Back at it today with another travel guide photo journal thing on Cinque Terre. You know when you see pictures of a place and you're like 'that doesn't even look real, it's far too magical.' Well, that's basically Cinque Terre in a nutshell. It's. The dreamiest.
Fun little backstory: the night before we drove to Cinque Terre I drank way too much red wine in Florence and was so sick the whole drive. I couldn't even get out to see the Tower of Pisa, but just looked at it through bleary eyes as we drove right past it. So I didn't get my bonus half day and night in Cinque Terre because my hungover A went to bed. But I made up for it the next day with a full day exploring the five lands -- the 'cinque terre' -- that make up this beautiful region of the Italian coast.
Days/nights: Two nights, three days
Hotel: My One Hotel La Spezia (Grade: B)
Travel: Train to the five coastal towns, though you can hike it if you're the motivated type
Towns we visited: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza. The train stops at all five towns.
Restaurants: Pretty sure I found and ate McDonald's in the train station after my hangover disaster the day before. Otherwise, each town has darling restaurants and cafés you can pop into; I don't remember which ones we went to. But I do remember the lemony seafood pasta wafting out of the restaurant overlooking the water in Vernazza -- you can see it in the last few photos. That, with a cool glass of white wine...perfetto!
Stay Inland To Save Money: Save money by staying on the mainland and taking the train or hiking to the cinque terre. We stayed in the nearby town of La Spezia to cut our hotel costs. As in Venice, hotel prices on tiny coastal towns/islands get really high. With such easy access to transportation to the train we saved money by staying inland. 2)
What To Pack: What you'll need or wear depends on how you want to see the Cinque Terre. If you take the train: Wear loose clothing, like a breezy sundress or linen separates, and a sun hat. Flat sandals will be fine. Carry a roomy tote bag to bring a swimsuit, sunscreen, and a towel -- trust me, you'll want to dive into the cool water! If you hike: Don't dress for fashion, dress for function. Wear hiking boots, a hat, sunblock, and loose, water-wicking clothing. Bring a small daypack you can stock with water, a trail guide, a change of clothes, and your swimwear. Read this guide on tips for successfully hiking Cinque Terre.
I loved admiring these stairs, but I was happy not to have to climb them. So intense!
The above photo and several below were taken in Manarola.
Giving Rainbow Row a run for its money. Every town was so full of vibrant color, from the architecture to the water to the decor.
Writing a postcard to send to my parents!
One of my favorite moments of the entire trip to Italy. The water felt SO good and was so beautifully blue and clear.
How they built towns right on the rocks like that just blows my mind...
Part of the hiking trail extends around this rock cliff that looks at Manarola face on and out towards the sea. Mike took this short walk, I didn't...I was sunbathing on the rocks :D
The following photos were taken in Vernazza.
The various regions of Italy are so distinct from one another yet all equally beautiful and captivating. We spent so much of our time in cities on this trip, it was awesome to get a coastal feel. (Venice is a whole different ball game, there's literally nothing like it in the world.) Next time we venture over to Europe we want to tour southern Italy and see the Amalfi coast.
I still have photos of Milan and Venice to share! Hopefully tomorrow. Today I'm working on Operation: Anniversary and getting my hair done -- it is LOOOOOONG overdue!
Thanks for reading!