Cinque Terre

Roller coasters for grapes and a cliffside lemonade stand. Who knew that Cinque Terre would be so much fun and so beautiful?

I have to thank my hubby for this one. While I’ve planned the majority of this trip, he was the one who insisted on Cinque Terre, so I went without knowing too much about the area.

Cinque Terre is a region that consists of five towns: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The towns date back over 1, 000 years, and are still best accessible by boat, train or on foot. You can reach Vernazza by car, but the road is so windy and narrow that you need steel knuckles and a kilo of Gravol to make the journey.

We took the train to Monterrosso al Mare and hiked to Vernazza and then Corniglia on our first day in the area. We couldn’t go any farther (thank God!) because the trail between Corniglia and Manarola was wiped out in the floods of 2011 and still hasn’t been repaired.

Residents of Corniglia can almost wave to Manarola in the distance

Residents of Corniglia can almost wave to people in Manarola in the distance

The path was originally created by mules to connect the towns. Better than any stairmaster I’ve ever stepped on, the trail went up and down, over cliffs and around bays to get us to our destination.

We took much longer than the posted time to reach both Vernazza and Corniglia, because the views were so incredible.

How could you pass up buying juice from this guy?

How could you pass up buying juice from this guy?

And there was also that lemonade stand pitched at the perfect spot on the way to Vernazza that forced us to stop. Kind of like cute lemonade stands backĀ in suburban Calgary, except this one was run by a senior citizen brandishing a juicer perched on the side of a cliff.

We were lucky to have picked the perfect day to hike the area, with a high of 25 degrees and sunny skies. This was the first time we had worn shorts since Africa!

The villages were very colourful and almost leaped out of the landscape in front of us as we came around a corner. Apparently the cliffside houses were originally painted different colours so that fishermen could pick out their homes from the sea.

Fishing was the way of life before tourism took over

Fishing was the way of life before tourism took over

Today the alleys of the five towns are filled with restaurants and hotels, along with numerous places that sell gelato. We visited Manarola and Riomagiorre the second day, partly just to get more of that frozen goodness!

The towns themselves are separated by vineyards growing on steep terraces. Grapes are lowered to the bottom on tiny roller coasters as the cliffs are so steep. The girls really wanted to have a ride, but luckily they weren’t functional at this time of the year.

After our two days in Cinque Terre, we couldn’t think of a safer or more tastier place to wait out the impending zombie apocalypse!

4 Comments on “Cinque Terre

  1. Ok… you guys have been to some amazing places but this sounds like the most perfect place in the world. I think I just added something to my bucket list. Super jealous today. I may have to use one of your perfect pictures as a focus for goal setting.

    • We absolutely loved Cinque Terre. I wouldn’t mind going back one day, maybe in September at grape harvest, and actually staying in one of the five towns. I would like to hike more of the coast!

      – Heather

  2. Another wonderful interesting blog. it seems you’ve found lots of places you will go back and visit again one day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *