WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: Cinque Terre

Honeymoon 017 \ Cinque Terre Due


Our second day in Cinque Terre started much the same as the first – with a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, & cappuccinos. We then made our way down the 300 or so stairs to the train station to buy tickets to Milan for the following day as well as a Cinque Terre Card for the day. We’d decided to hike the blue trail to Vernazza & then take a boat to Monterrosso, both of which would require the card.

The hike to Vernazza was as stunning as the two we’d done the day before, although a little busier. We saw twice the number of people we’d seen not the red trails – likely because they are part of the suggested routes. The most striking thing for me was the range of ages & abilities. I was happy to see such a diverse group attempting the hike. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as we were too. & I mean, what’s not to love? Every time we looked back at Corniglia, I thought I had spotted my favourite view of the little village. Inevitably, we’d round another corner only to discover another that blew me away.


Trailhead to Vernazza











Trail markers along the way




Nearing Vernazza, we were rewarded with stunning views of the little village. We seemed to round a corner & suddenly find the village laid out in below. Looking down on Vernazza from the trail was one of my favourite vistas of the whole trip.

Hungry for our hike, we were pretty excited for the pizza recommendation I’d stumbled upon. I didn’t have a name, but had read we couldn’t miss it. As you descend towards the port, you’ll more or less stumble right into it. If that doesn’t tip you off, the line certainly should! It’s popular little spot.



Excited to see Vernazza



Arriving in Vernazza


We snagged a table right before the rush & ordered two pizzas – pesto & sausage, predictably- & two beers. The pizza had a focaccia-like crust that was different from any other pizza we’d ordered in Italy. No complaints here – you probably could have put pesto on a cracker & I’d have been happy though, honestly.


Pizza line-up


Pint of Peroni


Can you blame me for my pesto obsession?


All of N’s loves in one photo?


I’m not sure if it was the time of day or the town itself, but we found it considerably busier than any of the others we visited. After lunch, we wandered around the port before grabbing a large beer to share & setting up on some towels by the water. It doesn’t get much better than soaking up the sun, playing in the ocean, & sharing a cold beer on a hot day. Once we’d had our fill, we bought a couple tickets for the boat ride to the final land.


Exploring town


Tunnel to the beach





Another gorgeous harbour




Beers & Sun




Waiting for the boat!

We’d opted for the boat to save ourselves some time. We’d read that Vernazza to Monterosso was the hardest of the four hikes, & although I’m sure we could have managed, we didn’t want to feel rushed catching the train back to Corniglia. I love being out the ocean so the boat wasn’t a hard sell.

Monterosso had more of a beach feel than any of the other towns. We wandered around town, stopping in on little shops along the way to check out local products & art. There was so much wonderful art, & the photography was especially impressive. We picked up a print to bring home & headed over to a beachside restaurant for a drink with a view.



Goodbye Vernazza


Monterosso from the boat


The street(s) of Monterosso



Beach bar hangs

We finished our drinks & hopped on the train back to Corniglia for appies & wine at the cutest enoteca. The little garden patio overlooking the bay was the ideal setting for our final sunset. Their cheeky signs (announcing their lack of wifi to encourage conversation), delicious wine & appies, & wonderful service were the perfect way to watch the day wind down.




Cheeky explanation for their lack of Wi-Fi




Can I eat this now?



Getting our daily fill of sardines. They are so much more delicious when they’re fresh!


Corniglia from our rooftop. If you look closely you can spot the little enoteca.


Sunset from our rooftop

After sunset, we climbed a little further up the hill for dinner. I couldn’t resist a final meal including that incredible pesto. Pesto twice in one day? Works for me! Heading into the village centre for a couple of beers afterwards, we discovered a cute little spot. All of the bars in Corniglia are on the smaller side, giving them an especially intimate feel. Each has it’s own special features, leaving me feeling like I could have easily spent a few more days exploring (& imbibing). I certainly didn’t want to go to bed, knowing we’d be leaving in the morning.


