Next up is Cinque Terre which is located on the coast in northern Italy! We traveled from Rome to Cinque Terre by taking a 4 hour train ride which wasn't bad at all. Cinque Terre is made up of 5 towns (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso). To access these 5 towns, you can either hike between them or you can take the train (there are absolutely no cars allowed). Cinque Terre is the most beautiful place I have ever been, but just know that it is insanely touristy. We were there in the middle of October and there were so many people there even though it wasn't warm enough to swim! During the summer it gets really bad, and it's important to note that next year they are going to start limiting the number of tourists allowed by having visitors purchase a ticket ahead of time. Here's where's what we did and where we ate in eat in these beautiful towns:
Riomaggiore was the first town that we visited, and we went there on my husband's birthday! We got there a little late in the day, but we wandered around the town and took it all in. We climbed to the top of the Riomaggiore Castle which has the most gorgeous views. We then ate dinner at Enoteca Dau Clia which I highly recommend! I don't eat any meat, but I do eat some fish from time to time. We both got the lobster gnocchi and we shared tiramisu for dessert. It was one of the best meals we had and we were able to eat dinner outside overlooking the water. You can't beat it!
In my opinion, Manarola is the most gorgeous of the 5 towns! In Manarola we went into the different shops, walked the streets, and grabbed a drink at a wine bar called Nessun Dorma. This wine bar is where I took this picture, and I loved that even though we only ordered drinks they gave us some yummy food to snack on.
In Vernazza we walked around, and checked out their shops too. After that we decided that we wanted to hike to the next town instead of taking the train (you have to purchase a hiking pass for this). The hike to Corniglia was 1.5 hours which didn't seem too bad. Little did we know that this hike was all up hill! The entire hike basically consisted of us climbing stairs made out of stones that didn't have any railings. The views were 100% worth it though and we were having a great time....until it started to rain 3/4 of the way through. At this point, we were starting to go down hill. The problem was that when the rain hit the rocks it felt like you were walking on an ice skating rink and there was nothing between you and the edge of the cliff which was frightening. I kept slipping and almost falling, but luckily somehow neither of us actually fell! One girl in front of us fell and sprained her ankle which was scary. We were glad when the hike was over, but we were so proud of ourselves that we were able to finish it! My phone said that we climbed 114 floors during the hike which is a little crazy.
Another thing that we did in Vernazza was the Vernazza Wine Experience. I really can't say enough good things about this! We were able to taste local prosecco, white wine, and red wine all while overlooking the water. At the Wine Experience you're also able to get a cheese and meat plate, and the owner was nice enough to just make a cheese plate for us. This was my favorite thing that we did in Cinque Terre!
After our hike to Corniglia (this picture was from our hike), we were absolutely starving! Cinque Terre is known for their foccacia, and it is seriously amazing! It's also where pesto originated so when you combine the two it made for the perfect lunch. We ate at Bistro Margerita and I definitely recommend it. We then grabbed gelato on our way out to the next city!
La Cantina di Miky which was really good! I had beet infused pasta, and my husband had pasta full of seafood. We were also able to sit outside overlooking the water which was perfect!
One last thing is that there are only a handful of hotels in Cinque Terre, and instead they just have a lot of rooms that you can rent. We opted to stay in a hotel in La Spezia (only a 5 minute train ride away) and I would definitely recommend doing that. We stayed at Hotel Firenze e Continentale which you can read more about here.
Have you ever been to Cinque Terre?