You've probably seen pictures of this place all over Pinterest or Instagram. It's that cute little fishing village built right into the side of a cliff, overlooking the beautiful Liguarian Sea. The mountain side is scattered with little pastel colored huts, grape vineyards, and swimming coves. It's absolutely to die for!

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This summer I took a trip around Europe while studying abroad and this was the first place on my stop. Cinque Terre consists of 5 towns: Monterosso, Vernaza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore along the northern west coast of Italy.The towns are small but are scattered with souvenir shops, restaurants, cafe's, and MANY tourists.

To get there I took a bus to La Spezia from Paderno Del Grappa (I was staying here for classes). The bus was about a four hour ride and La Spezia is right outside the main 5 towns. Once in La Spezia, I took a train into the 5 towns (5 Euro). The train runs through all of the 5 towns and runs all day and night. The train rides are super quick, about 5 minutes or less. If you're on a budget, I recommend staying in one of the towns up the mountain from the main five. It can be pricey and very crowded staying in one of the main five, they're very popular.

I stayed in an Air BnB in a town up the mountain from Monarola called Volastra. The room was so cozy and cute and the people were very friendly! You can hike through all five towns and there are a few swimming beaches and coves. WARNING: it's a lot of walking! Be prepared to be walking everywhere, and it can get very hot and exhausting. Stay hydrated and wear comfortable clothing and shoes! I hiked from Volastra to Manarola and around Riomaggiore. The hike from Volastra to Manarola took about an hour and it was going down the mountain. I saw some of the best views coming down from there, but there is no guardrail and its a very steep drop (eeek!) You get to see the whole of each town from above and you basically walk right through the grape vineyards.

I spent about an hour to two hours in each town and got through all of them in 2 full days. If you're looking for white sandy beaches and blue water, this isn't it. The towns are mostly swimming coves and tourist attractions. But you go for the views and the atmosphere in the towns, not really for laying on a beach. But if that's what you really want, Monterosso has a swimming beach but its more like fine rock than sand. The water is cool and refreshing (especially after a hike!) It also has this crazy statue of a man carved into the rock. Locals said that he used to be holding a globe but it broke off.

Manarola and Riomaggiore have swimming coves where you can see people sun bathing on the rocks and cliff jumping. Most of the food served there is seafood but you can still get pizza or sandwiches in the little shops around the towns. The food was delicious and so fresh! If you like seafood, you'll love it!

Walking through the individual towns also proved to be a bit of a struggle. They're built like mazes with crooked and winding stair cases. Some can be really steep too. Walking up to Corniglia was the worst one. You have to walk up so many flights of stairs just to get to the main town.

Even though this was the first place I went to, it was by far my favorite. I would definitely recommend at least visiting this amazing place at least once. You really can't beat these breath taking views!

 

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Published by Angelina Scarduzio