GIRLS GETAWAY TO CINQUE TERRE, ITALY
Towards the end of this summer, I decided I wanted to spend my birthday in Italy. I wasn’t exactly sure where, but I knew I wanted to spend my evenings drinking white wine and eating both linguini and margarita pizza for dinner. The obvious picks were Florence and Venice, though they are beautiful, I grew tired of seeing the same photos of them. I did my research and found Cinque Terre known as five small towns.
Cinque Terre is on the western coast of Italy hidden from the rest of the world. Most tourist like to explore Cinque Terre in a day, though I don’t see how you can give Manarola or Monterosso justice in just a few hours. If you truly want to enjoy it, stay for at least 3 nights.
HOW TO GET TO CINQUE TERRE?
You can either access the towns by train or by plane. If you find yourself exploring Europe and wish to make Cinque Terre one of the stops and you’re not in Italy, I would suggest taking a plane. (book your trip with Skyscanner!) You can either pick Pisa International Airport or Genoa.
If you decide to arrive to Pisa International Airport (as I did!), you’ll have to exit the airport and head over to a shuttle train in Pisa Aeroporto (ask any concierge to lead you to it, in case you can’t find it, but it’s very noticeable). This train will drop you off at Pisa Centrale station, just be sure to purchase the ticket with the correct stop right before getting on the train. Most stations will have a swipe machine where you will have to swipe your ticket to automatically activate it.
*YOU MUST DO THIS EVERY TIME BEFORE GETTING ON A TRAIN
When you arrive to Pisa Centrale, you’ll purchase your ticket to Cinque Terre or La Spezia Centrale where you’ll hop onto a train and coast through Tuscany until you arrive to La Spezia. In La Spezia Centrale you’ll hop onto another train called Cinque Terre Express, which runs through all stations in the five towns. I stayed in Riomaggiore, so I knew my stop was the first one. The cost to all these trains will not be more than $20 American dollars.
ARRIVING TO CINQUE TERRE
There are 3-ways you can cruise through these remarkable towns: by bus, by boat, by foot (I DO NOT RECOMMEND!), or by train.
I think the most efficient way to enjoy these towns is through the use of Cinque Terre Express. It’s cost effective and easier to get around. We bought the Cinque Terre Card, which gave us access to The National Park, coastal hiking trails, some guided tours (though we did not use it! We had our own tour!), Free Wifi, and a train pass between towns. The price will depend on how many days you will be needing it for. Still, cost effective.
ONCE YOU ARRIVE TO CINQUE TERRE
Be prepared to walk.
There is no taxi willing to take your luggage to the hotel, you will have to carry this on your own. Travel light!!
There’s always folks everywhere.
WHERE TO STAY
There’s no reason why you need to go from one hotel to the next within the towns. Staying in one while enjoying all the towns is good enough. They are so close to each other that you’ll have plenty of time to see them all without having to break bank in hotels.
I stayed at this lovely apartment. It’s a family own building turned into different apartments. The owners reside on a different floor and will always be there in case you need them, though I never crossed path with anyone. I felt as though it was home for me. I had all the accommodations that I could have dreamt of. On our last day, they allowed us to leave our belongings safely in their office, while we continued to explore the towns until it was time for our departure.
Before listing a few of the places that caught my eye, I just want to let you know that I highly recommend going with the flow. I’m all about having a guide, but when it comes to Cinque Terre, everything you see is memorable and worthy. Try to sightsee the town on your own, but do keep some of these places in mind to capture.
The Via dell’Amore, the parish church of S. Giovanni Battista, and of course the gorgeous boat deck that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea (by far one of the most photographed locations). We ate right by the water at Osteria Della Corte.
The bell tower, the fortress, the bulwark, the gorgeous Marina (there’s no beach, but you can hangout by the rocks as most people do, it’s so much fun!) and of course the parish church of S. Lorenzo. One of my favorite restaurants is Nessun Dorma, though they don’t serve entries, you can sip on some wine while enjoying the view with some tapas (smaller portions).
I renamed Corniglia the most vegan place out of all 5 towns. The food was by far the most delicious in this small little town (yep, the smallest of all 3). Though it takes a while to get to it (about a million steps going up) it’s by far my favorite. We dined at this little place called Enoteca Il Pirun, where they prohibit the use of ANY electronics, and to be honest, it was refreshing. The aesthetics of the location was dreamy and very garden like. However, there are no beaches or marinas anywhere, but there are tons and tons of views everywhere.
The most fun of all during the day time for sure. You need to make a stop here for two things: Wine tasting in Belforte Restaurant and boat tours in Piazza Marconi.
MONTEROSSO AL MARE
Life is so simple when there’s a beach to enjoy. Monterosso is one of the most colorful paradise you’ll ever encounter. Sure, you can visit the church of S. Giovanni Battista and visit Giant, but this lovely was made for you to eat all the gelatos in a sunny beach facing the Mediterranean Sea.
If you enjoyed this trip to Italy, I’ve also visited Rome, and oh how much fun that was.