No words can truly describe the beauty that Cinque Terre holds. No pictures can capture the true essences of the vibe and emotions that these beautiful towns hold. Like I've stated in all of my posts from different cities in Italy, Italy has my heart, but Cinque Terre has my soul. With 2 days in Cinque Terre we had our hearts set on exploring as much of these cute little towns as we possible could. The emotions we got after getting off the train was unlike anything I've ever felt. The sound of the aves coaching against the cliff and the vision of old Italian woman hanging laundry out the window is seriously out of a dream. As we sit here growing our little family, I already can't wait to bring my children to this magical gem one day.
Since Cinque Terre was kind of our "relaxation" portion of the trip we decided to splurge on our Air B&B (here). To be honest, all of Italy is fairly cheap so splurging wasn't an arm and a leg. We opted for a beautiful little place nestled at the top of a classic Cinque Terre home with a balcony looking over the Mediterranean. When I say nestled at the top, we had to climb really small stairways to get up, but it was so worth it. Opening the French doors to our balcony was unreal. Our place was right in the harbor of the village called Riomaggiore which makes up one of the 5 villages through Cinque Terre. We were in heaven and couldn't wait to start walking around.
One huge thing that spark my attention with coming to Cinque Terre was the fact that the villages were known for pesto. You all know by now my major obsession with pesto so going to the location were it basically originated from was a dream come true. We had a server the first night that had us laughing with joy. I professed my love of pesto to him and he goes, "Well perfect, you are in the land of the pesto!". Um, yes please... Did I die and go to heaven?
Watch my Full Vlog on Cinque Terre
Most of our trip was wandering around (like a lot of what we did in Italy), but this place was so different then any of the other cities. Hearing the boat bells ring and being surrounded by a rainbow of houses was so amazing. Cinque Terre is starting to get quite touristy so we were really happy we stayed in the village we did. We were also happy we got a place right in the harbor because it kept us away from the crowds for the most part.
I highly recommend doing the high from village to village for the best views and the best adventure ever. Riomaggore is the last village so we were set perfectly to see as much as possible. Unfortunately, some of the trail was closed due to being damaged so we trained to the next village and then set out on our hike. The humid is so real. Within seconds both Kirby and I were sweating like crazy, but luckily we brought a ton of water. It's also nice because you end up getting to these crazy views on top of the cliffs that bring in a lot of that breeze off the water, but oh my gosh I will never forget that humidity.
We are really lucky that we're already hikers from the mountains in Colorado because some of the paths were straight up and long. If you aren't athletic, I'm not sure the hike with the humidity and high climbs would be for you. It was a ton of fun getting into each of the different villages and being able to explore a bit. The ones we had the most fun with were Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. These were both definitely the most busy, but it was fun seeing all the people and all the things to do.
In Vernazza we stopped for pizza (pesto pizza of course) and both got large beers. After finding a spot on the cliff and hanging on the small beach a bit we decided to finish the trek to Monterosso al Mare which is known for the biggest beach of all the villages. One funny thing that happened just before we finished and got into Monterosso was a man coming out of no where on the hike and offering us fresh limoncello. I'm talking like just squeezed in the last hour kind of fresh. I mean how are we going to pass that up? Monterosso al Mare was the perfect ending with daiquiri buckets, lots of beach time and lots of relaxation. It was extremely busy and touristy so I highly recommend staying in a different village if you can.
Another thing we loved doing in Cinque Terre was cliff jumping. We were lucky with staying right in the harbor and basically having the cliffs out our front door. I obviously didn't do the highest one like Kirby did because I'm terrified of heights, but I did make it off the baby one. If you're into it I was so jump and have the time of your life.
One thing both Kirby and I knew we wanted to do in this portion of our Italy trip was make dinner at home. We had the perfect balcony to enjoy a simple pasta meal and being in the land of pesto was the perfect place to do it. We shopped around for the best noodles and pesto sauce (which isn't hard), bought cheese and crackers and of course wine to enjoy a beautiful sunset together. It's a moment I'll truly never ever forget and wish I could relive. Moments like that with my husband and things I dreamt of doing my whole life and its crazy when you actually get to do it.
Since there are a ton of little wineries through the villages you can snag really good wine for really cheap prices. We were honestly in shock and felt so col drinking wine that was made right there. I'm telling you, if I had to choose a place to run away to Cinque Terre is it. I don't think I can say one bad thing about it and I would say jump on getting there as the tourist numbers continue to grow each year.
