Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

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My name is Amy.  I’m a wife, mother, animal lover, American expat, travel destination blogger and owner of Riomaggiore Reservations (a holiday lettings agency in the Cinque Terre).  Let’s just say I wear many hats.

So you might be wondering what makes me an insider in the Cinque Terre. In a nutshell I’d say it’s because I’ve been living here for over 16 years.  I’m also married to a local riomaggiorese.  But wait.  Let me rewind a bit.

In 2002 I came to Italy to discover its wonders, beauty and people.  I traveled the country for three months all by my lonesome.  It was an amazing, intense, and unforgettable experience.  I went back to the States to start the rest of my life but the Italy bug had bit me.  Hard.  I knew something was amiss when I started feeling homesick for Italy.

I took the plunge and moved to Italy in January of 2003.  Friends and family back home thought that I was crazy (and in hindsight, maybe they were right?).  I came back to the Cinque Terre as it was one of my two favorite places from my Italian travels.  I really didn’t expect to settle here as it’s such a tiny place; I thought it would be impossible to find a job and a place to live.  But Cinque Terre had something else in mind for me.  A job and a teeny-tiny apartment in Riomaggiore and (eventually) an Italian husband awaited me.

People oftentimes assume that I met my husband first and then moved to Italy.  The truth of the matter is that first I fell in love with Italy and then with my husband (I met him four months after moving here).  In the years to follow we added two French bulldogs and two little tornadoes (two boys, currently 3 and 7) to the mix.  Our cups are filled to the brim (as is our apartment).  When I step back I realize just how lucky we are.  We live in a place that most consider paradise.

I’ve had a 17+ year love affair with Italy (and in particular, with the Cinque Terre).  As in every relationship, we have our ups and downs, our trials and our triumphs.  But the best part is that no matter how bad it might be, we always kiss and make up (one kiss on each cheek, mind you).

Beach art in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

I’ve created this blog to share an honest, insider take on the Cinque Terre.  Not just things to see and do and glossy photos (because it really is that beautiful here).  While those things are great (and don’t worry, I’ll give you plenty of eye candy), sometimes you need to know what’s going on behind the scenes on a local level to help better understand the culture and mindset.

Buona lettura!

Cinque Terre Insider

 P.S. Due to popular request, I’ve rolled out trip design consulations and concierge services for the Cinque Terre.  Interested?  Click here for more details or drop me an email at amy@cinqueterreinsider.com  Ciao for now!

 

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197 thoughts on “About Me

  1. ed barker says:

    Great website!!! My wife and i are planning on spending 3 nights in CT the beginning of October. We will be arriving on Friday the 2nd from Rome. Can we still buy the weekly pass that day at La Spezia? Even though we can only use it 3 days I think it would be economical. we are planning on staying in Monterosso so we can get an early start on the trail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Ed!

      Thanks for reading my blog!

      Yes, you can purchase the weekly pass on Friday at La Spezia Centrale. Just keep in mind that it will only be good for the remainder of that Friday, and all of Saturday and Sunday. So long as you are take the train 5 times in those three days it has paid for itself. If you think you’ll take the train less than five times it’s more cost effective to get point-to-point tickets (although the convenience of having just one ticket for those three days should be considered, too!).

      Monterosso is the flattest of the five villages and the most modern and riviera-esque (the other four are more characteristic and quaint). If you prefer to stay in one of the other villages, the trains start running at 5:15am so you could easily get a train to Monterosso to start hiking early.

      Hope this info. helps!

      Amy

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      1. ed barker says:

        Thanks for all your tips. Somewhere between your blog and your comments, you have convinced us to stay in Riomaggiore and not Monterossa but alas not with you. We will arrive around 3 pm on Friday October 2. Will you please recommend a couple of restaurants for dinner? Will the sea be warm enough to swim in? And, when people talk about starting the coastal hike early what time are they referring to? 6 am, 8 am? We plan on taking the train to Monterossa and hiking to Corniglia with a stop to explore Vernazza on the way, assuming the trails are open then. One more thing, I saw from your pictures that people are putting ‘love locks’ on the fence blocking the Via dell’Amore is this something new?
        Thanks for all your thoughtful comments.

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      2. Ciao again Ed!

        Each village has a different vibe, so if Riomaggiore is calling your name there must be a reason! 😉

        Here in Riomaggiore I enjoy eating at Ristorante Dau Cila and also at La Lampara. There are also some great take-away places so if where you’re booked to stay has a balcony or terrace eating on it might be a nice alternative to eating out! One of my favorite take-away places in Riomaggiore is called Primo Piatto (think: fresh, handmade pasta with your choice of sauce, packaged up in a nifty container, and all for just €5 per portion!) .

        Usually in early October we are still swimming (it’s actually better to swim in the fall vs. the spring as the sea has had all summer to warm up!).

        I think 7am is an early start for hiking, but that time of year even 8am would be fine. Mostly it’s during the warm months (like July and August) that it’s necessary to get an early start to beat the heat.

        The “love locks” phenomenon is not new. People used to put them on the rails along the Via dell’Amore, especially near the bench where the two lovers kissed. Now that the Via dell’Amore is closed some people are putting them by the gate that blocks the lane and others are putting them on the rails along the panoramic stroll around the village.

        Take care!

        Amy

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    2. Steve says:

      Amy – awesome site. My wife and I are heading there in mid May for 4 nights and I have a question – should we make dinner reservations or are most restaurants not to booked up at that time of the season?

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      1. Ciao Steve!

        Thanks for reading! May is peak-season so I do recommend booking your dinner reservations in advance (especially if you want to eat at highly sought after places like Rio Bistrot or Dau Cila in Riomaggiore or Belforte in Vernazza). You don’t need to book months in advance but at least a week prior is a good idea. I hope this advice helps!

        Enjoy!
        Amy

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  2. Santa says:

    I haven’t yet arrived in Cinque Terre, but this site is one of the best, informative, and beautiful sites I’ve seen! Thank you so much! I’ll be visiting in early May, and I can’t wait to be there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thanks for the lovely compliment! You’ve made my day.

      I hope you have an amazing time here in the Cinque Terre (which I’m sure you will!).

      -Amy 🙂

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      1. Luba Castracane says:

        Amy, Lovely family congratulations. I have a question for you. We are 4 seniors from Canada who are staying in Rapallo for 2 nights. We would like to visit cinque terre in one day. We would like to take the train from the hotel and visit the most important villages during that one day. Can you advise which to see and were to have our lunch. Also how do the train tickets work if we are coming in from Rapallo. Is there a special price for the hop on and hop off at the villages that would include a return ticket to Rapallo? Any information you can provide would be very much appreciated.
        Luba

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      2. Ciao Luba!

        Grazie mille!

        Visiting the Cinque Terre in one day will allow you to just skim the surface of our area. Since you have such a limited amount of time, why not make the most of it? If I were you I’d take the train to Monterosso from Rapallo (you can check train times and schedules at http://www.trenitalia.com ) and then buy a day pass for the ferries between the villages (which will allow you to hop on & off as you please). I’d get off the ferry in both Vernazza & Manarola to have a wander around the villages. If you are still feeling energetic after that you can continue on to Riomaggiore (keep in mind that to see the historic center of the village you’ll have some climbing to do from the dockpoint and marina). When you’re done you can head back to Monterosso and pick up the next train heading back up the coast to Rapallo.

        The ferries are *so* much nicer than the trains. They are panoramic (the trains are not, they mostly travel through tunnels) and while there can be a lineup for the ferries it’s nothing compared to how crowded the trains can be. Also, the chances of encountering a pickpocket on the ferries is much, much slimmer than on the trains.

        I hope this info helps! Enjoy your time here.

        Amy

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  3. Virginia says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you for all the wonderful pictures and information you have shared. My husband and I are coming to CT sometime in June.. I’m a bit confused between the CT card and the week-long pass from Trenitalia. If We buy the the week-long pass, does that give us free access to the Blue trail?

    Tanks,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Virginia!

      Thanks for reading! How long are you staying here in CT? The week-long pass for the trains does *not* include the hiking for the coastal trail (il sentiero azzurro). The hiking pass is €7.50 per person, per day. Right now you would only need the hiking pass for the portion of the trail between Monterosso & Vernazza. If you have just a short stay in CT you probably want to buy the Cinque Terre Card (which includes trains and hiking for €12 per day).

      I hope that helps!

      Amy

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      1. Christa says:

        Does the CT card include to and from La Spezia? We are parking our car there in April. Then, staying in Riomaggiore. We will only be in CT for two days. But, I am sure they will be fabulous!

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      2. Ciao Christa!

        The Cinque Terre Card encompasses all train travel on the regional trains between the La Spezia Centrale station and the city of Levanto (the Cinque Terre stations are sandwiched between those two cities).

        Enjoy your time spent here!

