Saturday, April 6, 2019

Riomaggiore and Manarola - Cinque Terre

July, 2014
We debated about staying right in the Cinque Terre....Camera Guy and I  decided to stay outside of the area because we wanted to explore more of the region and needed larger accommodations since there were four of us. If you stay in The Cinque Terre, you can explore the villages at leisure.  Don't rent a car if you are staying in one of the villages as there is very little accessibility.  There are accommodations available and you need to book very far ahead to get something you like.   We rented a car knowing that we wouldn't use it to travel through the Cinque Terre. We would try the train, the boat and do some hiking.

Riomaggiore (photo below) is the most southern village of the Cinque Terre and we decided to start there. We would take the train and then take the coastal hiking path between Riomaggiore and Manarola, the Via dell'Amore or The Lover's path. 

Unfortunately, we discovered it was closed due to a rock one knew when it would be reopened.  And then came the brilliant decision to hike over the mountain.  Totally unprepared, the four of us began the climb... with little water...on a very hot day.  I held the group back a bit and  after making our way up the first section, we discovered there was a quite a bit  more to go before reaching the top. 

They all looked at me...and I looked at them... and then Elliot suggested to me that maybe  I should reconsider the climb and so I said we should turn back.  It was actually difficult going back down as it was pretty steep!  We took the train to Manarola which took only a few minutes!

Manarola (photo below) is  the village that is photographed the most, with its colourful and joyful houses perched on a huge rock jutting out of the beautiful blue Ligurian sea.

Manarola and Vernazza are considered one of the most beautiful small villages of Italy.   It has a pretty harbour with fishing boats and a great swimming spot.  Bring a swim suit!  You can jump off the rocks or climb down the ladders. It is quite deep here so you shouldn't swim here unless you feel comfortable in deep water.

Corniglia, Monterosso and Vernazza by Sea

July 2014 Visiting the Cinque Terre by boat offers a very different perspective when you view and approach the villages from the sea.  We really liked travelling between the villages by boat.  The boats run between Monterosso and Portovenere (also La Spezia) both directions and stop in every village except Corniglia. You can also take a boat tour from Portovenere.

Corniglia (photo below) is quieter and smaller with not as many restaurants. We had lunch here and enjoyed a fabulous meal and a bottle (or two) of local wine. The walk up to the village is a challenge....there are a LOT of stairs, an we were there on a very hot day. Be prepared.

Vernazza (photo below) on the other hand is beautiful and as I said before, it is considered one of the most beautiful (along with Manarola) small villages of Italy. I still liked Manarola the best...Vernazza has many restaurants, bars colourful houses fishing boats and nets.  It has a lot of tourists and is quite busy. 

When you are walking around these villages, especially when you are climbing up stairs or paths, make sure to turn around and look back at the beautiful views.  There is also a small sandy beach by the piazza. 

Our last stop was in Monterosso (photo below).  It is more like a summer resort village with a big long beach with deck chairs and umbrellas.

I think about 3-4 days is a good amount of time overall in the Cinque Terre. We did one day by train, visiting all 5 villages, and another full day on the ferry, visiting 3 of the 5. 

We returned by boat to Portovenere (photo below) and we thought that this would have made a great home base when visiting this region. This village is really a hidden treasure.  We stayed here for dinner and really enjoyed the setting and the food.

It was so wonderful having Elliot and Leah with us on this trip.  Memories I will always cherish...


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