This is a recount from one of Lauren's recent trips to Europe. To see more of her posts, click here.
This could very well be the one millionth blog post on the internet about Cinque Terre, Italy, since it is just that incredible. The photos speak for themselves, so I’ll be sharing some of the finer things from our recent visit.
After a tiring 4-hour train ride from France, we settled into Albergo al Carugio for a 3-night stay in the village of Monterosso, the northernmost of the 5 villages. This quaint, affordable house-turned-hotel quickly felt like home. It was a 15-ish minute walk from the train station and boardwalk with plenty of shops and restaurants along the way. Our private room was clean and bright, and our host, Andrea, was incredibly pleasant and full of advice.
We decided to stay in Monterosso based on reviews that it was the liveliest of the villages and we were not disappointed. By pure coincidence, we happened to be in town for their annual lemon festival. That’s right, lemon! On the 3rd Sunday of May, store owners compete for the best lemon-inspired storefront decoration and hit the streets to sell their authentic limoncello liquor and lemony baked goods.
|Winning display at the lemon festival|
|Main Piazza fountain for the lemon festival|
|Food sold on the street for the lemon festival, and pesto focaccia with onions, a local specialty|
|Monterosso, where you start the hike from|
|Vineyards, and Manarolla in background|
|Hiking in Vernazza|
Since segments of the lower, more tourist-friendly “blue” trail were closed due to recent landslides, we decided to continue on a more challenging trail that headed farther up the mountain… Let’s just say I have never been so grateful for the snack-packing gene inherited from my mom. The slices of salami and box of crackers we picked up at the grocery store were the perfect fuel to keep us going on what had become a serious all-day hike.
|Il Gigante statue|
Although trail closures prevented us from reaching the fifth town, Riomaggiore, we were happy to have survived an 8 hour hike and were truly blown away by the natural beauty surrounding us along the way.
Even if outdoorsy activities aren’t your cup of tea, the variety of local restaurants and shops are another brag-worthy feature of Monterosso.
|Trofi pasta with pesto, a local speciality, from Gastronomia San Martino|
We also found trendy Italian-made leather sandals at Lanapo and intricate wool scarves at a textile shop that I wish I could remember the name of (it was near Pasticceria Laura – which makes the most delicious buttery “Monterossina” cake with layers of chocolate and cream). Another main attraction in Monterosso is the shrine of St. Francis of Assisi and the Capuchin Friars, which was a short hike up from the main town and offered a stunning panoramic view.
|View of Vernazza|
It was so refreshing to spend a few days outside of a bustling city and take in the incredible sights and culture of the Cinque Terre region. This is a destination that I can’t wait to revisit.