Now that I live in Europe, I have managed to check list my travelling bucket list that I have since I was a little child. And I gotta tell ya, the list is loooong, waaay toooo loong to mention. There are places like Petra, Napa Valley, Manchu Pichu, The Pasific Highway or Andalusia that I still need to go to, but last July I was able to check out one of the many while in Italy. It was Cinque Terre! Checked!
Cinque Terre express
Off course you would like to see it once in your life time when it is listed in Unesco World Heritage List. I want to see it because of all those posting on social media and… yes… the movies (again!). Before going there I had done my homeworks. I have done my little research on the best way to spend a day in Cinque Terre. Various blogs and websites recommend going by train. Luckily, since may 2016 there is a new train route to all of the villages of Cinque Terre, the Cinque Terre Express. Yes, Cinque Terre means five villages to be precise, on or near the rocks by the sea. It has hiking trail and no cars are allowed to go into the villages. You can go either by train or boat. If you want to go by boat, you can catch it in La Spezia, the first departing spot for the boat and also for the train.
The five villages of Cinque Terre are: Riomaggiore – Manarola – Corniglia – Vernazza – Monterosso. When going by boat from La Spezia, you can completely enjoy the view of the villages and take those breahtaking photo’s. When going by train, you have to walk to the villages from the station and sometimes you cannot get that postcard perfect photo’s you want. However, both options are worthed. Note that going by boat is more expensive than going by train.
How did we go there? We went by train from Pisa. From Pisa we catched the Frescia Bianco train (intercity) and stopped at La Spezia. The duration will take about one hour ride. From La Spezia we bought new tickets for Cinque Terre Express. We did not bought the tickets in Pisa, because we were not that sure whether we definitely would go with the train or the boat, other wise, when you already know which transportation system you want to use, you can buy the ticket of the Cinque Terre Express at the station where you first depart. The ticket price of the Cinque Terre Express is not that expensive. We payed €14 for the three of us (one way). From La Spezia the first stop is Riomaggiore. It is a very small fishersman village, very lovely to see. It was however rather crowded in the small alleys towards the shore and quite touristic. I do recommend if you want to go authentic and you have no kids with you, go hiking through all those five villages and escape the crowd as it can be quite overwhelming. Riomaggiore is nice for first impression. Then you know why it is listed in the Unesco World Heritage list. All the elements of it, the breeze, the clear blue water, the small lovely village are just perfect. It will make you go “wooow!”
The next stop of the train from Riomaggiore is Manarola, then Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso and its last destination is Levanto. Since we have promised the little red pepper for a real day off from walking around the city, we skipped the other 3 villages and directly went to Monterosso al Mare, the only village from all those five villages where you can swim in the sea, sun bathing and enjoying la dolce vita, the Italian way. But having had a very quick look at the villages I recommend to see Manarola and Vernazza. Those villages have that picture perfect spots and that fishersman Italian village feeling you are looking for.
When you stop at Monterosso al Mare you will walk directly to the new part of the village where you directly can go to the beach and lay back to relax. When you want to explore the old village, you would have to go to the left and walk a bit more. My little red pepper saw the sea as we walked out the station and she was sold. She did not want to go anywhere else. So we directly rented a couple of beach benches to lay down. It will cost you €20 for a pair of it. The view of Monterosso al Mare was great! Blue sky, clear blue water and the rocky mountains at the background was magnificent. As my little red pepper and green pepper were enjoying their time there,I took some pictures of the surroundings and up untill today I am still amazed by how beautiful that place was. Here is my impression of Monterosso.
So I have checked one spot on my list. Have you checked yours lately? What or where is it? Please let me know about it, as maybe we have the same list.