Cinque Terre is covered in vineyards, however, there is only one official winery that you can visit. We hiked high above Manarola to get to the winery on our way through to another town. Cinque Terre produces almost exclusively white wine grapes as this is what the climate best permits.
We hiked from Manarola up to Groppo and stoped at a winery and then went on to Volastra and then back down to Corniglia. Along the way from Groppo to Volastra there was an overlook that convinced me that Cinque Terre was the most beautiful place I'd ever been. We took some pictures that you can see below but they just don't do it justice! The trail on the popular Sentiero Azzurro from Manarola to Corniglia was closed, but this hike might be even better!
Good Seafood, Good Views
Would We Come Back?
Yes, food was good, and it's the perfect dinner for a sunset!
We ate at Marina Piccolo because we had a coupon from the apartment we were staying at and because it's on the water. We weren't sure if we'd get a table, but luckily we got one and it was closest to the water! We started off with a Seafood sampler, similar to the one at Billy, though not nearly as extensive or fancy. Whereas the Amalfi Coast was known for its amazing seafood salad appetizers, Cinque Terre seemed do a seafood sampler, comprising of raw and cooked items. Though seafood salad is one of my all time favorite things to eat, it was nice to enjoy something different. It also allows you to try a bunch of different and new things.
Seafood, Good Views
Would We Come Back?
Nah, it was overpriced, and even though the view was better and it felt away from the crowds, it's really not nice enough to warrant a return trip.
When you're hiking a few miles between towns you'll definitely work up an appetite. We hiked from Corniglia to Vernazza and stopped for lunch before heading out to Monterosso. We went down to the water and ate at Ristorante Belforte with overlooked the marina.
My favorite form of exercising is definitely hiking, especially along mountainous terrain with beautiful views! Cinque Terre is known for its hiking, and by far the most famous trail is the Sentiero Azzurro, which connects the 5 towns and skirts the coastline. Last time I was here, we were only able to hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola because the rest of the trails were closed due to weather and slippery conditions. After the landslides from a few years ago, most of the trails were closed indefinitely til they were fixed. Though, not all trails were open still, we got to hike the 2 longest ones! And yes, I was hiking no matter what my knee pain; this was a life goal of mine!
Good Seafood, Endless Alcohol
Would We Come Back?
Duh!!! The food was good, the people were fun, and the alcohol never ended!!!
Billy's is the most fun restaurant we've ever been to. It is high up on the hill overlooking Manarola with beautiful views, great food and fun people! Originally we wanted to eat outside but all the tables were full so inside we went. That actually turned out to be pretty awesome, the interior had been carved out of the cliff side like a cave, the back wall of the restaurant was an unfinished, jagged rock that gave the whole place a unique ambiance.
When I was trying to find a hotel for Cinque Terre, I was willing to stay in any of the towns because they are all gorgeous! But finding a hotel was tricky; thankfully, I found an awesome apartment, and it happened to be in Manarola, the second town when approaching from the south. It had been one of my favorite towns on my last visit, and after this trip, both Brad and I definitively determined it was our favorite!
Since the trains don't run often enough throughout the 5 towns, it really made the most sense to eat dinner in the town that you were staying in, so we ended up eating in Manarola every night for dinner. There were just the right number of restaurant options, including one across from the water, one up in the hills, and several more that just had great food!
Reasonably Priced, Good Focaccia, Large Portions
Would We Come Back?
Obviously, we came here a lot! The focaccia is soooo good, and one of the best deals in Cinque Terre!
After a hellish walk into Pisa and a day of riding and waiting for trains, we finally made it to Cinque Terre (Italian for the 5 lands), a beautiful destination along the northwestern Italian coast that I had previously been to on my last Italy trip. So of course after all that, we were dying for some food and we needed something quick! We were staying in the town of Manarola, and I remembered an awesome focaccia place, that I was pretty sure I could find again. I was a little afraid that some businesses might not still be around after the terrible landslides from a couple years back. Thankfully, La Cambusa was not affected!
On our way from Florence to Cinque Terre we had to stop for a transfer in Pisa so I suggested to Katherine that we see the leaning tower. She wasn't super excited and the somewhat long walk from the train station on a hot day wasn't ideal but I think we're both glad now to say we went and saw it.
The tower itself is just a bell tower of a larger cathedral and it's cool to see it all together since you rarely see more than the just the tower itself. My problem is that there are soooooo many people and its near some other large buildings so it's hard to get a picture of everything and it's kinda annoying to see everyone doing the obligatory "pose like your trying to hold up the tower" picture.
Book a trip to Italy and hire a private driver to take you winery hopping in Tuscany, immediately! Our day winery hopping was one of my most favorite things we did the whole trip. Nothing beats getting drunk off amazing wine all day, enjoying the beautiful scenery, pretty towns, rolling hills and vineyards, all well being driven around so that the only thing you have to worry about is taking it all in!
Our first stop was at Castello Vicchiomaggio. It's on a hill adjacent to Castello Verrazzano (where we had intended to go first). We arrived a little early so our driver suggested to stop here while we waited for Verrazzano to open. Vecchiomaggio is also a winery but as I mentioned, it was early in the day so we did not do a tasting.
Katherine & Bradley
Two engineers with a passion for food and travel! Join us as we eat our way through the world!