10 Tips from Travelers: Cinque Terre, Italy

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Anytime I visit another country, I always find it helpful to get insider tips from people who actually live in that region or have travelled there. Today’s “Tips from Travelers” is all about the rainbow-colored Cinque Terre region in Italia, a chain of five fishing villages positioned along the jagged Italian Riviera coastline that together form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once a best-kept secret, this vibrant group of towns has become a popular destination for tourists visiting Europe. Out of all the places to explore in Italy, Travel Lushes gets tagged the most on Instagram in photos snapped here (read my post: “Daily Escape: Cinque Terre, Italy” to learn more).

For those of you planning a trip to Cinque Terre, these three Instagrammers who have been featured on our Travel Lushes Instagram page, have some insightful tips to help you make the most of your epic journey. From advice on the best time to visit Cinque Terre, to things to do and where to hike when you get there, learn from other travelers who are just like you.


TRAVELER #1:

Martha Huynh (@marthahuynh), a Norwegian/Vietnamese full-time student at Edinburgh University who loves to eat, travel and discover new things, places and people – and take photos of it.

So many things to be grateful for innit🎈

A photo posted by Martha Huynh (@marthahuynh) on

SHE SAYS:

1. Hike between the villages.

The views are stunning, making the (perhaps) exhausting and sweaty experience worthwhile. Bring a fully charged camera, dry your sweat and SMILE. You’re in Cinque Terre – life is beautiful 🙂

2. Keep hydrated (and comfortable)!

Bring a water bottle (there are plenty of places along the trails to re-fill your bottles) and some good hiking shoes, and you’re good to go!

3. Use the Cinque Terre Train Card.

It’s a money-saver if you are planning to take the train between the villages three or more times a day. Price starts at €12 (alternative for non-hikers).

4. Plan your trip according to peak-seasons.

Peak summer seasons = a lot of tourism, high temperatures and crowded trains. I personally prefer going off-peak season. I travelled in September – weather was still amazing, the temperature was 25C+, but all the villages were much less crowded. You’ll see more of the local life, rather than thousands and thousands of tourists like yourself trying to hike the narrow paths between the villages in the searing heat.

5. Ice Cream.

Enough said.

6. Sunset in Riomaggiore.

This is one of the five villages, and an absolute must for sunset-viewing! I cannot emphasize enough how breathtakingly beautiful it is. Get comfy by the waterside and enjoy the magic.

7. Explore the off-the-beaten track.

Yes, Cinque Terre offers some of the most incredible sights, entertainment and food – but do dare to explore beyond the main tourist attractions. The villages (Vernazza being a favourite) have some of the most incredible places to discover once you get off the beaten track. See how the locals live!


TRAVELER #2:

Tamara White (@onewanderwoman), an Emirates Travel and Social Media Ambassador who loves life and adventure.

Stunning view from Manarola! #Manarola #CinquedeTerre #Italy A photo posted by Tamara (@onewanderwoman) on

SHE SAYS:

Italy is such a wonderful place; it is full of history, amazing people and great food. I have been dreaming of going to Cinque Terre for quite some time as I am an avid hiker and adventure-seeker.

7. Where to stay:

I began my journey at the town of La Spezia and it is just glorious. The town itself is simply breathtaking; it’s full of charm and radiating with life. It’s also a great place to stay and start because it’s a busy city full of restaurants, grocery stores, and only a short train ride from the hiking start.

8. Where to hike:

I began my hike in Monterosso al Mare, the starting point of the 11km coastal path (you can also start at Riomaggiore, which is right next to La Spezia).  There were a lot of wonderful sights to see in Monterosso al Mare; The Castle which was sadly partially ruined but added that historic oomph factor, the beautiful St. John the Baptist parish church, the convent of Monterosso al Mare and the amazing Monterosso Giant which was just shockingly beautiful.   It also had amazing coastal views. I then hiked my way to Vernazza which was in my opinion not the easiest as it was uphill with lots of broken stairs.  I took a high mountain route from Vernazza to Corniglia.  Unfortunately, the other routes were closed during my hike so I decided to take the train to Manarola, which was one of my favorite villages.  I love it because of everything in it, the history, the food, the sights to see and the amazing views. My last stop was Riomaggiore which was another beautiful place; also full of charm and character.  You have the option to rent a kayak, which is nice to do here.  This is also a great place to stay, if not in La Spezia, but a little more expensive.

9. What not to miss:

To complete my Cinque Terre adventure, I went to Porto Venere which was another great place because of the wondrous sights to see. Like the other towns I visited, they had glorious churches built like the Gothic Church of St. Peter and the Romanesque church of St. Lawrence which were all very outstanding and beautifully crafted.  Porto Venere also has the The Doria Castle and the now collapsed Grotta dell’Arpaia otherwise known as Byron’s Grotto.

Check out Tamara’s video of her hike through Cinque Terre:


 TRAVELER #3:

Kelly (@je.suis.kelly), a vegan who loves to travel through life, enjoying good food and drinks along the way.

It’s easy to see why Cinque Terre is so famous. 😍 🇮🇹 Photo: Manarola, Italy A photo posted by Kelly (@je.suis.kelly) on

SHE SAYS:

Although all five towns have their own unique charm, Vernazza was my favorite! It’s one of the most beautiful small villages of Italy, where the people are more likely to own a boat than a car! 

10. Make a dinner reservation at Belforte Restaurant in Vernazza and request the Lovers Table (for two).

The restaurant used to be a pirate lookout and for good reason! The view is truly unbeatable and it’s a perfect place to enjoy the sunset. If you love pesto, the Trofie al Pesto is absolutely amazing! They also have some great seafood. Ask for Andrea as your waiter. He’s quite the character and he’ll be sure to make you laugh.

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