Since I started dreaming of Europe, Cinque Terre was at the top of my list, but after reading into it more, I was put off by the amount of criticism. Apparently it has been ruined by tourists and not worth the visit, I had read it was so packed, walking the trail was virtually impossible.
Cinque Terre translates to five lands, and that’s exactly what it is. Five villages tucked away into a stunning mediterranean coast. Connected via train and hiking trail, despite the negativity these pastel coloured villages lying within the National park are well worth the visit.
We stayed in Riomaggiore the first of the villages from the bottom, around an hour and a half from Florence, simply for convenience. We only had a few days and didn’t want to waste time travelling. Our hotel, not the most luxurious, up 140 steep steps and a shoebox, but it did compensate with an amazing view over the town.
We had one day to explore, unfortunately part of the trail was closed, but we were able to hike our way between three of the villages. Starting in Corniglia, we set off with our Cinque Terre pass in hand, allowing us free access to the park and trains. We made our way onto the next village Vernazza for lunch and self-reward gelato, before jumping on the train to the final village of Monterosso.
The cherry to this place, it’s also the region where pesto originated from, and I definitely ate enough to get me through the rest of my life.
We had perfect weather, and the track was anything but crowded, it was what my Cinque Terre dreaming had looked like, not at all what I had read. I’m glad I finally ignored the criticism given to this area and gave it the time, it is now up there as one of my favourite European destinations and will certainly get another visit. Although I probably wouldn’t suggest trying to tackle the rough terrain in flip-flops as we did.