Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? Check out Cinque Terre National Park–it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason!
Time travel technology has yet to be invented(well, as far as we know) and the second best option one has to visit the past without a time machine might just as well be these five quaint villages on the Italian coast.
Cinque Terre literally means five lands in Italian and it consists exactly of what the name states–five villages situated on the Italian coast that you can access either by boat or hiking. It is by far one of the most unique and charming places I have ever traveled to, and I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet…there is an abundance of delicious Italian white wine that they make locally. As you enter the town, the first thing you will see is the gorgeous Italian coast and distinctive architecture; secondly, you will notice the grape vineyards on the hills. We came by train from Florence–it was about a two hour train ride– and peered out the window to be surprised by a view of the clear blue water as well as vast ocean landscapes.
We booked a hotel in Manarola(Fun Fact: this is the village you are seeing when you google Cinque Terre and the most photogenic village). The hotel was called La Torretta and it is situated up on the top of a hill, just a heads up if any of y’all like to bring a lot of luggage with you when you travel. The good news is if you call the hotel when you arrive at the train station, they will bring a golf cart to drive you and your stuff up the hill! It was not a big hotel–it was family owned– but the service was spectacular, they give you champagne as soon as you arrive along with an appetizer to hold you over while you check in and you get to enjoy it while looking at the most amazing view(since it is on top of the hill, you can see the entire town from the balcony of the hotel).
As soon as we got to our room, we found complimentary bottles of wine and homemade Prosecco waiting for us! I am going to keep this transparent and point out that we did find a bug(not sure if it was actually a bed bug or not) on the foot blanket. We told the hotel staff and they replaced the bedding right away so it wasn’t a problem and as the window was open, it could have flew in from outside but I just wanted to let y’all know what to expect. When you are traveling, it is not always going to be comfortable and it will forsure not be what you are used to at home; I wasn’t used to the climate in Italy so my immune system gave out and I got the flu while I was in Cinque Terre. Remember to be mindful by bringing hand sanitizer and just taking the extra steps to protect yourself. Despite all this, I still recommend staying at La Torretta since the service was top notch, the breakfast was delish, and there was unlimited free wine. The pros definitely outweigh the cons on this one. I mean, look at that view!
Who likes foccacia bread? I do! Try the foccacia paired with the sparkling white wine, trust me. Despite having the flu, I still did the hike to every single village like a boss l o l; it was the coolest hike I’ve ever done. This is a 6 hour hike so be sure to bring water and snacks.You are hiking along vineyards which are to one side of you– there were so many juicy grapes–and when you look to the other side, you’ll see a steep drop down the ocean(jk but sometimes the trail does get narrow, please learn how to share the road before attempting the hike 😉.)
“Take only memories, leave only footprints”Chief Seattle
About the 5 towns– Located in La Spezia, the towns are called: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. They are all different and each have their own charm, I would suggested spending time in each and trying out the food in all of them, you’ll be famished after hiking for 11km and nothing will taste better than some authentic Italian pasta and gelato. We stopped by a shop and got fresh squeezed orange juice and when we peered out to the seating area in the back, the view was breathtaking. I was left speechless quite often on this hike.
We only hiked the trail one way because it was five hours so we didn’t want to hike back in the dark and opted to take the ferry back. The ferry ride was super cool, especially as we were coming into the town, you could see the colorful buildings from a different perspective. If you are not fond of hiking or just don’t want to walk in the sun all day, you have the option to take the train to each village but you’ll miss out on the coastal views or you could take the ferry and still get a cool view from the water.
Cinque Terre holds a special place in my heart, it embodied the historical significance of culture and tradition. I am so grateful to be able to witness something so extraordinary with someone that I love 🙂