After seeing photos of the cute little colorful seaside houses of Cinque Terre on Google images, my wanderlust grew to a whole new level. “I’ll have to see this someday,” I thought. At last, the moment that I’ve been waiting for came when I was in Florence for 2 days. One of these days was spent visiting Cinque Terre.
To put it shortly: was Cinque Terre as beautiful as I expected? Yes. Was I blown away by it? Unfortunately, no. I think the problem was only getting a day there, which made it impossible to fully enjoy Cinque Terre because it literally means “five lands.” So I had to see five whole villages to see in a single day?! Well that would mean arriving then immediately leaving for another village. Instead, I spent a couple of hours in three of the five villages and here’s what I discovered about each one:
If you want to hit the beach, go to Monterosso. Of the five villages, Monterosso’s beaches were the most “beach-like,” if you catch my drift (ha). Though the sand was more like a bunch of little pebbles, there was still a beach to lay out on, as opposed to huge rocks – which you’ll understand later.
Well, I didn’t want to spend most of my precious time laying out on the beach, so I explored a bit of the land. Walking along the side of the cliffs offered some gorgeous backdrops:
I didn’t realize that I was already on my way to the next village, Vernazza, until I doubled back and saw this sign. That’s when I remembered reading somewhere that all the villages are connected by trail. However, a landslide several years ago caused one of the connections (between Manarola and Riomaggiore, I believe) to close down.
BUT, there is another way to hop from village to village, and that’s by train! That was how I traveled on to Vernazza:
Vernazza was the smallest village of the five. Ater getting off the train, a ten minute walk down the street (shown above) led me to the end, its harbor.
Well, it was a good lunch stop. This area is especially known for its pesto, so what else could I get but a pesto pizza? And gelato for dessert?
At last, the view that I’ve been waiting to see:
Imagine how it’d look during sunset?! Not being able to see the sunset in Cinque Terre lends to some of my bitterness, I think. But I guess I’ll console myself by being thankful that I even got to see this, right?
At the top of this trail, there was actually a nice little garden where a picnic would be fantastic to have next time.
Manarola also has “beaches,” but they look more like this:
Only rocks! See what I mean by go to the beach in Monterosso now? As fun as it looked, I did not want to risk jumping off and landing horribly. Or breaking my neck. Or dying. Would you jump?
In general, Manarola was the most scenic of the five villages.
However, getting the best views also required a bit of legwork climbing up and down the hills. At that point of the day, I was pretty tired so I didn’t even try to climb more steps. This just means I’ll have to do it again when I come back!
As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, I really want to return to Cinque Terre and do it properly next time. I could easily spend a week there, a day for each village. Of course I’ll have to see the ones that I didn’t get to this time, Corniglia and Riomaggiore. I can imagine myself taking the time to wander the little streets, soaking in the sunshine on the beach, and stuffing my face with endless amounts of gelato!
Have you ever been to Cinque Terre? Which village did you like the most?
Thanks for reading!