The coast of Riomaggiore
I just returned from an amazing trip to Cinque Terre, a region that roughly translates to "Five Cities," all of which sit on the Ligurian Sea and are connected by a train and hiking trails. I traveled with two other tutors, Katie and Jenn, both of whom I met through my Teach English in Italy School Teaching Assistant program.
We stayed in the southernmost of the five villages, Riomaggiore. We all immediately fell in love with the city - the perfect weather made the brightly colored buildings and sea cliffs as picturesque as the ones we'd seen online.
Saturday morning, after fueling up on a big breakfast at our hotel, we headed out to the hiking trail and made our way to the second city, Manarola. The easier of the two hiking trails was temporarily closed for renovations, so we started on the more difficult trail. After a long and practically vertical climb to the top (with intermittent rest breaks pretty much every five minutes), we were finally able to relax and enjoy the incredible view.
The Cliffs of Manarola
After hiking down the mountain, we arrived in the beautiful city of Manarola. The city was quaint and colorful, with many shops and restaurants overlooking the water. The bright buildings and glittering water made the view look completely surreal. We stopped for a delicious seafood lunch by the water and then headed out on the next hike.
Katie, I and Jenn in Manarola
The next hike led us to the city of Corniglia, which was just as gorgeous as the first two - complete with beautiful architecture and the vivid colors Cinque Terre is famous for. We walked through the village, where we treated ourselves to gelato for finally making it to the third city. By this time, the sun was beginning to set, so we headed to the train station and took the train back to Riomaggiore for dinner.
Sunset in Corniglia
After arriving back in Riomaggiore, we walked through the main street and stopped for dinner at a restaurant called La Lampara. We sat at a table overlooking the main street and each enjoyed a delicious pasta dish. The next morning, we headed back to the main street and shopped for souvenirs and postcards for friends and family before heading to the train station.
On the train ride home, despite agreeing that our legs were numb and/or swollen from the hikes, we were already growing nostalgic for our incredible trip. We all agreed we would love to make another trip back to Cinque Terre in the future.
If you have the chance to visit Cinque Terre, I definitely recommend it! We were only able to visit three cities, but if you have the opportunity to spread out your trip and would like to see all five, one idea would be to stay one night in each city along your hike. Although Cinque Terre is less well known than other popular destinations in Italy, that just adds to its charm - it almost feels like a well kept secret.