Thursday, September 27, 2018
Cinque Terre – Monterosso to Vernazza
About 3.5 miles
Cinque Terre is an interesting place. It is beautiful, but I will say it is a bit over hyped. Don’t get me wrong, it is unique, but it feels like the towns are still trying to figure out how best to deal with the hordes of tourists that have started to come in the past few years. That said, still a good day.
We took the first ferry in the morning out of Portovenere where we were staying to Riomaggiore, the southernmost town of the Cinque Terre. There is supposed to be a system of trails that connects all five towns, but the first two (Riomaggiore to Manarola and Manarola to Corniglia) were closed, which is apparently a semi-permanent status. After realizing this, we took the ferry up to Monterosso on the north end and made the trek over to Vernazza.
This was a pretty difficult hike in terms of elevation, as you basically go from the beach straight up through the vineyards to the top of the hills and then back down. There were a lot of people to contend with, but the views were pretty spectacular.
There is a wine train track that is elevated along some of the trail, which as far as I can tell is like a tiny rollercoaster that takes you among the vineyards, but it wasn’t running today apparently.
Vernazza seems to be the most popular of the towns and it has the most unique layout with an enclosed harbor and a watchtower that was used to look out for invading pirates back in the day.
There is also cave under the massive natural rock wall that leads to the beach. This was really really cool, though it seems like easy access for the aforementioned pirates.
After a quick lunch and some views from the watchtower we took the ferry over to Manarola, which ended up being my favorite town. Here you could cliff jump into the harbor and it just had the most chill vibe of all the towns.
Cinque Terre was definitely an experience, but just be prepared for huge crowds in both the towns and the trails in between.