I’m going to do my best to keep this a photo blog and not a travel blog but Cinque Terre is a place that I’ve known about for a decade and have always been curious about and felt that my travel preparation was a little more difficult than most trips, so hopefully this post can provide some helpful information to those seeking to travel there. Before traveling, I usually try to book somewhat central, find out what are the must-see attractions and collect as many personal recommendations I can for food, culture and nightlife - Cinque Terre is completely different.
We stayed in Vernazza, the 4th most northern (of 5) towns and it was a great choice. It was one of the more picturesque villages and had easy access to the trails to the most northern, Monterosso, and on the south, Cornelia. You could walk the whole central village in 5 minutes but had just enough restaurants to keep us entertained when we were rained out for a day.
Cinque Terre isn’t really built on sights - it IS a sight. Five cliffside/coastal towns dotting the Mediterranean that can be traveled between via hiking paths, trains or a ferry. We hiked between the towns, mostly because there wasn’t much else to do besides eat and drink in these towns, and it provided spectacular views of the hillside vineyards, the towns and the sea.
It seems that the secret to Cinque Terre has been long exposed and the towns are flooded with tourists, which is evident in both foot traffic and in prices.
There were certainly spots that were more affordable, notably in Monterosso where we had a great wine tasting full hearty snacks.
My favorite towns were Manarola and Riomaggiore which were the southern most towns, and connected by the shortest hike.
Pesto reigns king in Cinque Terre and it’s even put on pizza, which is served in rectangular slices along focaccia.
There’s also an abundance of delicious, fresh anchovies that are prepared in a multitude of ways - including pasta.
This had been my third trip to Italy and something I’ve always been fascinated by is the color of their yellow sodium street lights. There’s a great New York Times article about the antiquity of these lights. They may all be replaced by LEDs at some point and this town, and the world, will look like a different place so it’s great to appreciate them while we can.