Oh Italy!, dont you love the idea of backpacking through Europe and just get lost in its beauty. That is exactly the main goal of this trip. Just me and Maurilla, with 2 backpacks. I carried a 50L North Face Terra and Maurilla was rocking a 35L Fjallraven Funäs.
So here are the grand plan! 6 days and 5 nights, from west to east Italy. Destinations are Milan, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, and Venice. All mode of transportation was by train.
Day 1 – Amsterdam – Milan – Cinque Terre
So the trip stared in Amsterdam, we have bought a return ticket which was very cheap (€94.90 return for the both of us – bought on 31 December 2016). We naturally did not pay extra for luggage 😂. I was worried that the 50L is too big to carry to the cabin. But in the end, it was fine but just don’t fill it in too full. We flew on 13 April 2017 from Schipol Airport to Malpensa Milan. The flight was 2 hours – no complaint. We landed at Malpensa Airport at 10AM and went straight to Milan. From the airport there is a shuttle train directly to the center of Milan, the cost was €12 per person.
Milan was never going to be a major destination for us. I had been there before a few years ago and I knew the only thing that we wanted to see was the Duomo cathedral and the dome in Milan Shopping Centre. So this was a shortstop until our train leaves for Cinque Terre in the afternoon at 16:05. So we grabbed a quick lunch – nothing fancy.
Cinque Terre is 5 fishing villages on the west coast of Italy. It is famous for the pastel color of the building. These are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore (from west to east).
We decided to stay in Corniglia because it was situated in the middle of the 5 villages and it was actually the least expensive for stay. The main reason for this is because Corniglia did not have direct access to the coast and you need to hike from the train station to the villages. We stayed in this Airbnb for 3 nights. The view from the room was amazing and it had a courtyard garden as well.
That night we ate a restaurant nearby called Ristorante Cecio for dinner. We both had the seafood pasta. I had shrimp ravioli and Maurilla had the spaghetti with mussel. The view from the restaurant was supposed to be amazing, but we went there for dinner 🙄. Maurilla’s food was much better than mine. The shrimp in the ravioli was too fine that I can’t really taste it.
Day 2 – Corniglia and hike to Vernazza, Monterosso and train to Manarola
We went up pretty early and headed for breakfast included in our accommodation. Apparently, our host is also the owner of one of the cafes down the road. It is called Pan e Vin. For breakfast, we had a selection of pastry, fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, and coffee. I opted for a chocolate croissant and orange juice. And let me tell you, this croissant is one of the highlights of the trip, the pastry was fresh and crumbly, the chocolate was dense and fulfilling (it might have been Nutella 😋😋😋), I honestly can see myself going back here just for that croissant.
After breakfast we started hiking, we needed to pay €16 including a return ticket back to Corniglia from any of the 5 villages. You do not have to walk/hike in-between villages. Trains are available all day from 9AM to 5PM between these 5 villages. But we always wanted to hike. The trail between Corniglia to Vernazza is 1 hour and between Vernazza to Monterosso is another 1 1/2 hour. So the total distance is 7.7 km.
The hike was relatively easy and well marked and the view is amazing. You do not need special hiking boots, Maurilla and I were wearing our sneakers. We walked along the coastline and sometimes through the forest. There are few spots to take photos in between. Keep in mind that there are people hiking the other way. So sometimes, when the trail is narrow, we need to walk in turn.
Once we have arrived in Vernazza, we can immediately tell that this was a more popular place for tourists to visit. This town is in the waterfront has a small sand beach and port for ships to dock. We arrived there still before noon and were not feeling pretty hungry. So we went for Foccacia bread at Batti Batti’ Focacceriare for €2.5 each and then enjoyed it by the docks.
Shortly after lunch, we continued our hike from Vernazza to Monterosso. The hike was slightly longer and the trail was narrower. We also notice that the hike from the other around was harder (Monterosso – Vernazza – Corniglia). Most people that we passed were heavily sweating. Soon we figured out that that our trail (Corniglia- Vernazza – Monterosso) was downhill and theirs was uphill.
As soon as we arrived in Monterosso, we were immediately greeted by the beaches. Between these 5 villages, Monterosso is arguably the most touristic because of the long beach. However, we were pretty hungry at this point and headed to Gastronomia San Martino. I had a squid pasta and Maurilla had shelled clamps. The food was okay, nothing really stands out. Perhaps our selection just was not the best, there were many options.
We spent the rest of the afternoon lying on the beach and reading books. The weather was great, a bit chilly but if we were under the sun it was nice and comfortable 😎. Just before we left Monterosso we were found a food stall that sells mixed fried seafood. It had calamari, small fish, shrimp, fries and the price was €5 for one cone and we shared it between us. The spicy mayonnaise sauce was super nice too!
We were planning to back home to our Airbnb in Corniglia. But, seeing that we still have a bit of time before sunsets, we decided to go to Manarola. We took the regional train that runs throughout the day (7 mins only from Monterosso to Manarola). Manarola was definitely one of the picturesque among the five villages. We did not do anything except relaxing and enjoying the sunsets. After the sunsets, we head back to Corniglia and went to bed.
Day 3 – Resting and Riomagiorre
We had a really busy day yesterday and decided to stay in bed a bit longer 😴😴.
We wanted to be able to still rest and enjoy ourselves and not feel guilty that we would be missing out on stuff.
During our university days, we would force our bodies and explore as much as possible. Not that it was not nice, it was a different goal of the holidays.
Breakfast was amazing again with the chocolate croissant, freshly pressed orange juice, and coffee. We went back to bed and coincidently it was raining the whole morning. We were grateful that we already did the hike yesterday. Corniglia was even more beautiful and lush after the morning rain.
We headed to Riomaggiore shortly before lunch. The train was a little over 10 minutes. Once we arrived there, we eat another mixed fried seafood at Il Pescato Cucinato. We again share a cone of €5 but it was not as good as the one in Monterosso. This one felt a bit over-fried and missing the tasty sauce.
We then headed to the coastal line of the village – it is about 3 minutes walk from the train station. We sat on the bench and spent a couple of hours just relaxing and enjoying each other company.
Before dinner, we went back to Corniglia with a train and had dinner at a small restaurant called KM 0. Nothing really stands out, we shared a salad and pesto pasta. The place was just convenient and very close to our stay. We went to bed and that closed our journey in Cinque Terre. Below you see all the places mentioned in one map.
Here are the total cost breakdown for the 4 days and 3 night in here. The total is €284 per person.
|Easy Jet flight ticket return||€50|
|Shuttle ride airport to Milan||€12|
|Regional train from Milan to Corniglia||€15.4|
|Airbnb Corniglia (3 nights)||€138|
|Hiking entrance ticket Corniglia – Monterosso including train |
ticket to return to Corniglia
|Return train ticket from Corniglia – Riomaggiore||€8|
|Food (6x dinner and lunch)||€60|
|Mineral water 2 liter||€4.5|
Tips: As you can see that almost half of our budget spent on accommodation. Cinque Terre is really expensive for accommodation. And in my opinion, you can finish all of the 5 villages in one day and do the same day return from nearby big cities like Milan or Pisa. The train between villages is less than 10 minutes. I reckon 1 hour every village should be enough. Then it would really cut down on cost.
Oh, Maurilla made a short video about our trip here for better visualisation. Super glad that she took the time to compile it. Really nice to look back.
Have you guys been to Cinque Terre? How was your experience? Is going to Cinque Terre in your future plan? Let me know in the comment section below. See you again in our next trip to Pisa, Florence, and Venice! Ciao!