        Amy

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  4. Gary says:

    Hi Amy: I love your blog. It has been so very helpful. My wife and I are returning to Manarola in late September for a week. We have hiked most of the local trails previously. This time we would like to hike to Levanto from Monteroso. Do you have any information on this trail? Also, we love white wine of the area and wonder if one can buy directly from the local wineries. Some places in Italy one can bring your own bottle and have it filled!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Gary!

      Thanks for your message! It makes my day to hear that people find my blog helpful (as that’s what it’s all about!). I’ve actually never hiked from Monterosso to Levanto but I have plenty of friends who have and they really enjoyed the hike. That trail will be a lot less crowded than the Monterosso —> Riomaggiore Sentiero Azzurro and offers some pretty fabulous views! Have you hiked Riomaggiore to Portovenere? That’s another hike that I highly recommend (and then you can come back to the Cinque Terre by boat).

      As for purchasing wine from local winemakers… Unfortunately, Italy is all about bureaucracy and red tape. Technically, most local vintners are unable to sell their wine to the public unless they jump through LOTS of hoops and become a bona fide business. Unless they’ve done all that then their wine is supposed to be for familial consumption only. However, this *is* Italy where everyone cuts corners a tad… If you meet up with a local winemaker and have a tour of the vineyards and/or cellar chances are they will sell you a bottle or two on the sly. Gotta love Italy… 😉

      Hope that helps!

      Amy

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  5. I guess it’s never too late to say “welcome to my region!”
    I’ve just discovered your blog thanks an American friend from Vernazza and I really like it! Brava and again welcome 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie mille, Silvia! 🙂

      Like

  6. alf55555 says:

    Hi Amy,

    I will be spending 2 nights at CT and was wondering about visiting a winery. Is that something that’s done, and if so, do you have recommendations?

    Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading! With the exception of the Cinque Terre Coop (www.cantinacinqueterre.com) the winemakers in the Cinque Terre are small and independent. It is possible to visit the Coop in Groppo (just above Manarola) if you contact them in advance (3 days advance notice is requested). Check out the details on the website I listed above. With that said, I love supporting small vintners in our area. Gianluigi (Gigi) offers tours of his vineyard in Manarola and then a visit to the cantina where the wine is made for a tasting. You can contact him at info@cinqueterrewalkndrink.com or check out his website at http://www.cinqueterrewalkndrink.com Be sure to let him know that I sent you. 🙂

      Amy

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  7. sarah says:

    Hey Amy!

    Your website is awesome and the tips you have there are just perfect for anyone planning a trip to Cinque Terre. I’m coming on Wednesday the 17th of June and I was wondering when the schedule of the hikes for that period is going to come out? Also if you have any idea how to book a place in the guided hikes in advance to make sure I can go. Thanks so much for the beautifully made blog and hopefully I might meet you there 🙂

    Like

    1. Ciao Sarah!

      I just called Paola who coordinates these walking/hiking tours for the national park. She promised that she’ll release the new schedule for the 2nd half of June today (as soon as I have it in hand I will post here on the blog). You’ll want to contact Paola via email at visiteguidate@ati5terre.it or by telephone at +39 0187 743 500 to reserve your space. 🙂

      Hope that helps! And thanks for reading. 😀

      Amy

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  8. Ciao Amy,
    what a true pleasure it is to read your blog – your passion rings thru the words. My husband and i will be travelling September 28-October 1st 2015. We’re looking forward to the hiking. I have 3 questions:
    1) How should we best experience CT – we planned on taking a boat from __? and seeing the towns from the sea first before venturing over (we’ll be staying in positano unless you recommend we do something else for a nite).
    2) Where do i find boat schedule & information?
    3) For our hike day(s), does it make sense to drive to one of the towns and start hiking or just take the train. And which should we absolutely do? I think the full day is doable for us but looking to you for a clear path here.
    3) Should we book a tour at all or just hit the trails…

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    1. Ciao Soledad!

      Thanks for reading my blog and for your lovely compliments!

      Before I respond to your questions I have a question for you…

      You mentioned that you’ll be staying in Positano (which is actually down by the Amalfi coast). Was that a typing error? Let me know where you’re planning on staying in our area and based on that I can answer your other questions. 🙂

      Most sincerely,
      Amy

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      1. si – typo. Portofino is where we will be for 3 nites.
        We plan to start our hike at Monterosso and go to Vernazza, Corneglia, Manarola and finally Riomaggiore. We are landing in Milano and thus were planning to rent a car from there and drive.
        I also hear that there is an expo in milano and was considering staying for 1 nite…so random but hey why not?
        Look forward to your insight.

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    2. Ciao again Soledad!

      Ok! Now that I know you’ll be in Portofino that makes much more sense and I can give you some tips.

      First, are you certain that you want to rent a car? Unless you are packing lots of luggage (which I always discourage) having a car might not make sense for this part of your travels. You can easily train from Milano Centrale to S. Margherita Ligure and then just outside the train station there is a bus that will take you directly to Portofino.

      If you decide you must have a car, keep in mind that the road to Portofino is very narrow and winding (and pretty hairy, much like the Cinque Terre roads) and parking is very limited (and pricey). Even if you have a car, it will be easiest for you to travel to the Cinque Terre by train (just take the bus to the S. Margherita Ligure and then train to Monterosso). If you decide that you really want to drive to the Cinque Terre, drive to Monterosso, which is the village that will be closest to you. Monterosso has the most parking available of any of the five villages.

      I usually recommend hiking from Riomaggiore towards Monterosso but in your case (and with logistics) I would recommend starting in Monterosso and hiking towards Riomaggiore. I actually recommend hiking before taking the ferry as a) you can get an earlier start and hike during the cooler part of the day, and b) the ferry is a great reward at the end of a day of hiking (and you can *really* appreciate all of the hiking you’ve done as you’ll be able to trace the trails on the mountainside!). Just don’t forget that the ferries do not run from Corniglia (as it’s the only village off the sea) so you’ll need to make sure you hike to at least Vernazza (but even better to Manarola or Riomaggiore).

      In response to your other questions:

      I keep the up-to-date ferry schedules posted here on my blog (so if you follow the blog you’ll be in the know). Otherwise, keep checking back at the official website for the “Consorzio Marittimo Turistico 5 Terre Golfo dei Poeti” http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/orario.asp?lang=eng At the moment, the current schedule posted is valid until September 6, 2015. They’ll be posting the new schedule closer to that date. 🙂

      It isn’t necessary to hire a guide to hike the Cinque Terre trails. With that said, some people prefer to have one while they’re here to maximize their time and have a personalized tour. In my experience, it really just depends on your own personality and travel style. If you’d like a guide to smooth things over for you, I recommend contacting expat Pall of Trek Guyd. His website is http://www.trekguyd.com (be sure to let him know that I referred you).

      As for the Expo, it’s quite a big deal in Italy at the moment. To be honest, I haven’t been (and I probably won’t be able to go as it finishes before the end of our peak-season) but I’m sure it would be interesting! 🙂

      Hope all this info helps.

      Take care! And buona vacanza…

      Amy

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  9. BeardedGlass says:

    Ciao! Me and my wife are going to spend many days and nights in Cinque Terre this August. Since this will be our first time here (and in Europe actually!), I wish to ask for comments/advice whether the ‘kinda-plan’ I’ve made is okay. I’d hate to think I could’ve prevented a ‘bad experience’ because of my overzealousness to do so many things! Anyway, as this is the ‘relaxed’ part of our trip, I really don’t want to make plans. But I guess making a bit of a schedule but not its details would be enough to make sure we can do things smoothly but not too critical..

    [Day 1]: We will arrive mid-morning in Vernazza (our homebase) and after checking into our room (a small apartment with unbelievable views), we’ll grab something to eat and visit Doria Castle and the town’s church. Then we’ll swim the afternoon away and have wine waaay up there in La Torre.

    [Day 2]: A day dedicated to hiking! We’ll take the early train to Corniglia (Abbonamento Settimanale ticket), buy some food there, and then we’ll go up the trails 587, 586, and 506 thru the dainty village of Volastra towards Manarola. After exploring and eating lunch, we’ll take the train (or ferry) to Riomaggiore for a swim, enjoy the sunset at the cliffside restaurant of A Pie de Ma, and ride the train back to Vernazza.

    [Day 3]: It’s Tuesday and I’ve read that Vernazza has a quaint harbor open market during Tuesday morning, so we’ll browse the stuff there and just spend the whole day munching our way all over town and swim the calories away till sun down. Then we’ll buy food and have candlelit dinner at our own terrace.

    [Day 4]: Our last full-day in Cinque Terre, time to visit the final town! We’ll rise up early and hike up the trail SVA(2d) towards Monterosso, reward ourselves with gelato once we get there, and enjoy the amazing antipasto platter at Da Eraldo. Then we’ll beach ourselves completely and take the train back home to Vernazza after dinner.

    [Day 5]: Early train to Pisa!

    So there you have it. Our ‘plan’ for a 4 full-day stay in Cinque Terre. Of course, we might not be able to do things exactly (that’s for sure). But it never hurts to dream up of things to do while we’re there. What do you think? I would certainly love to hear from a genuine local!

