Cinque Terre is nothing short of a place out of a storybook. With multi-coloured buildings that scatter the coastline of Italy and charming beaches, it is definitely a memorable place that you won’t soon forget – I know I didn’t!
Cinque Terre means “five lands” in English, and describes the rugged coastline made up of five villages, all right beside each other, connected by pathways and short train rides.
I had been to Cinque Terre before, specifically Monterosso al Mare the more “touristy” village of the five, however we only spent a day there the last time I had been there. This time, we had a bed and breakfast booked, and we were ready to explore all five villages.
I was super impressed by the bed and breakfast we had picked. It was only a short walk away from the train station, tucked around a corner off of the beach. It was called La Muraria, and it was a charming modern room with one of the softest beds I had ever slept on! They also left snacks and drinks in the mini fridge every night which was a bonus.
I loved the feel of being in a small Italian village right along the beautiful coastline. I’ll always pick a village or island over a big European city – there is just such a different feel for me to be in a place that is so unique and different, over another city.
The beach a mere 2 minute walk from our bed and breakfast was fantastic, but extremely crowded! A warning that if you visit Cinque Terre in high tourist season, it’s going to be hard to find a comfortable spot on the beach for the day. I suggest not buying a beach chair and an umbrella – instead make sure you bring your own beach towels, and even a small umbrella, and you can make a sunbathing area for yourself.
So, unfortunately, Justin and I became very sick in Cinque Terre. We had been in Florence right before coming here, and it was hot, almost 40C to be exact, and we would sweat all day walking around the city, and then sleep in a hotel room at night that was blasting cold AC.
Despite that, our second day in Monterosso Al Mare, we embarked on a 3KM hike to the next village, Venezza. We are seriously crazy, because it was extremely hot and we were extremely sick – but we still did it! Since Cinque Terre is considered a National Park, it cost 15 Euro to hike from village to village.
Although the hike was quite beautiful, since we climbed up and down rugged cliffs and hills, seeing the view of the ocean spread out, we were a little silly in the fact that we should have done our research a bit more. We opted out of seeing the other villages, because we felt so sick, but you could actually purchase train tickets to each village for super cheap! At this point we were about halfway, if not more, through our Europe trip, and we were feeling super rundown. So, in the moment I didn’t mind that we didn’t see the rest of the villages, but looking back I wish we did!
Venezza was filled with more colourful buildings and beautiful sites. Again, this place is really something out of a storybook. We got ice cream in this village, and a few snacks, before opting to take the train back to Monterosso Al Mare.
A major highlight of this trip was one of the restaurants we went to. We were wandering around one night when we stumbled upon a cute place called La Taverna, not far from our hotel and right near the beach (like most things in Monterosso Al Mare!). I ordered a delicious pasta dish here, spaghetti drizzled in oil and packed with tons of vegetables. It was actually my most memorable meal in Italy this time around – we went back our second night to eat dinner here too!
One of the other nice aspects of this village was being able to walk around outside, until however late we wanted, and lay on the beach on look at the stars. I really appreciated how accessible and close everything you needed was here. The food was great no matter where we went, and you could walk around everywhere in your bathing suit if you really wanted to.
Anyone looking for a unique experience in Italy should venture to Cinque Terre to explore.