Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful gems Italy has to offer. The colorful little houses climb up the stony edges of the Italian west coast. Often you can see the concrete peeking through the walls, when entering into restaurants or shops. But the beauty of the Cinque Terre National Park lies definitely outside, where the bright blue of the sea meets the yellowish and pinkish walls of the five villages. So, no wonder that it is also a UNESCO heritage site.
The first time, I saw Cinque Terre coincided with the first time I saw the Mediterranean Sea. That was seven years ago, when I was still young and fresh, and decided my first trip alone would lead me to Florence. Back then, I never expected to fall in love with an Italian and that one day, I would live in this gorgeous country.
Since then, I wanted to come back and my boyfriend, who never had the pleasure of seeing the stunning beauty of Cinque Terre, came with me together with my sister, who was just visiting that weekend.
We booked our hotel on booking.com on the evening before departure. Everybody knows that you can get the best deals as close to the time of arrival as possible and we didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. We couldn’t have known in precisely that hotel the boiler broke on that day. They cancelled our reservation at eleven in the evening.
But I have to say booking.com handled the situation as best as they could. They offered us another better solution and offered to pay the difference as well as additional costs that might incur. In fact, we had to pay € 12 extra for the parking per night. But booking covered it all. In the aftermath, I can say they are a bit slow, but it was a great relieve to still be able to start our trip.
You can also stay within the park. There are plenty of hotels, hostels, and apartments, but plan ahead as a lot of people are reserving their rooms within the national park.
How to get to Cinque Terre
There is a train that stops in all five villages and is the most convenient transport there. Also a bus connects the villages, but I won’t recommend taking it, if you suffer from travel sickness. The roads have a lot of serpentines and the drivers are eager to bring you to your next stop as fast as possible.
Arriving by car is a little bit difficult, as there are only limited parking slots available. Within the villages, cars are not permitted at all.
Before entering the National Park you have to buy a ticket. You can buy it at each train station in Cinque Terre, La Spezia, and Levanto as well as in the Tourist Offices and the bus drivers in Cinque Terre. All tickets include the entrance of the park, the bus shuttle, and free Wi-Fi. Depending on your needs, there are different tickets available:
|2017||1-Day-Ticket||2-Days-Ticket||1-Day-Ticket + Train||2-Days-Ticket + Train|
|Adults||€ 7.50€||€ 14.50||€ 16||€ 29|
|Children (4-12)||€ 4.50||€ 7.20||€ 10||/|
|Family (2 Adults + 2 Children)||€ 19.60||€ 31,50||€ 42||/|
You can get detailed information about the entrance to Cinque Terre here.
Food and Beverage
When visiting the coast in Italy, you definitely have to eat their seafood or fish. Famous dishes are Fritto Misto (Fried Seafood), that you can even buy as take-away and Spaghetti allo Scoglio (Seafood Pasta) . I also like Spaghetti alle Vongole a lot. It is like Pasta aglio e olio with little claps. Of course, you have to choose white wine to go with it. If you order vino dalla spina, you get a cheap, but good house wine.
There are plenty of restaurants available in all five villages. Picking a good one is the hard thing, though. You should take care that the restaurant is not too big and family owned. You can also tell from the menu, if it is a good restaurant. They should offer fresh fish of the day and the above mentioned dishes. You should also ask if all dishes include fresh fish and if the pasta is homemade, if so you should definitely go in.
The best view of the five villages you get from the trekking trails. So you definitely should follow at least one trekking trail. At the moment, only the trails that connect Monterosso and Vernazza and Vernazza and Caviglia are open. The trails between Caviglia and Manarola and Manarola and Riomaggiore are closed because they are under reconstruction due to a storm in 2015. Italy, has its own watch, therefore everything takes a bit longer.
From my past experience in 2010, though, I can tell that the closed trails are the easiest ones. They are more like a nice walk. Everything is even and you stay close to the sea. The ones that are still open, I would not recommend if you are not in good shape. You have to climb a lot of stairs and the ground is often uneven.
Also, take a lot of water. You will hike for one and a half to two hours and it is hot in Italy, especially during summer. On the way, there are no opportunities to buy water, so take something with you.
I would also recommend closed shoes, as the ground is dry, dusty and not always even. You might easily slip with flip-flops.
Anyways, the sweat and exhaustion are all worth it! Once you see the stunning view and how the colorful houses are in perfect sync to the blue sea, you will feel so happy. I loved it seven years ago and I still love it now.
When you see the blue sea, you immediately wonder if it is possible to take a swim. Of course, it is, but it’s a completely different experience. Cinque Terre does not have the traditional sand beaches; instead there are huge rocks that lead into the sea or a pebble beach in Monterosso. Monterosso is also the place to go, if you wish for an umbrella.
In general, Italian beaches are free if you bring your own towel, so if you want a chair and an umbrella you will have to pay.
All five villages have possibilities to take a bath in the Mediterranean Sea. You just have to look for them.
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