Cinque Terre meaning five lands is an area comprised of 5 villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Each one is exceptionally beautiful as they all rest along the coastline and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I had 2 full days to explore all 5 villages by hike and by train. Monterosso was my personal bias because during my 3-night stay it was my home.
Here’s what I did in my first 24 Hours in Cinque Terre:
1) Grab pastries for breakfast. From Wonderland Bakery in Monterosso, I had to try a cannoli!
2) Hike The Blue Path (Sentiero Azzurro) from Monterosso to Vernazza. Lots of uphill stair climbing, but the view of Vernazza from above is supreme. Remember to use some bug spray as it does go through forestry.
3) Explore the seaport of Vernazza. Take lots of pictures and go early if you can – by 11 AM the tour groups arrive.
4) Have a drink by the sea at Riomaggiore. A Pie’ de Ma’ is a cliffside bar with a gorgeous view of both the village and sea.
Due to closures in the Blue Path and rainy weather, we took the train there from Vernazza. There are daily unlimited train and hikes passes available for purchase and each village is extremely close to the next.
5) Indulge in deep fried calamari. We tried Il Bocconcino’s famous deep fried snacks in Monterosso. Everything is made to order to ensure freshness which does cause a bit of a line. Have patience and simply appreciate the rarity of such dedication.
6) Admire the Monterosso coastline. If you’re brave enough, climb the huge rock by the shore.
7) Discover the many shops, bars, cafes and restaurants in the historical village of Monterosso. Look for unique souvenirs to bring back home.
8) Take an afternoon siesta. Most restaurants are closed at this time anyway!
9) Eat Bolognese lasagna. The one at the highly rated Pae Veciu was one of, if not the best meal I had in Italy. We also got scallops which I truly wish we got more of.
10) Hit up a local bar. We chose Enoteca Da Eliseo for their rustic storefront and patio – which was too full that we had to sit inside instead. Meet some strangers over drinks, fellow tourists don’t bite!
I tried the Aperol Spritz and Beatrice tried the Sciacchetra (Cinque Terre specialty) and Limoncello. Your bar snack is provided depending on your choice of drink. As Sciacchetra is a sweet dessert type wine, we were paired with biscotti. Others received bread or olives – I think we won here.
In the next 24 hours to come, I’ll visit the other 2 villages, attend Monterosso’s annual Lemon Festival, and definitely eat and drink more!