When I first saw photos of Cinque Terre circulating through the internet, I thought it was some magical destination that I could only dream of visiting. Even after I booked my trip to Italy, I didn’t initially plan to visit this gorgeous region. I honestly felt that it wasn’t feasible. Then I saw more and more photos appear and I told myself, I HAVE to go here. So, I began my research and found out that Cinque Terre was only a two hour train ride from Montecatini (where I was staying in Italy). I also discovered that a day trip was doable although I wouldn’t be able to visit all five villages. Something is better than nothing! After visiting Cinque Terre, I have to say that the pictures really do not do this place justice. It was absolutely breathtaking. Everything from the gorgeous blue waters to the colorful houses, it just felt unreal.
How To Get There
Cinque Terre is accessible by train. Depending on where you’re coming from, you can look up routes to La Spezia. That is the main stop before switching trains to access each village that make up this area. You can find the routes easily on trenitalia.com.
The villages are in the following order from La Spezia:
You can take the train from village to village or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can hike! There are trails that connect each other. Some are more intense than others, but the views make it all worth it.
The Villages I Visited
- Riomaggiore: The first of the five villages. It has a few restaurants that overlook the beautiful waters, but besides that there aren’t too many shops or places to eat. I hiked the trail through the hills from Riomaggiore to Manarola. There’s also a paved pathway, but it was closed during my visit. Which I’m happy about because the views from the hike were unbelievable.
- Manrola: Seafood restaurants galore. A lot of food options here, but be aware of the crowds! It appeared that the closer to the water I got, the more crowded the restaurants were. There’s a little area where you can freely dip into the water as well.
- Monterosso: The beach town of Cinque Terre. Here you can enjoy laying out by the water and taking in the beautiful view of the coast. There are also plenty of restaurants here with outdoor seating. It is the biggest of the five villages and provides the most amenities, such as hotels and shops. A must when visiting Cinque Terre
- This area is a major tourist attraction, so expect large crowds
- The train stations will be filled with people coming and going
- This may cause delays in train times
- If you plan to hike, dress accordingly
- I was expecting to walk on paved pathways instead of the trail, so I wore a dress and Vans. I made it, but it wasn’t easy and I got plenty of weird looks!
- Research each village to see which ones you want to definitely visit. You may not be able to go to all five due to time constraints if you’re just doing a day trip
- I visited in May and the water was still very cold in Monterosso to actually go swimming