For my final place to visit in Italy, I headed to the Cinque Terre. Before I even left on this trip of a lifetime, I knew several places that I absolutely had to make it to, and the Cinque Terre was one of those places. It’s the one place in Italy that was new to me on this visit to one of my favorite countries. The Cinque Terre is a region on the northwest coast of Italy overlooking the sea, that is made up of 5 towns, linked together by a railway and hiking trails. I booked an apartment in the southernmost town called Riomaggiore for 4 nights and was absolutely thrilled to arrive in this adorable town.
I knew that since it was now the beginning of December it was the low season here, meaning most restaurants and shops are closed, but a few stay open for the locals and rare visitors. This was fine with me, since I’d done more than my fair share of eating out the rest of my time in Italy. Basically, I found a super small but delicious restaurant very near my apartment and ate almost every meal from there, which I’d take to go and eat in the comfort of my kitchen table with music and my Kindle. On the first evening, I bought a bottle of red wine, but came back to my apartment to discover that the wine opener there didn’t work. I seriously took this as a sign, and detoxed for the remainder of my time in Italy. It really was a wise decision to not drink, and to stay hydrated, as the reason I was here in the Cinque Terre was to take advantage of the views and hiking trails and to spend my days here on long hikes going between each of the towns.
I had 3 full days here and knew the weather was supposed to be great my last 2, so I relaxed and got caught up on laundry and reading my first day, since it was pouring rain out and about 40 degrees (Fahrenheit). My second day was absolutely stunning though! I took the local train to the town that is the farthest north, called Monterosso. In each of the towns at the train station, there is an office that you can go to for directions on how to find the hiking trails, so I visited the one there and found out how to get started. On this day, I would hike from Monterosso through Vernazza and end in Corniglia. The beginning of the trail is by the beach (Monterosso is the only town there with a beach) and I started out all bundled up.Before my first set of stairsKiller views looking back at Monterosso after about 20 mins hiking
It only took about 10 minutes to reach the first set of stairs which prompted me to quickly remove my scarf, coat and sweatshirt!
The trails are quite exhausting, as they mostly consist of stairs, so you’re either going up or down, with short increments of flat walking. It’s totally worth it when you come upon an opening and can see views of the water or the next town way in the distance.
The next day I started a little earlier and ended up hiking for nearly 6 hours. I started in Manarola, one village north of where I was staying, then hiked way up into the mountains to a town called Volastra, then down to Corniglia. I had packed a sandwich and fruit for lunch, and made the decision to also do the hike I did the day before, but going in the other direction, starting in Corniglia and ending in Monterosso. I had the time, I had amazing, gorgeous weather and I was in one of the most stunning places I’d ever been and going to take advantage of this.
Walking through one of the towns to find the next trail
I cannot accurately describe the peace and beauty that you feel and see while here in the Cinque Terre. I enjoyed every second of my time here, hiking along the trails linking the picturesque towns along the coastline, and soaking up every amazing drop of sunlight that I was blessed with. I truly could not have dreamed of better weather for Italy in December while staying in an area famous for it’s outdoor activities and sights!
Cinque Terre is magical. One thing I know for sure is that I’ll be back.
Until then, Arrivederci Italia!!!