Best way to experience Cinque Terre: from the sea
The Five Lands. Where should I begin?
We dedicated one whole day to these colorful amazing villages tucked between steep hills and abruptly ending in the sea. Also, we booked in advance a boat trip with Daniele, which turned out to be probably the best three hours of the whole summer!
We arrived early in the morning in Manarola, one hour before our boat trip, so we had some time to breathe in the sweet morning laziness of the waking town, way before the hoards of tourists would fill up everything with their noise. The town is really small, so in just about half an hour we’ve roamed most of its streets and sat down for a coffee (served to us by the loveliest lady), excited to go at sea. Manarola would turn out to be my favourite village of the five and it’s the place I’m aiming to go back to one day!
So, after coffee we met with Daniele and the other guests and headed to the harbour. We were 3 couples on the boat, enjoying beer and wine while Daniele was telling us all kind of stories (from serious to funny ones) about the villages and the whole region. He took us to see the whole land from the sea and I can tell you it’s a fantastic view! We made a pit stop in Monterosso and then it was just about wine and stories, joy and music, snorkeling in secluded places, standing under waterfalls and learning to jump from the boat (that was me, hehe).
Monterosso al Mare is my second favourite village and if there’s a striking memory sparkling in my mind about it is its food smells – a delice for my nostrils. It was probably due to the time we arrived there (around lunch), but aromas of pizza and pasta and pesto and tomatoes and basil and and and… oh man, I’m feeling hungry just by remembering all those flavors filling up the streets.
When we arrived back to Manarola after the lovely sea adventure it was around midday, the sun was burning hot and there were some of the longest tourist lines waiting in the street for a place at one of the restaurants. We decided to ignore our growling stomachs for a little more and instead of waiting in line and risking a heatstroke we jumped into the crystal blue waters to refresh ourselves. Give me summer and clear water to jump into and I’m the happiest girl!
And finally, when we headed out of the water, the waiting lines had already vanished and we took a seat at Il Porticciolo, where I had the best pasta in Cinque Terre!
From Manarola we headed to Riomaggiore by train. It was overcrowded and the burning sun was tiring. After the delicious meal I had in Manarola, my only wish was to lie down on a boat and take a nap while swinging lazily in the shadow of a rock.
I liked Riomaggiore with its colorful buildings and festively decorated streets. It seemed to me that, although extremely similar in architecture, the five towns have each something of their own – more like a feeling. Manarola was peaceful and relaxed, Riomaggiore looked like a party hub, while Monterosso was the fancy one.
My camera’s battery died while snapping captures of Riomaggiore and I was left alone with my brain to do all the job of capturing and memorizing these places.
From Riomaggiore we headed to Corniglia, only to decide that 400 steps was too much to climb in that heat and skip it in favor of more time in Vernazza. Vernazza was the most quiet of them all and I think it’s the only one that has a sandy beach – not the best I’ve tried, if I can be honest with you, but still a welcome treat to place my towel and lie down in the sunset light.
In the evening we returned to Levanto tired but happy: Cinque Terre was the highlight of our roadtrip and I’m looking forward to go back one day.