We visited Cinque Terre in July, and although it was sweltering hot, it was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. We’ve never been to a place more beautiful. There are truly no words to explain the feeling in your heart when you are here, but we will give it our best try.
Cinque Terre translates into Five Lands– five of the most colorful, charming and picturesque towns on the planet, perched along the rugged cliffside of the Italian Riviera. The coastline, villages, and surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In each of the towns you will find a rainbow of terraces, meandering hillside streets, the juiciest fruits, wine to die for, dozens of fishing boats, joyful accordion playing Italian men, mountains covered in beautiful vineyards and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Convinced yet?
Here’s a bit of information about the uniqueness of the 5 villages that we hiked and explored: Note: there are trains and ferries if you are not up for the full-day rigorous hike.
Monterosso, the village where we stayed was truly magnificent. The rocky seaside of Monterosso leads you through to the quaint town. The beaches are lovely, but quite pebbly. Monterosso also has the most restaurants, cafes, shops and nightlife of all of the towns which is why I chose to stay here. If you are traveling with children or teens, this should be your first choice.
Fresh Lemonade and Lemoncello
My absolute favorite village was Vernazza. It was the gem of Cinque Terre in my opinion. Brooke differs and will offer her perspective in a bit. We were staying in Monterosso and Vernazza was the first village that came into site from our cliffside hike. As we approached Vernazza, I could have stood there for eternity just staring. I will retire here someday without a doubt in my mind.
A Hiker’s Dream
Corniglia, the next village sits 100 meters high above the sea and we honestly couldn’t endure the amount of steps in the mid July heat to appreciate the beauty Corniglia offers. By the time we climbed to the top, we just enjoyed the respite of the nearest shady bench. We hope to give Corniglia the attention she deserves on our return visit.
The next village, Manarola was definitely the favorite for my kids. Manarola is made for swimming daredevils. Cliff jumping was the highlight of their day. The jagged cliff juts right out into a little harbor and it was definitely a happening spot. I was absolutely terrified but tried my best to disguise my motherly fear.
The final village, which is actually the first village from La Spezia, is Riomaggore. There are plenty of restaurants and boutiques. You must visit Vertical Bar for an amazing cocktail! My teacher colleagues son-in-law owns it and it was voted one of the top bars in Italy by Tripadvisor.
Overall, amazing cuisine (see another post for restaurants and hotel stay), breathtaking views, thrilling adventures, simply a beautiful culture and experience.