Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ah, Cinque Terre!

We went on a short trip to Italy last Easter holidays and we just fell in love with Cinque Terre - five picturesque, idyllic villages on the Ligurian Riviera. From Stuttgart, we drove via Switzerland through the Gotthard tunnel and then past Lugano and Milan towards the South. The drive takes 8 hours on normal days but if you go in the holiday season, it could take longer - a good five hours for us because of the heavy traffic en route to Gotthard tunnel. There are of course alternative routes and passes that will take you there faster. Unfortunately for us, the passes were closed during our travel dates.

We stayed at an Air BnB host in Carrara, an old town most well-known for its Marble Alps. It is also a good starting point for different excursions to neighboring towns and villages.

We went twice to Cinque Terre as one good day is not enough to explore these beautiful villages. Since no cars are allowed inside the villages, we started off at La Spezia and took the trains from there. Be warned: the train station is packed especially in the first half of the day so expect long queues at the ticket machines and tourist information center.

There are five villages namely Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. With its colorful houses on steep slopes, small docks with colorful boats, winding alleys and stairways, it definitely has its romantic charm. It has fantastic, and sometimes very narrow and steep, hiking trails. The landscape, seemingly untouched by modernization, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, Because of this, it is teeming with tourists from all parts of the globe.

Each village has its own charm and character. The food, although pricey, is really very good - with fresh seafood served in restaurants or at take-out stands.

I will post more about our trip in the coming days so stay tuned for it. :) 

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