The Cinque Terre is a national park on the coast of Italy which contains five small villages on the edge of the sea. While it poured with the rain the first night here, the second day was mostly sunny which allowed me to hike the two trails which are currently open. While some sections were a bit steep, for the most part they were a pretty nice walk along the coast, with some great views of the ocean and the villages.
The first town you will come across here is Riomaggiore, where the main street runs right down beside the sea. There are plenty of large rocks near the water which are great for lying on and relaxing, the houses here are probably the most colorful and there are several cheap pasta and seafood places around here. This is where I got the cone of fried calamari, really delicious stuff, Nan you’d love it!
I went back to this town on my last night here to watch the sunset before catching the shuttle back to the hostel. Although the distant clouds obstructed the view of the actual sun setting, the colors of the sky and the look of the village as it got dark was neat.
The next village along is Manarola, and definitely the one photo you will see more than any other if you google Cinque Terre. As you walk along the path just past the village you can get a great view of all the houses all stacked on top of each other on the edge of the cliff. Really quite the site, I just wish the weather was better when I was there.
On the second day with the weather forecast good for the morning I took the train straight to Corniglia (the third to town) and then started hiking from there to Vernazza. It took about an hour and was the easier of the two hikes I did, but the town of Vernazza was probably my favorite. Perched right up on a cliff, the town and the tower above it make for a great view as you round the corner and see it for the first time. We grabbed a pesto pizza for lunch and headed up to the top of the tower to see the view. From right at the top you can get really great views all the way back to Corniglia and further down the coast you can see Monterosso. Plus the rough seas which constantly smash the rocks around the city are mesmerizing to watch.
The hike from Vernazza to Monterosso had a lot more steep climbing and was a bit longer. But as you make your way along the coast you are rewarded time and time again with great views. Monterosso itself is a lot bigger than the other towns, although it does have a somewhat sandy beach which would probably be nice during the summer.
Overall it’s really a beautiful place, and although the main streets of the towns can get pretty busy I found the trails to be quiet enough. Very relaxing place to spend a day hiking between the villages, and there are more trails further up the hills which would be quite cool to do sometime.