One day in Cinque Terre, Liguria

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One day in Cinque Terre, Liguria





































Cinque Terre is one of those places that pops up across Instagram, Pinterest and travel bucket lists all the time, with very good reason. During mine and Jack's holiday in Genova, I'd planned to either spend one day visiting Portofino or Cinque Terre, of which both places sit on the Italian Riviera. 

Distance-wise Portofino is a lot closer to Genova, but after reading lots online about both I eventually settled on Cinque Terre after seeing plenty of posts claiming that you can do the famous five villages in one day, whereas you can take the train to Portofino but you then have to almost hike from there and the town seemed a bit small for all the effort you put into getting there!

A quick confession for any of you expecting a thorough guide for your wonderful day in Cinque Terre after I obviously influenced your decision to visit (lol), as we didn't manage to visit all five. I know, I know, I'm sorry that this won't be as comprehensive as this could be! But hey, we did see four out of five so not bad at all in my opinion. The only village which we didn't manage to see was Riomaggiore, but once we'd seen the first four I don't feel too upset about it!

There is no one right way to do Cinque Terre - you can drive, get the train, take a boat if you're feeling a bit fancy or hike. We did a bit of a mix: we had planned to walk between as many as possible but the route between Vernazza and Corniglia was closed off due to being out of season so we ended up buying a train ticket to get to the next village. For example, if you stick to just getting the train between all five then you can get a Cinque Terre card and save some money.

This post is a mix of photo diary and guide with some tips thrown in along the way, so hopefully parts of this will be useful if you're planning to visit!

One day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
We started our day early at Genova Piazza Principe train station and hopped on a train towards Monterosso al Mare, the first of the five Cinque Terre villages. We grabbed a beautifully smooth cappuccino in a little bar by the station that looked out onto the sea which was the perfect way to kick-off our hike!

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
The first walk was from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza, which led us along rocky but mostly flat pathways with gorgeous views of the next village and sea throughout. It took us about 1 hour and a half and I will warn you that if you're thinking of walking some of the route, be prepared for lots of steps upwards and downwards at various points. My calves were like jelly at the end of our day!

As someone who occasionally gets a bit freaked out about heights, I would also say that the paths at a few points felt really bloody close to the edge of the mountains which was a bit unnerving so do keep that in mind if heights aren't your friend!

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
One of my favourite things about the walk was seeing these colourful and dainty-looking villages slowly get closer and closer in view and it felt so good to be able to sit and take it all in. Once we reached Vernazza we had a quick wander around the village and soon rewarded ourselves after the long walk with a gelato! As I will explain in more detail in an upcoming food post, the Italians are obsessed with pistachio flavours in Genova so definitely go straight for this. I also chose Crema, which had a lovely custardy-vanilla flavour to it.

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria    
As mentioned, we had planned to then carry on walking to Corniglia, the next village along and started walking again after looking around Vernazza. We got about five minutes into the walk before we reached a block on the path, so we headed back into Vernazza to grab some lunch before jumping onto the train to Corniglia.

Calamari is one of my favourite foods ever so we ordered a big heap of it to take with us and eat. The batter was beautifully light and the squid was perfectly squidgy without being too rubbery. However, it was incredibly overpriced at £9! It's something to keep in mind as you travel between the villages; because they are touristy most places were significantly more expensive than anywhere we ate in Genova.

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
The train to Corniglia station from Vernazza took about five minutes, and we were then faced with another onslaught of stairs to the reach the town. I really liked the atmosphere of Corniglia, it felt much quieter and the least touristy of the villages we saw. The streets were narrow and winding and there were plenty of cute bars and cafes dotted along the mountain edge which looked out onto miles of vineyards. 

We stopped off in a bar we've spotted for a quick drink to sit and take in the view. I went for an Aperol Spritz whilst Jack opted for a rather sophisticated Limoncello.

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
After a while relaxing in Corniglia, we felt ready to start walking again to the next village, Manarola which took around two hours. By this point of the day, it was pretty warm and the next walk entailed even more steps very early on so I wasn't particularly enjoying how sweaty I got! We went upwards in a challening set of steps for what felt like half an hour, winding our way round the mountains.

After a while the path eventually got flatter again and we were soon walking through beautiful vineyards. Not far from Manarola we even passed through a tiny, toy town-like village called Volastra.

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
We got a bit lost so we got to see even more of it, I was rather obsessed. I'm heading back there once I'm sick of the rest of the world and I'm craving some alone time.

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
After eventually working out the right way out of this cute little town, we carried on our walk towards Manarola in a series of ridiculous steps downward.

Let's imagine a never-ending staircase downwards. My calves are wobbling away just thinking about it oooosh. I hadn't experienced a feeling like it before; I would stand still and my legs would start shaking uncontrollably so be prepared for tired-out calves! 

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria The above view of Manarola was undoubtedly the most memorable from the entire day. It was breathtaking to see all the pastel houses sitting prettily in its famous staircase style. We still had another set of steps downwards to go but it felt even more satisfying to know that we were almost finished with walking for the day.

As predicted, Manarola was undeniably the busiest of the four villages we saw but the views were spectacular! We found a rock by the sea to sit and rest on for a while and people-watched. 

One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
What I would say about visiting Cinque Terre is that there's not loads to see in terms of specific landmarks. For us it was more about the journey between the villages that made the experience a lot more worth it, I do think by taking the quicker way it reduces the appeal quite a bit. The villages are incredibly touristy and overpriced so do expect to spend a bit of money on the day!

It's one of those places that if you have the chance to spend the day exploring I'd absolutely do - the views were incredible and we got quite the workout!

Have you visited Cinque Terre? What tips or advice would you give to others? Thanks for reading!

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One Day in Cinque Terre, Liguria
 
 
                  


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