The only thing that made leaving the beautiful city of Florence was knowing that next up was Cinque Terre!
Cinque Terre’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last few years, so honestly I was a little apprehensive about how amazing everyone claims that it is. But trust me, it is amazing. My recommendation would be to visit in the late Summer/early Fall. Visiting in October, we were a little past prime season, which is great for budget seekers. Not great for beach weather. Despite not being able to work on my suntan, we still had a beautiful couple of days and I wish we would’ve stayed a little longer.
Where to Stay:
The Cinque Terre region is comprised of five coastal towns (hence the name) that are all about a 10-15 minute train ride from each other. Each town has it’s own vibe and unique culture, which you should take into consideration when booking a place to stay.
Because we were visiting the region in October, our lodging options were pretty limited. A lot of Summer homes were already boarded up for the Winter and the ones that were still open were very pricey. We lucked out however, and found a small, two bedroom apartment in Monterosso that was perfect for us and our Moms.
The family that manages the apartment and connecting Bed & Breakfast was awesome. There is a rooftop pool with an incredible view of the ocean and they provided a free shuttle to/from the main town area of Monterosso, which is about a 3 minute drive down a steep hill.
Where to Eat:
Similar to Florence, and all of Italy honestly, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to food. If you love Italian food, you will love the food in Cinque Terre. We had so much pizza and pasta, and all of it was incredible.
And don’t forget to eat as much gelato as you can. One can never have too much gelato.
What to do:
Because we were only visiting the Cinque Terre region for two nights, we didn’t have a ton of time for activities. Had we visited in the Summer, I would have loved to stay an extra day or two just so we could lay on the beach and explore more of the towns.
However, no matter how long you plan to stay, hiking between the towns of the Cinque Terre is a must do. Now, I’m not going to lie to you and say that the hike is easy. We walked the blue trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, which took about 2 hours and it was really REALLY effing hard. I’ve heard it’s not as hard going the opposite way though, so keep that in mind when planning your hike.
Even though we were sweating our asses off and had to take several breaks to catch our breath, the hike provides incredible views of the ocean and both towns.
In order to hike the Cinque Terre, you will have to purchase a ticket which can be purchased at the beginning of the path. The ticket costs 7.50 Euro (as of October), must be paid in cash, and is valid for that day only. Because of rain and other natural causes, some paths between towns may be closed to the public, and the ticket sales person will alert you of that when you purchase your ticket. It also might be a good idea to buy the unlimited train travel “add on” (about 8 euro), which allows you to jump on the train in any town when you get tired from walking (and you WILL get tired).
Don’t forget to bring lots of water!