Of all the wonderful places I have been fortunate enough to see in my 28 years, Cinque Terre is definitely one of the most breathtaking and amazing places I have been. When I told Eric that I was anxious to visit Italy, he told me the most beautiful and romantic place he has ever seen is Cinque Terre and he hoped he could take me there someday. This was nearly 6 years ago when Eric and I first started dating and I traveled to Italy with a friend after college. I didn’t make it there then so I was anxious to make it part of our sister adventure.
Cinque Terre is a place along the northwest coast of Italy inset with five small villages that are connected by train. To say Cinque Terre is beautiful is an understatement. It’s grandeur and mystique lie in the coastal towns with colorful houses overlooking the deep ocean waters and the small village roads where almost no cars drive. The delicious seafood, sunshine, sand, and slow pace of life are all part of the quiet magic of this isolated region.
We spent an entire day traveling from London to Cinque Terre via plane and trains and by the time we arrived, we were exhausted, but immediately given energy by the vibrant color and sound of town life. WE MADE IT TO ITALY! And we could just feel the shift of pace. Of our five choices, Eric recommended we stay in the village of Vernazza. And I’m so glad we did! Our AirBnB was a short walk down to the water and we found a spot at a restaurant right in the town square. To our surprise, a local band was set up to play and a full-on dance party took place as we ate our seafood risotto and sipped our 13 € bottle of wine, made right near town. After dinner, we joined in the festivities and broke out our dance moves and had a blast mixing and mingling with everyone in town.
We rose bright and early the following morning to ensure as much hiking as possible. We were due in Florence by early evening and wanted to make everything about our short stay count. Because of a recent natural disaster, 2 of the 5 villages were closed off from hikers so we were only able to experience 3: Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Vernazza is in the middle of these so we decided to hike south to Corniglia first and make our way back through Vernazza to Monterosso after. I’m glad we chose this route because it was uphill most of the way to Corniglia and I felt so out of shape. But the views were sensational.
Gorgeous, right? All along the narrow streets of the town lie small restaurants, shops, bars, and homes. We walked through town admiring the scenery and snapped a few pictures before we were ready to turn around. I love the early morning sounds of silverware clinking and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
Below is a view of the village of Vernazza. I highly recommend staying in this village if you visit because it is less crowded and a little easier to get around (especially if you’re lugging a big suitcase). Monterosso is great too and has a lot more going on, but in that same sense, it’s quite crowded.
Three happy campers indeed :)
I love this view below of Monterosso. Around the bend (or through a tunnel that you can’t quite see from here), the village continues. This is a great spot to dip in the Mediterranean after a vigorous morning hike.
We grabbed Pizza & Gelato for lunch (our daily Italian treat) and walked a bit around town to take a look at souvenir options. I bought a ceramic olive oil bottle for my kitchen and I’m still so excited about it. It was handmade by a local artist, and I have been using it every day since I’ve been home. I love flipping the bottle over and reading Made in Monterosso— a truly unique piece of art! And quite useful!
Here is a picture of us after a quick dip in the Mediterranean and on our boat ride back to Vernazza. I was (not so secretly) excited that we didn’t have to hike all the way back! Besides, who doesn’t want to experience a boat ride on the Mediterranean on a quaint Italian coast?
Cheers to one of my favorite places in the world. We had the best time and I always savor those memories of colorful towns and gorgeous coastal views.