Summer’s Getaway to Cinque Terre, Italy
Food & Wine
The UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre is a visually breathtaking string of five old fishing villages along the coast of the Italian Riviera on the Ligurian Sea. While southern Italy gets most of the bulk of tourism in destinations like Positano and Capri, Cinque Terre is a lovely alternative easily accessible by train. This corner of Italy is an absolute unspoiled slice of heaven, even in the heat of the summer. In proper Dolce Vita style, Cinque Terre, Italy, is ideal for a summer getaway for the curious traveler willing to veer off.
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Where to stay in Cinque Terre, Italy
Hotel Porto Roca
A hillside stunner in Cinque Terre, home to 43 balconied rooms, a popular terrace restaurant and seawater infinity pool all overlooking Monterosso Bay.
On the main drag in Monterosso, this small family-run boutique hotel has just 15 rooms and knockout coastline views.
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Things to do in Cinque Terre, Italy
Perhaps the best thing about visiting Cinque Terre is the lack of must-sees and must do’s. This World Heritage site is mother nature at its best. Think: beautiful sea, hiking, cliffs, the most incredible views and perfect weather. You should come to Cinque Terre wanting to relax into this slice of heaven on earth with all of its natural gifts.
Day Out at Sea
Book a reasonably priced half-day tour with Sea Breeze Boat tours. The guide will pick you up directly at the pier of Monterosso. From there, enjoy an afternoon luxuriously cruising along the Ligurian. This is an excellent chance to see all five villages in their most picturesque form. The tour also includes a few stops, including jumping off the boat and swimming in the waters to cool off. In good Italian style, prosecco and focaccia are plenty on board!
Monterosso has the largest and most beautiful sandy beaches in Cinque Terre called the Monterosso Fegina Beach. Picture orange and green striped umbrellas dotting the warm blue waters along a sandy coast. There are both free beaches and paid beach clubs where you can rent your umbrella and beach chair – these go quickly, so you need to reserve ahead of time! There are also many restaurants, ice cream shops and places to grab a quick snack on the promenade. The result is a relaxed beach resort atmosphere mixed with the extravagance of Italy's beauty and culture.
Explore and shop in the old town, also known as Borgo Antico. Let yourself get lost amongst the maze of tiny streets and shops. Don’t forget to grab some souvenirs to take home. Think: anything with lemons, homemade olive oil, local wine, limoncello (or limoncino as they call it in Cinque Terre), pottery, flowy summer dresses and so on. This is Italian quality at its finest!
Grab a gelato from Bar Gelateria Artigianale, put on your beach hat, and wander Via Fegina, the beachfront road that winds along the cliffs. Stop along the way to check out the views from different perspectives and altitudes.
If you are up for it, you can hike a trail that connects all five villages, called the Blue Trail. This will definitely take up a good portion of time. Make sure to research which parts of it are open. You will also need a pass to hike this trail. If you do not want to get involved in a big hike, you can go for smaller hikes around Monterosso. There are old stairs to climb to see the local church, crumbling walls, cemeteries and statues.
A note from Heidi
Visit the villages! Within minutes of walking, you can grab the train and head to the other four villages, just minutes apart. Head out to Vernazza, which is said to be the prettiest of all villages.
Eat & drink in Cinque Terre, Italy
Ristorante Miky: Cinque Terre is celebrated for its fresh seafood. This is a fairly expensive but outstanding restaurant right on the water.
La Cantina de Miky: Ristorante Miky's sister place, this restaurant is a little more casual but still serves outstanding Italian food.
Torre Aurora: The spot for proper Italian aperitivo. This is an old Medieval tower built to ward off attacks from pirates. When having aperitivo, you are seated in your own little arched alcove, looking over the sea. Having a local charcuterie board and prosecco with this view is one of my top ten favorite travel experiences.
Pasticceria Bar Laura: This is the place where the locals line up in the morning for their pastries and coffee, and you should too!
Il Massimo della Focaccia: The most delicious focaccia ever; try the one with the green olives.
A note from Heidi
Cinque Terre’s restaurants are very accommodating to allergies and food restrictions. Also, keep in mind that some places are not open every day, and it is absolutely a good idea to book places ahead of time.
Need to Know
Visitors should note that while accommodations are available across the villages, Monterosso is the northernmost, most prominent of the towns, with the only sandy beach in the region.
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