Ciao, here’s some of my Cinque Terre best bits!
I Had never heard of Cinque Terre until finding it by accident on a top 10 places to visit in Europe poll. Once I had seen some of the photographs published online I immediately added it to my itinerary when travelling around Europe. Before arriving here I had spent some time in France and just about picked up some French words and phrases, which led me calling this place Sank Terre which left it sounding rather mundane, It was my first time in Italy and hardly knew any words apart from the usual things like Pizza and Peroni. Once asking and listening to the locals pronounce it, the place was immediately beautiful, as they would pronounce it Chiiiinqwaaa Teeeera! along with poetic hand expressions. I had arrived!
Once we hopped off the train at Cinque Terre after a scenic journey from southern France I could instantly see that this was a stunningly beautiful area. Cinque Terre is made up of Five small towns, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Each town can be easily reached by train, boat or hiking trails. I was staying in Riomaggiore for a week which is the southern most of the five towns.
Riomaggiore is absolutely gorgeous with its small high street full of cosy and traditional restaurants, shops and bars which leads down to a very pretty harbour. on my first night I was wankered….. Oops no I meant in heaven already, after a lovely meal where I had fish that had be caught that day just meters away from where I was sitting in restaurant La Lanterna. After the meal head up to bar La Conchiglia to watch a dazzling sunset with Chianti in hand and Italian music lulling away in the background, the perfect start. Boum!
Wandering in Riomaggiore is easy, no museums, no sightseeing, no feeling of needing to do anything apart from be there. In the morning you should stop off for coffee in a cafe and relax whilst watching and listening to locals deep in conversation almost singing to each other or hanging laundry just about perfectly from balconies. In the afternoon stroll down (with supplies) to the harbour and make your way to the cove like, stoney beach. Find yourself a rock and listen and watch the waves lap up the beach, perfectly blue water framed by quite dramatic grey cliffs whilst supping on the drink of choice. BOUM! After a day on the beach head back to the village and take photos looking up the high street, it’s almost impossible to take a bad picture in Cinque Terre, even the tattier buildings look marvellous, like a scruffy friend who never looks out of place in a photograph. On your way back stop at bar Centrale to quench your thirst, a great bar at all times of the day or night, owned by locals and populated with people on their travels, fantastic atmosphere, just don’t get to involved on the home made Limoncello, dangerous but lovely stuff! Once leaving here we would often take a pizza back to the apartment and watch the evening drift in (all the pizza places are better than any you’ve tried before, Mamma Mia! pizza could top the bill though). On our trip we were staying at Appartament La Conchiglia by Clelia Apartments down a small and perfectly rustic lane just off the high street, with lemon trees touching distance from the apartment block. Apartment La Conchiglia is very fresh with a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable living space and a spacious bedroom. The views from every window in the apartment are mind blowingly beautiful and constantly mesmerising! If you can tear yourself away from watching the sunset at the kitchen head down to the town again and bar hop the night away, Bar Centrale, Bar O’Netto and the one opposite O’Netto were our favourite night spots, the locals really accept and make good conversation with tourists and before you know it red wines being sold by the bottle and not the glass! BOUM! Watching slightly fatigued (wobbly) people trying to walk up the hill doing one eighties and ending up where they started is a great time passer!
Rick Steves your views on Vernazza are perfect but for me it’s Riomaggiore all the way!
My Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola to come, watch this space…..
But for now here’s my Rio.