I’d been dreaming of the five jewel-colored, coastal villages in Italy, called the ‘Cinque Terre’ for years.
To me, they felt other-worldly, like the ultimate litmus test of ‘I’ve been somewhere exotic and fantastic and now I measure my life differently’. My Pinterest is littered with pictures of these gem-colored towns, and when the chance to visit them arose, I jumped on it (and quite fast, might I add).
David and I spent two and a half idyllic days in the Cinque Terre, making our home base in what soon became our favorite village, Riomaggiore.
Here is a list of five things to do in Cinque Terre to make your time there as memorable and special as possible. As if any time in the Cinque Terre could NOT be memorable and special…
1. Get On A Boat
You can take a train for a (slightly) cheaper price, but spend the extra money and take the Ferry from village to village. It’s more fun, and the views are the whole reason you came to the Cinque Terre. It’s breathtaking to see the jagged coastline dotted with colorful villages, and the bright blue of the Mediterranean all at once.
2. Eat Local Food
The food we had in the Cinque Terre is the best food we’ve had in Italy. They specialize in pesto, anchovies (fresh, not canned), fish dishes, gnocchi, and calamari – and you need to try them all.
Whether you choose takeaway, and make a picnic by the water, or a long, multi-course, sit-down meal in a romantic restaurant that looks like it was carved out of a cave, you’ll remember this food for a long time.
If you’re a vino lover like we are, the region specializes in white and rose wines, as evidenced by the beautiful vineyards growing above all the villages. Enjoy a bottle or several while you’re there
3. Hike The Trails
There are trails connecting the villages – some long and strenuous, some short and easy. Some of the trails were closed when we were there, but we hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso, which was a stunning hike (even if it seemed like it was uphill ¾ of the way), with views of the villages, the ocean, and the coastline.
It took about an hour and a half, and you have to buy a trail pass at the beginning to be granted access.
4. Hit The Beach
All the villages have some kind of water access, but the only real ‘beach’ is at Monterosso, where there’s a public beach and a private beach where you can rent chairs and umbrellas for a small fee.
This was our first time to see the Mediterranean, and we were completely enchanted by it. We let the local wine and warm sunshine lull us to sleep under a beach umbrella for a perfect beach afternoon.
5. Take In The Beauty
The villages are best seen when just wandering around with no destination. This isn’t a place to look up points of interest in each town and try to see them all, but to just get a little lost, and stop and see what you feel like.
If a cafe strikes you as charming, stop for a glass of wine or an espresso. If a shop intrigues you, head inside and pick up some fresh produce, mozzarella, or pesto. The point of the Cinque Terre is the journey of exploring.
No matter what you do with your time in the Cinque Terre, you will have a trip of a lifetime, and you will always remember your time there. We hope our list helps make your time there even more memorable and special.
Have you ever been to this part of Italy? What are your favourite things to do in Cinque Terre?