We are back in Germany after one amazing holiday in sunny South-Africa! It’s super cold at the moment! Liam and I struggled the first few days to get used to winter again. Winter in Europe is definitely on another level, especially after living in the Middle East for 3 years before moving to Germany in April last year. This cold weather made me miss summer time and our great holiday in Italy last year, so I decided to tell you all about that today.
We absolutely love Italy! I mean what’s not to love? Beautiful scenery, delicious food, romantic towns, the Italian Riviera, gelato and wine, lots of wine! Sidney and I travelled to Italy a few times before Liam was born. We fell in love with this country during our first visit to Venice in 2008. Hopefully I can write more about this in the near future.
I’ve always wanted to visit Cinque Terre and when we got the opportunity to visit Italy again it wasn’t hard to decide where to go. Normally we would fly to Italy, but since we are now living in Bavaria we decided to make a road trip and drive to Italy. Depending on traffic conditions it’s about 9 hours from where we live. We didn’t want to drive all the way to Cinque Terre with Liam in one go (can you imagine that!?!), so instead we drove about 6 hours and stayed over in a city called Rovereto not too far from Verona….another city that I would love to visit someday.
After a lovely evening spent in Rovereto we decided to drive to Lake Garda the next morning and spend the day there before continuing our trip to Cinque Terre. A bit of a detour but what a great surprise. We didn’t realize how beautiful this place was! I can easily spend my summer here. We would have loved to have stayed there for a few days, but hopefully we can visit this amazing place again in the near future.
There are five villages in Cinque Terre: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. This area is known as Cinque Terre National Park and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With Liam it’s easier for us to stay in self-catering apartments when we travel. We were lucky enough to find an apartment in the heart of Monterosso al Mare. We stayed at A Ca Da Vaniglia apartments via booking.com. Our host Mario was extremely helpful and made our visit so much more convenient. He owns a wine bar just around the corner from the apartment where we had a great breakfast every morning and the best coffee in town! The apartment was well equipped with everything we needed and only a 2 minute walk from the beach. For us the location was perfect! If you ever visit Cinque Terre I would highly recommend staying here. Accommodation within the Cinque Terre area tends to be expensive, especially when you don’t book in advance. Staying in Levanto or Portovenere is also a great option. Although not part of the Cinque Terre National park, it’s only a short train ride away and therefore a good base to explore the area.
They don’t recommend arriving in Cinque Terre by car. The parking is minimal, very expensive and the road leading to Monterosso al Mare is definitely not for the faint hearted……we did survive the journey (my heart did skip a few beats!) and was lucky enough to find parking. If you are travelling with a car I would rather recommend parking your car at the secure parking area close to La Spezia train station and then make your journey via a train ride to the village that you are staying at.
After checking in we immediately went down to the beach for a swim, and that’s where we spent most of our time over the next few days. Orange and green umbrellas, a beautiful pebble beach, caves, crystal clear water and steep terraced hillsides filled with vineyards…you can’t capture the true beauty of the surroundings in a photo.
When on holiday, we like to relax as much as possible and laying on the beach and swimming all day does exactly that for us. We visited in June just before the start of school holidays, which meant it wasn’t too crowded and not too hot. After spending all day at the beach we normally went to explore the other towns and shops late afternoons and evenings. Cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, amazing food, live music in the background, spectacular views and the best gelato in the world…
All 5 towns can be reached via train, with just a few minutes per train journey between each.
Like most other toddler boys Liam loves trains and this was a big highlight for him……we struggled to get him off the train!
The 5 seaside villages can also be reached via ferries that operates very regularly during the summertime and gives you a very different view of each town from the Med. You can also hike between the towns. Each town is beautiful in its own way. After Monterosso al Mare we loved Vernazza the most. Vernazza is a one street town with colourful pastel buildings and a small harbour. This romantic town that’s surrounded by vineyards against terraced hillsides is a must see in my books.
Cinque Terre is a true gem that takes you back to a simpler time. Don’t try to experience the area in just one day. Take some time to explore this beautiful place, take in the scenery, drink local wine, swim in the crystal clear water, enjoy the culinary experience, watch the sunset and appreciate the perfectly preserved architecture this rugged coastline has to offer.
I hope this post inspires you to visit this beautiful area in Italy or just to start travelling!
And that’s a wrap people! Until next time…😉
Thank you so much for reading!
Lots of Love