ASOS peplum frill top, Madewell denim shorts, Madewell neck tie, ASOS sunglasses, Olympus PEN E-PL7 Camera
Cinque Terre has my heart, completely and utterly. For a place that I’ve dreamed of going to for years, it really did live up to all my expectations, and then some.
We stayed in a cute little airbnb in La Spezia, a short 6 minute train ride to Riomaggiore, the first of the five towns in the Cinque Terre. For us, this gave us the best of both worlds; easy access to the Cinque Terre while acting as a quiet respite in the evenings.
Arriving in La Spezia on Friday afternoon, our first port of call was Riomaggiore for a light meal. This is the smallest of the four towns – there’s just one main street – and it gave us our first taste of the Cinque Terre, and a hint at what we could expect the following day. If there’s one thing that there isn’t a shortage of, in any of the five towns, it’s a breathtaking view; we spent our afternoon gazing out at the Med while enjoying some much needed Prosecco. During the evening, we headed back to La Spezia to head out for dinner and to wander the streets of this quiet seaside town. We ended up in a very unassuming taverna tucked away in a maze of streets within the town centre – Pizzeria Marechiaro, Via Persio, 75, La Spezia – eating what was one of the most delicious meals that we’ve had during our time in Italy so far.
On our second day, we high tailed it to Monterosso al Mare, the largest of the five towns in the Cinque Terre. The narrow beaches which front the village are lined with colourful umbrellas to rest under after a day in the sun, and the imperfectly perfect pastel coloured houses dot the landscape in every direction. Instead of opting for a proper breakfast, we grabbed some fresh fruit and focaccia from a local grocer to eat on the go, as we wound our way up into the hills to really take in the view. We then picked up a couple of towels and went for a dip in the water, the best way to cool off after hiking the steep streets of Monterosso.
Our next stop was Vernazza, one of the two towns I was most excited to see and also one of the most iconic. If you have the time, hiking between Monterosso and Vernazza is an absolute must. It’s about a two hour hike along what basically constitutes a goat track, laden with steep and winding staircases, but the views are spectacular and I wouldn’t want to have missed them for a thing.
Our final stop of the day was in Manarola, which is where I truly fell in love with the Cinque Terre. Nissan Dorma, a sweet little wine and tapas bar that overlooks the town is the p-e-r-f-e-c-t place to spend the afternoon, drinking, eating, and soaking up that view. Rather than head back to La Spezia for dinner, we decided to spend the evening in Manarola and catch one of the later trains back. We had dinner at Ristorante Da Aristede, which I can’t recommend enough. The fried calamari is excellent, as is the tagliatelle with prawns, eggplant and tomato, with the panacotta to finish.
We ended our time in Cinque Terre on a high note, watching as the sun went down over Manarola, and scattered lights began to flick on in the houses which line the coast.
For the romantic in all of us, these towns will capture moments and feelings that are bound to make your heart swell.