to get from village to village you must hike. prior to arriving, we referred to our trusty rick steves cinque terre book. if you’re traveling through europe and have not heard of the man, the myth, the legend that is rick steves, you gotta jump on board. [i’ll explain more about him later]. we unanimously decided to hike the longest hike. it took about an hour and 15 minutes to get from the village of vernazza to monterosso. the hike is a hike. if you plan on doing it, wear comfortable shoes [i wore nike frees, because they’re easy to pack and comfortable} and plan a good hour plus to get from one village to the other.
along our hike we passed many hikers as we neared our finish line asking “how much further” and “are we close to the other village?” no. the answer was no. they had merely just begun their journey. so do know what you are getting yourself into ahead of time. however, the hike is well worth the climb. the surrounding views get better and better with each step you take. not to mention with all the gelato and pasta in italy, a little activity wouldn’t hurt.
these beautiful villages and their pathways are filled with tourists. you will hear a multitude of languages and have to dodge people stopping to take pictures along the way. don’t complain– you’ll be doing the same. and truth be told, dodging the photogs is much easier than dodging the selfie stick selling salesmen.
near the end of our hike a kind italian man was selling fresh squeezed lemonade. it was refreshing and delicious. we rewarded ourselves and bought some. once we got into the village of monterosso we walked around while there just so happened to be an anchovy festival taking place. these people take their anchovies seriously. i passed on them but enjoyed two too many helpings of a scrumptious seafood risotto at a restaurant located within the city. after waking out of my content food coma i topped it off with gelato and i wasn’t even mad about it. i wouldn’t change a thing. we then browsed through the street shops where you can find any souvenir imaginable. both villages we visited had similar goods for sale. inexpensive wines, lemon soaps and pasta everywhere you turned.
night fell quickly as we were gazing out into the beautiful waters and the magical village of monterosso transformed from its’ quiet tourist-filled streets to a techno-like rave. music filled the main square as the younger crowd slowly trickled out onto the streets. before calling it a night and heading back to the train station, i showed off some of sweet dance moves, the washing machine included.
the views i witnessed here were incredible. i enjoy outdoor activities and anywhere there is a body of water, i feel at home. cinque terre is a place i highly recommend and do wish i got to spend a little more time exploring. the little time i did spend was priceless. the hike was more than enjoyable, the company was irreplaceable and the food was so satisfying.
cinque terre travel tips:
- most everyone you encounter speaks english, you’ll be good on this one
- if you have a car, park at la spezia and take the train in. you can also train into la spezia if you are taking the trains around europe
- there is a walking trail that connects each village, or you can opt for a ferry to see all villages [i believe with the exception of corniglia].
- if time permits, allot 2 or even 3 days for cinque terre. spend one day hiking then spend the next day in your favorite village relaxing and soaking up some sun on the beach after shopping in their local stores
- see all 5 villages [i only got to experience 2 but wish i could have squeezed all 5 in]
- if you can’t see all 5 villages look them up and read about them before going so you will be able to best choose which ones to see. all are aesthetically pleasing [so i hear] but each village has its own uniqueness.