Cinque Terre | Italy

Italian Riviera

29 September 2018

After enjoying a day in the city of the Leaning Tower, Pisa, I went to the side of Cinque Terre in the region of Liguria, which is also known as the Italian Riviera. I’m sure you have heard about Cinque Terre many times, read articles in the travel magazines or at least scrolled through the pictures on Instagram. There are five colorful fishing villages on the Mediterranean coastline: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. These five villages are best known as Cinque Terre, from Italian that means Five Lands. They are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997. For centuries, until present days, locals were growing wine on the steep hills and fishing, while trattorias were serving seafood specialties along with region’s famous sauce, pesto.

Town of Vernazza after the sunset Colorful buildings of Riomaggiore Streets of Manarola

Before villages were accessible only by water and footpath, today there is road and rail link. In my opinion most convenient type of transportation is train, since every village has its own station, trains run every 15 to 20 minutes, and you can buy daily passes for unlimited rides. Most scenic transportation would be by boat. You might snap great shots of those beautiful mountains and coastal villages from the sea. If you are adventurous and enjoy a hike, go and explore by foot from one village to another one through the hills. It is possible to approach villages by car, but it’s not recommended, because towns are closed for car traffic, parkings have limited space and big price tag.

Train station Monterosso Ferry from La Spezia to Monterosso Riomaggiore as seen from the ferry

There are few hotels and some room rentals available in Cinque Terre, but price is higher than in the nearby towns. That’s why I stayed in La Spezia, which is minutes away from the villages by train. Food in Cinque Terre is pricey too, but it's worth the experience to sit on the terrace, indulge the view of the village and the sea, and enjoy fresh seafood, caught by the local fishermen.

Morning in Manarola with its iconic view Church in the town of Corniglia

Throughout the year Cinque Terre celebrates many events, parades and carnivals. I was lucky enough to be in Vernazza for The Feast of Santa Margherita and to see fireworks. You can check out the list of upcoming events on one of the websites about Cinque Terre or by visiting a local tourist office.

Despite the fact that main income of the villages comes from tourism, travelers are ruining Cinque Terre. There are millions of visitors a year to these small villages and numbers are increasing. So no wonder they are overcrowded (especially in high season) and pricey.

Fireworks display in Vernazza Public beach of Monterosso Manarola

About an hour from Cinque Terre by car is located Portofino, village for the wealthy people. I spent only morning and afternoon there, but got to see many things. Went up to the Castello Brown, which offers the best views over the town, strolled streets with luxury brands on every corner, eaten overpriced ice cream on the promenade, and visited the local cathedral. I'm glad I've experienced Italian Riviera in one of the best ways and recommend you too.

Portofino as seen from Castello Brown Portofino's promenade. Castello Brown on top of the hill Marina yacht club of Portofino Portofino's central square with bell tower of the cathedral at the back
Hi, I'm Anton! I've lived in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and recently I moved to South America. While global travel industry is on pause, I share memories from my past trips on Instagram, and can't wait to start posting in this blog about upcoming journeys. #StaySafe