If you’re planning a trip to Italy, then the Cinque Terre are probably on your list. You’ve seen pictures of these 5 towns on almost every travel website and in every magazine. These 5 towns are located on the coastline of the Liguria region and are famous for their cluttered and colourful look that make them perfect photo ops.
When to go?
Like most touristy hotspots, they are always packed with crowds. There are five towns (Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, and Monterosso). However, after having visited them more than once, I can confirm that Riomaggiore and Manarola seem to be the most crowded. Most people travel during the summer. I get it, the weather is nice, you have time off, and you don’t have to walk around in bulky clothing, but trust me, GO DURING OFF SEASON. Manarola on a summer afternoon is full of people basically pushing themselves onto the railing trying to get a picture. You can avoid being photobombed by the couple next to you that is making out, or the small children that may drop ice cream on your foot.
How to get there?
You can get to the Cinque Terre by boat, train, or car. If you like leaving your car far away from the town and hiking several km downhill and uphill, then this may be the option for you. Otherwise, you can take a train from a nearby city (La Spezia) or (Genova) and avoid trying to find a parking spot. Another option is to take a boat from the port in Genova, however this option is less frequent and slightly more expensive than the regional train. If you decide to take the regional train in Italy, be prepared. The trains are frequently late, overcrowded (in summer), and the staff really love going on strike.
You can’t miss!
If you don’t have enough time to visit all five, I personally recommend Vernazza and Riomaggiore. Vernazza is unique as it provides great views from the castle on top of the village as well as the hiking route surrounding the village. The main square is surrounded by people sunbathing and having a drink next to the fishing boats. Riomaggiore has the most unique backdrop of the five villages. The buildings that surround the village have picturesque, vibrant colours perfect for photographers looking for a good shot.
Where to Eat
I tend to avoid eating right next to a massive tourist zone. The food is usually overpriced, average qualiy, and most of the people having dinner seem to be foreign. An option that worked better for me was the fried seafood to go which is one of my favourite things to eat in Liguria. Many seaside towns have this option and for about 5-8 euros you can have lunch on the go.