As I mentioned in our Florence blog post, we were lucky enough to take a day trip with Ciao Florence to Cinque Terre! The name Cinque Terre translates to Five Lands, which is fitting, since 5 seaside villages are nestled into the cliffs along the Mediterranean.
We were able to visit 4/5 Cinque Terre towns with our tour. All of these places have a population of about 1,000 people (or less). Even though their main source of income is tourism now, the towns continue to fish and produce wine and olive oil as well.
We started our tour bright and early at 7am to drive to the region Liguria (about 2.5 hours). After climbing some hills along the water, we finally had to stop. The bus could not take us any further and the rest we did by foot! We were in the town of Manarola. After 15 minutes of winding through small, quiet streets, we finally arrived at the shore. We had an hour to explore the small town, so we set off, up a hiking trail, along the cliff in order to take in the beautiful views.
After spending most of our time snapping photos, gawking at the incredible views and climbing rocks (that was mostly Mark)….it was time to move on to the next town. We traveled by train with our tour group (under the rocky cliffs) to Riomaggiore. This was one of my favorite towns we visited. The colors here are so bright & vibrant in contrast to the blue water!
A few years ago, you were able to walk along a path called Via dell’Amore to get from Manarola to Riomaggiore, but now you can only get there by train since a storm caused damage to the cliff walk. After soaking up some sun, we were headed off to Monterosso al Mare, where we had plans to eat lunch with our tour group.
We were all seated in an outdoor area on the beach, where we had a seafood salad, followed by homemade pasta and pesto. We were able to enjoy some house white wine, as well as a lemon sorbet for dessert! It was worth the extra 10 euros we paid on our tour, and meant less hassle for us when trying to choose a restaurant!
Monterosso al Mare is divided into the new town and old town by one tunnel under the cliffs. It is worth exploring the old town for a little while, but the best beach in Monterosso is in the new town. (Be aware that the beaches there are rocky, and not sandy!) After we walked around the old part, we decided to come back and enjoy the view with a nice drink! We ended up getting something called a “Drunk Ass Bucket” from a seaside bar. Ours was essentially a large strawberry daiquiri in a bucket, but you can also get them in different flavors, such as piña colada. It was so delicious on such a hot day, and we all had fun sharing the bucket!
Finally, with a little buzz from our bucket, we headed off to the last of the towns we were visiting that day: Vernazza.
We were there just in time to see the sun start to set. It cast the most beautiful light on the small village, so all we could do was relax and enjoy the view!
Cinque Terre has been considered a Unesco World Heritage since 1997 and is one of Italy’s national parks. Although at times these towns can be overrun with tourists, the magic of them never fades. We hope you enjoy our latest video blog that takes you through the enchanting streets and beaches of Cinque Terre!
Ciao bella! Amanda