The last leg of my Europe trip from Barcelona & Rome was to Cinque Terre. We took the train from Rome to La Spezia for about 55 euros. Book your ticket in advance if you can. We showed up to the train station early and had to wait for a later departure because the earlier ones were sold out. It took us about 6 hours to get there and we switched trains three times, but the views as you are going through the Tuscan wine country are amazing!
Portovenere – We stayed in an Air bnb in La Spezia. Our host told us to spend our first evening in Portovenere. You can take the public bus to get there for next to nothing. If I didn’t know I was in Italy I would have thought I was on a Caribbean island. The steep hillsides overlooking the ocean were so similar to what you see in places like the Virgin Islands. We had dinner at a pizza place and then sat on the rocks and watched the ocean for a while. Then we explored the rest of the town square. There are shops, restaurants, and plenty of amazing lookouts. This place is a hidden gem!
Cinque Terre – Is on the coast of the Italian Riviera and is made up of five village towns: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. You can get the Cinque Terre Card which will allow you to ride the train between towns as much as you want. You can also hike between the villages and the views are unreal. Just be prepared because its a steep hike and it’s very humid. We hiked between Monterosso and Vernazza and it took us a couple hours. We only made it to these three towns:
Monterosso al Mare – Is the last of the five villages on the strip. There is a tunnel that connects the “old town” and the “new town”. It is the only village that has a large beach area so it does get really busy with tourists. This village has the most restaurants, shops, and hotels. The Monterosso Giant is at the end of the beach, the statue has lost its arms due to time and the ocean, but it is still pretty cool.
Vernazza – This is the village with the trademark postcard image. As you make the hike from Monterosso to Vernazza the view of the colorful town is beautiful. Vernazza has only a small piece of beach, but you can jump off the end of the walkway and swim in the ocean. There were also some really cool restaurants hillside overlooking the ocean.
Corniglia – If you go to this village be prepared to climb the thousands of stairs to the top. We stopped here after a really long day and we were exhausted by the time we got to the top. At least we burned off some of those pizza and gelato calories. This town isn’t as popular with the tourists, but there are still plenty of restaurants and look out points, so it is a good one to go to if you want a peaceful evening.
Cinque Terre was a great way to end the trip. We were able to see some of the prettiest views of the country and relax on the beach. This destination truly fits all ages and I would highly recommend it!