Italy’s Hawaii, Heaven on Earth, Paradise, etc. I can truly not put into words how beautiful these towns are. I have been twice so far and I cannot get enough. The first time I stayed in Monterosso (the most northern town) and the second time I stayed in Vernazza (the second most northern town, and in my opinion, the most beautiful town).
Monterosso is divided into ‘Old’ Monterosso and ‘New’ Monterosso. New Monterosso has more options for food, drinks, rentals, pharmacies, and trinkets–not to mention it has the train station! The drawback being that it is also the most popular of all the sea towns and is the biggest tourist attraction (though it was refreshing that many of the travelers were Italians)! I really enjoyed old Monterosso because along our hike, there is a trail that leads down to a very empty area of rocks in the water that are perfect for swimming, tanning, and of course, hiding your stuff.
Vernazza: Far Superior to the Rest
I think one picture is enough to persuade anyone…but here’s a few just in case.
I recommend going in September because it is significantly less crowded!
Shout out to LuLu Rooms for giving us an amazing, full furnished apartment for the weekend. