Cinque Terre - the five villages of beauty and picturesque coastline!
We were lucky enough to spend a full week in Cinque Terre, and we loved how much there was to do and see here! Cinque Terre, as the name suggests, is made up of five little villages, all within hiking distance, or a short train ride. Each village is situated along the exquisite coastline, where the water is accessible for swimming and other water activities!
Where to stay:
We stayed in Biassa, in one of our new favourite hostels - Ostello Tramonti! Biassa is closest to the first village in Cinque Terre called Riomaggiore. Ostello Tramonti offer a shuttle service down to Riomaggiore numerous times per day, or alternatively you can also jump on the local bus which stops right in front of the hostel! We found all the staff here to be so lovely and helpful with loads of recommendations of things to do and see in the area. They also have an on-site restaurant with very reasonably priced food, wine, and desserts!
For us, Biassa was a perfect location up high in the mountains providing gorgeous sunset views from the chill-out room of the hostel, and away from the busy and loud crowds that can be found in the villages of Cinque Terre. If you would prefer to be in the middle of all of this, and walking distance from the ocean, then there are a range of other accomodation options available on booking.com, hostel world, and even Air BnB.
What to do and see:
WOW, the options in Cinque Terre of ways to spend your day are quite literally endless. We spent an entire week in the region and still there is so much that we can’t wait to come back for one day! Here is a list of a few of our favourite recommendations:
Hike between the villages: depending on your fitness level, and how much time you have here, you can really make your own paths with the endless hiking trails that connect all of the five villages together. Some hiking trails are along the coast, others take up up through the mountains. But be prepared for lots of up-hill trekking and uneven surfaces, so definitely pack your sneakers or hiking boots!
Cycle between the villages: we did a wonderful cycling tour with Sigeric Tourism where we had the opportunity to explore some of the villages via e-bike! We have put together an entire blog about this day at the following link by clicking here - but would certainly recommend it to anyone of any age or fitness level - it’s a great way to get around and see lots of the Cinque Terre in a short timeframe, as opposed to hiking or taking the train (which is 4 euro one way, per stop!)
Canyon adventure day at Stretti di Giaredo Canyon - we teamed up with Sigeric Tourism where we caught a 30 minute train from La Spezia up into the mountains to the region of Tuscany. Here we spent half a day exploring a canyon, provided with wetsuits, life-jackets, and a guide, we went hiking, swimming, and exploring through this gorgeous canyon - we have a completely seperate blog about our day that can be found at the following link by clicking here - but this was a true highlight of our time in Cinque Terre and would certainly recommend this activity to any one, of any age, and of any fitness level - we promise you will not be disappointed!
Beach day at Monterosso: Of the five villages, Monterosso is the only beach with sand, and therefore the most popular for swimming, soaking up the sun, and spending a full day at. With the majority of the beach however being made-up of private beaches, be prepared to pay around 10 euro for a day-bed and umbrella, unless you want to be piled up like sardines in the small public beach area!
Cliff jumping at Manarola: Manarola is the village of the five where you see the most iconic Cinque Terre photographs, the colourful apartments built up along the cliffs along the water. Not only did Manarola provide gorgeous views, but it also boasts a number of different rock and cliff sizes that you will see many people jumping off of, into the crystal clear waters below! We spent a few hours bombing off these rocks having the best time in the salty ocean!
Sunsets at Riomaggiore: Being the closest beach and town to where we were staying, we spent most nights enjoying a pizza and beer on the large flat rocks near Riomaggiore, watching the sun go down and going for a swim!
Hiking to Portevenere: Unfortunately this is one hike that we didn’t get the time to do, but every single person that was staying at the hostel came back saying that this was one of the best hikes and days that they had in Cinque Terre, so although we can’t comment from our own experience, we would still highly recommend this 4 hour hike!
Where to eat:
As you’re in a touristy area of Italy, food is a little more pricy. We didn’t eat out as such, but more-so grabbed ourselves some street food pizzas, pasta’s, focaccia’s and gelato most days. You will come across LOADS of street vendors and they seemed to have delicious food for much more reasonable prices than the restaurants.
One restaurant however that is a must-go-to is located in the village of Manarola and is called Nessun Dorma - with delicious reasonable priced food and bruschetta, sangria and an epic view of the coast, it’s a must-stop for lunch or dinner or both!!
Enjoy Cinque Terre guys, it was one of our favourite spots in Italy and we will be back one day for sure!