And here we are again with the topic of beautiful Cinque Terre. Main clues and Riomaggiore is already behind us (click) but right ahead still four more stunning cities!
I divided this trip into two posts due to the fact that I’m totally enchanted by the beauty of these landscapes and I believe that talking about them deserves more than just few photos, but also describing all the cities and general tips in one post can be a bit overwhelming. Nevertheless, don’t think I spent there more than one day. It was my short city-break from Milan – for one day each La Spezia and Cinque Terre. It was partially connected to the lack (total l a c k) of affordable accommodation in Cinque Terre and also because it was supposed to fit only weekend time. I, as quite often during my stay in Italy, planned the journey just few days ahead, however I advise you to do thisÂ well ahead of time, especially if you plan to stay there more than one day. Despite the fact that Cinque Terre consists of five cities, they are all really, really tiny, the same as range of possibilities of catching there accommodation (even more if you’re not ready to pay a fortune). In emergency situation, as me, you can choose well connected to Cinque Terre – La Spezia (click), which is not only beautiful itself but also much cheaper.
Talking about a time, one day was perfectly enough to see all the cities. Nevertheless, take into consideration that I didn’t take fully any hiking path and my journey between the cities was fully made by trains. Because I really wanted to see every city, I didn’t also catch a time for beach or swimming. If you don’t want to miss any of these, but still have time only for one day trip, I advise you to skip less exciting cities, as for me e.g. Corniglia. Depends what pleases you more, because all the options are really tempting. Beautiful architecture, sun, hot sea, or adorable hiking? The luckiest are those, who have time for all of them, aren’t they?
But let’s come back to our journey across Cinque Terre…
Manarola is set on the high rock promontory with the houses crawling down the hill in the direction of azure sea. The small square is situated in the higher part of the city. At the bottom there is a small harbor but also you can take opportunity of hot sea water with rocks and try swimming. Maybe it’s not a typical beach but surrounded by all the means of beautiful nature and architecture, the feeling must be amazing, huh?
Even if you don’t plan hiking, the beginning of hiking path in Manarola is one of the places which it’s totally worth joining for a minute. It’s a perfect spot to see a breathtaking panorama – whole city and hill behind it from the top in its full glory. Just astonishing! This place is a “must-see” on your Cinque Terre list, believe me.
Corniglia is situated on a hundred meters high rock headland. This is the only city, where the train is not stopping in the heart of it. To get the centre you need to take 365 steps (one for each day of the year) going up the hill along the vineyards with many spots of beautiful views on Manarola and hills. Tempting, huh? However, if you’re still not convinced there’s no problem, because the arrival of the train is mostly synchronized with the small shuttle buses going to the centre of Corniglia (included in Cinque Terre Card Train).
Corniglia is also the only city not connected directly to the sea, as the whole town lays on the hill. Nevertheless, don’t worry, there are many terraces facing the water, where from you can admire beautiful panorama of the neighboring municipalities and hills covered with stunning greenery. Lovely, isn’t it?
As you can imagine, surrounded by the vineyards, Corniglia is also a perfect place for the wine lovers. Their local wine is one of the town’s prides and regional product. Be ready to try!
Vanazza is set just over the sea and surrounded by steep terraces of olive groves. It is by many called a diamond of Cinque Terre. Why this city deserves such grandiloquent term?
Apart of beautiful architecture as in each town it can propose also another unique attractions. One of those is medieval castle overlooking the city, originally built to protect town against pirates. Only by two minute climbing you can reach its impressive walls and beautiful panorama place. Another thing is that Vernazza, as the only one city of Cinque Terre, has a real proper harbor. Despite its tiny size, it’s a really lovely place, next to which is a main square overlooking the sea with small beach. You can find there also remarkable church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia with impressive forty meters octagonal belfry. Perfect place to spend few minutes on a bench and admire sea and boats enclosed by colorful architecture. Sounds relaxing, huh?
In addition it is said also that Vernazza is the most picturesque of Cinque Terre cities. With many well conserved architectural elements as lodges, portals and arcades it is also very diverse. For the perfect shoots lovers, there is settled one of the most popular panorama spot, the one that is covering most of the post cards and adverts (also this post’s cover). I could not miss such view also! This magical place with the full outlook of the city in its whole beauty is easy to capture from the beginning of hiking path. Unfortunately, this part of the trail is not free of charge but luckily, I got there in the late afternoon when the check point was already closing and we could pass without any fee (good hint for low budget travelers ; ). After only few minutes of walk you’ve got no choice, but fall in love with the view you’ve got in front of you! Greenery of the hill, descending down colorful architecture with beautiful castle on the top, everything sliding into the azure sea dotted with vibrant boats. You won’t be able to take your eyes off it!
Monterosso is a bit different than other cities of Cinque Terre. It complies with the most standards of typical tourist resort. We can find there many more hotels and typical touristic attractions. It has the biggest beach which is the most besieged by sightseers. Moreover, you can find there car traffic and even three (yes, three! – as for 2014 data) taxies! Crazy!
The city is beautifully settled among hills covered with vineyards and olive groves. We can find there the trace of medieval architecture with ruins of castle and its three towers, Sant Giovanni church settled into medieval tower and still remaining Aurora tower. Apart of the historical part of the city, we can find there typical colorful architecture characterizing all Cinque Terre. What is also interesting, in contrary to other cities, Monterosso is mostly flat and without any steep streets.
If you look for perfect place for your holidays and relaxing beach time, Monterosso is a perfect choice!
Remember, Dream Up Travel!