For those who don’t know, “Cinque Terre” in Italian means “Five Lands”. It is comprised of 5 separate towns built along the cliff side. From north to south you have Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The city that has an actual beach is Monterosso al Mare, so we decided to stay for 3 nights in this villa at the top of the cliff. The view was insanely gorgeous (pictured below)! They even had an orchard where we were able to pick fresh fruit for breakfast. [I will say there was no A/C but they had fans!]
On the first day we spent all day at the Monterosso al Mare beach! There’s a beachside restaurant called Barabba that we really loved! I had the grilled sea bass with roasted potatoes and it was so fresh. My sister, the foodie of the fam, had learned that “fritto misto” is the thing to order in Cinque Terre. It’s usually a mix of fried seafood with fried zucchini and carrots. Squeeze a little lemon on it and it’s delicious! For those of you that don’t like seafood, they had good salads and pizzas as well! For dinner we walked along the beach a little and found another restaurant with a gorgeous sunset view called Nuovo Bar Eden.
One of the most notable things to do in Cinque Terre is to hike from one town to the next. Each hike takes about 1.5-2 hours depending on your pace and stamina, haha! We decided as a family to hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza (costs 7.50 euros to hike the trail), and then take the train to the other 3 towns to get an idea of what they were like. The train ticket also costs 7.50 euros per day for unlimited rides, so you can explore each village if you like.
The hike was incredibly beautiful.. and also HARD! Thank goodness I am no stranger to a Stairmaster, haha! We were all so proud of my dad for sticking it through. Stage 4 lung cancer has got nothing on that guy!
Vernazza was so crowded and a bit overwhelming, so we only stayed for about 10 minutes and headed to Corniglia. Of the 5 Terres, Corniglia is probably the one you could skip. However we were starving and we did have a really good lunch at a restaurant there called Enotica Il Pirun where I had a delicious salmon gnocci.
When you see the quintessential pictures of the colorful houses built into a cliff, the town you’re looking at is Manarola, my favorite of the five Terres. The view just makes you so grateful to be alive!! I’d been waiting for years to see that view and am so grateful I did! Along with Burano, Manarola makes my list of the top 5 things I saw in Italy.
After Manarola is Riomaggiore, which I honestly don’t have much to say about except we had REALLY good gelato there made in-house at a place called Gelateria Sottozero. Y’all know my weakness is lemon and coffee gelato! YUM! We had to wait a while for the train because there were some technical difficulties, but once we got back to Monterosso al Mare we spent the rest of the evening at the beach and ate dinner at Barabba. In hindsight, I wish we had spent one more day in Cinque Terre! I didn’t get enough beach time and beautiful colored houses 🙂 .
Road Trip Details
As a family, we took a train from Rome to Venice and decided to drive to the rest of our destinations from there. After picking up our rental car outside of Venice, we drove through the state of Veneto to the state of Liguria, where Cinque Terre is. We visited Padova (or Padua, the resting place of St. Anthony, patron saint of stolen or lost things) in the state of Veneto. The city of Verona, (think Romeo and Juliet) is also in Veneto close by but unfortunately we didn’t have the time to stop there.
From Padova we drove to Parma, the home of parmesan and prosciutto!! We wanted to go to Trattoria del Tribunale, but it was too early and they were still closed. The owner took us around the corner to his Tribunale cafe where he served us exactly what we were searching for. The best prosciutto (parma ham) of my life yall!!
On our second leg of the road trip leaving Cinque Terre, we stopped in Pisa. Pisa is in the state of Toscana, better known to us as Tuscany, where Florence and all the good wine country is! We really only stopped for an hour to get our cliché Leaning Tower pics and then were on our way. From there, we headed to Greve in Chianti, which is where I’ll pick up tomorrow!
Tips in Cinque Terre
-Bring water shoes if you have sensitive feet. The rocks on the beach are killer and my jellies just didn’t cut it for me.
-Budget for water. Remember “frizzante” water means sparkling water.
-The Corniglia train stop requires you to take an additional (free) bus up into Corniglia’s city center.
-Cinque Terre is famous for their Fritto Misto if you like fried seafood.
-If you hike from one city to another, wear sneakers and bring lots of water.
What I Wore
I can’t say enough about my black lace swim cover up from SheIn! The detailing is gorgeous. I would even pair it with a black slip dress underneath to wear for a girls’ night out.
The yellow top I’m wearing below was fun for my road trip through Pisa to Greve in Chianti. Pro Tip: Iron it or buy wrinkle release spray for when you travel without a steamer! Mine is a tad wrinkly 😉 .
Have you ever stayed in Cinque Terre before? Which village did you stay in? Let me know in the comments below!