If you are planning a trip to the Cinque Terre our Itinerary Review will help streamline your vacation and the service includes our tips and tricks for seeing this area. No time to plan yourself? Check out our full service Travel Planning.
Not sure the Cinque Terre is for you? Let us do our best to change your mind. Here are the reasons we just can’t get enough. – Kenzie Perkins
1. Because hiking between the Cinque Terre villages is nothing short of magical
The view from the top is unparalleled. Muretti secchi, or dry stone wall, terraces down the mountainside to accommodate the vineyards and olive groves. This stone terracing – an iconic part of the Cinque Terre, specific to the area – is traditionally done without mortar. As tourism began to overtake the area and the art of the stone was lost on younger generations the walls weren’t maintained, which play a major role in the devastating 2011 flooding that left two of the five villages buried in mud.
As a result of the love and support given to the Cinque Terre by people all over the world and with the tireless work of groups like Save Vernazza, the towns have all been restored to their previous traditional beauty.
The wonder that is train transportation means travelers can take day trips from Milan or Florence to the Cinque Terre. Alternatively (and our strong recommendation), travelers can also home base here and spend several days meandering between the coastal villages, all five of which are connected by a hiking trail. Some sections are more difficult than others, and there are occasional trail closures. Check the trail reports before you go!
2. Because you’ve never been wined and dined like this before
Start with a potato-octopus salad, served chilled and drizzled with fresh olive oil. Next, try the short, thick noodle, called trofie, tossed in the iconic pesto sauce that originates in the Cinque Terre.
Finish with something sweet, but don’t forget to pair it with the Cinque Terre’s specialty wine, sciacchetra. The sweet wine had been made for centuries in the hills of the Cinque Terre.
Not sure where to eat. Don’t worry. Every restaurant is incredible.
3. And you’ve definitely never eaten anchovies like these
The Italians can make anything taste good! Anchovies in the United States are usually reserved for pizza and Caesar salad, but the small, salt-water fish – found in plentiful numbers in the Mediterranean Sea – is a stand alone, unforgettable entrée in the Cinque Terre.
Staying in Vernazza? Try the town’s specific traditional dish, tagame alla vernazzana, or anchovies with tomatoes and potatoes.
4. Because you haven’t experienced Market day until you’ve seen it in the Cinque Terre
There aren’t any cars in Vernazza, except on Tuesdays, when brave farmers use the only opportunity to to park their produce trucks along the sloping hillside, and the Italian daughters, mothers, and grandmothers come out in mass. The streets are assailed with the sounds of bartering and the smells of freshly picked produce.
Grab a seat on the patio of a local trattoria to watch the action, or join in and get yourself some fresh fresh grapes to fuel you during your hike.
5. Because sometimes you need to get lost to find yourself, and there is no better place than the Cinque Terre
There is only one road in Vernazza. It’s a stone path that curves from the railway station, through towering, weather-worn buildings to the thundering sea that breaks its waves on the rocks.
The town of is interconnected by an intricate labyrinth of corridors and stairways. The curious adventurer could easily find herself wonderfully lost.
At the water front, children chase the waves that tug backward toward the sea and shriek with joy as each new wave splashes across their faces.
Every night, the sun sets over the water, casting its glowing rays onto the Mediterranean hues of the the town, resulting in a magical display of gold, pink, orange.
Sun bathers stir, awakened by the receding sun, and strangers sit together as friends to look toward this little piece of Heaven.
They are all living in the moment, their worries disappearing with the setting sun. They don’t know it yet, but this is a moment that will turn into an unforgettable memory, one that will stay with them all for the rest of their lives.
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Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel
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