It’s obvious that Florence is our first love. We’re doting and loyal (I mean, we have a whole blog in her honor here!). But with the onset of spring, sometimes you get that itch to feel…free. To not worry about faking it, for just a little while. To let loose for a day or a weekend. To exhale.
If you’re feeling the same way, might we introduce you to Cinque Terre? It’s easy on the eyes. It’s vibrant, fun, and challenging all at once. It doesn’t judge you for what you wear (or don’t wear!) and begs you to take long walks on the beach. And even though we know it shares its charms with many other travelers on the reg, we can’t help but return time and time again for a few days of pure bliss.
Now’s the time to visit this stretch of the Italian Riviera. In the summer months, exploring the towns’ famous trails can be difficult in high temperatures. Plus, as it’s not yet high-season, a spring stay can be surprisingly affordable. So ditch your designer duds in Florence and pack only your finest hiking and beach gear – grab those flip-flops without shame!
To get to Cinque Terre from Florence, buy a regional train ticket from Santa Maria Novella to La Spezia Centrale, which could cost as little as 12.70 euro. Try to get a direct ride, but note that many stop in Pisa Centrale (where you will have to switch trains). Once you’ve got your hands on your ticket, validate that baby! Then sit back and relax on your ride to the coast.
Of course, we’ve got recommendations for how to pass the travel time if you’re not a window watcher. First, catch up on your beauty rest. You’ll want to feel in tip-top shape when you get there! Next, make sure to stretch (impeccable form demonstrated above). You’ll be happy you did one you see all the hills and stairs the coastal towns have to offer.
At La Spezia Centrale, you’ll have to take one final, local train to one of Cinque Terre’s five towns: 1. Riomaggiore, 2. Manarola, 3. Corniglia, 4. Vernazza, and 5. Monterosso. I would recommend starting your visit at town 1 or 5. Then you can travel them in order to make sure you don’t miss one.
Once you’ve made it to your starting town, let your desires be your guide. If you’re up for a scenic walk, you’ll want to take Trail #2 – it’s the area’s most popular, so it will cost a few euros to walk – along jagged cliffs overlooking the ocean. If you’re up for a challenge, you can hike free trails further up into the hills. If you’re looking to take it easy, head straight for the free Monterosso beach or the Vernazza harbor. Maybe you’d rather hop a boat ride from Riomaggiore along the coastline? And when you’re hungry, the area has a number of great restaurants and its own local wine to try.
We won’t bore you with trip specifics here (flings are quite easy that way). Many bloggers – including a couple of our friends – Alexandra from ArtTrav, Walks of Italy, and SlowTrav – will provide all the details on how to get there, which trails to take, and where to stay and eat.
Instead, let’s take a few moments to fully appreciate our good-looking love on the side.
We think it’s safe to assume you, too, will be quickly seduced by Cinque Terre. How could anyone resist those dreamy jewel tones? We hope you’ll find some time to visit soon. It’s a doable day trip from Florence, but if you can spare a few days, you won’t find your time wasted here. If a visit is out of the question, feel free to lament about it in the comments. Hannah and I will be right there with you.
Until next time, Cinque Terre. You beautiful thing, you!