a long weekend in Cinque Terre, Italy - part 1

Monday, June 09, 2014

Last month I spent four amazing days in Italy's Cinque Terre - a small area of coast along the Italian Riviera, made up of five tiny seaside villages and famous for it's beautiful terraced landscape that is only accessible via train or boat.

We decided to visit Cinque Terre in the shoulder season as I've heard the area gets painfully busy during the summer months. And I'm glad we did, as the temperature was still warm enough for swimming, yet the beaches were relatively quiet.

Now I don't normally make big bold statements - but I'm going to here... The Cinque Terre is without a doubt the most visually beautiful place I have visited in Europe. Hands down. Forget Paris, the Greek Islands, Venice or even the Swiss Alps, if you only had one weekend in Europe I would recommend you visit the Cinque Terre. Words just don't do it justice.

Local beach at Monterosso al Mare - Cinque Terre
the local beach at Monterosso al Mare - where we spent the weekend

Now, big bold statement said - I'm going to tell you about our time in Monterosso al Mare - the last of the five villages in Cinque Terre - and where we choose to lay our heads over the weekend in a charming little Italian villa my friend found on AirB&B

Enjoying the sun in Monterosso al Mare
hubby and me enjoying the sun in Monterosso al Mare

We started our mornings with local pastries from the bakery just around the corner from our accommodation - recommended by our neighbour. In this part of Italy a sweet style of 'pie' is the speciality, and is often filled with a type of custard or chocolate. We chose the chocolate variety for our breakfast and washed it down with organic eggs, tea, espresso and other goodies.

Breakfast in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

Venturing out we met a few friendly locals...

Gelato and espresso shop owner - Monterosso al Mare
gelato and espresso shop owner - Monterosso al Mare

But what really blew me away, was just how beautiful and relaxed the landscape was. There were so many quiet spots for a coffee, meal or just some time to read a book. The sun was shinning, birds singing... well you get the picture :)

Old town beach - Monterosso al Mare, Italy
old town beach - Monterosso al Mare

Sunbathing in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre Italy
sunbathing in Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare old town square - Cinque Terre
Monterosso al Mare old town square

A perfect view for lunch or dinner - Monterosso al Mare
a perfect view for lunch or dinner - Monterosso al Mare

Statue of 'the Giant' in Monterosso al Mare - Cinque Terre
famous concrete statue of 'the Giant' in Monterosso al Mare. This statue was created  by Levacher (architect) and Minerbi (sculptor), and represents Neptune, the god of the sea 

On our first full day we decided to complete the 3.5 km walk from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza - which snakes along the terraced cliffs with unbeatable views of both villages as you leave and arrive them.

The path between Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza 

the path between Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza

Looking back towards Monterosso al Mare
looking back towards Monterosso al Mare

Our first glimpse of Vernazza
our first glimpse of Vernazza

Back in Monterosso al Mare during the evenings we sampled local meets and cheeses, fish and of course indulged in a refreshing drink or two...

Eating out - Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre Italy

Eating out - Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre Italy

Eating out - Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre Italy

Strangely, we even spotted a couple from somewhere is Asia having their 'pre-wedding' photo shoot down on the beach. Look at that pose!!

Wedding photo shoot - Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre Italy

And when the sun came up in the morning we did it all again. Bliss!!

Coffee and freshly squeezed limonata with a view - Cinque Terre, Italy
coffee and freshly squeezed limonata with a view

The locals here especially knew how to relax... now that's a good spot to read a book if I don't say so myself...

Relaxing on the beach - Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

Hope you enjoyed this post - and have been inspired to book you next holiday to the Cinque Terre now! Next week I'll fill you in on our adventures in Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola. Ciao xx

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  1. Oh wow, it looks breathtaking, and as a huge fan of Switzerland and Greece I must add it to my list! The sights, the food and the sunshine look gorgeous. Thank you for sharing! :)

    1. You're welcome. Hope when you get there you enjoy as much as I did :)

  2. Wow, this IS beautiful!! I bet you had a wonderful time with all the croissants, sunshine and time spent on the beach. I'm slightly jealous of your trip and I've heard so many great things about Cinque Terre but have never seen so many beautiful pictures of it!

    1. Well I have many more to come this coming Monday:) My photos really don't do the place justice though. You have to see it for yourself to really experience the beauty!

  3. WOW this looks like an amazing trip!! The food looks so good and I love the beaches! I want to go!!

  4. Oh it was so amazing there! If I could move anywhere in the world it would be Monterosso

    1. Or at least have a very long extended vacation right? xx

  5. AnonymousJune 09, 2014

    Those beach views are so beautiful!

  6. You've completely sold me! We've been looking for a short break in Italy and I think this may be it! It looks like the perfect location for a couples break without the kids - thank you x

    1. Oh it its! You'll have an amazing time!

  7. Oh, Claire! This is gorgeous! I believe the prettiest pictures I've seen from Europe are ALL in Italy. What a beautiful country. I'm going to have to visit 10 times to see all of the places that have captured my attention. This will be one of them. I've pinned it for future reference - I definitely don't want to forget how lovely this is!

    1. Thanks Sarah - you just totally made my day! I'm telling you the pictures are great because the landscape is so amazing...