The world is bigger than we could ever possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. As I dive head first into travel, I am inspired by each of your adventures and am starting Sonderlust Secrets as a series showcasing this. Interested in being featured?If you find yourself daydreaming about a beautiful, Italian getaway with an ocean view, a glass of local vino and a feeling of complete serenity, you’re probably dreaming of Cinque Terre.Cinque Terre is a string of five seaside towns on the Italian Riviera coastline. It is breathtaking with its century-old villages, colorful houses and ancient vineyards set within the steep mountain terraces.
Literally translating to “five lands”, the five separate towns of Cinque Terre all offer something a little different. From the beaches in Monterosso to the vineyards in Manarola, you can easily explore all five towns by hopping on and off the Eurorail as you please.
WHERE TO STAY
The five towns of Cinque Terre, in order from North to South, are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
Any and all of the towns in Cinque Terre are heavenly and make for an excellent setting to your trip. If you want to be near the only sand beach in Cinque Terre, then Monterosso al Mare is best. It is coveted for being just steps from the water and a popular destination for both tourists and locals.While you can stay in a hotel or hostel, I would recommend renting an ocean-side apartment and get a truly native, Italian experience. Imagine waking up in your own room with a balcony and this view each morning. It is magical.
WHAT TO EAT
There are a few staple things you MUST eat while in Cinque Terre! These foods are known to originate from this area of Italy and are popular items in each of the towns.
Pesto: The Italian Riviera is home of the herb basil, which is the base of Italian pesto sauce. And thus Cinque Terre became the birthplace of pesto. Try the delicious sauce on trofie pasta, short twists made of flour with a bit of potato.Focaccia: Another food that originates from this area of Italy, and a local favorite as a snack on the beach! The simple, fluffy bread made with olive oil and salt is divine. You can find it being served in many varieties, from original to olive, onion, herbs, and even pesto!
Seafood: It’s no surprise that the seafood in Cinque Terre is out of this world. With miles of coastline offering fresh catches, the seafood selection is incredible here and a proud feature on all menus.
White Wine: The vineyards and wine cellars of Cinque Terre produce some delicious white wines right in the rugged mountains, which naturally pairs perfectly with their abundance of seafood.
Recommendation: Il Porticcioli’s Bar in Manarola is a great option for lunch or dinner, with amazingly delicious food!
WHAT TO DO
Believe it or not, one of the top things to do in this ocean-side location is to hike! You can trek up and down the 8 miles of land connecting each town, all along the coastline. The trails are some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world, but be prepared for a good leg workout!Swimming in the salty Mediterranean water is a given. If you’re not wading into the ocean in Monterosso al Mare, dive off the cliffs and rocks in any of the other towns. Locals and adrenaline junkies have no fear of leaping into the aqua blue abyss.When in Italy, you drink wine. Going on a tour and tasting of a local vineyard is a great way to learn about the vino that comes from this area. You can sample a variety of different local wines and experience the culture in a new way.Whether you come for the view, the food, the wine, the beach, the relaxation or the people, Cinque Terre will not disappoint.