    Like

    1. Ciao BeardedGlass (sorry, I don’t know your real name)!

      That sounds like a lovely itinerary and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time while you’re here!

      My only suggestions:

      -Take the ferry at some point, and for a longer trip than just Manarola to Riomaggiore (that’s only a 10 minute trip and not nearly enought to enjoy the scenery!).

      -The market in Vernazza is pretty tiny so you can easily visit that in an hour or so. If sea and weather conditions permit I would consider either renting a little boat (they rent them at the harbor in Vernazza) for a few hours/the afternoon -OR- take the ferry down the coast to Portovenere that day (which is beautiful and most definitely worth a visit!). From Vernazza there’s a ferry leaving for Portovenere at 12:10 (with arrival to Portovenere at 13:15). You could have lunch and have a wander around the village (did I mention it’s one the UNESCO World Heritage List?) and catch either the 15:00, 16:00 or 17:20 ferry back to Vernazza (with respective arrival times at 15:55, 16:55 or 18:20).

      My best advice is to be flexible with your schedule as sometimes weather and sea conditions will dictate. 🙂

      Buona vacanza!

      Amy

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BeardedGlass says:

        Thank you so much for the suggestions Amy! I will go and edit our itinerary to cuddle in the trip to Portovenere and the ferry ride. I do hope the weather will be fine though, we’ll be in CT around 3rd week of August. I heard it gets hot, but we’re from the tropics so we’ll be okay. The train strikes worry me though, they sound frequent.

        Oh, me name’s Roland by the way. Piacere!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Piacere, Roland! 🙂

        Train strikes happen multiple times every year, but it’s not something I would stress too much about. When they do happen they are for a limited amount of time (either 12 or 24 hours). Fingers crossed you are able to avoid them all together when you’re here! 😀

        Amy

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  10. alf55555 says:

    Hi Amy,

    I too want to echo that your blog is really informative, is beautifully laid out and echos with me, as an American.

    If you would indulge me, I would also like to bounce some ideas off of you. I’ll be visiting for two nights (based in Vernazza, arriving early evening Monday, departing mid-morning Wednesday), and am wondering about a Tuesday itinerary (we won’t be hiking).

    I originally thought about spending the day wandering the five villages, going south to each village by train until we reach Riomaggiore, and then taking the ferry back to Monterosso for dinner. I wonder if I might have too much time just doing that, and instead considered spending a couple of hours by renting a bike at Levanto and taking the bike path north to Bonasolla, which sounds wonderful on TA.

    Do you have any recommendations for how to spend a day? How would you spend an ideal day at your home (excluding any hiking)?

    Thanks,

    -Allen

    Like

    1. Ciao Allen!

      Thanks for reading! This blog is a labor of love, so I appreciate the comments. 🙂

      If you are staying just two nights you will only have one full day in the Cinque Terre. I think you’ll find that you could easily spend much more time here!

      If sea & weather conditions permit, I recommend buying the day pass for the ferries (€20 per person for the day) so that you can hop on & off the ferries at your pleasure to explore the villages. The ferries are relaxing and very panoramic (the trains, on the other hand, are anything but!). The only drawback to this option is that Corniglia is the only village where the ferries won’t stop. If you’d like to see that village you’ll need to take a train to reach it (but don’t forget there are 382 stairs to climb to reach Corniglia from its train station… or you can take the bus!).

      I think you’ll spend the vast majority of the day visiting the villages and that trying to squeeze in Levanto/Bonassola would simply be too much for the small amount of time you’ll be here. Just another reason to make another trip, right? 😉

      Buona vacanza!

      Amy

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  11. LizDC says:

    I adore your site, and would love to have a bit of advice whenever you have time to spare. We are visiting Sept 17-20, staying at a place on Salita Castello in Riomaggiore. I’ve just learned that the easier trails are basically closed in CT, and while I love walking and am totally fit – I’m quite scared of real hiking and uneven rocky pavement. No problem with paved stairs or flat surfaces. Are there any trails you’d suggest are still doable? I won’t hold you liable!

    Also, just found out about the lovely bike trail to Levanto — so I’m excited to rent bikes there. Is there any other flat trail you’re familiar with. I saw you mentioned renting a boat in Vernazza to another reader. Do you have any suggested vendors? We are seeing some wildly uneven reviews, and don’t want to be taken for a ride.

    Many thanks!

    Like

    1. Ciao Liz!

      Sorry for the delayed reply. And thanks for your compliments and appreciation of my blog! 🙂

      Unfortunately, there are no trails currently open in the Cinque Terre that will be on flat pavement or asphalt (the trails here are very vertical and a combination of dirt, stone and gravel). I’ve been contemplating what might work best for you and I agree that walking or biking between Bonassola and Levanto could be a great option. Also, if you take the ferry to Portovenere (which is also a UNESCO World Heritage listed site so definitely on par with the beauty of our area) there’s lots of walking that you can do there (most of which will be flat and paved).

      As for renting boats… I’m actually located in Riomaggiore (not Vernazza) so I’m more familiar with the rentals here. In Riomaggiore there’s a rental point in the marina called Cinque Terre dal Mare and their website is http://www.cinqueterredalmare.com/ Martha speaks perfect English so if you email in advance I’m sure you’ll get all the details you might need. 🙂

      Buona vacanza!

      Amy

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      1. LizDC says:

        Amy, thank you so much for putting thought into my travel plans! Since we’re staying in your town, renting boats from the place you suggested sounds perfect. I will also check into Portovenere too now. Thank you for being such a great resource!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My pleasure, Liz! I hope you have a wonderful stay here in Cinque Terre! 🙂

        Amy

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  12. Brian says:

    Ciao Amy!

    I’ve enjoyed your site as we prepare for our 5 night visit to CT in September. It has been very helpful and I will have a few inquiries before our trip, I’m sure. First question, if you’re familiar, is about trains from Pisa to Vernazza. When I review on trentalia, there’s an icon that appears to indicate that the route is sold out. Is that accurate, or is the route just not on sale yet? Any help would be appreciated.

    Grazie, Amy!!

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    1. Brian says:

      I found the answer, with not much effort I might add!! Regional trains’ schedules are only released 7 days in advance.

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      1. Ciao Brian!

        That’s right… for whatever reason (nonsensical in my opinion!) it isn’t possible to purchase regional train tickets online more than 7 days in advance. Not to worry, they sell an unlimited number of regional train tickets so they will never sell out (though that also means you might find the regional trains packed with passengers). Hope that helps! 🙂

        Amy

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      2. P.S. Though the regional schedules *are* available well in advance, so at least you’ll know what train you’ll want to catch! 😀

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    2. Ciao Brian!

      I replied to your messages in reverse order (oops!) but thanks for reading and following the blog! 🙂

      Amy

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      1. Brian says:

        Ciao, Amy. In two weeks, after a brief stop in Munich to open Oktoberfest, we begin our 5 night stand in CT. We can’t wait! The first two days will be spent on the trails and exploring the villages. My understanding is that the coastal trail between Riomaggiore–>Manarola–>Corniglia remains closed. Has the Beccara trail reopened? Also, thanks for posting the ferry schedule. Perfect info for our trip over to Portovenere. We’re also thinking about a day trip to Santa Margherita and Portofino. Do you know if there will be ferry service to Portofino around 23-24 September? Wanted to take the ferry then bus it over to Santa Margherita and catch the train back to Vernazza. How late do the trains run between the villages? We’d like to try a variety of restaurants throughout the area.

        Your blog has been great. You’ve made what can be a daunting task, easy!

        Brian

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      2. Ciao Brian!

        Your time in Cinque Terre will be here before you know it!

        The Via dell’Amore (the easy walk connecting Riomaggiore and Manarola) is still currently closed, minus 200 meters from the Manarola train station (don’t bother, those 200 meters aren’t worth your while). The alternative hiking trail (the Beccara, trail 531) is open, just don’t forget that it’s pretty intense!

        To my knowledge, the Portofino ferry from Riomaggiore is only from July 3rd to September 11th. It will actually be easy to take a train from Cinque Terre (whichever village you’re staying in) to Santa Margherita Ligure (it’s about an hour) and then take the bus to Portofino. The bus parks directly outside of the Santa Margherita train station so it couldn’t be easier (you can purchase your tickets directly onboard from the driver but you’ll pay a little less if you buy them in the little bar/tabacchi at the station).

        I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found the blog helpful!

        Safe travels,
        Amy

        Like

  13. Robert says:

    Hi Amy,

    Great website. The blog posts on the Strikes in July were very helpful. I will be returning to the Cinque Terre with 7 friends on September 13th and I’m not sure if a strike will affect us? Would you be able to provide some info? Perhaps my translation of the strike website could be wrong. I was using the website http://scioperi.mit.gov.it/mit2/public/scioperi and i see there are 3 items listed for September 12th and 13th that go from 9pm Saturday to 9pm Sunday. I’m not sure if they will effect us or possible effect us or how i can tell as we get close to arriving.

