Monday, 29 June 2015

Cinque Terre - Tips on Planning Your Holiday Itinerary


Cinque Terre comprises of a group of five coastal villages in Liguria, Italy. Boasting spectacular views of the Mediterranean, Cinque Terre is a designated National Park and has very well developed hiking trails across the 5 villages, making it the perfect destination for people like me who needed a little break from rather immobile nature of urban life...

Anyway, Cinque Terre is such a beautiful region I would highly recommend a visit if you're ever in Italy - it's easily accessed via trains from Milan and Pisa. So if you ever visit or are planning a trip, here are my top tips on making the best out of your stay in Cinque Terre :)

Corniglia (view from hiking route 7a)

1. STAY
Unlike other European destinations, many of the hotels/B&Bs in Cinque Terre aren't listed on major booking websites like booking.com. Your best bet would be to look at tripadvisor for recommendations, then email each hotel individually.

Or, you can just take my recommendation and stay at La Rose dei Venti, a lovely guestroom in Vernazza (one of the 5 villages). I loved my stay there and it is easily the best value guestroom I've stayed in, ever. It is newly renovated, very clean and spacious and has the prettiest mauve pink wallpaper! The owner of the guesthouse is really sweet and helpful, and even stocked up our minibar for free!

   Via Gavino 19 - Vernazza
+39.333.7624679

Vernazza and Italy's characteristic colourful houses

2. HIKE

If there is one thing you must do in Cinque Terre, it is hiking. There are trails joining all 5 villages together, and I would even say the hike is more interesting than the villages themselves (which are generally crowded and full of tourists, restaurants and shops selling not very exciting memorabilia).

 Look at all the blue!

Lovely spring/summer flowers spotted along the way

While some trails have closed due to landslides (see here for live updates), you can still get around using alternative hikes that detour up the hill then back down again. The climb is worth it though, and the detour we took between Corniglia and Manarola (take path 7a and 6d) brought us through lemon trees and rows and rows of vineyards set against the uplifting blue of the Mediterranean.

TIP: The detoured hike towards Manarola from Corniglia ends in a very steep decline that comprises of some more than 200+++ steps. It'd be best to plan your hike such that you go towards Manarola instead of towards Corniglia unless you want an climbing workout!


A closer view of Corniglia perched high atop the cliffs - this is the only village that isn't by the sea

Endless blues

Vineyards - the Cinque Terre region is a famous vine producing region. I'd recommend you try the Sciacchetra Wine, a sweet white wine unique to Cinque Terre that is absolutely delicious.

If you only have limited time to spare, however, the easiest and most picturesque hike in my opinion is the one between Vernazza and Monterosso - which rewards you with stunning views of both villages from the cliffs. Make sure you catch a photo at twilight too - the warm interior lights makes the village look very different!

Vernazza at sunset and at twilight (as taken from the Monterosso-Verezza trail)


3. EAT

We snacked more than we ate proper meals when we were there, and frankly the food we tried in Cinque Terre wasn't the best Italian I've ever had so unfortunately I cannot give food recommendations. But I had so much gelato, and had a lovely breakfast on my last morning, so I will talk about that.

Italy is famous for its gelato, and Cinque Terre is full of tiny gelatarias whipping up what you would crave to have after 3 hours of hiking in the summer sun. Many of these gelatarias concoct interesting local flavours using local produce like basil, lemons and Sciacchtera.

Besides gelato, this gelataria we visited in Corniglia also served fresh fruit iced popsicles, which was so refreshing and I loved it so much!

I had the raspberry and basil popsicle! Yummeh.

Italy is also famous for their coffee, and we had a lovely breakfast just beside our guesthouse. Italians don't eat eggs for breakfast unlike the rest of the world, but we still enjoyed the coffee, pastries and focaccia nonetheless.

Breakfast @ Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre
(beside the Vernazza post office)

Yay! That's all I have to say about Cinque Terre. Hope you enjoyed my guide and photos and hopefully it's of some help to you when you're planning a visit! Feel free to ask questions if you have any - I'd be happy to help xx

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