WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
– Cinque Terre is translated to five lands, or five cities. This describes it perfectly because it is actually made up of five different towns.
– Cinque Terre is located on the gorgeous Italian Riviera Coastline with sweeping views of the towns and ocean.
– Cinque Terre uses the euro. A lot of places took card there, but I would also bring cash just in case.
– You will do A LOT of walking in Cinque Terre and most of the time, it is NOT a flat, easy stroll.
– If there is a star/asterisk next to a dish, DON’T TRY IT – that means that it is frozen, not fresh.
– Our day in Cinque Terre was filled with a lot of hiking, so technically, I would say this is a Cinque Terre Hiking Travel Guide, not just a normal city travel guide.
WHERE TO EAT:
What I tried:
- Trattoria dal Billy – This place is fish heaven.
- Some other place, but I cannot find it for the life of me.
On my list:
- Ristorante Miky
- Nessun Dorma
WHAT TO DO:
– HIKE! These were some of the hardest hikes I have ever done, but the views are SOOOO worth it. Just think – when you are finished hiking, you get to try lots of yummy seafood and bread!
– Eat! Some of the specialties in Cinque Terre are pesto (and I highly recommend it), Seafood, Foccacia, and although this falls under seafood, anchovies, as well! Don’t forget to try some lemoncino while you are there too! One of my favorite dishes that I tried was a foccacia bread with olives and foccacia bread with anchovies. AMAZING.
– Go to the beach, but wear water shoes! The beaches are NOT like American beaches – you need tough feet, or some type of water shoe because they are filled with rocks and it HURTS! I would say that I have tough feet, but I was definitely in pain while on the beach. We were only there for about 10 minutes because of this.
– Chill. The great thing about all five towns in Cinque Terre is that it is just soooo relaxing (other than the intense hills), so sit back, grab a drink and relax!
OUR CINQUE TERRE ITINERARY:
We did a day trip from Florence, so unfortunately, I cannot recommend any hotels. One day, we will go back and I will have a hotel or two to review for you, but until then, here is what we did:
Our trip was a (mostly) hiking and culinary trip. We left Florence EARLY and took a train to La Spezia. MAKE SURE YOU GET ON THE REGIONALE TRAIN WHEN SWITCHING TRAINS!!!!!!! From La Spezia, we got on a train that took us straight to Riomaggiore. This is where we started our hike. We hiked from Riomaggiore to Manarola. THIS IS A HARD HIKE Y’ALL! We took a break for lunch, took the city train to Vernazza and we stopped for some lemoncino and tiramisu while we were there. Then, we hiked to Monterosso and ended our hike with the beach, some snacks, drinks, and finally gelato before heading home to Florence. Below, I will write out my recommended hiking itinerary for ONE day so that you all have it. 🙂
One important thing I want to point out, though. If you are doing a day trip, DO NOT take the last train home. Let me emphasize: DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT take the last train home. We ended up getting majorly delayed and were under a lot of stress. We missed our connection, we had to take a super sketchy and long bus ride from Pisa back to Florence (keep in mind that this was in the middle of the night/early morning hours) and it was just a nightmare. DO NOT TAKE THE LAST TRAIN HOME!!!!!!!!
One Day in Cinque Terre: Hiking Itinerary:
- Start out in Riomaggiore. After exploring, take the red trail up and head towards Manarola. Please keep in mind that this will be a hard hike, so be prepared and take a lot of water with you.
- Once you are in Manarola, stop and have lunch at Trattoria Dal Billy. Also, find a place to cool off and take a dip in the glowing ocean. Your body will love you for this! Before making your way to the next town, grab a drink at Nessun Dorma. Gorgeous views!!
- Take the TRAIN to Vernazza. Vernazza is such a cute little city with a lot of shopping and small restaurants – perfect to relax in! There is also a small area to get in the water, which I recommend if you still want to take a dip before your hike! We stopped in this town for lemoncino and tiramisu as we made our way to the next trail.
- So, technically, you are taking the BLU trail to get to Monterrosso Al Mare, but you will see signs for the red trail. Don’t let that throw you off. The blu trail is supposed to be “easy,” but it’s not. Don’t let people fool you. It was easier than the trail to Manarola, but still very intense with a lot of hills.
- When you are in Monterrosso Al Mare, head to the beach, grab a drink and some snacks, and just take it easy! Monterrosso is definitely the definition of a relaxed beach town, so soak it all in!