When I started planning our Anniversary trip to Italy, we intended on making our second stop in Milan. A friend who was also planning a trip to the area, just a few weeks after me, said you should look up Cinque Terre. After a two second google image search, I was sold!! The colorful buildings, and small town feeling you get in these five waterside towns is unlike any place else I have ever been. It’s a little off the beaten path, but if you have 2-3 days to spare, it’s worth the detour to this enchanting coastal region!

1. Be prepared to be on your feet a lotThere is very limited access to cars here, so you are mainly limited to getting around on the local train (which was very easy to use to take from one village to the next) and walking/hiking. The towns are built on the side of the mountain, so be prepared for some very steep hills, and beware if you have  a lot of baggage, getting it to where you are staying may turn into an intense workout from the train station! I should have gotten pics of the steep stairways that we had to take to get to our room, but I was too busy huffing and puffing with all my stuff to stop for a picture.

2. Eating and drinking- Overall, the food here is not nearly as good as it is in other areas of Italy, but being so close to the water, be sure to try the fish! We had a great lobster dinner our first night in Manarola. I also recommend getting one of the local seafood cones they sell, it’s kind of like seafood to go, fish and chips style, with different types of fried fish. The area is also known for it’s pesto, so try that if you get the chance! They also make a great local white wine in Cinque Terre, that is very inexpensive, but a really nice refreshing white wine. I wished I had bought a few bottles to take with me since I couldn’t find it anywhere else in Italy.

3. Don’t overheat- If you go in the summer, check ahead of time to see if the hotel or airbnb you are renting has air conditioning, ours didn’t. I thought I checked that ahead of time, but turns out I dropped the ball there. My husband forgave me, but we had to sleep with the windows open, which made it pretty noisy, and very bright once the sun came up! We did have an amazing view from our room. We were in one of the rooms just below were you see the moon, in the picture below.

4. For best Photos– Try and get a little distance away from the towns, to get the best shots. If you can hike up a little towards the next village, you can look back and get the best pictures at sunset. Manarola (where we stayed) was my favorite to photograph!

Below is the view out the window of our airbnb at night! The view definitely helped make up for the heat!

5. Hiking Tip- Research them before you go! Sometimes certain paths are closed due to falling rocks. Most of the villages have pretty short paths between them, but the one from Vernazza to Monterossa is quite challenging, and not for the faint of heart! If you do it, be prepared for it to take about 2 hrs, it’s only 3-4 miles long, but very rocky, narrow, and steep terrain. If you like an adventure and a bit of challenge it’s worth doing for the views, but I would start in Vernazza, and hike to Monterossa, not the other way around like we did:) Bring extra water with you , wear sunscreen, and have shoes with some traction. The beach below is where we started, the following pictures show you the path and the incredible views we had, for a long time we couldn’t see the city we were hiking to, which made us a little nervous until the end was in sight, and we knew drinks and food were in our future!

Where exactly is this taking us???

Finally the end was in sight!!

Have you been to Cinque Terre? If so I would love to hear what you thought? If you are planning a trip and have any questions, let me know below! If you’ll be traveling to Venice during your time in Italy, you can check on my previous blog post with details on that part of our adventure. For additional travel sites I found helpful, you can check out my Travel Pinterest board here.

Thanks for taking time to check out my blog! xoxo, Bre

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