For some reason, I was intuitively compelled to visit Cinque Terre in Italy, which translates into ‘five lands’ in reference to the five coastal villages situated within that area of Liguria. As I enjoy hiking, I also wanted to visit as to hike from one quaint village to another. In this post, I will be sharing some information on the various villages and on:
Hiking Corniglia To Vernazza to Monterosso
How To Get There: Cinque Terre is easily accessible from Florence, and Genoa, via the local train; from Florence, it required around two and a half hours to arrive, with a change of train in Pisa
What To Expect: Crowds – that is, if you’re visiting in August, which I do not recommend. My mother and I chose to stay in Vernazza (birds eye view of it pictured above) and when she left, I switched to Corniglia as there is a hostel there with a female dorm – known as Ostello Corniglia. After gallivanting through each village, I can actually recommend Corniglia as the ideal location for accommodation. Why? Well, it has the feel of the other villages but not the same amount of tourists due to Corniglia being home to an abundance of stairs. Fret not, though, as there is a bus available from the train station to the main area!
As this post is about hiking Cinque Terre I will not go into detail over every village. Just know that each, except for Monterosso, entail typically Italian narrow alleyways, pastel coloured houses squished together, and an abundance of small shops selling bits and bobs (from stylish clothes to local ingredients and more). As Monterosso is parallel to the ocean, it consists of a long stretch of beach accompanied by a long stretch of restaurants, with some tourist shops here and there.
Additional Information: To be honest, hiking from Corniglia (start of the trail pictured above) to Vernazza then onto Monterosso requires more patience than skill. I say this because I saw many elderly people hiking the trail despite the fact that there are many steps – steep steps made of just roughly cut rock. So, to reiterate, it is more than possible for a beginner to hike Cinque Terre as it just requires you to take it at your own pace. A little tip from me, though, would be to hike the route I did (Corniglia – Vernazza – Monterosso) as it saved me from having to ascend those steep stairs the trails start with; instead, I just had to descend the aforementioned steep stairs (I was quite happy with myself over this lol)!
What I genuinely loved about hiking Cinque Terre was the sensory experience of it all. Whilst savouring the occasional breeze from the ocean, I could smell the scent of wild flowers while walking by vineyards, olive farms, lemon farms, tomato farms, and more. It was truly a feast for my senses so if you plan to hike Cinque Terre, remember to stop every now and then to really enjoy the hike in its entirety. Pictured below is a vineyard alongside local berries (spot the grapes!).
Price: EUR 16 for a Cinque Terre Day Card which includes entrance to the trails and access to the train which stops in every village
Other Recommendations: The region of Cinque Terre is known for its fresh produce, mainly its anchovies, lemons, and basil. In fact, pesto (pictured above) originates from Cinque Terre (or so they say)! So whilst visiting, it is a must to indulge in local pasta, known as trofie, drenched with pesto while sipping a lemonade – if you’re not vegetarian then of course, with a side of just caught anchovies. Speaking of diet restrictions, there are gluten-free options available around Cinque Terre and I noticed that Manarola had the most, from gluten-free dough delicacies to dessert delicacies. To end on a sweet note, I feel that it is mandatory to experience the basil gelato in Corniglia, at Alberto Gelateria, at least once in your life – the flavour of it is indescribable but in the best way possible. Pictured below is the basil gelato combined with cherry gelato (another recommendation).
“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.” Mary Davis