Today’s post comes from Jamie Aguilar, an STA Travel Student Ambassador and student majoring in Biological Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
She has a passion for traveling and discovering the hidden gems of each and every city. She has currently traveled to 15 countries and is eager to continue her journey abroad. Above all she is an adventurous life lover that is always finding the perks in everything.
Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s hidden gems lying above the sparkling Ligurian Sea. Cinque Terre is a uniquely beautiful isolated region in Italy that is composed of five rustic villages built at sea level. Each of the five villages- Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare make up their own distinct paradise. The natural beauty of this region will make up for the strenuous hiking trails linking all villages. There’s no doubt that this amazing historical site deserves more than one day, but if you’re a traveler pressed for time, even spending a day exploring the wonders of Cinque Terre will leave you speechless. Prepare yourself to fall in love with the pastel colored buildings, sparkling blue sea, and the delicious treats this beautiful region has to offer. Here is a list of the top things to do in each village in a day.
Although the best way to get around Cinque Terre is by hiking through the astonishing villages, one is encouraged to arrive to the La Spezia by train. At the train station you can purchase a train pass that can be used to get to the five villages in case you want to skip the hiking trails. This option is convenient especially if you’re short on time and plan to only spend a day at the site.
The very first stop is the village of Riomaggiore. This small village is surrounded by pastel-colored homes that adds to the rustic appeal and attains family-owned shops, refreshing gelato, and the best seafood you will ever eat. Riomaggiore has numerous shops selling seafood cones that come from their local catch. Nothing is better than eating this mouthwatering treat by the shore. Right before you begin your hike towards the next village make sure to grab their specialty, freshly made focaccias. This delicious bread is a must!
Next stop, Manarola! The path from Riomaggiore to Manarola is relatively close but requires going through steep hills that can be exhausting. However, this strenuous one hour hike is later rewarded with uniquely beautiful scenery. Make sure to bring your swimsuit as you will be tempted to jump into one of Manarola’s beautiful harbor areas.
Once you’re ready to move on from this beautiful place your next stop is Corniglia. This is among the smallest village of the five and offers very few things to do. However, the views of the vineyards and sparkling sea continue to be mesmerizing. Before departing make sure you stop by Alberto Gelateria where you can their famous gelato made from local honey. This delicious scoop makes the hike worthwhile.
Continuing with the hiking journey, you will come across the village of Vernazza. Vernazza has a variety of restaurants offering distinct menus that are all equally delicious. Stumble upon a restaurant that is most appealing to you and enjoy a delicious meal while looking over the sea. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, as Vernazza has the best cinnamon gelato!
Finally, last stop Monterosso al Mare! Wander through the old town with bright flowers, rustic pastel-colored homes, and breathtaking scenery. This is the perfect place to end your day laying by the beach soaking up the sun as you rest from all the hiking and exploring. So grab yourself a glass of locally produced white wine and watch the sunset as you reminisce about the wonderful day trip in the beautiful region of Cinque Terre. After all the delicious food, mouthwatering gelato, and above all the breathtaking scenery, you will be inclined to return to Cinque Terre, Italy but for a longer stay.
Authored By Jamie Aguilar – STA Travel Student Ambassador