A lot of people told me that taking a day trip to Cinque Terre would not be enough. They say two days is better, and maybe it is, but when you are ballin’ on a budget and can’t afford an Airbnb, come back and read this so you can have the best day trip of your life!
Cinque Terre has five villages and I traveled to three.
First Stop: Manarola
Since I am studying in Florence, it took about two and a half hours by bus to get there, which isn’t bad at all. There is a train station in Florence that you can use as well if you want to get there even faster. This village is the one that you find on postcards and comes to mind when people talk about Cinque Terre. It is absolutely, jaw dropping-ly (can that be a word in this case?) beautiful! Little shops and restaurants are along the main walk way as you make your way to the famous viewpoint. My favorite thing about the walk to the viewpoint was seeing all of the colorful boats that lined the street! Once you got to the end of the straightaway it was time to climb some steps and make your way up the high mountain side. And then all of a sudden you see this across from you….
AND THEN you walk around to the other side of the mountain and see THIS…
Again. Jaw dropping moment. Still stunned when I think about it.
Since I was with a group, I didn’t get to spend as much time here as I would have liked. My personal suggestion is to stay for about an hour and a half so you have time to take in the view and check out the shops. The second village is where I got lunch, but if you are just not ready to part from this amazing scenery, there is a lovely restaurant right above the lookout point (very hard to miss) that oversees everything. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down the name of it, but I promise you won’t miss it!
Second Stop: Riomaggiore
After taking a quick train ride from Manarola, we stopped at this village for a bite to eat! Riomaggiore has lots of stores that all pretty much sell the same thing, gelato shops and restaurants. If you choose to come here, YOU MUST get the pesto pizza at Mama Mia! This village is known for their pesto and after eating a slice of that pizza I knew why! After we ate, we checked out the marina area for a few minutes and made our way back to the train for our third and final stop!
Third Stop: Monterosso
If you are a sea lover like me then you are going to want to reserve about three hours of your time for this place! There are a few beaches in this village. Make sure you go to the one right across the tunnel to the train station. Before you get to the water, stop and get some fried calamari if you’re up for a snack! If your thirsty, then check out “Drunk Ass Buckets” for the largest margarita you will ever see. The title says it all. It’s literally a bucket! Once you’ve got your fried calamari and margarita then hit the beach. The beach is crowded, but you will find room for your towel and bag. When I’m at home I usually prefer to go to quieter beaches, but I have to admit that I liked the busy atmosphere here. Monterosso was VERY hot the day I went so your body will be thanking you once you venture into the ice-cold water. Trust me, it’s refreshing around this time of year!
What To Include In Your Travel Bag:
- EUROS!!! I still can’t believe it, but I didn’t have any euros with me on this day trip and it made it very hard to buy things! Luckily, my friend had some so I was able to pay her back later. Not a lot of places in Cinque Terre will take credit or debit cards.
- A BEACH TOWEL. I was surprised at how many people in our group had forgotten to pack one and ended up having to go buy an over priced one at the shops.
- SUNSCREEN. I must have reapplied sunscreen four times while I was at Monterosso because the sun was blazing!
- SNEAKERS. I wore sandals and didn’t pack any sneakers. Once I learned about a hike you could take from Vernazza to Monterosso I secretly cried inside. Those that know me, know how much I love a good hike! (Side note: For those interested, I heard the hike can be a little intense and will take about two hours out of your day here!)
- REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE. Water is expensive in Europe.
- COINS. Public restrooms cost money and they usually only accept coins in their machines.
Have fun traveling!