    7 of us are arriving in Milan and will train from Milano Centrale to Monterosso and change to Vernazza. 1 person from our group will arrive in Pisa, and train from Pisa Centrale to La Spezia to Vernazza. How can I tell is any of our trains might be affected or what those planned strikes on 9/12 and 9/13 are?

    Grazie,
    Robert

    Like

    1. Ciao Robert!

      Thanks for reading. The proposed strikes for September 12th include a regional train strike in Tuscany as well as a regional train strike for Trenord (an affiliate of TrenItalia) in the Lombardy region. Both proposed strikes are for 24 hours starting at 9pm (and ending on Sunday, September 13th at 9pm). Also, keep in mind that these are *proposed* strikes so they very well could be called off in the meantime.

      In regional train strikes usually the fast trains are unaffected so I would try to book on a “Freccia” train for the segment of the trip that you’ll be in the potential strike zone (Tuscany & Lombardy).

      Hope that helps! Enjoy Cinque Terre!

      Amy 🙂

      Like

  14. Daniella says:

    Hi Amy,

    I have planned a roadtrip from Florence to the Amalfi Coast in September 2015. Everyone tells me to also visit Cinque Terre. So looking it up on Google, it seems like a real paradise! I will be staying in Florence a couple of days, would it be possible to make a day trip to Cinque Terre? What would you advice for travelling to Cinque Terre?

    Kind Regards,
    Daniella

    Like

    1. Ciao Daniella!

      To be honest, a day trip doesn’t do our area justice. I would recommend holding off on seeing our area for another trip to Italy when you can visit “con calma” and truly enjoy the area rather than just skimming the surface. 🙂

      Amy

      Like

      1. Daniella says:

        Hi Amy,

        Thank you for the advice. Will definitely do that!

        Daniella

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Dear Amy!

    This is an amazing website about Chinque Terre , we are very thankful for it.
    We spent 3 beautiful days at Chinque Terre 2 week ago. You wrote a lot of helpful information about everything : transport, trails , tips and so on.
    I smiled when I saw the white Manarola table at the start of the Beccara trail, I remembered it and I knew that we are on the rigth road 🙂
    (it was a hard hike in the midday heat, but it was amazing 🙂 )

    Chinque Terre is an amazing place and you help people to know it as an insider 🙂
    Everything was homelike and fluent for us thanks to You.

    Thank you very-very much! 🙂
    Bea & Fecó from Hungary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What an amazing compliment, Beáta! Grazie mille! I’m so happy to hear that my blog was helpful during your stay here. Take care!

      Amy

      Like

  16. Kholle says:

    Traveling to Cinque Terre in mid-October this year. Confused about what town to stay in. If we choose Riomaggiore, can we get to the other towns easily or should we train/ferry to other towns and hike those towns

    What are the crowds like mid October?

    Like

    1. Ciao Kholle!

      The Cinque Terre villages are super close to one another so you can easily choose one and then visit the others (either by foot, boat or train) throughout the day. Unless you plan to stay for a good chunk of time (like a week or more?) I don’t recommend changing villages as just the packing up, changing villages, getting checked in, unpacking, etc. will eat up valuable time here!

      October is a lovely month to visit Cinque Terre. It’s still peak-season (so be sure to book accommodations well in advance!) but it’s not nearly as busy/crowded as the summer months.

      Thanks for reading! And buona vacanza!

      Amy 🙂

      Like

  17. Kholle says:

    Thanks for your reply! I am finding it difficult to choose what town to stay in next month. So many posts on this and everyone has a favorite.

    Are the hiking trails out of Riomaggiore closed? Are there plenty of restaurants at night to choose from? Why do people choose Riomaggiore over the other 4 towns?

    Like

  18. Fiachra says:

    Hi Amy,

    Great Blog. Wish I’d found it sooner! My girlfriend and I are visiting the Cinque Terre this weekend for 11 days. We’re actually not staying in the CT but in Levanto instead however we hope to see all 5 villages plus more during our stay. I’ve read a lot of your tips and suggestions on places to see/things to do/restaurants to eat in etc and have been noting them down thanks very much! 🙂 Could I ask you to recommend a few good bars especially in Monteresso as we will probably be spending more time there than any of the other Cinque Terre villages.

    Many Thanks,
    Fiachra

    Like

    1. Ciao Fiachra!

      An 11-day trip to our area should be amazing! It will give you lots of time not only to discover the Cinque Terre but also our surrounding area (there are some really beautiful places that are off the beaten path!). I’m not sure what sort of bar your seeking. How old are you? Are you the mellow type or are you looking for more action? Fast Bar in the historic center of Monterosso has always been a hopping spot. If you’re looking for something a little mellower (and swankier…target age: 30somethings) check out La Cantina di Miky on the more modern side of Monterosso (they have an outdoor terrace with sea views). Gina, a fellow expat blogger who lives in Monterosso, recommends this wine bar: Enoteca da Eliseo.

      Buona vacanza!
      Amy

      Like

      1. edward barker says:

        Hi Amy, You mentioned Gina’s blog below. Do you have the address? I am trying to absorb all things Cinque Terre before we arrive in 4 weeks. Thanks, Ed

        Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2015 09:41:33 +0000 To: edwardo9876@hotmail.com

        Like

      2. Ciao Ed!

        I actually linked her blog in that last comment (so if you click on “blogger” in blue it will take you to Gina’s blog). She actually has a passion for finding vintage items throughout Italy so the focus of her blog is more on that than an actual travel destination blog. 😉

        Take care!
        Amy

        Like

  19. theswissdcs says:

    Thank you for your very detailed info. I was looking for specific tips for traveling with children – do you have such tips posted somewhere? We have also reached out to your Leasing agency. Thanks again!

    Like

    1. Ciao!

      I actually did a blog post on visiting the Cinque Terre with kids! Here it is: Traveling with kids? How best to enjoy the Cinque Terre

      Take care,
      Amy

      Like

  20. Roberto says:

    It’s supposed to be a thunderstorm and rain during one of my days in the Cinque Terra next week. If I wanted to stay in the area what is good to do on a rainy at in the cinque terre if we can’t hike? Is there any cooking classes form a restaurant you can recommend or something else for a day of all rain? ( excluding going to Pisa and Florence which we will do before arriving in the cinque terre

    Like

    1. Ciao Roberto!

      Thanks for following my blog!

      Rule #1 is to never fully believe the weather forecast. Last week they called for rain and aside from a few sprinkles, it never happened. Plus, they change the forecast constantly (so that 80% chance of precipitation may be 40% when you check this afternoon and might not even exist when you check tomorrow). With that said, unless it’s an absolute downpour I would just recommend buying an inexpensive poncho and exploring our area all the same. In the case of a downpour and really terrible weather then the alternatives I recommend are as follows (taking out Pisa & Florence, per your request):

      -day trip to Genoa (home to Europe’s 2nd largest aquarium, which is great to visit on a rainy day)

      -you could head to La Spezia as there are a few museums as well as a new “centro commerciale” (indoor shopping center) called Le Terrazze

      I hope these suggestions help!

      Amy

      Like

  21. susancall says:

    Hi Amy!
    I arrive Milan Sat Oct 3 and depart Mon Oct 12. My itinerary is open other than I plan to go to directly to CT for as long as I want (have a cancellable hotel reservation for 3 nights). Then maybe visit some other coastal areas before finishing in Genoa. Unfortunately the forecast shows that the weather will become rainy for days starting on my first day! So may opt for a Plan B and skip CT for this trip. However I am still hopeful so I have a few questions: 1) if it rains, will they close trails the following day? 2) Is this the best website for trail opening/closings? http://parconazionale5terre.it/. I am finding it confusing because I was told that closed trails would be in red but this map has ALL trails in red! However, looks to me like everything might be open other than 3 trails: 592-1, 592-2 (both of these seem to be part of the main trail) and 535. Is this correct? 3) Will there be enough people on the trails in the first week of Oct that it is safe to hike on my own? 4) Any suggestions for guided hikes or is that unnecessary? 5) You mentioned some museums in La Spezia as rainy day options. There is minimal info on these in English so would welcome any info. Also looks like there is a market there on the 1st Sunday from 8:00 – 20:00? 6) I know the new ferry schedule goes into effect today but having trouble finding it so if you get a chance, if you could post or send a link, would be helpful.
    Thanks so much – I appreciate your insights!
    Susan

    Like

    1. Ciao Susan!

      Unless it’s pouring, I wouldn’t avoid the Cinque Terre. Trails never really and truly close when it rains (as in, there’s no gate or lock, etc.) but they will tell you they are closed if you ask at the TI offices. Of course, that means if you decide to hike in the rain or inclement weather you will be hiking at your own risk (and if it has been raining quite a bit footing can be slippery). Of course, if you see the forecast isn’t great and can delay your time here for a few days until the weather clears up that would be ideal. 🙂

      The status of the Sentiero Azzurro/Coastal Trail (what you are referring to as trail 592, although nobody uses that numbering except on new maps) can be found here on the blog: https://cinqueterreinsider.com/2014/09/26/current-status-of-the-cinque-terre-sentiero-azzuro-coastal-trail-september-2014/ It’s true there are currently two sections of the Coastal Trail closed but each closed section has an alternate route (you can read all about them at the above link). The other trail you mentioned is currently closed but it’s a secondary trail that I doubt you’d be hiking anyway (it’s the trail connecting Campiglia and Fossola). Not to worry, there’s PLENTY of hiking to be done in the Cinque Terre!

