Our summer was really full of adventures — from catching one flight to another, more train rides, bus rides and non-stop walking. When we arrived in our city from our trip to Stuttgart, Germany, we only stopped by at home to pick our luggages and went out to catch our train to Cinque Terre. Smart tip: if you have 2 or more luggages and you will be travelling to places, pack your things ahead of time so you wouldn’t have to worry about packing, you just have to change luggages and go.
I have always wanted to visit the Cinque Terre since I got to Italy about 6 years ago, and finally I had the opportunity to visit one of Italy’s Pinterest-worthy towns. The word Cinque Terre means “Five Lands” in Italian.
We took a train from Bologna (our city) going to La Spezia — an important port city near Cinque Terre — because we booked our accommodation there since it’s much cheaper than staying in the ‘proper’ Cinque Terre village. We stayed at Affitacamera A Posada, located near the center of La Spezia. The place is near the station, restaurants, and supermarket; it’s very convenient.
TO GET THERE:
We bought a CINQUE TERRE CARD to get to each village. There are 2 versions of the card: Cinque Terre Card Train or Cinque Terre Card Trekking. In our case, we got the 2-day Cinque Terre Card train for €29 – it includes unlimited train travel on the Cinque Terre line between Levanto and La Spezia. Check out the prices here.
You can also try to get to each villages by ferry. Check out here.
WHEN TO TRAVEL:
I think the best time to visit Cinque Terre is during the Spring season (April-May) or during the Autumn season (September-October) when there are less tourists, and when it’s not too cold nor too hot.
We visited during the summer season and I burnt my skin because it’s too hot, plus it’s crowded. People are scattered everywhere and it’s hard to take photos.
HOW TO GET AROUND CINQUE TERRE:
We only spent 2 days in the Cinque Terre, so we tried to visit all the cities in two days. At first, I thought it wasn’t possible, but it was! We made it possible. Usually, people visit Riomaggiore and Manarola first, but we decided to start in the middle and visit the highest village first. Here’s our itinerary:
1st day: CORNIGLIA, VERNAZZA and MONTEROSSO
2nd day: MANAROLA and RIOMAGGIORE
Let’s talk about one village at a time.
Corniglia is the “quiet” village of the Cinque Terre, located in the middle of the five towns; the only settlement with no direct sea access. You can climb all the way up by taking the 380-step stairs, or you can take the bus going up to the center of Corniglia (included in the Cinque Terre Card).
First and foremost, we visited the Parish Church of St. Peter to thank God for blessing us with this trip, and ask for guidance throughout our adventure. Afterwards, we went to the breathtaking panoramic view of Corniglia. Wow, God’s creation is just so amazing.
Vernazza is the most picturesque village of Cinque Terre; it has a port that is surrounded by colourful houses and a charming piazza. First, we climbed up to see the view from above. It was so beautiful.
Since I want to go see the tower Belforte Tower and Castle A. Doria (even if my brother and my boyfie didn’t want to), we climbed all the way to the other side. There’s an entrance fee of €1,50 (not included in the Cinque Terre Card), but the view’s worth it.
When we went down, we visited the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch.
There are two sides of Monterosso, the beach side and the town proper.
Monterosso is the only village that has a proper strip of a lovely and pebble beach; the biggest village in the Cinque Terre. We spent most of our time at the beach. To be honest, it was so hard to find a place to stay during summer season because it’s bombarded by people lying under the sun. We wanted to rent a beach bed with an umbrella, but we didn’t find any. The only choice that we had rented an umbrella and set it on the sand. I am a beach person so anything will do.
After we enjoyed the waves, we grabbed a box of fried seafoods at Il Bocconcino – the famous street food place at Monterosso al Mare. I swear it’s the best! It’s just across the beach, near the station. You must try it if ever you’ll visit the Cinque Terre.
We also visited the town proper, just a quick glimpse. We didn’t roam around the city because we’d like to catch our train back to La Spezia.
Our second day was lighter than the first day, since we only visited two villages. We started our first day in Manarola.
Manarola is one of the most scenic villages of the Cinque Terre with its enchanting pastel houses and a steep hill overlooking a spectacular turquoise cove. This village is my personal favorite. It’s like I was looking at the postcard. Manarola really got my heart.
Roaming around could be tiring, so we grabbed some gelato while we appreciate Manarola’s beauty.
Our last stop was Riomaggiore, a charming village known for its multi-colored stone houses all tightly clustered around a tiny natural harbour carved out in between the rocks.
To get that “grammable” shot, I convinced my boyfie to climb the rocks where we can see the whole Riomaggiore. He was a bit pissed, but it’s worth it though! Haha.
After lunch, since still have a lot of time, we decided to ride a bus going to the top of Riomaggiore (included in the Cinque Terre Card). It was not our intention to visit anywhere or anything, we just want to enjoy the ride and the view. The view was breathtaking and refreshing that we all fell asleep (lol, forgive us, we were tired). It was about an hour of a ride, and it was good.
It was a tiring but an amazing quick trip to Cinque Terre. Finally ticked this off my bucket list. Definitely one for the books! Just a tip, always bring water to keep you hydrated, wear comfortable clothing especially comfortable shoes, and if you are visiting during the summer season, don’t forget to put some sunscreen. Lastly, enjoy the moment and the beautiful view.