Hiking the Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre Travel Blog

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Riomaggiore
We woke up fairly early this morning to get a good start on the hike.   Oh -- to get to our room, you had to walk up 2-3 flights of VERY steep stairs...this provided a lot of entertainment when we had our heavy backpacks :)  We decided to take a boat to Monterosso and then walk all the way back to Riomaggiore.   We read that the toughest hikes were Monterosso to Vernazza, and Vernazza to Corniglia, so we quickly decided that we wanted to get those 2 hikes out of the way first!

We bought our Cinque Terre hiking pass and then wandered around Riomaggiore (where we saw one of the hottest fisherman in our lives) before heading to the boat.
Monterosso's Lemon Festival (Sagrada dei Limoni)
   The boat ride (8€) was about 25 minutes and provided a nice view of all of the villages and it was then when we realized how long the trail actually was!!! 

We arrived in Monterosso, and Sagra dei Limoni (Festival of Lemons) was going on.  It's a 3 day festival for the village, and there is even a contest for the largest lemon in Monterosso!  There were yellow and green streamers decorating the piazza, lemon decorations in the windows, and there were many people selling lemons and lemon-related souvenirs.  All of these little kids were selling the arts & crafts they made of lemons, and they were just adorable!  We ended up buying fruits (no lemons though) and water from one of the vendors in the village, we were so proud of ourselves because we were able to converse in Italian and she actually understood us :) 

We set off on our first hike -- Monterosso to Vernazza.
Beautiful Vernazza!!
  It was tough!!!  I thought we'd be doing a scenic, leisurely walk through the 5 different villages.  Um, not this one.  There were SO many stairs, walking on narrow trails (some on cliffs), and did I mention the many steep stairs?!  I thought I was going to die!!!  We were sweating and huffing and puffing within the first 20 minutes and were like, "What did we get ourselves into?!"  We work out, but apparently we need to start using the stair climber!  I seriously almost thought of turning back and taking the train to Vernazza.  But I am not one to give up, so we trudged on to finish the rest of the hike.   We took frequent stops to admire the view -- absolutely breathtaking!!!  There were a lot of German hikers (with walking sticks) who seemed to want to get through the hike as quickly as possible.
Vernazza, Italy
  I knew I probably wouldn't do this hike again, so I wanted to sit back and admire the beauty of it.  At one point, the cutest old Italian man was selling lemons to all of the weary hikers.  We gladly bought some, added some lemon juice in our bottled water.  We were so dehydrated that we actually ate a lemon like it was an orange!!!  And we actually liked it.  We finished this part of the hike in about 2 hours, and by the time we arrived in Vernazza, we were famished.

The view as you walk from Monterosso to Vernazza is so gorgeous.  It was the picture perfect postcard view of Cinque Terre.  We arrived in the village and immediately went to Pizzeria Ercole for some of their  margherita pizza that we've heard so much about!!!  It was so delicious and definitely gave us some fuel for the rest of our hike.
Along the Via Dell'Amore
  We ate it on the harbor where all the boats are docked.  Vernazza was definitely my favorite village of the Cinque Terre, and I wish I could have stayed there longer.  We had 4 more villages to get to though, and at the rate we were going, we needed to heiny up or else we'd be hiking until nighttime!  I unfortunately didn't take too many pictures on the hike because I was too tired.

The Vernazza to Corniglia hike was another hard one, but it was shorter and took us 1.5 hours.  You pass th ough a lot of vineyards, olive groves, and vegetation.  I also tripped on one of trails here which was embarrassing, but luckily no one saw me but my sister!!!  Some of the trails are narrow so you have to let others pass while you stand to the side, I don't think I've said "Buon giorno!" and "Grazie!" so much in my life!  Corniglia was another pretty village and had some cute stores.
Monterosso seems so far away
  It also had a lot of restaurants where the food smelled amazing!!!   We just got gelato though (I got miele di Corniglia -- honey of Corniglia, which was so yummy).  The gelato in the Cinque Terre is SO CHEAP!  We paid about
1.50€ for a medium gelato....when I went to GROM here in NYC, I paid over $5.00 for a small cup of gelato!  NYC prices, I guess :)   The GROM here is okay, but it's definitely better in Italy of course!

After getting lost, we found the trail that went from Corniglia to Manarola.  This was an easy one for us since most of it consisted of walking down tons of stairs.  This portion of the hike took us about an hour.  Manarola was nice but there wasn't much there that interested us.
  We got some more gelato here.

Finally, we were on our way from Manarola to the final village -- Riomaggiore!  This one only took us 30 minutes.   I really liked this trek because it was flat, short, and easy :)   You get to see the Via Dell'Amore which was really amazing to see because of all of the graffiti and love proclamations.  I loved it!!

We finally arrived back in Riomaggiore, feeling absolutely disgusting (it was so hot that day!!!) but proud of ourselves that we did it. 

We did our laundry and then got the biggest pizza ever!!!!  We ate our pizza and limoncello (it was gross) on our balcony.   Michelle went back inside the room, while I decided to sit on the balcony and write in my journal.  All of a sudden I felt someone staring at me, so I looked down and this guy was just standing underneath our balcony and staring at me!!  I gave him a dirty look and ignored him.
Monterosso, Italy
  But he didn't leave!!! He started saying things in Italian to me but I ignored him, and he finally left.  A few minutes later, I looked up because I wanted to see the sunset.  And I saw the man HIDING BEHIND A BUSH still staring at me.  I decided to go back inside, in total disgust.  Michelle and I saw him later, walking down the streets and trolling for any female tourist to talk to. 

There was also a grandpa who lived across from our building, and his window looked straight into our room.  We always saw him peeking out his window at us, and when we would catch him, he would hide HAHA! 

We had an early train to Nice the next day, so we fell asleep watching this hilarious Italian talent show, with some of the worst singers we've ever heard.  I absolutely loved Cinque Terre, though I'm not sure I would do the hike again :)

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Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore
Monterossos Lemon Festival (Sagra…
Monterosso's Lemon Festival (Sagr…
Beautiful Vernazza!!
Beautiful Vernazza!!
Vernazza, Italy
Vernazza, Italy
Along the Via DellAmore
Along the Via Dell'Amore
Monterosso seems so far away
Monterosso seems so far away
Monterosso, Italy
Monterosso, Italy
These red and white markings guide…
These red and white markings guid…
Corniglia, Italy
Corniglia, Italy
Monterossos Lemon Festival (Sagra…
Monterosso's Lemon Festival (Sagr…
Monterossos Lemon Festival (Sagra…
Monterosso's Lemon Festival (Sagr…
Monterossos Lemon Festival (Sagra…
Monterosso's Lemon Festival (Sagr…
Michelle about to begin our hike
Michelle about to begin our hike
Vernazza, Italy
Vernazza, Italy
We had some good gelato here!
We had some good gelato here!
Along the Via DellAmore
Along the Via Dell'Amore
Along the Via DellAmore
Along the Via Dell'Amore
Along the Via DellAmore (this one…
Along the Via Dell'Amore (this on…
Along the Via DellAmore
Along the Via Dell'Amore
Along the Via DellAmore
Along the Via Dell'Amore
GELATO!
GELATO!
Back in Riomaggiore
Back in Riomaggiore
Cinque Terre
photo by: Eric