Only a few of you have probably heard of Cinque Terre because as compared to Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, and even the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre is relatively unpopular to most of you. But believe me or not, Cinque Terre, for me, is one of the top places to go to #WhenInItaly . Photos from Instagram: @JOHANAGUILAR
Cinque Terre, means 5 islands in Italian. Located in Northern Italy close to the city of La Spezia, it’s a popular tourist destination especially during the summer and spring seasons, where tourists flock to the islands to sunbathe and swim along the beaches. But unlike the very popular Amalfi coast in Southern Italy and Venice to the North, Cinque Terre isn’t as visited by tourists who are in a rush or are just visiting the main tourist sites in Italy. Its location is pretty much isolated, making it very hard for guided tours to fit in the itinerary. In my last visit to Italy in 2014, I wasn’t also able to visit this hidden gem because I never knew such a place existed and it was out of the way. But after visiting Rome, Florence, and Venice in 2014, which are undoubtedly Italy’s three most visited places, I researched and found pictures of Cinque Terre online, and immediately made it a point to include this on my bucketlist – and, oh boy, it didn’t Cheap Jerseys disappoint!
Cinque Terre is divided into 5 Islands namely: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. A lot of people mistakenly think that Cinque Terre is only one place, but it’s actually 5 different islands which can be visited separately by the La Spezia train. Especially during the colder months, which makes it impossible to swim and sunbathe, Cinque Terre can actually visited on a day trip if planned well. Once you arrive in La Spezia train station, simply buy the Cinque Terre Card which gives you unlimited train rides along the La Spezia line making it possible to hop on and hop off the train and visiting all 5 islands. Although, it might be a little tiring to fit all the islands in one day, it’s also possible to just visit 3 or 4 islands and enjoy the small island towns. I suggest making sure to visit Riomaggiore, Manarola, and Vernazza, which are the most picturesque among the 5. Monterosso also has a nice beach front, but during winter most of the restaurants are closed, so this island can be visited if time permits. wholesale nfl jersyes Corniglia, on the other hand, is the least accessible since in order to get to the town proper, you must still take a bus from the train station. During our trip, we decided to leave out Corniglia due to time constraints.
Riomaggiore. Riomaggiore is the first stop among the islands. It has one of the most picturesque beach fronts with all the colourful houses perched on top of a hill and the dock below. A good view of the town would be to walk all the way out pass the shore and towards the pathway that leads to the mountain side. By going down to the rocks below, you’ll be greeted by the poster-card worthy view of Riomaggiore. The sun sets on the opposite side, so the town is actually well lit up during sunset, making it a perfect place to spend the last few hours of the day. There are also restaurants and a couple of bars in the town, so even after the sun has set, it would also be cool to spend a few hours just sipping a limoncello or hanging out in one of the small restaurants in town.
Manarola. Manarola is the second stop of the La Spezia line. This town shouldn’t be missed. For me, it offers, the best views of any of the Cinque Terre Islands. After getting out of the train station, walk towards the pathway that leads to the mountain. Enjoy the path that almost merges with the sea, and on the way up the mountain side, you’ll see the town of Manarola, perched on top of another mountain with nothing but the sea as your backdrop. Take countless pictures and climb up to Nessun Dorma, to get the best views. On a clear day, you can spend hours here just sitting on the benches and looking out towards the sea. The view is absolutely breathtaking. There are also restaurants in Manarola, where you can buy bread and pastries or have a quick lunch during the day trip.
Vernazza. Vernazza is the fourth stop of the La Spezia Line. This town offers a different kind of view as it has one of the best bays in my opinion and according to the Vernazza destination travel guide. A lot of small boats are docked along the harbour that’s why make sure to walk all the way out to the ocean along the rocks to get the best vantage point of the town. Snap pictures of Vernazza in the background and the colourful fishing boats in front. On the opposite end, the view of the sea is as amazing as well. You can even see Monterosso from a distance. There are also many bakeries and pastry shops that sell Italian sandwiches and pizza. Admire the small streets and houses on the way to the harbour.
Monterosso. Monterosso is actually the last island stop along the La Spezia line. This town actually has the longest and best beach front among the islands. It’s a good place to just relax along the shore and daydream of paradise. Lined up along the shore are restaurants and establishments. During the peak season, it might be good to have lunch here. This town is the only town that really has a natural shoreline, which makes it worth the visit. Although, it doesn’t have colourful houses perched on the mountain side, Monterosso has its own unique identity that’s worth your time.
- Trains to and from Monterosso are usually in 1 hour time intervals during the off-season and 30 minute intervals during peak season, so it’s important to be aware what time the next train will arrive so you’ll be able to maximize your stay in each island.
- Visiting Cinque Terre on an off-season, we decided to spend an hour (1) in Monteresso and Vernazza, and two (2) hours in Manarola and Riomaggiore, which are personally both my favourite. It would also be a good idea to start with Monterosso first as your first stop, then slowly make your way back as the day goes by. Here’s the timetable of the La Spezia line, which you can use as guide in planning your visit.
- Make sure to spend sunset in either Manarola or Riomaggiore, which offer the best sunset views during the golden hour. In Cinque Terre, weather is critical, so make sure to check the weather forecast first before heading out on your day trip. A clear sunny day would be perfect for the trip since it’s located near the sea and your pictures will stand out when the sun is out. The colourful houses will look gloomy on a cloudy day, so best is to pray for good weather and avoid rainy, cloudy days. During the peak season, it will also be advisable to spend around 3-4 days Cinque Terre.
- Take a swim and take pictures of the towns from the water. You can also hike the countless hiking trails in between islands. You can even use the trail and hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola and back! Since most establishments are open, spend time to relax and chill while enjoying the picturesque views.
All photos taken using FujiXE-2. Til my next post! 🙂