|Riomaggiore, where we stayed. The view from our balcony.|
I'd like to preface these photos by stating that I took all of the photos in this post myself, and except for a couple quick crops, they are completely unedited. I've also never taken any photography classes. Seriously, the scenery is just that gorgeous -- you couldn't mess up photos of this place if you tried.
In Riomaggiore, we stayed in a cute little pink house, called Casa Lorenza, that the owner had made into three guest rooms. We actually didn't spend too much time there, since we were mostly out hiking and eating delicious seafood, but it was lovely, and the owner was so sweet -- we loved it there!
There was an espresso machine in our room and a balcony with a beautiful view (see the first photo in this post). I actually ended up giving my husband an espresso machine last Christmas because we were so addicted by the time we left...
By far the best part of our time in Cinque Terre was the hike we took between the five towns. There are a number of paths connecting all of them, and they are close enough together that you can walk the entire distance in a morning or afternoon. We started early in Riomaggiore, where we were staying, and took the train back after we arrived in Monterosso.
The hike from Riomaggiore to the next town, Manarola, was more of a stroll than a hike. It is right along the ocean on a paved walkway, with stunning views of the ocean. This section of the trail is nicknamed "Lovers' Walk." In case you're not immediately overcome by the romance of it all, you also walk through a tunnel complete with a sculpture of lovers' silhouettes:
Once we got to Manarola, we switched to another hiking trail. The shortest path along the ocean was under construction, so we went the long way through some local vineyards. I loved that we did this! The hiking was definitely more difficult (hilly, and the trail wasn't as established) but the views from higher up were spectacular:
We stopped for lunch in the middle town, Corniglia, and then continued on to Vernazza. The hike on the way down to Vernazza gave us a great overlook of the town. Later in the week we ate dinner at the seafood restaurant right on the edge of the water. I believe the place was called Gambero Rosso. We could hear the waves crashing against the surf (and the restaurant!) as we ate.
The final town, Monterosso al Mare, is the most like a typical beach town. It is more crowded, and there is a wide, flat beach that is less rocky than the shores of the other towns. It's still really rocky-- we went swimming (well, really it was wading in the surf) and kept stubbing our toes! There's also a boardwalk along the beach where we stopped for gelato. If you ever go to Italy, you have to eat gelato everyday. It's not optional. Nothing that delicious can be optional.
Actually, my favorite views of the water were in Riomaggiore. The town is built right up to the edge of the ocean. More than once we walked down to watch the waves crashing against the surf. With the pretty pastel buildings and the ocean, we could barely pull ourselves away:
Hope you've enjoyed my first travel post! What do you think, isn't Cinque Terre just stunning? What are some of your favorite vacations or destinations?