This is going to be a long one considering I have so much to tell you.
My husband and I decided to take advantage of the fact that we were traveling without our baby girl, so we thought what better way than to take a road trip along the Northern Coast of Italy and scratch Cinque Terre off our bucket list. It was as magical and enchanting as the pictures appear, and the best part about this whole getaway, was being on the road. If you're ever planning on doing the Italian Coast or any kind of coast that is, rent a car and always take the scenic route!
We landed at Milan Airport and drove about 3 hours south towards Cinque Terre, listening to some James Blake tunes, and admiring the endless fields of green right outside our windows. We spent two nights there, where one full day was dedicated to visiting the 5 pastel-hued towns that make up Cinque Terre. My best advice is to see the towns by ferry which stops in each of the towns. Unfortunately the sea was rough the day we toured, so we had to take the train that connects to all 5 instead.
1) Monetrrosso El Mare: Is the village we stayed in which has the most beautiful and the only extensive sand beach in Cinque Terre. It is the liveliest of the 5 towns as it has the most cafes, shops, and restaurants.
2) Riamaggiorre: My personal favorite and the most charming of them all is Riamaggiore. It has the most vibrantly colored houses on a cliff with a small rocky beach where the fishing boats line. There is one main alleyway that leads you to an even more charming town.
3) Manarola: One picture that you’ll see most frequently taken by thousands of tourists, is a picture of the Manarola rocky coast overlooked by hundreds of little colourful houses. It is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. We took a bus to the lovely hills and the vineyards high above the town without really securing our ride back down! That mistake actually worked out for the better because we ended up hiking all the way back. I was definitely not wearing the right shoes but it was well worth the walk . If you are well organised and wearing the right shoes, I highly recommend this hike.
4) Vernazza: The town known to be the truest “fishing village” on the Italian riviera. As colorful as the rest of the towns, Vernazza has a small bay where you can swim and one main alleyway which leads to a centre full of little charming shops and Cafes.
5) Corniglia: We were not fortunate enough to see Corniglia as the train did not stop there that day. The only way to get there is to climb a long flight of brick steps composed of 33 flights with 382 steps from the station! Maybe we dodged a bullet…
Portofino & Santa Margherita
We checked out of our hotel in Monterosso early morning of our third day and made our way to Portofino, a picturesque little town boasting a charming harbour, with colourful houses clustered all around it. Colour-washed houses, blue-green waters, stunning sailboats, and a wonderfully positive vibe that runs through this town, is the best way to describe it. We sat in one of the restaurants alongside the harbour, enjoyed a delicious milanese, then explored the area through its many narrow alleyways.
A couple of hours in and we headed back out on the road to Santa Margherita which was only a 20 minute drive. We stayed at what has now become one of my favourite boutique hotels today, Hotel Blu Di Te. Its cozy ambiance and welcoming staff made us feel right at home. Not to mention it’s perfect location right along the main port. Strolling down the sea side promenade, watching the boats sailing, and the people either sunbathing along the beach, playing beach volley, or doing all sorts of water sports, depicts the whole vibe of Santa Margherita.
To conclude this travel tale, I found that there is nothing more beautiful, charming, and scenic than the Italian Riviera. If you’re looking for an authentic experience with so much history to uncover, as well as a romantic destination, then look no further. Xx