7 July 2016

Suitcase. Cinque Terre, Italy - Travel Guide

Cinque Terre or 'the five lands' provides a little taste of the Riviera this side of the Italian border and was the starting point for my 4-week summer adventure. Each of the five villages has a personality all its own. They boast pastel paint jobs and lie perched on cliffs, looming over the edge of the ocean with some of the best views around.

From north to south you'll first find Monterosso. I loved it here. A quaint village boasting smiling locals, cobbled streets, narrow lanes and tight-knit homes. The beaches are lined with striped umbrellas and the window sills drip with bougainvillea.  In other words, it's spectacularly charming.

Next you'll find Vernazza. Renowned for its bay, I'm sure you've seen images of this little town before. Fishing boats bob in the water commandeered by sun-weathered locals and colour-block homes join together like lego.

Corniglia is next down the coastline. Perched the highest in the cliffs, it's like the mother overlooking the children. Tiny narrow lane ways pass by stores and cafes, leading you to the most spectacular look-out point.

Dress - a summer holiday essential

Neighbouring Manarola is postcard perfect. Particularly if you hike up to the cemetery next to the town and look back. Once you've got your snaps you can meander back down and grab a gelato [you've earned it] and watch the locals jumping off the cliffs into the sea.

Finally there's Riomaggiore. Home to a quaint little bay and possibly the most colourful homes around. Bring your hiking stick to this one. The main street sure is steep.

When it comes to Cinque Terre, no cars are allowed in this neck of the woods so all exploration must be done on foot. In terms of getting from one village to another I would recommend taking the train or the ferry, if you're the sea-faring kind, this provides the best views. But if you're looking for a way to burn off all the pasta you've consumed then you can also hike between the towns. You know, just so you can indulge in another bowl of tortellini...

Speaking of food, take note of these tips: I found the best gelato in Cinque Terre at Golosone and the best seafood at L'Osteria. Both in Monterosso.

On a side note, if you're around this area and you have time, be sure to take the train up to Santa Margharita as well. It's about 40mins away and is so chic. Imagine Cannes with an Italian influence.

Oozing with personality and buzzing with life, it's hard not to fall in love with Cinque Terre and its people. After 4 incredible days I was sorry to say goodbye, but it's ok because Florence was next on the agenda...

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Photos by Krissie.