CINQUE TERRE, ITALY
Billy and I went on two day trips with Walkabout when we were in Florence. One of them was a tour a few Tuscan cities (see here) and the other one was a hiking tour around the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is a portion of the Italian Riviera consisting of five villages and has been on my bucket list ever since the first time I saw a picture of their famous rainbow cliffside houses.
1. Manarola – The first village we stopped at was Manarola. Our tour guide, Freddy, pointed out different plants and told us about the local wine making process. The pride of the Cinque Terre is the Sciacchetrà, a dessert wine made from allowing the grapes to dry before turning into wine.
2. Corniglia – The second village we visited was the smallest village of Corniglia, which is located high above the sea. We had lunch at Cecio Restaurant. The first course was a mixed seafood plate and the second course was pasta with pesto. The Italian Rivera is actually the birthplace of pesto.
3. Vernazza – After lunch, we hiked from Corniglia to Vernazza, which was about 4km. After we got into town, we treated ourselves to some gelato. At the end of the day I checked my health app and we ended up walking over 19km that day and climbing over 100 flights!
4. Monterosso – Monterosso is the largest and most visited village during high season because of the sand beach and resorts. When we got there though, it started raining so we spent our time there trying out a glass of local wine.
5. Riomaggiore – Riomaggiore is actually the first city in the chain of villages when arriving from La Spezia, but it was perfect as the last stop. We got there right at dusk and ran down to the seaside rocks to watch the sunset next to the fishermen.
If you are thinking about visiting the Cinque Terre, you should make your plans soon! Last year, the region received 2.5 million visitors, however, the government is planning to reduce the number of visitors by 1 million in order to minimize the amount of damage done to the coastal area. The Cinque Terre was one of the best days of our trip. I wish we’d had more time to stay there. It was also great going during low season because it was not crowded at all!