travel journal. I’m recently spending more time on sustainability and zero-waste topics, and totally forgot I should write something about our last trip (last year trip) to Italy. We visited Cinque Terre last summer. It is a place I always wanted to go when I was cabin crew, but I was always feeling tired after the flight. So last year I grabbed my husband to go with me!
In 1997, Cinque Terre became the Unesco World Heritage Site. The five village was used to be isolated for so many years, this is also why they can be preserved nicely. Visiting Cinque Terre isn’t too hard, the easiest way there is defiantly by train.
Once our flight arrived in Florence we got the bus to central station, Firenze S.M. Novella, and took a train to La Spezia. Make sure you book your tickets online in advance to avoid the stupid fines because of ‘unvalidated’ tickets (If you have been to Italy, you’ll know! :<)
We jumped off the train at La Spezia and waited for the next train straight to Cinque Terre on the same platform. About an hour later, we knew we were finally there! The fabulous ocean view popped before our eyes! The train first passed through Riomaggiore, then Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and finally Monterosso, where we stayed for two nights.
Monterosso al Mare
We went straight to the beach once we checked in at the B&B. Monterosso is the most crowded village. No doubt of it because it’s the only village among Cinque Terre that has a proper big beach area. By the time we arrived at the beach it was already 4ish in the evening. It was just good enough to watch and admire the beautiful sunset as we had our first dinner at San Martino Gastronomia. Nothing fancy, but the food was just gorgeous! They offered a range of pasta (freshly made every day) with vegetables or seafood. Don’t miss it, it is only around the corner!
We decided to visit the villages one by one on the second day. If you are not planning to stay over in Cinque Terre, the best way to visit five villages in one go is to start from Monterosso to Riomaggiore. Since we were staying in Monterosso already, we decided to start from the most furthest village, Riomaggiore. You can get a 24/48 hours pass from every station. The pass allows you to access Cinque Terre within the time you choose. which saves you a bit time from lining up for the ticket machine. (Plus, the pass also lets you use all toilets in Cinque Terre without paying €0.50 each time!)
Morning in Riomaggiore was already fully packed with tourists as the most significant view of Cinque Terre (basically it’s the view printed on most postcards) is located in Riomaggiore. It was amazingly beautiful, however, there were just too many people so we couldn’t take our time to enjoy the view and the unique architecture. We then spotted that we could actually pay to do kayaking! I STRONGLY recommended all of you to do that if you visit Riomaggiore! That one-hour kayak trip was marvellous! 60 minutes was enough to see all five villages in a different way, it was just like one big continuous painting. We both enjoyed it so much, and it was so cheap, and only cost us a few pounds! (I forgot the store name but you will find the store on your way to the pier inside a tiny tunnel.) What an eco-friendly way to adore the natural views!
Ok, I did manage to take one quick picture (there was a queue! *cry*)
We then headed off to Manarola. Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy much in Manarola. First, the lunch we had wasn’t that good (Ok, I am a LITTLE BIT picky) and I thought I had seen enough in Riomaggiore. But I know some of you may fancy a glass of wine, or go hiking in Manarola. So I am going to share another blog I found telling you the best 7 things you can do in Manarola! (Here: The Wanderlost Way – 7 THINGS TO DO IN MANAROLA) She mentioned a lot about visiting Manarola! Check her blog if you are interested!
We did have a short walk along the seafront trail to take some photos. But that was it because energy must be saved for the next village!
As long as you see the crazy steep steps, you know you are in the right place. Corniglia is the only village in Cinque Terre that is up on the hill and no direct access to the sea. We ‘climbed’ up those stairs to the town located at the top. I forgot how much time it took but I could still feel the crazy heat when we were walking up those steps…
It was tough, yet whoever went to Corniglia would tell you it is worth. Look at the view! The breeze from the ocean just instantly cools you down in a second. What a secret stunning village among Cinque Terre.
Corniglia is a small village. It’s simply perfect for having a cup of juice or tea or some ice-cream after a long day. Villagers were rather chilled and relaxed compared to the others. I reckon it’s because of the quietness of Corniglia, few tourists, so they can still manage to enjoy their village lives there.
The last village before we got back to Monterosso. Vernazza is the ideal place to see the nightfall. The tiny pier was packed with many people wanting to enjoy the last bit of sunshine. We settled there and jumped into the sea water immediately to shake off the sweat, the heat, and the tiredness from the long day.
It was a rather short trip to Italy, but please if you have a holiday, even just a few days off, make your trip to Cinque Terre. Beautiful views you can never find in other places.
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