Cinque Terre is a beautiful place in northwest Italy that everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime. When I saw photos of it I knew I had to go! Cinque Terre is like something out of a storybook: five quaint fishing villages sitting on jagged cliffs, the warm sun above you and clear turquoise waters below. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the Mediterranean breeze in my hair and the smell of lemon trees…
Cinque Terre literally means five lands and each village is worth seeing because of its own charm. Marc and I stayed at a nearby town called La Spezia since it’s very easy to explore Cinque Terre by train. Each village has its own train station, three to five minutes apart. There are also hiking trails connecting the villages if you feel like working off that gelato! 😉
From La Spezia, Riomaggiore is the first village you will see and the most unique in my opinion. The houses are the most colourful – so if you’re into photography, you won’t be able to put down your camera! For photo op, Marc and I climbed over a series of boulders to capture the sparkling waters. Be sure to wear proper shoes to avoid slipping on the wet rocks – Marc laughed at me a lot! Sunset is also magnificent here. I recommend grabbing a bottle of wine and some focaccia beforehand.
Manarola is the one with the most dramatic cliffs. This is where many of the ‘classic’ Cinque Terre photos are taken. From Riomaggiore, you can hike the Via dell’Amore to get to Manarola, also known as the Way of Love. When I go back to Cinque Terre I’ll be sure to do this trail since it was closed when we visited.
Sitting high above the water, Corniglia is the only one that requires what seems like an endless set of switchback stairs from the train station into town – Ok, it’s actually a total of 365 steps, but felt endless under the sun…Can you spot the people eating ice cream as they climbed the stairs? (No, it’s not Marc this time!)
It’s the only village with a proper harbour. There is a main square leading to a protected bay. Even though there’s no real beach, you can still sunbathe on top of the rocks. The small alleys of this village are also very pretty.
You will find a good number of sun worshippers and colourful umbrellas here. It’s the only village with a proper sandy beach and also the flattest village of them all. I personally found it too resort-like (I much prefer the dramatic cliffs 😉 ), but I did enjoy our seaside promenade.
I was sad to leave the sunny Italian riviera…but I’ll be back 🙂
Thanks for reading et à la prochaine! Venice post coming soon…