Also, at the train station in La Spezia, there is a Cinque Terre information area. There, we bought our hiking pass for the day. You need to present these passes at little booths along the way when you are hiking the trails. But if you don't buy them beforehand, we saw people buying them at the booth along the trail. Also, we wanted to buy a hiking pass for the next day too, but they said they wouldn't sell it to us because it was supposed to rain... (which it didn't) so we just planned to buy one at a booth but none of the booths were open that second day when we passed them. And if you are planning to hike, they'll tell you that two paths are closed, but we just took alternate routes I will talk about later in the post. Also, at that information area in La Spezia, you can buy your train pass that will allow you to hop on and off the train for the day between the cities. We planned to hike between the cities, so we just bought a one way ticket to Lavanto, and just got off at Monterosso. So, you could get a ticket for Monterosso too, it depends what they have available. The train was really crowded with tourists, and it took maybe 45 minutes to get to Monterosso. It may be faster in the off season when there aren't so many people getting on and off.
From here you can look down the coast and see some of the other villages. It was a bit hazy to see all of them.
Our lunch consisted of yummy pizza on foccacia bread, some lemon soda and the Mediterranean Sea-so pretty! I think if I would have known Monterosso was like a little resort town, I would have wanted to stay the night and spend the day at the beach.
This was the path to our hotel, some narrow sidewalks and steep stairs.
We watched the sunset on the beach and then walked a couple of blocks down to the center of town for dinner. There were so many people eating and hanging out. Danny got some fried seafood and I got some pizza and lemon soda-naturally. Then we got some thick Italian hot chocolate and drank it while listening to some local street performers play instruments. It was one of our favorite Italy moments.
This is the view of Vernazza on our way out of town. See the tower on the end of the peninsula, that is the tower we climbed up in the day before. In the distance you can see Monterosso to the north.
Hiking this trail was another one of our favorite moments of our trip. It was about 8 am and there was no one on the trail. We saw only about four people the whole time. The trail from Vernazza to Corniglia was another difficult, 1.5-2 hour hike. According to the map, we took the green trail marked SVA. The weather was about 65 degrees so it was perfect-it got up to about 80 degrees in the afternoon the day before when we were hiking. Hiking high up in the mountains on the other side of the world seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen. Definitely something I will never forget.
Corniglia was the only city that didn't have sea access. It was high up on the cliff.
We had our lemon ice while overlooking the sea. We could see Manarola in the distance and could see the walking path that was right along the coastline, but that had been washed out by a landslide. It was so sad because I could see the path and it was so close it would have been about a half hour easy walk... but it was obviously covered with dirt and rocks, and there was no ferry access to the city we were at, so we knew we would be hiking another few miles. We only stayed for about 20 minutes in Corniglia and then were on our way.
The trail led us through vineyards, over streams, up rocky terrain and through people's backyards even. But we had a map and these little red and white flags to guide us. We never got lost-but some parts looked sketchy and we questioned our next move.
While in Manarola, you could see the path back to Corniglia, and towards the right of the picture, you can see the landslide of dirt and rock. We got some much deserved gelato and walked out on a rock to take some pictures of Manarola.
There are ferries that run between four of the cities: Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore. Remember, Corniglia doesn't have sea access so it doesn't stop there. We were pretty tired of hiking and we wanted to be able to get a different vantage point of the cities. The short, "easy" trail from Manarola to Riomaggiore is also closed so we didn't want to take another strenuous hike through the mountains, the ferry was a perfect option for us. We hiked a total of 7.5 miles through the mountains over the two days.
We didn't spend too much time here either, just got some lunch, then looked around at a few shops and caught a train back to La Spezia. There were trains that went between all of the five villages, we took that train on the way up, but you are driving through tunnels almost the whole time so you just can't enjoy the views at all. We were so glad we hiked and took a ferry so that we could see the whole coast. It was so beautiful and everything I had dreamed it would be. We knew we would finish hiking in the afternoon around 2:30 pm and a few days earlier we realized how close we would be to the Leaning Tower of Pisa so we decided to jump on a train and go see it.