On the west coast of the Italian Rivera lies the 5 costal fishing towns known as Cinque terre. The instagram hot spot has been blowing up in the last 4 years, attracting more tourist each year. The popularity its brought on has caused an increase in prices for tourist. Here is a quick guide to visiting the costal towns without emptying out your wallet.
05:45 Take the first train from your starting destination (mine was Pavia) heading to La Spezia
The ride is a little over 3.5 hours, make yourself comfortable take a nap as theres a long day ahead of you!
09:20 Arrive to La Spezia
La Spezia will be your main hub into the five towns here you will have two options for touring the towns; via hiking or train. Although the hiking option is cheaper you should opt for the train pass, it is more pricey but it will allow you to explore all 5 towns in one day and give you a quick break between towns on a train with air conditioning. If you do choose to hike the trail in the national park note that some paths are closed during peak seasons because of route damage.
09:55 Catch the train to Monterosso
We decided to start at the furthest town and make our way back to La Spezia. The town of Monterosso is perfect for a morning coffee and croissant, here we grab some breakfast before the crowds arrived and walked along the beach.
13:05 Catch the train from Monterosso to Vernazza
Take a quick break on the train to the next city. Purchasing the train pass gives you access to wifi as well as bathrooms. Once you arrive to Vernazza keep your belongings close the large crowds give thieves many opportunities to pick your pockets. Make sure to check out the stone church (Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church) located at the cliff, here you’ll be able to catch some quick shade.
14:45 Vernazza to Corniglia
Corniglia is the only town that does not have direct access to the water, we decided to instead hike a bit of the trail located in the park, we also stumbled on a steep path known as Lardarina, which takes you to one of the highest points of the 5 towns giving you a great view of the two towns ahead. Here we also grabbed some lunch at a local pizzeria. Restaurants tend to be expensive in this area and therefore I highly suggest packing some protein bars for the day.
15:30 Corniglia to Manarola
Manarola is the most known of the 5 towns, it is often seen on many photos representing Italy. Its popularity comes from the colourful homes on one coast, giving photographers easy access to grabbing the perfect shot. Since its rise to popularity, many celebrities have been spotted here. For that reason it’s often littered with tourist.
17:30 Manarola to Riomaggiore
Catch the train to Riomaggiore to see one of the prettiest sunset I’ve ever witnessed. Riomaggiore is filled with bars on top of the cliff that allow you to enjoy the sunset to some great music and a cold beer. My personal favourite? Bar La Conchiglia, although a little pricey the place is worth stopping by just for the location.
Don’t bother grabbing souvenirs in the other towns as they will only weigh you down. Riomaggiore had the most stores of all 5 towns that allow you to buy local oils, wines and Limoncello. After seeing all the beauty Riomaggoire has to offer you can stay and party or make your way back to La Spezia.
1:00AM Catch the last train from La Spezia back to your starting destination
After a long day of walking, exploring and eating hop on the last train from La Spezia back to your starting destination. Here you can take a quick nap but be wary for thieves Italy is known for pick-pocketers!
This 24 hour adventure is not for the faint of heart, it will take multiple espresso’s comfy shoes and a couple of cold bierra’s to keep you on your feet. That being said it is worth the trek.