Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Cinque Terre in 3 days

With Pisa and Lucca
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Hotels

Cinque Terre:

A Ca Du Gigante

♥♥♥

It's not easy to find a room in Cinque Terre in August. We were lucky to get a room in this small inn in the town of Monterosso. The room was comfortable and clean. It is located near the beach. The breakfast has a good selection and can be eaten in the bright breakfast room or in the garden. 

Hotels

Cinque Terre:

A Ca Du Gigante

♥♥♥

It's not easy to find a room in Cinque Terre in August. We were lucky to get a room in this small inn in the town of Monterosso. The room was comfortable and clean. It is located near the beach. The breakfast has a good selection and can be eaten in the bright breakfast room or in the garden. 

Itinerary Add-ons

This itinerary can be combined with:

Visiting Cinque Terre, a stretch of beach consisting of five small towns along the Italian Riviera, is a relaxing way to spend a beach holiday. These traffic-free towns are tucked into the rugged hills. The beaches look onto turquoise water. Cliffs and grape vines line the terraces of the walking trails that you can take from town to town.  And of course, the food is delicious - fresh fish, seafood and the special pesto sauce known for this region. Pisa and Lucca make the perfect day trip from this area.

Day 1

Morning

We chose to travel to Cinque Terre by train. There is a direct train from Rome to La Spezia, and from there smaller trains take you to Cinque Terre. Our home base was Monterosso al Mare, the northernmost town in Cinque Terre. This takes between 3-4.5 hours depending on the train. Make sure to check the schedule.

Monterosso is known for its pebbly beach and is considered the "beach resort town".  It has more hotels and restaurants than the other towns which means it can also be busier. But once the day-time crowds leave, it is quite quiet, peaceful and romantic.

 

Afternoon

Arrived in Monterosso and checked into A Ca Du Gigante. It's not easy to find a room in Cinque Terre in August. I suggest you start looking as early as you can. We were lucky to get a room in this small inn. It is located down the street from the beach, just a couple minutes walk.

We went straight to the beach and got a couple of chairs to relax and dip into the refreshing water.

Evening

This evening we strolled through the town to get acquainted with the two main areas - the new town and old town.

The new town is mainly along the beach. There are restaurants lining the beach as well as hotels and a few newer-looking buildings. Old town has old-world charm with small streets and alleyways filled with interesting shops and quiet restaurants.

The two areas are connected by a pedestrian tunnel. Our hotel was located in the new town which is a short stroll from the tunnel.  We chose a restaurant in old town as we were wandering by which looked good and of course was delicious.

One of the specialty foods in the Cinque Terre are anchovies. Each restaurant prepares them in a unique way but they have one thing in common - they are fresh-caught the same day. If you don't normally like anchovies, I highly recommend trying them here. They are not the super salty kind you find in jars in North America. They are much more delicate and nicely flavoured.

 

Day 2

Day hike

Hike duration: 5 hours

Today we hiked the main coastal trail which is 11.5 kilometres (7 miles). This magnificent trail takes you along the hillside coast through all five towns. We were lucky when we were there as the entire trail was open. Often, there are stretches that are closed due to unstable slopes. The hiking trails require a Park Pass which can be picked up at the train station. 

Starting from the north, the towns are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Romaggiore. Each town is unique and charming. The views from the trail are breathtaking. You walk through vineyards, by fragrant flowers, cacti, herbs and olive groves, all the while there are stunning views of the coast below.

We stopped in each town to walk around, take in the views and enjoy an espresso or cold drink. The stretch between Manarola and Romaggiore is known as Via dell'Amore (lovers lane). It is said that when this part of the trail was open, it allowed people from both towns to court one another. Now there is a fence along the route where couples have placed love locks.

Vernazza is considered the jewel of the region with its castle ruins at the top of the hill and gorgeous harbour below.

As we approached the last town of Romaggiore, there was a quiet bar/cafe on the rocks overlooking the coast and the town. We stopped there for a glass of wine and a cheese platter while taking in the breathtaking views.

After a nice day of hiking and a visit in Romaggiore, we decided to take the boat back to Monterosso. The boat ride offers a scenic view of the towns from the water which I highly recommend.

Evening

We decided to stay near the hotel for dinner. We went to a lovely restaurant by the beach, sat outside and had a delicious dinner with some vino! 

This region is the birthplace of pesto. Make sure to try some while you're here. The ingredients are so fresh and the pasta is always homemade.

Day 3

Day trip to Pisa and Lucca

This morning after breakfast we decided to do a day trip to Pisa and Lucca. We chose to rent a car in La Spezia and drive. After doing this, I might suggest travelling by trains as it seems less stressful. I have grown to love trains in Europe, and usually travel that way now.

We first stopped in Pisa, hoping to avoid the crowds. Pisa is crowded with tourists all coming to see the famous leaning tower. It is worth a quick visit. When we arrived we were surprised to see that the leaning tower is part of a larger complex of buildings, including a Duomo (cathedral). 

From there we drove to Lucca, which is a lovely walled town. We had a nice lunch in one of the squares.

There aren't any major tourist attractions here which is why it is so charming - much quieter than some of the other towns and villages. The city is surrounded by a Renaissance wall. This wide wall is perfect for a leisurely bike ride. We rented bikes and and pedalled our way above the town on the trails on top of the wall. This was a lovely way to see wonderful views of the town and some of the elegant homes along the route. There are areas to stop along the trail, with picnic tables. 

Following the bike ride, we strolled around the town, having a gelato and espresso before heading back to our hotel in Cinque Terre.

Evening

We walked around the old town of Monterosso. Rather than take the pedestrian tunnel, we walked along the beach and around the bluff.

Once in the old town, we wandered around and found an excellent restaurant for our last night on the beautiful Italian Riviera.

Day 4

 

Morning

After breakfast we checked out of our hotel and took the train to Rome.  See Rome itinerary in 4 days.