Length of stay: 1 day (day trip from Florence)
Favorite activity: hiking between villages
Favorite meal: any kind of seafood
Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. Between the brightly colored buildings and the gorgeous blue water rushing into the cliffs I don’t think it’s possible to be unhappy in this place. It is definitely touristy, like much of Italy, but for good reason. Both times I’ve visited was on a day trip from Florence, but I’d imagine you could enjoy more of a quiet time there if you were staying overnight and everyone had left. We took the train to see most of the villages, but did the hike between the last two. The hike is incredible. You get amazing views of the villages you’re leaving and walking to, and the sound of the water practically turns a somewhat tough hike into a meditation.
Things we did:
- Hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso
- Laid out and swam at the beach in Monterosso
- Took the train to see each of the smaller towns (all very beautiful, just not as large as Monterosso)
- Enjoyed lunch with a view. Basically every place along the water is touristy and pretty expensive, and while I don’t even remember the food that well, eating seafood as you stare out to the gorgeous blue water is an experience in itself.
Tips and tricks:
- All the pretty matching umbrellas and lounge chairs in Monterosso cost money so if you’re on a budget, find the area that is just beach that you can lay on for free
- Hydrate! Before diving into that large fruity cocktail post-hike, drink some water to rehydrate (made that mistake once)
- Consider staying the night. I’ve never actually done this and you definitely don’t need that much time to be able to see everything, but I would not have minded another day relaxing in this beautiful city.