To put it simply – there’s no place like the Cinque Terre. The famously dramatic portion of coastline is made up of five adorable fishing towns – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. All are precariously perched above the sparkling Mediterranean, offering breathtaking views and gasp-inducing photo opportunities. Within them, you’ll find the most spectacular of Italian scenes – steep winding streets, pastel-hued homes, leather-skinned locals, vineyard-covered hills & the kind of fresh Italian produce that food dreams are made of.
Base yourself in Monterosso (the northern most town) for at least three days & nights of intrepid exploration. First on your agenda? Tackling the infamous Cinque Terre hike – a steep & sweaty 6 hour expedition along the many walking trails that link the five villages. Don’t underestimate its level of difficulty. If you’re anything like us, it will be the most exercise you do all holiday – and the perfect excuse to continue your decadent Italian diet!
Spend your remaining days replenishing your energy stores in every manner possible; lazy days on Monterosso beach lounges, late night cocktails with the locals, and enjoying some of Italy’s most incredible meals. With no glitzy fashion boutiques, art museums or pesky traffic (they banned cars years ago) to steal your attention – the Cinque Terre offered pure, unadultered Italy – and the perfect backdrop for ultimate relaxation.
WHERE TO EAT, STAY & PLAY IN CINQUE TERRE:
WHERE TO EAT: Monterosso is an oasis for memorable meals. Right on the cliff’s edge, overlooking the beach is L’Ancora della Tortuga – a fine dining restaurant with an incredible ocean view. Book a table for dinner on the outdoor terrace to enjoy a sumptuous seafood feast while taking in a perfect Italian sunset. Also on the water’s edge – is the uber trendy Cantina di Miky – an absolute must-dine casual lunch destination. It’s sophisticated (& far more expensive) older sister, Ristorante Miky, is widely considered one of the best resaturants in Monterosso – & also worth a booking if you feel like splurging on something special.
WHERE TO STAY: A day trip to the Cinque Terre is simply not enough! Stay for 3 -4 nights to allow enough time to explore as many towns as possible. The most popular towns to stay in are Monterosso, Manarola and Vernazza. We opted for Monterosso – the most resort-like town of the five – and the only one that boasts a proper stretch of beach. For the best beachfront location & impeccable Italian hospitality – book an ocean view room at Hotel Pasquale. The rooms are cosy (you’ll be hard-pressed to find Cinque Terre accommodation that isn’t), yet beautifully modern – and the staff will do whatever they can to ensure you have an exceptional Cinque Terre experience.
WHERE TO PLAY: The Cinque Terre walking trail is the most rewarding way to explore the five towns – and one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. There are several ways you can do it. All in one day, or broken into more manageable pieces to achieve over several days at a slower pace. Whatever you do, make sure you wear appropriate clothing & do the walk from south (Riomaggiore) to north (Monterosso). Doing the walk in the opposite direction is approximately 50% more difficult!
Have any other top Cinque Terre tips we should know about?
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