After having spent few days each in Rome and Florence, We arrived in Cinque Terre. It involved catching a number of connecting trains which took few hours, but it was all worth it. To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into before I had arrived. All I was expecting was to see the picturesque view of Manarola in person, eat lots of seafood and relax with hubby whilst enjoying the small coastal towns. But, It was so much more than what I had expected and in fact, I think it was probably one of the highlights of our trip.
Cinque Terre consists of small little coastal towns called Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore and the this portion of Italian Riviera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We decided to stay in Manarola and actually ended up making a last-minute change to our accommodation to stay in one of those famous colourful houses (seen below) in the coastline to enjoy the view.
Our accommodation was booked through arbaspaa
The five little towns are connected by rail, walking trails and ferries. We have hopped on ferry rides and the trains to commute between places. However, I would highly recommend walking between the towns.
- day 1
- Arrive to Cinque Terre as early as possible. We cruised along the little street of Manarola, checked out Nessun Dorma and hopped onto a ferry to Vernazza.
- Spent some time in Vernazza by the water, enjoyed gelatos and caught the train back.
- Seafood dinner at Il Porticciolo, Manarola
- slept early for trail walk next day
- day 2
- Woke up early for the trail walk.
- Do 1 or 2 trails (we managed to get 3 done)
- Epic dinner and drinks at Restaurant Dal Billy in Manarola
My husband and I really started to appreciate Cinque Terre after we had walked on the trails, and this is why I think this should not be a day trip destination especially for an international travelers. The walking trails are very pleasant, with amazing view all along, with mixed difficulties and duration for everyone.
There are quite a number of trails in Cinque Terre, however some remain closed for maintenance. When we went, the famous “The Way of Love” trail connecting Riomaggiore to Manarola was along with few others. However, we still managed to do 3 walking trails, which was far more than I was planning to do but because it was such fun walk with incredible scenery, we simply did not want to stop.
I would say that my favourite walk was Manarola – Volastra – Corniglia. It took about 2.5 hours all up, and if you decide to walk from Manarola, you’ll have to climb up ~1200 steps. On the other hand, you get to enjoy the panoramic view of the Manarola!
We also walked from Corniglia to Vernazza (~2 hours walk) and Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare (1.5-2 hours, you get to see a panoramic view of Vernazza shown below).
Expect to eat delicious seafood dishes in Cinque Terre. One of the restaurants that we went to that we highly recommend would be Trattoria Dal Billy in Manarola. Not only we had some amazing fresh and delicious seafood dinner there, the liquors (limoncello, Grappa and others that I can no longer remember) were on the house and we ended up having a little party of our own with other people sitting next to us.
Another cafe/restaurant that I loved was Nessun Dorma in Manarola. It is located on a cliff facing the infamous view of Manarola (as shown below). This is a great location to enjoy a Aperol Splitz or two, whilst enjoying the sunset view. The places have limited seating and it fills up quite quickly especially before the sunset so I would get there bit early.
We had fantastic ranges of fresh seafood along with coffee, focaccia and gelato (mutiple times a day).
I found Cinque Terre a very romatic place with action packed activities and amazing food. Give yourself at least 2 full day for Cinque Terre and do the walking trails! I hope to be back again one day.
If I have missed out something, let me know – I need a good excuse to re-visit Cinque Terre!