5 towns in 3 days, Cinque Terre - Part I (Vernazza)

Vernazza1

For as long as I can remember, the number one spot I've wanted to visit is Cinque Terre, mainly due to seeing photos like the one above on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.  Cinque Terre is five (cinque) towns on the Italian Riviera that are colorful, full of charm, and within walking (hiking) distance of one another.  Plus it is the birthplace of Pesto and known for it's lemon so how could you not love it?!

We headed there straight from Lake Como, by way of Milano, and arrived at what apparently was prime time to leave the beach in Monterosso to head down to the other towns (hoping that reads as "OMG, don't go to Cinque Terre in July during prime tourist season when it's 100 degrees and you're carrying a month's worth of stuff on your back during the day's most popular commute time").  While it wasn't my favorite stop of the trip, I probably took more photos in my 3 days in Cinque Terre than I did at a few of my other stops combined because everywhere you look is too pretty for words.

Our first stop in Cinque Terre was Vernazza where we stayed and where all pics in this post were taken.  Out of the five towns it ended up being my favorite and I'd suggest staying there if you go.  While all of Cinque Terre is definitely low key, I found it to be the most lively of the bunch with the best dining options.

Some Vernazza recommendations:

  • If you do stay in Vernazza, check out La Rosa dei Venti.  The woman that runs it is a sweetheart and it's in a great location
  • Eat gelato at Gelateria Vernazza as much as possible... The best gelato of my entire 2 weeks in Italy! Try the mint and the dark chocolate
  • Dinner at Al Castello is a MUST.  Recommended by the owner of our B&B and was to die for.  It's inside the castle and at sunset is just unreal.  Plus the staff is the sweetest and the food was great.
  • Breakfast at Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre. They are a bit crazy though just to warn you
  • Eat a lot of pesto - it was born here!
  • Drink lots of lemonade or other lemon products

Hiking recommendations coming next time!