After the Rome leg of the trip, we proceeded to one of the most beautiful places I have seen till date; Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre is part of the northwest Italian coast and is a UNESCO World heritage site. It comprises of five colourful villages; Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Each village is connected by picturesque hiking trails and quick trains.
There are no direct trains to any of the five villages from Rome, you will have to take one up to La Spezia; which in turn is well connected to all the five villages. From La Spezia we took a train to Monterosso Al Mare as that’s the village we were staying at. The main reason I picked Monterosso was because it is the only village with an extensive beach and is larger than the other four villages, so we had more choices to pick our accommodation from and also the idea of having the option to swim in the sea seemed nice.
We had picked a cute little airbnb close to Fegina beach for two nights while it was walking distance from the station but with suitcases that heavy it was quite the task to reach. Later our host mentioned that he could have arranged for a pick up from the station had we asked, so we did take up this option for our drop off and trust me it was a blessing.
We reached only around 1.30 pm and after checking in, the first thing we did was grab a bite at a cute cafe nearby as we were famished. Lunch consisted of a variety of flatbreads and hot dogs with some beer, tea and Limoncello.
Post lunch we decided to head to the beach and see if we could get a swim in. The weather was quite chilly, about 15 degrees approximately and what I also didn’t account for was how coarse the sea bed would be, so eventually we couldn’t swim because the gravel kept hurting our feet and it was kind of cold too. However we spent some time wading in the sea, climbing the rocks for a photo op and just relaxed on the sun beds.
Since Rome had been a bit hectic with all the sight seeing, the two days at Cinque Terre were planned to be more relaxed. We walked around the village for a bit and hit the grocery store for some supplies as we had decided to cook dinner at the apartment that night. We also grabbed some beer and wine to go with our home cooked meal. We enjoyed the slight chill in the air as from the balcony of our apartment as we sipped on some Birra Moretti, which btw was my go to beer in Italy.
We started the day by grabbing some breakfast with a view at a little cafe overlooking the beach. The meal was fairly simple, some stuffed breads and fresh juices, but the ambience made it so much more special.
Today was dedicated to exploring the remaining four villages by mixing up train travel with a little bit of hiking. It was peak season and also a weekend so tourists were flocking in by the dozen; we didn’t want to waste any time standing in queues at every station just to buy tickets, so we each bought a train pass for the day that cost us around 16 Euros each. Yes it was definitely a bit pricey but worth it if you want to avoid queues and want to get around quickly.
Our first stop was Riomaggiore; a 13th century village known for it’s picturesque landscape and ofcourse like most places in Italy; its wine. All we did was just walk around and take in the pure beauty of the place.
After Riomaggiore we explored Manarola which may be the oldest village in Cinque Terre. Here we also hiked a bit to take in the panoramic views of the village. Manarola is probably the most famous and the prettiest of the five villages of Cinque Terre and rightly so; I mean just take a look at these unfiltered and unedited photos of the place.
There were a lot of shops selling tasty seafood snacks and that seemed like a great idea for some lunch on the go. We picked up these cones of deep fried goodness and chased them down with some Italian beer as we walked around town.
The slight drizzle turned into rain as we made our way to the station to take the train to our next destination; Vernazza. Vernazza is the only natural port of Cinque Terre and has some beautiful houses and houses the church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia.
We missed exploring Corniglia because halfway through Vernazza the rain turned into a downpour and we had to head back to our apartment due the lack of any rain gear on us, besides we were already a bit tired from all the walking so we called it a day and boarded the train to Monterosso.
We had a quiet dinner at a restaurant by the beach in Monterosso before we turned in for the night and prepared for our next destination; Florence. Details on how to make the most of 3 days in Florence coming up in the next post.