      If you are on the Coastal Trail or the alternate paths there’s no reason to worry about hiking on your own. If you start going on less popular secondary paths I would only recommend it if you have a mobile phone in case of emergency (in case of a fall or injury or similar).

      Guided hikes can be nice because you learn more about the history of the territory than you would just hiking on your own. I posted the October schedule for guided hikes today on the blog.

      The TI office in La Spezia can give you a city map and all the details on their local museums (which are all within relatively close walking distance from the La Spezia Centrale train station).

      The outdoor antique market will be open on the first Sunday of the month in La Spezia but the hours you mentioned seem a bit long to me. It will definitely be open until mid-afternoon, though! Piazza del Mercato (there’s a post about outdoor markets on the blog, too).

      There’s a ferry schedule posted (as they’ve extend until October 4th the old schedule and the new one for after that hasn’t been released yet).

      Amy

      Like

  22. Abix says:

    Hi Amy,

    Great site here! I’m seriously coming back to Cinque Terre as i would love to do some hiking and eat loads of pasta :-). I’m currently thinking of coming in the last week of October – in a few weeks. What are your thoughts on late October for hiking or am i better off coming in the spring? Any pointers will be very helpful!

    Thanks in advance!

    Like

    1. Ciao Abix!

      Thanks for following the blog. 🙂

      I’ve noticed at work that things start to slow down with reservations around the 20th of October (though there are still bookings later in the month and in November as well!). That means you should find less people in the villages and on the trails and so long as the weather is nice hiking should be fabulous this time of year!

      Early spring is also a nice time to come to hike (but avoid Easter week/weekend if you want to avoid crowds).

      Hope that helps!

      Amy

      Like

  23. Suzanne Goodacre says:

    Hi Amy,
    My family members and I are so excited because we will be in Lucca on May 2. We are planning a day trip to CT and because of the short amount of time, what might be your recommendations be for visiting just 3 cities. We are interested in hiking, enjoying great seafood and soaking up the culture of the area. It’s so hard for me to pick between these 5 great areas. Visiting only 3 of these glorious cities this time will only make me long for a trip back to take in the other two. Please forgive me for asking, but are there certain days that the cruise ships aren’t in port?

    Like

    1. Ciao Suzanne!

      First things first… you can find a PDF file with the 2016 docking schedule for cruise ships in La Spezia here: http://www.confartigianato.laspezia.it/node/4125 Keep in mind that the schedule is subject to change. Also, keep in mind that not all of the big tour groups are from the cruise ships (people are also bussed in for day tours from other Italian cities).

      Don’t forget that May 1st is a national holiday so expect things to be busy around that date.

      If you are wanting to get a taste of three different villages I recommend visiting Riomaggiore, Corniglia & Monterosso. I also love the other two villages (Manarola & Vernazza) but I think you’ll find them quite crowded, depending on the time of day you visit.

      Enjoy your time spent here!

      Amy

      Like

  24. wanderlynn says:

    Gah! I’m sorry I booked a place for our night in the region before reading About you. Your post about doing Cinque Terre with kids is bookmarked so my 3- and 5-year old boys have a great time. I’ll have to remember to contact you before our next visit! If you hear a couple of American kids at your village playground this weekend please say hi 🙂

    Like

    1. Ciao!

      I hope you had a lovely visit! Unfortunately I wasn’t out & about as my two little ones have been sick. Next time!

      Take care & thanks for reading!

      Amy

      Like

  25. Mike Smith says:

    Hi Amy,

    My wife, sister and I are visiting in September and staying in Monterosso. I really enjoy your blog, and it is very helpful. If you by the week train pass for Cinque Terre, is it also good to go to La Spezia?

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Ciao Mike!

      You can currently purchase a weekly pass that will include La Spezia to Monterosso at a rate slightly more expensive than the Riomaggiore to Monterosso pass (as La Spezia to Monterosso is more kilometers). FYI: There is the possibility that they will be increasing fares and reformulating the Cinque Terre trains (which might actually make the weekly pass obsolete). No date has been released for the fare change so I’m crossing my fingers it won’t be until 2017. Keep an eye on the blog as I will post about it as more information is released.

      Take care!

      Amy

      Like

      1. Rob Abbey says:

        Buongiorno Amy

        We will be staying in Monterosso 3nights and Volastra 5nights. My request to you re getting from Manarola up to Volastra. As this is stay is part of a month long trip we will have 2 medium size suitcases. Are we being optimistic to use the train the the bus with luggage?.Is there any sort of taxi service we could use to get up from Manarola or Riomaggiore to Volastra? Great info regarding the different tickets available.

        Thanks Rob

        Like

      2. Ciao Rob!

        The cheapest option will be for you to take the ATC bus (which is either white or green) from Manarola to Volastra. If cost isn’t as much of a factor as convenience, you can hire a van with driver to take you & your luggage from Manarola to Volastra (or even from Monterosso to Volastra although that might be pricey). Contact Luciana or Marzio from 5 Terre Transfer at +39 339 130 1183 or +39 340 356 5268.

        You’ll want to read up on the passes again as there have been some recent changes and I’ve updated the blog. 🙂

        Take care!
        Amy

        Like

  26. Rob Abbey says:

    Ciao Amy

    Thanks for info.
    Reading your blog am I correct that the only hiking track requiring a pass is the coastal path?
    Also I assume the bus from Manarola to Volastra is able to take luggage

    Rob

    Like

    1. Ciao Rob!

      You are correct, only the coastal trail requires a pass. All other trails are free of charge!

      The buses will usually permit luggage so long as a) they aren’t huge, and b) the bus isn’t already filled to the brim with passengers. An alternative would be to hire a transfer service (like 5 Terre Transfer) to take you and your luggage up to Volastra (contact numbers: +39 339 130 1183 or +39 340 356 5268).

      I hope this info helps!

      Amy

      Like

  27. noof says:

    Hi , Amy. just wanted to thank you for keeping this site updated- it has been a huge help to me and my friend, as we are planning to visit cinque terre in late june. Thank you again.

    Like

    1. My pleasure, Noof! I really appreciate the positive feedback as the blog is a labor of love!

      Enjoy your time in Cinque Terre!

      Amy

      Like

  28. Hello Amy, what an awesome blog you have put together!! My wife and I are coming to Italy for a month. Our vacation starts on the last week of August to the end of September. We are spending our first week in Portovenere and we have found so much information about Cinque Terre because of your blog. We are very active people and will enjoy the hiking that area has to offer. We really enjoy dancing as well. Do you know of any spots we might be able to enjoy some live entertainment at? Are there any festivals happening in this area at this time? Do you know of any other bloggers like yourself in the Tuscany area, Florence, and Amalfi? We look forward to our adventure in Italy.

    Like

    1. Ciao Gerry & Susan!

      Wow… you are so lucky to have a full month of vacation!

      August is the official holiday month for Italians so there are usually lots of events planned for the month. Unfortunately, it’s still too early to know what they will be for this year. Drop me a message again in early August and I should have the schedules for the month. 🙂

      As for other bloggers, I’m not really in on the scene but Bianca at Italian Fix has some great suggestions for Florence & Tuscany (not to mention Cinque Terre). http://www.italianfix.com

      Hope that helps! And “buona vacanza!”

      Amy

      Like

  29. Keith Buy says:

    I’m wondering if I might impose upon you for a little local information. I traveled to Vernazza some years ago and always thought it would be the perfect place to celebrate a wedding. My fiancée and I are considering a legal wedding here at home ( Las Vegas) and a ceremonial wedding in Vernazza. I’m having difficulty connecting with a non-denominational officiant. I’ve checked with a couple companies that do wedding planning but the cost is exorbitant, all we really need is someone to perform a simple service for just the two of us.
    If you have any ideas that you could pass along it would be most appreciated.
    Keith Buy

    Like

    1. Ciao Keith!

      Congrats on your upcoming wedding! Unfortunately, Italy is the land of bureaucracy and nothing is simple here, not even exchanging wedding vows in front of an officiant. Add to that the fact that you are foreigners and it becomes even more complicated. Since you’ll already be legally married perhaps you can have a symbolic ceremony here instead? That way you wouldn’t have to jump through all the paperwork hoops to officially get married here and deal with city hall, etc. And I imagine it would cost less with the wedding planners in this instance as they wouldn’t have to navigate you through all of the bureaucratic side of things? It’s worth a shot to ask them. I recommend contacting Cinque Terre Wedding (www.cinqueterrewedding.com) Be sure to explain to Melina & Justina exactly what you’re looking for and your budget constraints and hopefully they’ll have a solution or suggestion for you. Be sure to let them know I referred you!

