I’ll start by saying that fairytale land exist somewhere on the Italian Riviera, more precisely in the Ligurian region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia.This beautiful place, almost untouched by civilization will impress you from the first second you get off the train (because is the only way you can get to wonderland ).This place became a Unesco World Heritage site in 1997 and is composed by five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso. Each one is special in its own way and you are impressed by beautiful landscapes, colorful houses and traditional food ( farinata, pesto sauce, fresh seafood). To visit this place you need to buy a card (5 euro/ day) to use the paths. The pass is also good for visiting several of the museums and riding the eco-friendly buses.It’s essential to be in a good physical condition because some of the trails are rated as challenging or difficult, and some include dozens or even hundreds of steps.
With a big smile on my face I get off the train and I begin my journey in the first village, that is Riomaggiore. This place is known for its wine produced by the town’s vineyards. The main street is Via Colombo, where you can found numerous restaurants, bars and shops.
From here we went to Manarola on „ via del Amore ”, a beautiful rock path along the see, studded with picnic areas, a cafeteria with breathtaking view and stone beaches embedded in the cliffside.
After half an hour or an hour (depending on how many pictures do you take 🙂 ) we arrived to Manarola. Looking for a place to have lunch we got into a local vineyard where we could admire from the distance Riomaggiore and also our next stop Corniglia. Bottom line no visit to this charming hamlet is complete without doing the Manarola Vineyard Walk.
Here we found a lively place with boats in front of those colorful houses that make this place so unique.Finally we arrived at the restaurant and I confess that here, in Manarola, at „Il Porticciolo” I ate the best pasta with pesto sauce and most tender octopus.
To get to Corniglia we had only one option: to take the train because the path was closed at the time, so we rethought our itinerary and next day we decided to start from Monterosso (the last village from Cinque Terre Park).
Monterosso has the most large sand beach and most of the people come here to get tan and to enjoy swimming in the clear blue water.
And now the fun begins, hiking on the rocks to reach the next village Vernazza. To get there takes about 3 hours so get some water because there is no place to buy. I honestly confess that I didn’t think that I would enjoy it so much, especially because I’m not such a big fan of climbing the mountains. So check up the photos and you’ll understand. 🙂
Vernazza seems to be a „ small Venice” with all the boats anchored in the bay.It’s the most colorful off all the villages and has a special beauty that captivates you from the distance.
From here we took the boat to Manarola, again, because the food at Il Porticciolo was so good and it worth a second visit.This time we tried spaghetti al porticciolo ( with pine nuts and seafood ) and some marinara muscles…mhhhh excellent choice. The boat ride was lovely and in addition we were able to see how Corniglia sits proudly on a cliff with no access to the sea.
From here we took the train up to Corniglia. Some adventure also here because we wanted to be brave to climb the stairs ( a lot of stairs) and we didn’t took the minibus that is free so we arrived exhausted but we discovered an interesting terrace with a nice view. Not a lot to say about this place, except the fact that the buildings look more new and clean and there are some roads for the cars…I might say that didn’t impressed me much. 🙂
In a few words I could say that I was deeply impressed by this place and I highly recommend it to you.
Hope u enjoy it!
Photo credit: Barcan Cristian