Cinque Terre (meaning five lands) is a collection of five picturesque coastal villages overlooking the Ligurian Sea. This UNESCO World Heritage Site can be easily visited from Genoa or Pisa (best by train) and is a must stop for any Italy vacation.
Our visit to Cinque Terre started after a few days of visiting Northern Italy. We arrived by train via Milan and transferred from La Spezia to the express train. The train system in Italy puts our Canadian systems to shame. The Cinque Terre express trains run every 20 minutes between all of the major villages. You can easily hop on and off these throughout the day visiting all of the towns.
Our Airbnb was located in the ancient roman village of Corniglia. The town is on top of a cliff at 100 meters above the sea. Surrounding the village are vineyards and farms. The town itself only has about 150 residents, but it is the perfect spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset over the sea.
While train or ferry is certainly the most convenient way to travel between the towns, there are also 120 km of hiking trails within the Cinque Terre National Park. We took the “easy” 3km trail from Corniglia to Manarola. The trails are a mix of stone, dirt and many stairs. The highest peak of the path we took was 208 meters above sea level. While the hike wasn’t very easy, the views were absolutely stunning!
Along the trail (very conveniently) we found Bar il Gabbiano. Unfortunately, the bar and the seating area are a 30 metre climb apart. Their sign to order explains: “To order, send the STRONGEST down the path to the bar.” It was a warm and sunny day when we hiked past the bar. The 30 metre climb was worth it for a refreshing drink!
For us, Cinque Terre was our favourite stop in Italy. The food was incredible (try Trattoria dal Billy for dinner), the beaches were stunning (visit Monterosso al Mare Beach) and the people were incredibly kind and friendly (stop by the Bar Pan e Vin Café and say hi to the owners). This spot didn’t just match the picturesque travel pictures, it exceeded all of our expectations.