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

  30. Los says:

    Hello Amy,

    Great website you have here. Very informative and useful for visitors.

    I visited Cinque Terre only 2 months ago, a day trip. I visited all 5 villages and hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza. Love it so much that I am making a 2nd trip this September, this time I plan to spend a night at Portovenere.

    Can I trouble you to advise me how I can best plan this 2 day trip?

    Day1, i would arrive from Bologna early to La Spieza where I will bus to Portovenere. Is there enough for me to do for this day at Portovenere?

    Day2, i will boat from Portovenere to Riomaggiorre and cover all 5 villages (by train) but will hike from Vernazza to Monterroso and from there back to Bologna. This day will be a repeat of my May trip in reverse direction.

    Or should i spend the night in Cinque Terre and just do a day trip to Portovenere either on day 1 itself when i arrive or use my day 1 to explore CT and day 2 visit Potovenere and back to Bologna? Like to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

    Los

    Like

    1. Ciao Los!

      You’re packing a lot into just a one night stay here! I hope you’re planning to have a tiny bag so you don’t need to backtrack to pick up luggage? Also, since you’ve already hiked Monterosso/Vernazza on your previous trip, why don’t you pick another hike? There’s a plethora of beautiful hikes to choose from.

      Staying in Portovenere for the night sounds like a good plan. There should be plenty to see there that afternoon and then you can dedicate the entire next day to the Cinque Terre.

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

      1. Los says:

        Thanks, Amy.

        Can you suggest 1-2 trails of similar difficulty to the one i did from Monterroso to Vernazza? Is there a good one around Riomaggiore or Manorola? I read that most are closed.

        Like

      2. Ciao Los,

        There are currently only two closures (read my blog post on the status of the trails, it’s up-to-date). You could hike from Vernazza to Corniglia and/or Corniglia to Manarola via Volastra (beautiful!).

        Best,
        Amy

        Like

      3. Los says:

        Ciao Amy,

        You are fantastic. Thank you so much. I just have a few last questions left, i hope 😉

        This is my plan now. On day 1, i should arrive Riomaggiorre about 10am, i would hike to Portovenere. This is a 5hr hike but i would like to know if this is a scenic route that is worth spending 5hr of my time on it? Regardless, i should still reach Portovenere late afternoon with enough daylight to explore the sights of Portovenere? Is there a good spot there to view sunset? This is mid september.

        Next morning, I will take the first boat at 10am to Manarola where I will take your suggestion to hike to Volastra, then to Coniglia and then onto Vernazza. I am reading that the part from Manaola to Volastra will have very tough climb, as such, i might want to cheat a little and take a bus there instead. Can you point me to the bus schedule. Rest of the hike is mostly down slope, ya? And I should reach Vernazza comfortably by 6-7pm?

        Many many thanks.

        Los

        Like

  31. Lisa Tripp says:

    Hi Amy, your blog has been very helpful I preparing for my trip to Cinque Terre. Thank you!

    I would like to ask if the CT Train Card include the express train as well (from La Spezia to Monterosso?

    Thank you again,
    Lisa

    Like

    1. Ciao Lisa!

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve found the blog helpful! Not to worry, the Cinque Terre Express trains are included with the Cinque Terre Card.

      Safe travels,
      Amy

      Like

  32. Lisa Tripp says:

    Thank you for the quick reply!

    Like

  33. Kayde says:

    Hi Amy,

    I recently found your blog while looking for info on Cinque Terre. My husband and I will be there in mid-October. We’re trying to decide which of the villages to stay in (we’ll be there 2 nights). What village has beaches where we can go in the water and a relaxed, coastal vibe? Something less touristy that feels more like we’re hanging with locals…it’s our “recoup” after a busy week in Rome and Florence. There is so much to know about the area and I’m having a hard time figuring it out.

    Thanks!
    Kayde

    Like

    1. Ciao Kayde!

      Riomaggiore will have the vibe you’re seeking but its beach is rocky. Monterosso is more resort-like but has great sandy and small pebble beaches so it’s easier to get in/out of the water. I would pick either of those two depending on what’s more important to you (beach or vibe).

      Hope that helps!

      Amy

      Like

  34. David Tedeschi says:

    Ciao Amy:
    You replied to a message I sent you on March 2, 2016 and I thank you so much. I used a lot of what you told me in planning my itinerary and of course from other tips and help you provide on your magnificent Cinque Terre Insider.
    From our hotel in Lerici, you suggested ferry travel as a way to explore the Cinque Terre. We have only a day to cover that area and this is what my proposed itinerary looks like for the eight of us who are traveling as a group- we are all 70 years old; two of us are in the 80s.
    Using some of your suggestions, I have us taking a ferry at 9:30 from Lerici to Portovenere. We stay there until we catch the noon ferry to Riomaggiore (wish we could meet you.) At 2 p.m. I have us beginning to walk along the Via Dell’Amore which will take us to Manorola. The mile long walk is pretty flat I believe. We will head to the lower portion of manorola village nedar the harbor. But I have us (I Hope) climbing the uphill to have lunch at Nessun Dorma, hope we can meet the owners Nicola and Christine. We then have to catch the 3:50 ferry to Vernazza because you suggested that we not miss that town. I think that bride takes 20 minutes. We won’t have much time in Vernazza because then we have to catch the 5:15 ferry to Portovenere which I believe takes an hour travel. In Portovenere we must catch the 6:20 ferry back to Lerici. Do you think we are being to ambitious and would you make any suggestions. On another day of travel from Lerici we are hiring una guida/autosta privato to take us to Portofino and then to tour Santa Margherita, and perhaps have dinner at Ristorante da Michele (do you know it?)
    Amy, I admire the time and effort you devote to your site and I hope you find complete joy in knowing you are making travelers’ dreams come true. I applaud your husband allowing you to spend so much time on what you appear to love to do, and you don’t even get paid. I wish we could meet you in Riomaggiore or in Manorola and buy you lunch at least. But I guess you will just have to settle for un grande grazie. Ciao to your little ones and Dio ti benedica!
    -Davide Tedeschi, USA, Connecticut diamonddave48@cox.net

    Like

    1. Ciao Davide!

      So nice to hear from you again. And, as always, thanks for your compliments and kind words. You made my day! 🙂

      Some fine tuning for your plans:

      1) Go ahead and take the ferry from Portovenere to Manarola without getting off in Riomaggiore. I say this because it’s the village that will require the most vigorous climbing. Also, the Via dell’Amore is currently closed (see my posts about it here on the blog).

      2) Do plan to go to Nessun Dorme in Manarola. They have amazing views and great drinks (the walk is a very gradual ascent with not too many or too steep stairs at the end). Nicola and Christine are actually the owners of a trekking shop in Manarola, not Nessun Dorme. 😉

      3) With the time saved by not visiting Riomaggiore, you should be able to visit both Vernazza AND Monterosso before catching the ferry back to Portovenere. 🙂 Both villages should be easy to navigate as they are much flatter than some of the others. Monterosso has some great artisanal shops as well as my favorite local dessert: torta Monterossina. You can fine it at Pasticcieria Laura (check out my blog post on Monterosso for more details).

      Unfortunately, I’m unfamiliar with restaurants in Santa Margherita, but I would trust online reviews and/or advice given by your driver!

      Take care & buona vacanza!

      Amy

      Like

      1. David Tedeschi says:

        Sei un consulente di viaggio perfetto! I think that is why we keep coming back to Italia. The people are so proud of their towns and culture. Even if you are an American, you have an Italian heart. Your suggestions for our upcoming trip are terrific and I’ve made adjustments to our itinerary. I’ve checked the current boat timetable and barring any bad weather, we should be able to do all that you suggested. We’ll be a bit rushed, but we can say we saw parts of the Cinqueterre. Since you are so interested in travel, I would love to share our three-week itinerary for Italy and Switzerland with you but I can’t attach it here. It’s a Word document. If you care to see it, and want to provide us with your e-mail, I will gladly send it to you. WE depart the USA in five days. (:-) And, although it’s the next town over, if you and your family want to meet us for a drink and bite to eat at Nessun Dorme, just let us know. Otherwise, grazie mille! Have a wonderful year!
        –Davide Tedeschi

        Like

  35. jennekerose says:

    Hello Amy! I’m so glad I found your site. 🙂 My husband and I will be spending a couple nights in Cinque Terre at the end of October and your site has been so helpful! We can’t decide on which place to stay…either Riomaggiore or Corniglia… Also, I’ve been trying to figure out the status of the trails as of now. I think Riomaggiore to Manarola & Manarola to Corniglia are still closed? Any advice would be most appreciated. Thank you!! ~Jenneke

    Like

    1. Ciao Jenneke!

      Thanks for reading the blog. 🙂

      In the end of October I would probably recommend Riomaggiore over Corniglia only because it’s right on the cusp of the off-season and Corniglia is already quiet in the peak-season (so it will be VERY quiet).

