I was looking through my camera roll this morning and found some hidden gems from my trip to Cinque Terre- the northern Italian coastline. From my experiences, Italy is one of my favorite countries I’ve ever been to. The culture, the cuisine, and the people there are always welcoming, unique, and rich in experience. During our time in Florence, we decided to take a two hour train ride to the coastline.We traveled from Florence to Riomaggorie- the first and largest of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre. Riomaggiore’s quaint pastel colored buildings lead down to a dramatic coastline and harbor that acts as the region’s favorite postcard view. We decided on staying in this village on a whim, after googling a few photos of all the villages. Turns out we lucked out big time with a beautiful Airbnb and a wondrous time in this village.
Before departing from our journey, we did not have much prior knowledge about Cinque Terre- which was a mistake. If you’re traveling to this area, I recommend doing a bit of research about the towns and ways of transportation throughout the villages. Little did we know, that cars were banned from the villages over a decade ago and the way to travel through villages is via a 19th century railway line that cuts through the series of coastal cliffs by foot. We quickly learned after climbing a major hillside that there was an easier route but we had definitely learned the hard way. Another means of transportation throughout the villages would be the tram car that runs throughout the five villages every 10 minutes. The tram ticket was purchasable through any of the five train stations for $25 (USD) for two days. This pass was called the Treno Multiservizi pass- which allows visitors to hop on and hop off in multiple villages as they please if they did not want to hike/ walk. The one regret I had on this trip was not having the opportunity to hike along the coastline. I have read that missing the views along this hike is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and sadly we did not make time for this excursion.
After exploring Riomaggiore’s colorful village, we took the tram through all the villages to the most well-known beach in Cinque Terre in the village of Monterosso. This was the last of the five villages and the total time it took to get from Riomaggiore to Monterosso on the tram was about 15 minutes. Here we found ourselves with pina colada’s on the beach, enjoying the extremely clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by friendly locals. This location was a dream.
That night in Riomaggiore, I had the best meal I had ever tasted in my entire life (bold statement, I know). If you love sea food, do not skip on the opportunity to dine at a nice restaurant on the coast and order some immaculate, fresh seafood and wine. The restaurant we dined at was recommended to us by our hosts; it was located in the center of town and was surprisingly affordable for a fine dining experience. The nightlife in Cinque Terre is not a big one, as the overall setting of the area is more laid back. There are a few bars in the city center of Riomaggiore but nothing compared to a big city and no night clubs. We happily ended our night sipping wine on the patio of a bar after dinner, enjoying the views of the village and the scent of salty air.
Cinque Terre was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been in my life. Astonishing views, rich culture, and plenty to do regardless of the smaller size. I would go back to this location in a heartbeat and take full advantage of the area knowing all the small tidbits I know now. If you’e ever able to visit Italy, I could not recommend this location more. Just make sure to research the area first and know how to plan your trip to Cinque Terre!