The Cinque Terre region of Italy is becoming more and more popular everyday. It had been on my list for a few years and finally getting to spend 4 days there was one of the best parts of our Italian road trip.
The Cinque Terre is made up of five little towns along the rocky Ligurian Sea coast. The unique thing about these towns is that no cars are allowed on the streets. So even if you are planning a road trip like we did, you’ll have to park somewhere outside of the town. Luckily the train runs quite frequently and getting around is not a problem.
And while there are so many reasons to love this area, I definitely have my favorites. 🙂
When we first hopped off the train in Monterosso, I could already smell the sea salt in the humid air. It was so warm, the only thing I wanted to do was jump in the water as fast as I could. Luckily, Monterosso is not short on beach space. There are multiple spots where you can lay out a towel and claim your space for free, or you can also go the paid route and rent a beach chair with umbrella. On a good day, the water is relatively calm and perfect for a bit of underwater exploring. Its also great if you just want to bring a floatie to ride the gentle waves.
Besides the beach, my favorite part of the city was the food! Being right on the water, the seafood restaurants are abundant and while we only tried one, I’m pretty sure it was the best one :).
At Ristorante Ciak we ordered the Stuffel Mussels (amazing), Seafood Ravioli (to die for), and a bottle of wine to share. (I can almost still taste it as I write this)
Back at home if we go out for dinner, we usually just order one small drink but, in Italy, we almost always buy a bottle of wine to share. This is quite common all over Italy to purchase wine by the bottle rather than by the glass in restaurants. I’ll share more in my Tuscan article next week but, wine by the glass is usually the standard house wine and doesn’t leave much for choices. Buying wine by the bottle allows you to pick out your favorite and take your time to enjoy the whole meal. For my fiancé and I, this made for such a memorable night just to sit and sip as the sun started to go down.
The next stop we made was to Manarola. This is the town best known for its picturesque colorful homes and rocky coastline jutting out into the sea. While getting a few beautiful photos of this place is quite a highlight in itself, I have two favorite ways to enjoy Manarola…
This restaurant not only is situated to have the best views but, also has a great vibe with lounge style music and excellent Focaccia sandwiches.
2.Swimming and Snorkeling!
Manarola has an awesome swimming area where you can cool off and for the adventurous, jump off a 30 foot high rock! We went for both and spent the entire afternoon there. Check out our snorkeling video to see the jump! VERNAZZA We spent the least amount of time in Vernazza but, its also one of my favorites because we happened to be there on a very wavy day and were mesmerized just sitting and watching the waves crash up over the shore. Vernazza is also a great place to grab a drink or dinner right next to the water.
RIOMAGGIORE Easily my favorite part about Riomaggiore were the views. Everywhere you turned there was something to photograph. Whether it was the rocky coast or the turquoise waves crashing against the rocks or best yet the plethora of brightly colored houses lining the hillside, every step we took through Riomaggiore was like something out of a picture book. They also have great gelato and slushy shops so grab something cold and yummy and just go for a stroll.
While Levanto is not technically one of the five towns that make up the Cinque terre, it is the first stop on the train line between them all. We decided to make this city our home base for the week and explored a bit here too. Levanto has quite a long stretch of beach to enjoy and is known for its large waves and is therefore a popular surfing spot. Playing in the waves during the day and watching the absolute best sunset of my life while the surfers finished up their evening on the water, easily made it to the top of our favorites list.
Next week were moving on to Tuscany!! We road tripped through all the winding narrow roads along green fields of grape vines and iconic tuscan villas. Check back then to see it all!