We stepped off the train in Riomaggiore, Italy and were treated to this incredible view of the coast.The sun danced on our skin as we gawked at the beauty around us, the soft ocean breeze blowing wisps of hair across our faces. Christina and I grabbed hands and let out a harmonious squeal of excitement! I was worried Pinterest had ruined my expectations for Cinque Terre, but honestly it was even more beautiful than all of the photographs we’d seen.
We spent our first day sprawled on the big rocks by the ocean soaking up the Italian sun, listening to music and reminiscing about the countries we’d seen so far. For dinner we wandered the one-street town of Riomaggiore and chose a local restaurant where the owner tried to persuade us to try the pesto sauce. I kindly told him that I did not like pesto (from past experiences in the states) so he shrugged and let me order my lasagna al ragú. When it was time for his dinner break, he made himself a fresh plate of penne pesto and said “Just try our pesto, you will like it,” as he loaded my bread plate with noodles. Needless to say, I am now a pesto fan…it was absolutely delicious. He brought out a bottle of Prosecco and poured us two free glasses. The Italians view meals as a way to celebrate a day well spent and I certainly wasn’t one to complain! After several “ciaos”, we made our way back to the hostel to discover that our building had no locks whatsoever. Only a little unnerving…but we made the best of it and locked our backpacks to our cots.
We decided to spend our second day in Monterosso, the village known for its beaches. Lathered with sunscreen, we descended upon the rocky beach. Two older ladies were leaving their beach chairs as we walked up, so we asked if we could use them. Come to find out the chairs were 10 euros each to rent, however the ladies were kind enough to let us have them for free as they had paid for them until the end of the day. How did we get so lucky?! Apparently we had stumbled upon a private beach because anyone who laid their towel out on the ground without a chair was asked to leave by the lifeguard on duty. We scored a private beach and free chairs! We dipped our feet in the water, ate some gelato, and sun tanned for the rest of the day. It was a much needed relaxing break.
The next day we decided to hike the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso. It was a steep and often narrow trail with absolutely breathtaking vantage points! If you ever travel to Cinque Terre, definitely take the hike! It was worth the sweat!! It took us almost 2 hours, but this includes some photo breaks to capture the villages beside the ocean. I think it’s safe to say this was our favorite part of our stay in Cinque Terre. Plus it was a good workout, we definitely earned the gelato we had at the end! We spent the rest of the evening on the beach in Monterosso and then took the train to Manorola to see the sun set and grab some dinner.
This was one of the most anticipated stops on our backpacking trip and it did not disappoint. So happy we got to spend a few days in paradise and relax by the beach. Go to Cinque Terre before it becomes too touristy!! We had an amazing time!