On the roof before dinner


One last sunset




& more local wine

We reluctantly packed up our airbnb rental in the morning & headed over to another little garden restaurant for a leisurely breakfast – trying to soak up the last of Cinque Terre before our train. The surprising highlight of breakfast turned out to be a freshly squeezed orange-lemon juice, or the most incredible juice in the world. I wish I’d learned about it sooner! I’d have ordered it daily.


Our breakfast beverage spread.


Cappuccinos in the garden. Why did I ever leave?


It doesn’t look like much, but this juice was everything, guys.


Final goodbyes

As we walked down the winding road to the train station, rolling suitcases in tow, we watched the men working in the vineyards. It must have been harvest. Most were gathering grapes into red bins & putting them in the back of their trucks. One man carried his down in a bucket on his back & put it in the back of his car. They politely said hello as we passed – I’m sure we looked completely ridiculous & out of place to them, trekking down the hill with all our luggage.  Every interaction during our stay in Cinque Terre had been warm & friendly, so it seemed fitting that it should end in the same way.




I want to remember every detail of Cinque Terre. I loved every minute we spent exploring those breathtaking five lands & if I could only suggest one place to visit in Italy, this would be it.

Honeymoon 016 \ Cinque Terre Uno


When I look back on our honeymoon, it’s nearly impossible to pick a favourite destination. Our trip was filled with incredible sights & wonderful memories. If I did make some kind of list though, Cinque Terre world certainly figure towards the top. This region combines everything I love most about travel : phenomenal food, breathtaking views, welcoming locals, & an array of activities to keep us from getting bored.

Cinque Terre literally means five lands. It consists of five villages along the rugged Italian coastline, in the region of Liguria: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. I did a lot of research on the area before choosing the quietest (& perhaps least accessible) of the five towns, Corniglia, as our homebase. The laid-back, slower pace & central location appealed to me, but it’s not for the faint of heart. In order to reach the town’s centre, you’ll have to climb over 300 steps. Unlike the other four towns, Corniglia is also not accessible by boat. We found these traits added to the charm of the little village & allowed for much quieter evenings.


Training across Italy

After a day of train travel across Italy, we arrived in our small, seaside village quite late. The Italian train system was exactly how I remembered from my limited experience – usually late & a little bit quirky. Getting off the train in a new place after dark that night, I wasn’t so sure of our decision. Our late arrival meant the shuttle up the hill was no longer running. We were forced to walk up, enormous rolling suitcases in tow (I almost always travel with a backpack, but we decided to try to be a bit classier since we were cruising. I missed my backpack once we were off the ship). We decided to take the dark, winding road, crossing our fingers that it was the right direction. Luckily, we bumped into another couple who assured us we were on the right track.

The main square was pretty quiet when we finally reached it. A few diners lingered over their meals, tourists enjoyed a stroll for ice cream, & locals gathered for a chat. I love how squares are the heartbeat of most European towns & cities.

The grocer on the corner was still open, so we took the opportunity to ask for directions to our rental. Instead of pointing us to the building, he picked up the phone & called Lidia, the lady we were renting from. That’s how small Corniglia is. She pulled up a few minutes later & walked us over to our apartment, pointing out some of the things we’d need to know in the coming days. She only gave us a quick overview before sending us off to dinner before the restaurants closed for the night.

We chose a place on the main square & ordered some wine, trenette al pesto, & grilled fish. It was all delicious, especially after such a long day of travel. I really couldn’t get enough of that pesto. Afterwards, we bought a bottle of wine & had a couple glasses on our rooftop terrace, overlooking the little village & coastline.


I still dream about this pesto


our cute, little room


view of the square from our terrace

After a few additional tips from Lidia in the morning, we grabbed a nice, big breakfast & set out for the day. The two easiest hikes were unfortunately closed due to landslides in the area. Instead, we planned to do the more difficult (but free) ones. We started with the trail to Manarola, along the red line. Climbing further & further up the steep path, the view quickly became impressive. Once we’d almost reached the peak, we split off onto another trail to start our traverse. This part of the path was probably my favourite; I gushed over the many olive trees, lemon trees, & terraced vineyards. It was suddenly clear where the incredible, fresh flavours of everything we ate came from (their backyard, literally). We were surrounded by vines (some of the steepest vineyards I’ve ever seen) everywhere we looked. It was truly an incredible sight.






Corniglia from the trail




Beautiful, beautiful Corniglia




Terraced vines



Narrow path & vines on either side

Our descent into Manarola included over 1000 stairs & panoramic views of the village. I probably exclaimed, “this is so beautiful!” over 200 times. We followed our stomachs to a little restaurant in the heart of the village, grabbing a spot on their terrace. I decided to go for the grilled octopus & was not disappointed. It was the most tender octopus I’ve ever tasted. Like most of the food in Italy, simple & delicious, I never knew it could taste thate amazing. N went with the lobster spaghetti, which he thoroughly enjoyed (can you really go wrong with lobster?).






Manarola from the trail




Working our way down




I only remembered a photo halfway through so this doesn’t look like much, but trust me: the bomb.


Manarola features an incredible harbour, full of people sunbathing, swimming, & cliff jumping. We decided to join them & each jumped off about a ten foot cliff. It was scary at first, but once we got over the fear, it was so much fun. The water was the perfect temperature & I could have easily swam for a couple hours. We wanted to see Riomaggiore too though so we had to get back on the trail.




I loved watching them lower boats into the water







The town isn’t really that far, but with Via dell’ Amore close, it took about an hour to do the harder hike. Instead of a 25 minute walk on a paved pathway, we headed straight up the mountain (& I mean STRAIGHT up). It was pretty much 25 min up, a little break at the top, then 25 min back down. Once we got into the village, we grabbed a cone of mixed fried fish including calamari, white fish, crayfish, & whole anchovies. I wasn’t sure how I’d find the whole fish, but they wound up being my favourite part. Everything was delicious & tender, but those little anchovies stole the show. We bought a large beer from a grocery store & headed down to the rocks, enjoying the sun, sea, & a cold drink. We also picked up some pesto & a nice bottle of local wine before taking the train back to Corniglia.


I love these colourful little villages




Seafood cone – just do it.


Bringing his boat up for storage


Wine makes waiting for trains go much quicker


Sadly closed (still, a year later)

We caught the end of the sunset on the panoramic terrace in Corniglia. There’s a little bar that sets up tables & chairs there. We ordered a few appies – some tartines with pesto & anchovies, & cheese with honey – grabbed a couple glasses of wine, & watched the sunset. It was delicious.




Simple & delicious

Quickly changing for dinner, we decided to try a cute little spot in the centre. When we’d walked past the previous night, it was packed, so we figured it was a good bet. It turned out Osteria a Cantina de Mananan was a winner. Although, we were the last diners, our server didn’t rush us &, instead, made us feel welcome in every way.

We started our meal with some charcuterie, cheese, olives, & this surprisingly delicious quiche. I like quiche, but I never think that highly of it. This version was a total game changer. For our main course, we shared a huge bowl of spaghetti with shellfish. It had a slight spice & buttery sauce, with an incredible amount of fresh seafood. It was one of my favourite meals in Italy. I can’t recommend this spot enough. (After reading reviews, we lucked out in getting a table without a reservation. Look into booking ahead.)



We ended the day with another bottle of wine on our terrace. It was quickly becoming our favourite way to finish off the day.(How can you go wrong?)

I’ve been thinking about Cinque Terre since we left. I knew I loved France & that the cruise would be a great experience, but I wasn’t expecting to fall head over heels for Italy in the way that I did. I’ll recap our second, equally wonderful, day in Cinque Terre next time.


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