      The trail status post that’s pinned on the top of the main page of the blog is up-to-date (yes, the coastal trails between Riomaggiore and Corniglia are still closed but there are alternate routes).

      Take care!
      Amy

      Like

      1. jennekerose says:

        Thank you Amy! We are staying in Riomaggiore. 🙂 Can’t wait!

        Liked by 1 person

  36. Irene says:

    Hi Amy, I have just found this site while researching Cinqe Terre. What a brillant site which i have bookmarked. We are four seniors and we are going on a cruise next May and one of the ports of call is La Spezia. We have looked at the cruise companys excursions but it is expensive so i have been looking at doing it our selves. My friend and i have been to Cinqe terre before, only for the day, but fell in love with it. We now want to share it with our other halves. I have looked at trains, ferries, but what i found here is the best yet. A bus, which i believe we may be able to catch from our cruise port. what i need to know is it far to walk from the bus stops to the towns. We are all reasonably fit but sore knees and stiff hips do sometime making walking a litte bit difficult. Any help would be great

    Like

    1. Ciao Irene!

      Thanks for reading (and for your compliments!).

      In Riomaggiore the Explora bus arrives at the very top of the village so it’s a relatively steep descent down into the village. The same applies for Manarola (although from where they drop you off there are some great views from the church square overlooking the entire village). In Volastra & Corniglia you would be absolutely fine to get off and walk around (as they are relatively flat in comparison to the other aforementioned villages).

      I hope this info helps!

      Amy

      P.S. Depending on what time you would be in Manarola, you could eat at Da Billy (which I highly recommend, reserve an outside table in advance). There would be some steps but as it’s also located at the top of the village it wouldn’t be too far from the bus stop. 🙂

      Like

      1. Irene says:

        Hi Amy
        Thank you very much for the information. We will hope that our stiff joints are too stiff so that we can walk down to the sea. We are reaaly looking forward to coming to the area again. Sorry that the Lovers Walk is closed i remember it being beautiful.
        Irene

        Like

  37. David L Kramar says:

    Hello Amy,
    I’ve taken great pleasure in reading your comments about Cinque Terre. My wife and adult son are planning a day trip for this coming April 25th, a national holiday. What impact would a visit on this day have as far is places that are open and transportation.
    We will be coming from Pontedera and are trying to see if it is better to drive or take the train.
    Your suggestions and comments would be most appreciated.

    Like

    1. Ciao David!

      Thanks for reading the blog! Please pardon the delayed reply, I’m out of the country on holiday.

      As for your question, the Cinque Terre are a popular destination for the April 25th holiday and you’ll find everything open. I definitely recommend booking accommodations well in advance and most definitely book a place that offers parking for its guests if you plan to arrive by car. If you plan to arrive by train just keep in mind that the trains will be extra busy (and you’ll need to be extra vigilant with your belongings).

      I hope this info. helps!

      Happy New Year!

      Amy

      Like

  38. Marijn says:

    Hello Amy

    I was wondering whether the Cinque Terre villages really have gotten too busy in the summer period (August), as this article from The Telegraph states: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/italy/articles/the-best-alternatives-to-the-crowded-cinque-terre/
    What do you think?

    Kind regards
    Marijn

    Like

    1. Ciao Marijn!

      Thanks for following the blog! Crowds in the Cinque Terre have become quite a problem in the last few years due to large tour groups visiting the villages for just the day. These groups tend to congest the villages and the trains and can make things less pleasant. With that said, these groups only visit for a few hours during the day and by late afternoon they’ve already headed back to where they came from.

      August here has always been the month that Italians visit most. It’s also usually our warmest month so most time is spent at the beach or on the water (if you’re wanting to hike this isn’t the best month).

      I personally discourage day trips to the Cinque Terre as you would visit with the masses and clear out with them as well (those that actually stay the night here get to experience the charm of the villages that can be more difficult to see during the day).

      I hope this info helps!

      Amy

      Like

  39. Christa says:

    Do you know the Catholic mass schedule there in Riomaggiore? I have heard that Sunday at 11:30 they have mass. I was wondering if they have an earlier one by chance? Grazie!

    Like

    1. Ciao Christa!

      Please pardon the delayed reply. We’ve just gotten back to Italy from our annual vacation. On Sundays there are usually two masses in Riomaggiore, one at 11:30am and one at 6pm. I hope this info helps!

      Take care,
      Amy

      Like

  40. irene says:

    Hi Amy
    We are visiting in May and intend to use Explora 5 bus service from the cruise port. I have been looking at the webb site but so far the time tables have not been updated. Is the service still running and do you know if their time table for 2017 is available yet.

    Irene

    Like

    1. Ciao Irene!

      Yesterday I was able to get a 2017 Explora 5Terre schedule before its official release. 😄👍Check out my blog post from yesterday to see it.

      Amy

      Like

  41. Gena Smoot says:

    Hi Amy,
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Do you know if any more of the Via dell’Amore has been re-opened since 2015? We will be visiting in May for our anniversary and I’m wondering if there is any where to put the locks on that trail?

    Thank you,
    Gena

    Like

    1. Ciao Gena!

      There’s no hope of the Via dell’Amore reopening in time for your visit (minus a few hundred meters on the Manarola side, but it’s not worth it).

      I’ve seen people put locks along the panoramic walk in Riomaggiore (via Signorini, there are some beautiful views of the coast from there) or out on the point in Manarola.

      Congrats on your anniversary!

      Amy

      Like

      1. David Kramar says:

        Ciao Amy, We planning to visit Cinque Terra on Sunday April 23rd. We will be driving from Pontedera and plan to park in La Spezia and take the train into the villages. We plan to spend the entire day going from village to village and topping it off with a traditional dining experience at the end. Would you recommend starting at the southern end or the northern end and do you have some favorite spots we might eat at to experience the local flavor. Thank you for all the information you have shared in your blog. I already feel at home. Grazie

        Dave Kramar

        On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 1:45 AM, Cinque Terre Insider wrote:

        > Cinque Terre Insider commented: “Ciao Gena! There’s no hope of the Via > dell’Amore reopening in time for your visit (minus a few hundred meters on > the Manarola side, but it’s not worth it). I’ve seen people put locks along > the panoramic walk in Riomaggiore (via Signorini, there are so” >

        Like

      2. Ciao David!

        Please pardon the delayed reply… things have been a whirlwind around here. I’m happy to hear that you’ve found the blog to be a valuable resource! It’s a labor of love. 😊

        I would probably start at the northern end and make your way back towards Riomaggiore. You could then eat at either Rio Bistrot or Dau Cila in the characteristic marina of Riomaggiore (definitely reserve a table in advance!). If you get to Riomaggiore in time for sunset you can grab an aperitivo at Bar La Conchiglia in the marina (they have Riomaggiore’s best sunset views).

        I hope this info helps! Enjoy your time here.

        Amy

        P.S. If you are able to squeeze a ferry ride in, do it! The views are spectacular (there are no views on the trains as it’s mostly tunnels).

        Like

  42. Ilisha says:

    I will be in Italy the first week of march and was planning to spend 2 nights in CT. After reading on some other sites I’m second guessing if this is a good time of year to visit? Wanted to get your thought on this!

    Thank you, ilisha

    Like

    1. Ciao Ilisha!

      In early March many local businesses will still be closed as it is still considered the off-season. Easter arrives late this year (mid-April) so many businesses are not planning to reopen until April. However, don’t worry too much as some businesses (mostly restaurants and bars/cafés) are open. If you are wanting to visit the villages at a quiet time, March is a good bet. However, keep an eye on the forecast; if rain is predicted for the dates you plan to visit CT you’ll want to have a Plan B.

      Hope that helps!

      Amy

      Like

      1. Ilisha Hall says:

        Thank you that’s helpful!

        Like

  43. Karin says:

    Hi Amy … you are a fabulous resource. I will be in Riomaggiore for 5 nights in mid-July. I just discovered your information about the 5 Terre bus! Are the times and routes that you provided in your website accurate for 2017? The schedule within the Explore 5 Terre website indicates that several of the buses do not run all of the way to San Berderdino.

    Here is an itinerary based on your schedule ….. will it work?

