They say the hardest paths often lead to the most beautiful destinations. Well in our case, setting foot at Cinque Terre was no cake-walk. But once we got there, the gruesomely long train ride (I think a separate post is due to my sheer hatred towards Italian rails) seemed absolutely worth it. I think it’s safe to say that it’s going to be a while before we get to feast our eyes on a view as magnificent as Manarola, one of the most remarkable villages of Cinque Terre and the withdrawals of leaving that town is still immensely strong. But I’m using this post as an excuse to reminiscence on what most definitely was the most magical day of our time in Italy.
Not going to lie, getting to the villages of this Italian Riviera is not easy, but once you’re there trust us – it’s going to be SO worth it. We would suggest renting a car rather than relying on Italian trains. But if you do prefer a train ride, we strongly recommend booking your train tickets weeks in advance – you save time and money. We were heading to Cinque Terre from Milan which is why the journey was a bit longer, but we suggest setting out from Florence (it’s much faster).
How much time is needed at Cinque Terre?
Staying at the Cinque Terre is very expensive and honestly not worth it since a majority of the accommodations are tiny and don’t face the beaches. We would recommend staying at La Spezia (just a 7-minute commute to the village), or even Genoa, Pisa or Florence. It’s much cheaper and the commute isn’t horrid either. Also, the best part about Cinque Terre is its train line that connects all five villages that are at close proximity to each other, making it easier to visit as many villages as you like in just one day.
A day in Cinque Terre:
So as mentioned earlier, we took a train from Milan and reached Monterosso, after which we immediately caught a train to Manarola – the village that has been on my bucket list for the longest time and immediately rushed to Nessun Dorma – a food blogger’s fairytale restaurant (not going to lie, we cried a little). It may be the second smallest village of the five, but a short uphill hike will present you with the most charming, romantic and picturesque sight straight out of a painting.
Lunch with a view:
Nessun Dorma isn’t your typical Italian restaurant. They do not offer pizza or pasta, but rather serve hearty portions of delicious bruschetta, meat and cheese platters to go with a glass of sangria at very reasonable prices. The service was splendid, however, they do not take reservations, so expect a half hour wait (at least) since everyone knows you can’t go to Manarola and not go to Nessun Dorma. If you’re worried about the wait – don’t. With that view, even a one hour wait seems bearable.
After what seemed to be one of the best lunches we’ve had in a VERY long time, we decided to visit another village, Vernazza, and hike away our lunch calories. What we absolutely love about Cinque Terre is the fact that no two villages look similar, and are beautiful in their own way. A short 30-minute hike up the mountain led us to this gorgeous view of the Vernazza village that left us awestruck. We also decided to climb up the Belforte Tower – a castle that was built in the XI century for protection of the village and surveillance of the entire coast.
In conclusion, if you do want to spend a few days at Cinque Terre, you are welcome to do so and we can guarantee you – it will be worth every minute. But if you are on a super tight budget or short of time, and have only got a day to spend, then that’s completely plausible too.
Would we go back to Cinque Terre? Heck yeah! What about you? Has this tiny little cluster of picturesque villages made it to your bucket list of 2018?