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8 Tips for Visiting Cinque Terre

by Amanda Overy

Looking for a place to travel for a weekend trip in Italy? Visiting Cinque Terre is the perfect adventure! Built into the mountains on the Western Italian coastline lay five colorful villages just begging you to visit them — and the best part is that it’s so easy to get there! You can easily buy a train ticket online to and from Cinque Terre, and if you are in need of an inexpensive place to stay the night, it’s simple. Cheap, affordable, and easy access.

Cinque Terre is an ideal two-day trip to get away and see something new, as well as allow for some relaxation time.

Here are 8 tips for visiting Cinque Terre:

1. Buy a Cinque Terre card.

A two-day card costs about 30 euros and with its purchase you will have full access to all hikes, free shuttle bus and train rides — which can get you to and from each village — WiFi, and more. This will ultimately save you money and allow for adequate ease of adventuring.

2. Book accommodations in advance.

Book your hostel, or another place of stay, ahead of time. We waited until two days before we left for Cinque Terre and got lucky — there were just enough beds left in the hostel to accommodate us. It is necessary to make sure there are enough beds for all of you because they won’t let you share. There are also a few Airbnbs available for a night or two. I suggest booking your accommodations at least a week in advance to give yourself sufficient time to find a place with availability.

3. Plan your route and landmarks before going.

Make a plan of where you want to go and what you want to see. This will save you time and allow you to check the shuttle and train schedule. Knowing your planned schedule ahead of time is important so that you don’t waste time waiting for trains or shuttles when you could be on the beach enjoying the sun.

4. Pack light!

I suggest bringing a comfortable swimsuit that you can hike in, a water bottle, and wearing a quality pair of walking shoes for the trails. We found that the best bag to pack everything in was a backpack. This made it easy to carry everything after we had checked out of our hostel, mainly because we stayed in Cinque Terre until the evening of our last day and had nowhere else to store it. So pack light because you aren’t going to want to be lugging around a lot while walking around in the sun. 

5. Hike throughout the towns.

There are trails that connect each village and the views are stunning. Even if hiking isn’t your thing and it seems hard, once you finish you will be so glad you did it. The beginning of the trails are the hardest but once you get past that, the views hold your attention the rest of the way and it is breathtaking. Make sure to wear your good shoes — without proper shoes you aren’t allowed on the trail. You’ll be grateful you wore them once you start the journey.

6. Make reservations at restaurant with waterfront views.

These are the most popular restaurants in the villages and they fill up quickly, so call ahead of time! If you want dinner on the water, as everyone else visiting Cinque Terre does, then making a reservation will guarantee you a spot. My friends and I, unfortunately, didn’t think to call ahead. Even at our second choice restaurant, the wait was very long. Luckily, we could still see the sunset behind the mountains as we enjoyed our food, which was an indescribable scene.

7. Try the local cuisine.

Since Cinque Terre is on the coast, it is very different from inland parts of Italy. Seafood and pesto are their popular dishes. Everything there is fresh and delicious, worth every bite. Your mouth will water as the waiter brings out a gorgeous platter of all the shrimp, clams, and oysters. Even if you aren’t much of a seafood eater, like I am, I suggest giving it a try. It’s what they are known for and is bound to be delicious.

8. Overall, enjoy every moment of it!

Each village has its own breathtaking scene on the beautiful coast and the colorful buildings are each unique in their own way. It is the perfect getaway to breathe in the fresh air of the sea and get your feet wet in crystal clear waters. Travel through the trails of each village while experiencing the hikes on the side of a mountain. A two-day trip I will never forget.

Pin Image: 8 Tips for Visiting Cinque Terre, Italy | AIFS Abroad

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