    Monday: Eat breakfast in our Airbnb then take the new Explore 5 Terre bus from Riomaggiore at 9:08 up to San Bernerdino (arrives at 9:48). Get off here and check out the fabulous view! Take the next bus from San Bernerdino to Corniglia (10:18 arriving in Corniglia at 10:30). Check out Corniglia for a bit and be sure to get a gelato at Alberto Geltaria before hiking down to eat lunch at Gli Ulivi in Volstara. After lunch hike down to Maranola (The Hike from Corniglia to Volstara then down to Maranola involves both ups and downs and takes a total of two hours) then spend the afternoon swimming off of the rocks then have a sunset dinner in Maranola at Nessun Dorma before taking the train back to Riomaggiore. (The last bus leaves Maranola at 9:15. We will miss it as we are eating dinner at 8:00 so we will have to take the train.) (The bus will be 22 euro and the single train ride will be: 4 euro)

    If you are inclined will you take a peek at the other days planned and let me know what you think! Thanks. I was in Riomaggiore for several days ten years ago and I ache to return. I know it has changed …. But I can’t wait to return! Once again, thanks for all of your advice!

    Here are our other days:

    We arrive in Riomaggiore at 3:30. We have to walk from the train station to meet our Airbnb host at a bar in town. He will then lead us up a million steps to our Airbnb. That afternoon we should get some groceries to have in the apartment, swim at the local beach, and for dinner grab pizza or fish to go and eat on the rocks swimming and watching the sunset!

    Saturday: Take a ferry leaving Riomaggiore at 10:30 and arriving in Portovenere at 11:05. (The cost for Unlimited Daily Ferry Riding is something like 30 euro per person.) Once in Portevenere we can eat lunch and explore before taking the ferry all of the way up the coast to Monterosso. The ferry leaves at 2:50 and arrives in Monterosso at 4:10. We can jump in the ocean for a swim before walking from the beach up to the old section of town for a 6:00 dinner at Ristorante Da Eraldo. After dinner we could go back to the beach to swim at sunset before taking the train back to Riomaggiore. (Amy … do you know where I would find the stone window that looks across to the church in many photos of Protovenere that I See?)

    Sunday: Eat breakfast in the apartment then catch a 8:30 train north to one town north of Cinque Terre called Levanto. We can contact Sensafreni Bike Shop before we go (via Facebook messenger) to reserve bike rentals for the day. There is an incredible bike path that we can take from there through 5 abandoned railroad tunnels. Breaks in the tunnels with fantastic ocean views and paths to secluded otherwise unreachable swimming spots. We can have a lunch/beach break in the more laid-back and secluded beach town of Bonassola (we should be sure to go to Focaccia da Marisa … Bonassola is renowned for their focaccia and it is said to be the best.) Then continue biking up to Framura before biking back to Levanto. Bring the bike back by 6:00 to give us time to take the train to Vernazza and have a 7:30 dinner at Ristorante Belforte then take another train back home to Riomaggiore.

    Tuesday: Swim right in Riomaggiore. Rent kayaks? Rent inner tubes? Just chillax. Hopefully hook up with a friend who has a vineyard and makes wine in Riomaggiore. Last night dinner at Ripa del Sole in Riomaggiore. We should plan on eating at 8:00 so we can watch the sunset!

    Like

    1. Ciao Karin!

      I just posted last night the new Explora 5Terre bus schedule for 2017 (you’ll find it here: https://cinqueterreinsider.com/2017/03/24/2017-schedules-for-the-explora-5terre-bus/ ).

      Everything about your itinerary looks good but there are a few details to consider:

      -Nessun Dorma is a bar/café, not a bona fide restaurant. It has beautiful views over Manarola but you won’t be able to see the actual sunset from there (although you’d see the effects of the “golden hour” on the village). You might want to grab an aperitivo there but head to Trattoria da Billy for dinner (request an outdoor table with a view when you reserve your table in advance).

      The same goes for Ripa del Sole, I don’t *think* you’ll be able to see the actual sun setting although you’d see the beautiful colors. The best sunset views in Riomaggiore are from Bar La Conchiglia in the marina and a few select tables at A Piè de Ma near the Riomaggiore train station. You can get aperitivi at either location. Great dinners can be had at Rio Bistrot (recently featured in a New York Times article on the Cinque Terre) and Dau Cila, both in the picturesque marina.

      I hope this info helps!

      Amy

      Like

  44. David L Kramar says:

    Amy,
    Thank you for your learned advice. We are so looking forward to our visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, David!

      Take care,
      Amy

      Like

  45. Luba says:

    Thank You so much Amy, You are a big help and most gracious for providing your valuable time to make sure foreigners enjoy Italy. I have noted the train times but am having difficulty with finding the correct company that provides the farriers for the area. Can you kindly advise their www address.

    Like

    1. Ciao Luba!

      The website for the Cinque Terre ferry service is: http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/en
      Keep an eye on the blog as I always keep the schedule posted here as well (and I explain the different pricing/passes):
      https://cinqueterreinsider.com/2017/03/28/cinque-terre-ferry-schedule-april-1-14-2017/

      I hope this helps!

      Amy

      Like

  46. Karolina Pedersen says:

    Hi Amy!

    We are two students from Sweden and we´re going to Cinque Terre April 24-29 to do empirical research for our bachelor thesis. The aim of our thesis is to analyse how a destination like Cinque Terre strategically work to preserve the social sustainablity. We have read your blog and read about your petition for saving Cinque Terre from mass tourism and we would like to get in touch with you if you would like to help us by doing an interview about the situation in Cinque Terre. Feel free to contact us by email so we could give you some more information.

    Thank you in advance!
    Karolina Pedersen & Emilia Ottocan
    Lund University

    Like

    1. Ciao Karolina!

      I’m so sorry not to have replied sooner… our youngest has not been well and he’s now *finally* feeling better. I will drop you an email.

      Ciao!
      Amy

      Like

    2. P.S. I just realized I don’t see your email address?

      Like

  47. Joanne says:

    Hi Amy
    Congratulations for your wonderful site,the best one I saw….
    My husband and I will (60-59) be staying in Riomaggiero for two nights (3 days) at the end of may.
    I would like to have suggestions from you for maximizing are stay. After reading some information on your site I think it would be better to visit by boat ?? Is it worth visiting the isles .
    We like walking and I saw the circuit that you suggested in Riomaggiero we will do that….can you give me some suggestions of restaurants on the way.
    Do you have any PDF documents of the informations (easy to print) .
    Thank you very much and continue your nice work.
    Joanne

    Like

    1. Ciao Joanne!

      I’m so happy to hear that you’ve found the blog helpful! It’s a labor of love. 🙂

      My favorite restaurants in Riomaggiore are:
      Rio Bistrot (in the marina, they were recently featured in a New York Times article on our area… so book in advance!)
      Dau Cila (in the marina)
      Ripa del Sole (located at the top of the village, off the beaten path)

      My favorite spots in Riomaggiore for pre-dinner cocktails (called aperitivi) are:
      Fuori Rotta (near the large church square, you’ll walk past it if you walk the loop of Riomaggiore that I suggested)
      A Pié de Ma (near the train station sitting out on the rocks on the water, just keep in mind they don’t offer table service)
      La Conchiglia (in the marina, probably the best sunset spot in Riomaggiore)

      Street food:
      Il Pescato Cucinato
      Siamo Fritti

      Foccacia:
      Panificio Rosy (just downstairs from the pharmacy)

      The best coffee in town can be had at Bar Centrale

      I hope that helps! I’m sorry I don’t have any PDF files available but I’m sure you can easily copy, paste & print. 🙂

      Enjoy your time spent here!

      Amy

      Like

  48. Steven Bill says:

    Hi AMy, not sure my question got through a few weeks ago: We are staying in Monterosso in mid May and want to get some of your favorite restaurant places for dinner. Thanks so much LOVE your website.

    Like

    1. Ciao Steven!

      Thanks for following the blog! Have you had a look at my post “Village Spotlight: Monterosso”? I list my favorite restaurants in Monterosso there (also, since you’ll be staying there be sure to try the torta Monterossina at Pasticcieria Laura… it’s a local specialty!). In the other villages I recommend:
      VERNAZZA: Belforte
      MANAROLA: Trattoria dal Billy
      RIOMAGGIORE: Rio Bistrot, Dau Cila, Ripa del Sole

      I hope this helps! Enjoy your time here. 🙂

      Amy

      Like

  49. Arielle says:

    I love your site! I am very grateful that you put all this truthful information in one spot and that I found it a day before arriving in Cinque Terre! Thank you and thanks for sharing your inspiring story

    Like

    1. Ciao Arielle!

      What a sweet message! I’m so happy that I could be of help to you. Enjoy your time here in Cinque Terre!

      Amy

      Like

  50. Amy, LOVE, LOVE your blog. Question: we are staying in LaSpezia in mid May 2 nites,
    & plan to take train to CT. But then want to view little towns from the water. Can a ferry
    ride be picked up at any of the CT towns, and how is payment of these trips made.
    Grazie, Margherita

    Like

    1. Ciao Margherita!

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog!

      Weather and sea conditions permitting, the ferries can be caught in any of the Cinque Terre villages except Corniglia (the ferries don’t stop there because it’s the only village on a hilltop instead of directly on the sea). Payment for the ferry tickets is accepted only in cash.

      I hope this info helps!

      Amy

      Like

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