Cinque Terre is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever visited. It’s made up of 5 small towns perched on the western coast of Italy. The name actually translates to “Five Lands.” I went on a day trip from Florence while studying abroad in Italy during the summer of 2017. The first set of photos below I took at Manarola, our first stop at Cinque Terre. Manarola is the second smallest of the five towns. It’s known for its incredible viewpoints of the colorful buildings perched on the cliffs and bright turquoise ocean.
After spending some time taking in the views at Manarola, we took the train to the town of Vernazza. It’s known for its restaurants and natural harbor. You have to try the pesto focaccia, both of which originated in this part of Italy, and a seafood cone with a refreshing Limonata! This is where we began the 2 mile hike to the third and final town we visited – Monterosso al Mare.
Sentiero Azzurro Hike
The Sentiero Azzurro (the Blue Trail) is a hiking trail that connects all five villages and is divided into four sections between each town. Since we were in Cinque Terre for a limited time, we only hiked one of the four sections – from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare.
One thing to note is that you will need to purchase a “Cinque Terre Card” to access the trails (even if you’re only hiking one of the sections). Currently (in May of 2022), it costs 7.50 Euros for a day pass just to hike. You can also get a 1-day hiking + train pass for 18.20 Euros if you plan on visiting multiple towns and don’t want to hike to all of them, which is what we did.
Monterosso al Mare
Our hike ended at the beach town of Monterosso al Mare. This is the largest of the five towns, and is the only one that has an actual sandy beach. Another interesting and unique feature of Monterosso is that it has an “old” and “new” section. The “old” section is marked by the ancient tower of Aurora. Relaxing at the beach with a frozen drink overlooking the crystal clear water was the perfect way to end the day.
Cinque Terre is a very popular destination, especially for cruises. So, one suggestion I would make is to check cruise schedules and plan your trip when there aren’t any (or very few) cruises in port. This way, you can avoid the crowds as much as possible! Regardless, visiting Cinque Terre, even for a day, is sure to be an experience you will never forget.