We also visted Riomaggiore before we arrived here, and upon departure we visited Manarola.
Christie and I took the train up to the northernmost town, Monterosso Al Mare. Here is the most widely known beach in Cinque Terre. The train stops literally in front of the stairs to walk down to the shore. Find an empty spot and take in the views of the mountains, Mediterranean sea, and striking shoreline filled with brightly colored umbrellas and tourist of all kinds. Many independent vendors will greet you upon arrival attempting to sell tapestries perfect for laying on the beach. If you are interested, do not accept the first price offered, these folks are into bargaining and will drop prices drastically if you know how to haggle. Regardless of if you are laying out on the beach for the afternoon or if you want a souvenir to take home, you can find one at a great price. A good tip for haggling: the lower you start with your asking price the better chance you will only end up paying half for your purchase. Christie ended up getting a tapestry which really worked out well for us as we did not originally plan to lay on the beach as long as we did.
The view from the beach in Monterosso al Mare
the town of Monterosso al Mare and the train station behind us. (photo tip: buy a lens clip for your phone to get a wider angle and more of the background behind you!)
If you have time to relax on the beach, look for the vendors and grab a Birra Moretti, a typical Italian beer perfect for a hot afternoon. There are also beach bars readily available with frozen concoctions and sharable [or personal depending on your thirst.] When only spending limited time in the area, you may prioritize your day differently, and honestly we did as well, but upon arriving we just couldn’t pass up some beach time.
Birra Moretti or Frozen Boozy Concoction, or both.
Once we decided we could no longer lounge we dusted the sand off, got dressed again and waited to take the train to Vernazza. Vernazza is a short hike from Monterosso Al Mare, but depending upon trail conditions, the trail may or may not be open. Some of the best views and options for photography are along the trail and a pretty simple hike for anyone hoping to conquer it. Similar to Riomaggiore colorful homes and businesses line the coast. Doria Castle rests on off a rocky cliff sticking out into the sea. A long-lasting strong hold that dates back to the eleventh century that still remains. For only two euros you can climb the long winding staircase that leads to the top of the tower and a breathtaking view.
waiting for the train in Monterosso al Mare
the view from the tower at Doria Castle
We worked our way up to the remains of the tower at Doria Castle and took our time to take in the view. The colorful houses lining the cliffs could be seen even more prominently here. It’s a perfect photo opportunity. We found our way back into Vernazza and worked our way to the train station browsing in the local shops along the way. While there are many similar trinkets to be bought I found they were not exactly the same from town to town, so if you see something you should grab it.
Next post, we’ll finish our quick trip to Cinque Terre and leave you wanting way more time there, just as it left us.