Liguria Things to Do Tips by diver-x Top 5 Page for this destination
Liguria Things to Do: 87 reviews and 235 photos
We had spent the previous day hiking from Riomaggiore up to Vernazza, but ran out of daylight to make it to Monterosso. So the next morning, we hopped on the train again and got off at Monterosso to start our hike south. We'd been charmed by Vernazza the day before and wanted to end up there for lunch. Monterosso was not what I expected and it's not like the other Cinque Terre towns. It's a resort town and you'll actually see motor vehicles driving around. It was cool and cloudy and not many people were around. In the summer the beach must be packed, though it's not the nicest beach I've ever seen. The most memorable feature is the figure of a giant man carved into the rock.
Here's a tip for the ladies: There is a WC at the train station, but apparently they don't want you to use it. The doors to the stalls were removed and the outside door to the room was also removed, so you are completely exposed when using it! The men's room had stalls with doors, but all doors were locked, but not being used. There was no other bathroom nearby that I could find. Wait until the crowd from the train dissipates and have your travel companion stand guard outside the WC door at the station. Best to bring your own tissue too!
To hike south from Monterosso, follow the red and white trail markers along the sea wall. They'll lead you up some steps and up a cliff. The view is magnificent when climbing out of Monterosso! I think this leg of the Cinque Terre hike is the most challenging of all. Lots of steps up, up, up. Just when we thought the trail would level off, another flight of steps would appear! The trail leads under lemon and olive trees and past some vineyards. It's definitely the most scenic leg of the trail. A woman who was working to harvest some lemons happily tossed some lemons up to some hikers on the trail. She said she had plenty to spare!
Address: 5th train stop north of La Spezia
Enjoying some wine at the end of the day!
The hike between Corniglia and Vernazza was quite demanding but very pretty! The path was rockier and steeper than earlier sections, but the scenery in the olive groves and vineyards we walked through made it more than worthwhile. And then there was Vernazza! The village is centered on a beach with a piazza surrounded by bars, pizzerias and restaurants. When we arrived, it was late in the afternoon, so after a bit of exploring and some gelato, we settled down at an umbrella-covered table and sipped wine while watching the sun set over the Mediterranean. . . Sigh . . .
When we were ready, we strolled up to the train station and caught our ride back to La Spezia, where our hotel bed awaited! We still had one more Cinque Terre village to see, so the next morning, we hopped back on the train to Monterosso and hiked back south to Vernazza. But I'll write about that on the Monterosso tip!
Address: 4th train stop north of La Spezia
We walked out of this tunnel at the train stop
It's too bad we got started later than we intended and we didn't spend much time looking around at Riomaggiore. It just took a few minutes to get there on the train from La Spezia. We were on a car toward the end of the train and when the train stopped; our car was still inside a tunnel. We weren't even sure we were at Riomaggiore because they didn't call out the stops on the train. We saw some other people moving toward the door and we did the same, poking our heads out first to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We had to walk through the tunnel out to the platform. It was interesting!
The Cinque Terre trail heading north from Riomaggiore is very easy! It is paved and there are snack bars along the way to the next town, Manarola. That section of the trail is known as "Lovers Lane". If your legs aren't very sturdy, I'm confident you'll still be able to make the 15 minute stroll to the next town.
Directions: First train stop traveling north from La Spezia
The main street in Manarola
At the end of Lover's Lane, you're rewarded with the village of Manarola. Due to the rough waves, the fishing boats were all pulled up onto the town streets. There were too many shops, gelaterias and restaurants to choose from. We were in tourist overload!
But I thought the highlight of Manarola was the cemetery. It was different from anything else I've seen. There was a structure that formed a courtyard. Along the walls of the structure, there were vaults where the deceased are laid to rest. But the most interesting thing was that the people of Manarola have found a way to put a photograph of their loved ones on the face of the vault. So you could see the pictures of the people who had a hand in Manarola's history. Some photos were quite old - turn of the century or older. It was very interesting!
Address: 2nd train stop north of La Spezia
The village of Corniglia, Cinque Terre
By the time we got to Corniglia, it was well into the afternoon and we hadn't eaten lunch yet. We were starving! Corniglia is perched at the top of a hill and by the time we got there, we were very ready to eat. Luckily, there were plenty of cafes, delicatessens and snack bars to choose from. If anything, we had too many choices and we took a little too long to decide where to go. In the end, we found a little hole in the wall pizzaria, where we got a few slices of focaccia, which really hit the spot! We chose a little park bench with a view of the trail behind us and enjoyed!
Address: 3rd train stop north of La Spezia
The train station at La Spezia
From La Spezia, the first train stop of the Cinque Terre is Riomaggiore. At the La Spezia train station, there is a tourist office with all the information you need for your Cinque Terre hike. The Cinque Terre is now part of the Italian national park system, so you have to pay to hike it. At the tourist office you can buy one ticket that covers your rail fare (unlimited between La Spezia and Genova) and your hiking pass. The ticket costs 5.20 Euro for one day. You can also buy a pass that covers you for 3 or 7 days. Make sure you validate your ticket at one of the little yellow machines at the train stations. They don't check for validation on the train (as far as I could tell), but they do check it at the hiking checkpoints at the outskirts of each village. Don't lose your ticket!
At the La Spezia train station, there is also a snack bar where you can pick up snacks and sports drinks or water for your hike. Keep yourself hydrated!
Address: Liguria coastline
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