Damar and I bought a ticket to Italy long time ago and had been waiting ever since. Neither of us had never been to Cinque Terre area, hence the excitement. Cinque Terre literally means Five Lands, comprise the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso located in the Italian region of Liguria. They are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List (source: Wikipedia).
Our plane landed in Milan at around 12 and as I had never been to Milan, we immediately headed off to Duomo di Milano. We just roamed around there, took picture, and people-watching. Three hours are quite enough time to get a little taste of the city of Milan. After being a full tourist, we went back to station to catch our trenitalia for our Cinque Terre ride. We booked it in advance and we recommended it as it is much cheaper!
The train was amazingly comfortable, no WIFI though, but really nice with arranged seats. Once we entered Liguria area, we noticed that we often passed by dark tunnels. And as soon as reaching the coast area, all I saw was mesmerizing and breathtaking view. We were lucky that the sky was blue and very clear. We could totally enjoy the nature landscape through the train.
How long to stay?
Three nights we stayed in which actually you could also do less. But we did not want to hurry. For some people 1 or 2 nights are enough. Actually you can also go explore all the lands in one day if you go by train. But we planned to hike and take the high road 🙂 This way you experience the nature more. If you do everything in one day, I don’t think you would be able to explore as much.
Where to stay?
We decided to stay in Corniglia as it is the most uncommon and it is located in the middle of the five lands. We thought it would be easy to 2 lands in one day and the other 2 lands the next day. T
Damar read an article stating that hiking from Corniglia to Vernazza is better than the other way around due to the amount of ascending. That is another reason why we chose to stay at Corniglia. It is a beautiful, quite and less tourist place to stay.
I stayed at Cristiana’s place, in which you can check the airbnb here. It was only the small bedroom available, thus we got that one and it’s more than sufficiently equipped. It is included breakfast and it is SO GOOOOOD! Try the chocolate croissant if you go there. The view is everywhere beautiful too.
Colazione (breakfast): You should try the pasticceria (pastry) of Italian. The creme, chocolate and apricot are the typical taste of croissant that makes it different than others. I love the creme or more like fla, Damar loves the melting chocolate. However, after tasting melting chocolate from Cristiana’s place, we had a new standar of delicious chocolate croissant. We tried so many times but we could not find anything better. Besides pastry, you should have coffee, no matter if it is espresso or capuccino. It is a perfect combination with the sweetness from the pastry. Be careful when you order “latte”, as they will give you milk. You should say it caffe latte instead.
Pranzo (lunch): Many places are closed during lunch time as it is considered as the most important meal of the day. Like in Spain, Italian people also have ‘siesta’ (an afternoon nap) after having lunch. Some schools allow the students to go home for lunch. However, nowadays they can also just go to closest Trattoria (an Italian place where simple food is served) or Pizzeria (Pizza place).
Panini is one of a good choice to have lunch, however me as an asian, bread is not enough as a meal. I always prefer pasta and my favorite is Gnocchi (potato pasta)! Cinque Terre is the best place that serves seafood. Thus, while there make sure you treat yourself with a very fresh, good-taste seafood. I must say the squid and muscles are the best! We love fried fish and seafood street way too!
A typical Italian though, they tend to really have a big meal. With first course (pasta or rice), second course (meat or fish), side dish (vegetable or salad) and dessert (fruits or sweets).
Cena (dinner): Italian dinner is quite light (soup, broth, salad or cold meat), but we cannot go light! We always end up with either seafood pasta or big pan of seafood pizza!
Check out my videos for some food footage 🙂
What to pack?
I will suggest to go there around Spring time as it is not that hot that you can actually enjoy the weather although sometimes it is quite unstable as it’s a transition period. Thus this will revolve around Spring’s needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Bring hiking or running shoes for the hike! And also some socks obviously!
- Make sure to always bring sweater or warm stuff in case cloudy weather, it gets chiller and chiller, especially at night
- Beach towels OR make sure your stay provides beach towels. Mine does 😉
- Swimsuit or bikinis!
- Sunblock! it can be really hot during hike especially when the sun is above your head
- Leather jacket and umbrella
- Bottles, to refill with mineral water
- CASH! they prefer cash than card, and it is just easier. I always prefer cash when travelling, easier to give ourself budget
- Books, podcast download, earphone – for the train ride and beach
|Easy Jet flight ticket return||50 eur||50 eur|
|Train ride airport to Station||12 eur||12 eur|
|Train ride from Milan to Corniglia||15.4 eur||15.4 eur|
|Airbnb||46 eur||46 eur x 3 days||138 eur|
|Hiking entrance ticket Corniglia – Monterosso including train ticket to return to Corniglia||16 eur||16 eur|
|Return train ticket from Corniglia – Riomaggiore||8 eur||8 eur|
|Food||10 eur||10 eur x 6 lunch dinner||60 eur|
|Mineral water 2 liter||1,5 eur||1,5 x 3 days||4,5 eur|
Five Villages, from West to East
It is the only land in Cinque Terre that has a proper beach. We arrived and decided to sit by the beach and take a nap. We thought that was the only beach there. After taking enough nap, we continued walking and voila there was another bigger beach nearby the station!! So we spread our beach towel and continued enjoying the water and sun. Buy some fried fish that was served in a cone, also the anchovies is the best in this area!! Monterosso is the most accessible by car.
It is the fishing village of the area. There is a famous church called the Santa Margherita d’Antiochia which was built in 1318. It’s built on a rock right in front of the sea. You can just simply enjoy the view and have some snacks by the water.
Corniglia (morning or midday)
Its very tranquil and it is best place to stay in my opinion. There is a sea-facing terrace in the corner and nice small alleys that you should visit!
Manarola (late afternoon)
The hiking trail from Corniglia was closed unfortunately, thus we took train. Make sure that you go there before sunset. The sunset view is killer! And to experience before sunset is even better, you would see the slow movement of the sunset. There is a cemetery uphill to visit and you can also wait for the sunset over there. There are also cafes in the below layer hill, and you can enjoy the sunset while listening to music and sip some drinks.
Riomaggiore (morning or midday)
It is the largest and apparently the ‘capital’ of Cinque Terre. The buildings lined down very steeply and in a very vivid color (the brightest compared to others). It’s best to enjoy during the day when the sun is above your head. I do think there are more rocks by the water than other lands. You can buy panini nearby, we do not remember the name but it is pretty obvious as people always line up. Bring the panini and eat it on the rocks. You can go to the cafes and enjoy a sip of coffee and people watching. The center is just a walking distance from the small ‘beach’. You should wear colorful dress to look good in a picture 😉