Struggling to decide between Italy’s north and south coast? Same here! So, I included both on my 2-week trip to Italy. I spent 2 days with Riomaggiore, the farthest town on the Ligurian coast, as base and the only plan was to hike.
Cinque Terre, literally translates to 5 villages, comprises of 5 cute seaside towns on Italy’s north coast: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia and Monterosso. The area is marked by mountains and cliffs making it ideal for hiking along the coast to enjoy spectacular views.
How to reach there: From Florence, you need to take the train to La Spezia and then change to a regional train that runs between the 5 villages. We made a pit stop at Pisa so we reached late evening. Otherwise, the journey from Florence takes about 3-3.5 hours. We booked all our trains from Trenitalia.
As luck would have it, we arrived there on a particularly stormy weekend in September. It was cold, windy and there was light rain pretty much all the time. On our first morning, we simply savoured the lovely views from our apartment, while sipping limoncino.
There are many trails which take you from one village to the other. However, the azure trail is the marked one and it is also the paid one– you need to buy the Cinque Terre pass. Because of the weather, the azure trail was closed. People were still hiking and so I also mustered some courage to do the hike from Vernazza to Corniglia. It’s a moderate hike of about 4 km (mostly uphill). The weather made it more challenging as the ground was wet and downhill portions could be very tricky. I was hiking alone as dear husband wasnt feeling well. A bit nervous, I set out and the beautiful views (and some people along the way) kept me going. For sometime in the middle of the hike, I was terrified and constantly questioning my decision to hike alone. It was a forest type area and there was absolutely no one around in either direction. Anyway, I was getting data signal so I kept my fears in check and trudged along. 30 mins later I spotted another female coming in my direction. Phew! I was super proud of myself for completing a hike alone for the first time– truly exhilarating experience!!
Sharing some pictures from the gorgeous hike. It was a rainy day so I knew the place won’t look like Instagram pictures but it was like a postcard, nonetheless. I have not edited any of the below pictures 😊
The next morning, I explored Riomaggiore before leaving for Siena.
Where to eat: While you are in Cinque terre, don’t miss out on:
2. Limoncino (lemon liqueur): Our hostess made this at home and it was absolutely yum!