FOR DREAMY WEEKENDS: CINQUE TERRE
CinqueTerre, which means “five lands” in Italian, is exactly that. They are five small seaside villages built on the cliffy coast of the Ligurian Sea and are the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.
Cinque Terre is known for its scenic, colorful houses, fresh pesto, and UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park. The towns are connected by an impressive train system built into the cliffs or, for hikers, trails. Each city is unique and has something special to offer, and we were lucky enough to explore each of them. Here are our discoveries:
The first of the five cities (coming from La Spezia) is Riomaggiore, embedded in an avalanche. The main street winds from the train station straight into the sea! There are fishing boats in the bay, occasionally locals and swimmers on the small beach. This city is known for its incredible wine and delicious pesto pizza taglio (sliced). You can get to the next town, 'Manarola, on the Via Dell'Amore Path (Path of Love).
CHARMING & ROMANTICMANAROLA
This city has a calm and romantic atmosphere. The beautiful domed church of San Lorenzo is in the village. Weddings take place almost every weekend in the summer, and when you reach the end you can see an old Italian tradition of throwing rice at the bride and groom as they leave the church for good luck. This city is the best for watching the sunset over sea level and enjoying the fresh seafood that was probably caught in the morning.
THE CITY HIDDEN IN THE CLIFFS
This city is often overlooked as it sits about 100 meters above sea level. If you take the train, prepare for the seemingly never-ending staircase to reach the city. The town is surrounded on three sides by vineyards built into the side of the mountain, making every step worthwhile with the incredible views. Of the five cities, this is the most peaceful and a good place to escape the tourist crowds in summer.
Play at the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino or experience the casino at the bar while sipping one of the home-made cocktails and watching the high rollers at the blackjack tables. Check out the marine life at the Musée Océanographique de Monaco, with just a pane of glass between you and some of the most exotic sea creatures, sharks and beautiful coral reefs. Don't miss the opportunity for an Instagram-worthy rooftop photo-op cafe. The breathtaking views of Monaco's coastline will make you dream of never leaving.
If you want to spend a day at the beach, this is the city to be in. It has the longest beach of the five cities as well as many shops and cafes on the beach. It's a perfect place to grab a pesto focaccia and lie on the smooth stone beach! There is a paid beach right in front of the main piazza, but if you walk a little further up the coast there is also a free beach that is just as great!