a long weekend in Cinque Terre, Italy - part 1Monday, 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.
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.
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.
Venturing out we met a few friendly locals...
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
sunbathing in Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso al Mare old town square
a perfect view for lunch or dinner - Monterosso al Mare
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
looking back towards Monterosso al Mare
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...
And when the sun came up in the morning we did it all again. Bliss!!
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...