The Ligurian Sea (the portion of the Mediterranean that laps against the rugged Cinque Terre coastline) is breathtaking. I remember the first time I laid eyes on it; being used to the Pacific Ocean I could hardly believe the turquoise jewel toned waters and the seemingly infinite transparency. It really is that beautiful!
If you haven’t already decided where you want to take a dip in the Cinque Terre, be sure to check out my previous post with a side-by-side comparison of the different options you’ll find here. After you’ve chosen where to go, the next step is to know what you’ll need to take with you.
5 things you need to be Cinque Terre beach ready
- Sunscreen. Lather that stuff on! There’s nothing worse than a terrible sunburn (not to mention looking like a lobster in all of your travel photos). Choose an SPF factor that works best with your skin tone (I’m fair so I use SPF 50+). I definitely recommend purchasing your sunscreen back home and bringing it with you (not only because you’ll need it throughout your travels but also because it’s super expensive in Italy). I like this sunscreen because I hate that sticky feeling after applying (and this one feels dry to the touch).
- Water. Of course, this is an essential that’s hard to overlook. Do yourself a favor and invest in a dual walled, vacuum insulated bottle… they are ah-mazing! Seriously, this is one of my MVP items (FYI mine is a different brand, currently available only in Europe, but the one I linked to has fantastic reviews). I hate drinking lukewarm water so I love that this keeps my water ice cold for hours on end (even when it’s scorching out!). Did I mention that it doesn’t sweat all over your other stuff? That was a pet peeve of mine when I used to freeze plastic water bottles before I discovered this greener option. If you have your own water bottle it’s easy to top-up while on the go in Italy (as water fountains are plentiful here).
- Beach towel. Pre-kids I used to have a classic cotton terrycloth beach towel. A few years ago I converted to suede microfiber beach towels when I realized that packing three regular beach towels took up all the space in my bag. I’ve never looked back!these ones have great reviews on Amazon (I also love the stripes on these). If you prefer to buy a towel when you’re here as a souvenir of sorts, I recommend buying either a nido d’api one (which is cotton but has a honeycomb weave which will dry faster and fold smaller than a terrycloth towel) or a thin, woven cotton one (like the one in the picture below). Whatever you do, do not take your bath towels from your accommodations to the beach (this is a big no-no and you’ll have to deal with an irate host after you’ve stained and ruined them). Microfiber towels fold up really small and dry super fast (I timed it and mine is dry after 20 minutes in the sun). I sometimes miss the feel of cotton but the advantages of microfiber trump terrycloth in every other aspect. By the way, having a towel like this can be handy throughout your travels (not just at the beach). There are tons of options out there but
- Waterproof phone and valuables case. Do yourself a favor and do not leave valuables unattended on the beach. Over the years I’ve known multiple people (not just visitors but also locals) who have gotten ripped off after they’ve left their things sitting on the beach while they’ve gone for a swim. With this case you can bring your valuables (keys, money, credit card, phone) in the water with you. Plus, you can still take photos! That’s a win-win in my book.
- A beach bag. This is by no means a necessity but if you have one you’ll be glad you do. I hate ending up with sand or pebbles in my bag. With a bag like this the sand falls right through (although for pebbles you’ll probably have to give it a shake). It’s lightweight and packs nice and flat in your suitcase. Of course, if you prefer to buy one here you’ll find plenty of options (but 99% are the cotton canvas ones like pictured below).
That’s it! Grab yourself a slice of pizza or focaccia and you’re ready to go. Buon bagno!
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