I feel as though I want to go into every single detail of this trip because it was seriously the magical. Then I sit here and think, you really need to go there for yourself in order to understand the true beauty. The pesto was absolutely amazing nd something I ate every day. The people who lived there were seriously so quintessential Italy that I couldn't even handle it. For example, I went into one mini restaurant to grab a couple beers (because you can drink wherever) and stated how hot it was. The man behind the counter/in the kitchen said in a loud Italian voice, "You think you're hot, get back in this kitchen and see!" He proceeded to drag me into the kitchen and had me help stir the pesto. Like, are you serious? I literally helped make pesto with a really Italian in the place pesto started. That is another memory from this trip that I'll never forget.
There are so many little things that each village holds that truly make up the beauty and magic behind Cinque Terre. It's everything you see in the pictures and read about in books except so much more. From cliff jumping, to hiking, to trying as much pesto as one can possible eat... I recommend doing it all. If you can find a place in Riomoggiore I would definitely do so because I think it held the most charm and was the least busy. Definitely opt for a balcony as well because we enjoyed so much time out there.
This was definitely the hardest place to leave on our 3 week European vacation, but we knew deep down that we would be back. Both of us were also really excited because we decided to rent a car and rive up this coast to our last destination, Milan! We had no idea what we were in for, but I can't wait to share the places we stopped along the way and the funny videos we captured. Italy is amazing everywhere you go.
If you're a lover of pesto as much as I am make sure to check out my family's pesto sauce recipe that mirrors the recipes found in Cinque Terre. Also, check out our trip to Santorini that held a very magical and amazing vibe too.
Find a list below of all the places we were able to check out and some of the things we advice skipping if you don't have the time... Or because we we're fans haha. Florence is truly amazing babes and definitely a place you need to go if in Italy.
Eat & Drink
Dau Cila - This was the first place we had dinner at and it sits right in the harbor about 20 steps from our door. It was so pretty being next to the water right at sunset. The food was amazing! We both ordered the pesto linguine which was the first time I had ever had pesto over linguine noodles. This is also the place the waiter called Cinque Terre, the land of the pesto. He had an amazing mustache that curled at the ends. Enough said.
Mama Mia - This place is so unique and has the best fried seafood. It's a take-away restaurant with a super tall table in the front. We stopped here first because we were starving after traveling all morning. It was hard not ordering pizza, but this was totally worth it (pictured above). We also got big beers to go with our lunch and don't regret a thing. It's right on the main walkway in Riomaggiore.
Pizzeria Fratelli Basso - This is the spot we got pizza from when we stopped in Vernazza on our hike. We both got pesto pizza with a big beer and it was delicious. This place was definitely a little hole in the wall, but asked some people around which place was best and this was it. You can grab everything to go so we sat with our pizza boxes on a rock looking over the water. Perfection.
Any market - Basically any market you find has the best fruits, cheeses and snacks to grab. I'm obsessed with the yogurt in Europe so i tried snagged one as much as I could.
Bar Colpi di Timone - This is a spot right above the beach in Monterosso al Mare that had the delicious and huge daiquiri buckets. After hiking for hours in the humidity I definitely recommend getting one of these bad boys. To be honest, I think we ended up splitting two!
La Grata - This place was super cute and had the perfect little outdoor dining. It was just past the market in Riomaggiore and had delicious pesto pasta. They also had a ton of seafood options if you're most interested in that.
Cliff Jumping in the port of Riomaggiore - We were lucky because this was literally right out our door. We spent one entire afternoon sitting on the rocks and taking turns jumping into the super refreshing water. It's just so beautiful looking up to the rainbow of houses.
Hiking from Riomaggiore to Monterosso al Mare - Again, it is extremely humid in June when we were there so be prepared. The hike is super steeps at times, but gives off the best of views. It's nice because ou can stop in each town for beer, water or food and to take a break. If you needed to give up, you could easily train to the next towns. However, the daiquiri bucket is much more rewarding after hiking and we would have never tried true fresh limoncello if we didn't make it all the way!
Spending the day at the beach of Monterosso al Mare - This was a super touristy area, but we were so happy to spend an entire afternoon lounging at the beach.
Vernazza views - If you're not up for hiking I would recommend at least getting to Vernazza and hiking up the different sides which isn't hard or too long at all. I think this village had the best views and was so pretty sitting right in the water front with the colorful houses. Again, a super touristy area, but the little beach and pizza made this stop worth it. We also found a really cute water painting of all the towns that we snagged to frame for home.
Things to Skip
NOTHING - Neither Kirby or I could think of anything specific to skip. Everything Cinque Terre has to offer is magical and super unique. Anything you can have time to do, do it. Explore the small random little streets, pop in to all the stores, try all the pesto and gelato that you can and spend as much time enjoy the view as possible.