Cancelling the trip to the land of Shakespeare, Verona, and also Venice was our best decision. Cinque Terre was already on my bucket list. We planned to go there in Day 1 in Italy but it was also cancelled because we were too exhausted to take another train after an eight-hour train ride from Salzburg. God knows the perfect timing. To save our money and time in train, we finally managed to visit Cinque Terre in Day 3. I was a little bit sad not able to visit the romantic cities, but pretty sure I would be sadder not to visit this heaven in the north-west Italy.
I instantly feel in love when I saw the picture on instagram. How can I not fall in love with it? Multicolored houses surrounded by lush nature are such a beautiful view I haven’t seen in my home country, Indonesia. To me, Cinque Terre was a sigh of bliss. Looking at the crystalline Mediterranean sea made me feel small, free, and relaxed at the same time. It was a blessing to see this paradise which is not far from Florence, where we stayed.
Cinque Terre, which means five lands, comprises five small coastal villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. It is located in the region Liguria, Italy. It took three hours from Florence Santa Maria Novella train station to the first village, Riomaggiore. Cinque Terre is famous by its walking trail to travel between its villages, but due to the limited time, we chose to take train since every village has its own train station. Sadly, we got to travel only to the three villages: Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso. However, that first visit was a trigger to come back someday to explore the other ones. Also, I wanna stay longer in Cinque Terre as it is a place that rewards taking it slow. I think three to four-day stay is enough to explore it.
Manarola is the first village we visited. We did a little hike and reached a point to overlook the spectacular view. Even though, the main street was bustling, fishing boats and other elements were such a reminder of everyday village life.
Vernazza is the forth village. It took approximately ten minutes from Manarola station. Frankly, this village is not really my favorite. It still has multicolored houses but not as attractive as in Manarola. I see Vernazza as Cinque Terre’s iconic highlight in terms of its small harbour and fishing.
Monterosso is my favorite village by far. I plan to stay in Monterosso when I visit Cinque Terre again. If Manarola reminds me of a village life, Monterosso reminds me of Bali, but a little bit more modern with the multicolored house which is not like a shanty town as in Manarola. This village is perfect for people who work on their tan.
- Don’t forget to wear sunscreen. I visited Cinque Terre in September and some say that it is the right choice to avoid the heat. But I still felt like the sun was right on the top of my head.
- Try a takeaway snack which is a bite-sized food piled into a paper cone.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Even though, it’s considered as a village, I heard someone got pickpocketed.
- I strongly suggest to hike as it is famous by it’s mountain trail. Enjoy the waterfront promenade! If you plan to explore all villages by walking, you can hire a tour guide or by yourself as long as you are well-prepared.
- Don’t take one day trip if you really have time and want to explore all the villages.