Somewhere on the Italian coast are five colorful towns out
of a dream. These towns are a part of Cinque Terre.

What is Cinque Terre?

Cinque Terre (meaning: five lands) –  are five beautiful
towns called: Riomaggiore, Manarola (where we stayed), Corniglia, Vernazza, and

What makes Cinque Terre so unique is that over the past hundreds of
years, the villagers who have lived in these towns have built terraces
overlooking the sea. These terraces produce grapes for wine and olives for
olive oil. 

Here is: Manarola

How to Get to Cinque Terre from Florence

We departed from Firenze (Florence) Santa Maria Novella
Train Station.
The hour plus long train ride took us to Las Spiza – the greater
city near Cinque Terre. We got off the Las Spiza station and hopped onto
another train that went through all five towns of Cinque Terre. The train to
Cinque Terre leaves every 25 min, so don’t fret if you miss the train when you
get off the first train.

FYI – Train is the easiest way to get into the towns. All the tourist who come to visit Cinque Terre just take the train.

Things to Do:

Explore the other towns by Train

Though online it states that you can take a hiking trail to
see all five towns, we learned that part of the trail actually was destroyed by
some bad weather. So we hopped onto the train to see Vernazza. If we had
another day in Cinque Terre, I would have loved to see all five towns.

Swim in the Italian Rivera

In Manarola, tons of people were down by the water, jumping
off the rocks and lounging in the sun. It was close to 90 degrees the day we
were hanging out in Manarola, so jumping into the water felt amazing!

Book a Boat Ride Far in Advance

I was sooo jealous of everyone on a boat that day. I had
attempted to book a boat ride a two weeks before we left for Italy and it wasn’t
enough time to. We saw plenty of people cruising along the coast.

Thank you Lilla P for this super comfortable maxi dress! It was so easy to travel and explore Cinque Terre in! You can shop my exact dress and look alike shoes here:

Here is: Vernazza

We hopped on the train from Manarola and went two towns over to Vernazza. We were pleasantly surprised that there was a beach area!

Lessons Learned from my first trip to Cinque Terre

1. The nicer the view, the steeper the climb.

Brandon and I both had carry on size roller bags that we
struggled to pull up the hills to our Airbnb. My friends and I settled on a
place high above the hills to enjoy the view, which meant we had to hike to our
spot with ALL of our bags. 

Advice: If you’re traveling to Cinque Terre or Italy in
general, I’d recommend fitting everything in a large backpack. It’s such a pain
wheeling your carry-on bag along. If I could go back to Cinque Terre/Italy, I
would bring one large backpack, pack less clothes, and just do laundry at each
stop since each placed we stayed in it Europe actually had a washing machine. 

2. Ask for the Prices of the Specials at Restaurants

Our most expensive meal we spent the entire trip was in
Cinque Terre… we easily could have avoided that if we had just asked how much
the specials were at the restaurant. We went to Trattoria Dal Billy in Manarola
and spent over $150 for 4 people for lunch… All the menu items were reasonable
so we assumed that the fish on special was also reasonable. But it wasn’t. It
was 20 euro a fish and we got two of them… While a bottle of the house white
wine was 13 Euro… we would have rather gotten a third bottle of wine than those
two fish. 

Advice: Ask for the prices of the specials offered at the

3. Swim in Monterosso or Vernazza

Though Manarola was beautiful, Monterosso and Vernazza
actually had a beach area to swim in. If you want to jump off the big rocks in
Manarola, you should stay and swim in that town. But if you want to lay out on
the beach, go to Monteresso or Vernazza. Manarola doesn’t have a beach area so
everyone just hangs out in the concrete slope to the water or on the rocks. 

4. Spend TWO Days Exploring

One day was not enough… I really wish we had spent another day
seeing the rest of the towns and going on a boat ride!

Overall Cinque Terre was one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited in my life. I would love to go back!

Thank you for reading!


Photos: Brandon Ellendt/Emma Cortes
Photos edited by: Holly Phan