I spent 10 days travelling Italy with my mom and stepdad. The trip included: two days in Rome, an overnight in Orvieto, two days driving around the Val d’Orcia based in Montepulciano, two days in Chianti based outside of Greve in Chianti, 3 days and 2 nights in Cinque Terre, a stopover in Pisa and two days and nights in Venice. This post covers our second day of three days in Cinque Terre.
Waking up in Manarola, we made the most of the early morning, pre-crowded town and went for a walk. From our apartment, we walked the main (only?) road through town and headed up the hill towards the church. From there, near a wooden railing, we started the walk through the vineyards, which wraps along the north end of the town and down to the cemetery.
It threatened to rain, but it held off long enough for us to finish the trail and make it back into town near the harbour without getting too wet. I highly recommend the walk since it has fabulous views looking down on the town and gives a very different perspective of the town than you get from street level.
By the time we returned to our room, it was raining pretty heavily and we were hungry! Trying to wait out the rain, we ate again at Aristide, having a lovely (and dry) breakfast indoors. The cafe, located very close to the tunnel entrance into the town from the train station, was packed full of tourists trying to escape the rain. After some serious ‘hovering’, we managed to get a table for two, for the three of us. With all of our luggage, it was very tight!
It was very difficult to leave Manarola. It’s my favourite town as it’s small, relatively quiet and has a few very good restaurants. It also didn’t help that I knew our accommodation in Vernazza was going to be a let down after our gorgeous ocean views. (Tip – book early in high season so you don’t have to spend two nights in two different towns).
Alas, after a very short (less than 10 minute) train ride, we arrived in Vernazza in the rain. After a (quick as we could manage with our bags) hike up the main drag, we checked into our accommodation for the night, La Perla Della 5 Terre. By the time we’d settled in, the rain finally stopped, so we went for a walk along the main street to the waterfront. A benefit of all the intermittent rain, was a serious lack of crowds!
After a (surprisingly good) basil gelato, the rain returned, so we decided it would be an excellent time to do some laundry. Lucky for us, there was a laundromat next to our accommodation.
Eventually the rain did stop, so we thought we’d try the trail to Corniglia, the only one of the five towns not set on the sea. Heading up to trail, but before the official trail head, there were plenty of beautiful views of Vernazza and Castello Doria from above. At the trail head, there was a sign saying the trail was closed for your safety. The cabin where you normally pay was unmanned so we didn’t have to pay. Since the weather didn’t look too bad, we decided to continue on to Corniglia and to turn around if it started to rain.
The hike was a bit nerve-wracking as the clouds were getting more grey by the minute, and though it started to rain a bit, we managed to make it all the way to the hill top town without getting soaked! In hindsight it wasn’t the best idea since the trail would have been very slippery in places if the rain had of started earlier. We were very lucky!
After a stroll through the small, quiet and very peaceful town, we were all getting pretty tired, so we walked down the 382 steps down to the train station (there’s a bus but we decided to do the walk – we must not have been that tired!).
From there we caught the train back to Vernazza and then headed down to the waterfront to find a restaurant and to have some well earned vino!
Walking around the mini harbour, there were several restaurants with outdoor seating, which is one of our ‘must-haves’ when looking for a restaurant. Since the weather looked like it could rain again at any second, only restaurants with umbrellas were allowing people to sit outside. We finally settled on a restaurant called Ristorante Pizzeria Vulnetia, which has lovely harbour views. After drinking our bottle of Cinque Terre vino, we took in the atmosphere at the harbour, which pretty much consisted of a few couples drinking wine on one of the benches overlooking the water and two very drunk British guys and two girls who decided it was a perfect time to strip down in their undies and go for a swim! We definitely weren’t expecting to see that!
To read about our first day in Cinque Terre click here.
To read about our third day in Cinque Terre click here.
We visited Cinque Terre in mid-September in 2015.