Cinque Terre is our favorite place in Italy thus far. The five villages along the coast are so beautiful that even photographs can’t capture their true beauty (well at least I couldn’t anyway) 🙂
Many people will argue why you should stay in this town or that town….we stayed in Vernazza and didn’t regret that decision.
To get you bearings: The northern most town is Monterosso followed by Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and finally Riomaggiore.
We hiked through each town and found that Vernazza was the most picturesque while Riomaggiore probably had the most restaurants and things to do. It’s really up to you to decide what is most important. When we visited Vernazza, they were still recovering from the mudslide that took out the entire village. There were few restaurants available but it also added to the peacefulness of not having tourists in every picture we took.
With that said, we stayed at Monica Lercari’s honeymoon suite which is the highest point in Vernazza with the most amazing view of the entire village. We will argue that this is THE SINGLE BEST view you can get in Vernazza. Our trip to Cinque Terre was the highlight of our Italy trip. Monica and Massimo also have a restaurant (right by the Honeymoon suite) but it was closed due to the floods so we didn’t get to try it. The patio was perfect for relaxing after a long hike. The stairs were the least of or worries. If you can do any of the hiking, you can climb the stairs to the room. Massimo even helped us with our baggage. The only odd thing was that we didn’t have paper towels or hand soap anywhere in the apartment. We found the breakfast to be basic but enough. Monica also has the Madonnina Apartment or The Blue Room…. I can’t speak to these others as we didn’t see it. Monica can be reached at email@example.com.
Cinque Terre is the best town for people who enjoy the outdoors and hiking. We hiked to each of the towns and split our hike from Vernazza to Monterosso on one day and then we hiked from Vernazza to Riomaggiore the other day and then took the train back to Vernazza. It was an all day hike but we were able to stop in the various towns for snacks and rest. This is a MUST do…you find yourself lost in vineyards overlooking the beautiful waters and coming up on the towns are one of those jaw-dropping-this-was-totally-worth-it moments. It should also be noted that there are “easier” trails and more difficult trails for the more adventurous.
For those of you NOT wanting to hike… the train goes between each village so you can spend as much time in each one as you wish.
As we had limited options, we were really pleased that Belforte was open. This restaurant is in the perfect location overlooking the Bay. We had slight rain so we sat inside. My husband ordered fish and the waiter removed the head and bones for him without us asking. We ordered the caramelized strawberries with ice cream for dessert and it was amazing. On a beautiful day, the patio would be spectacular.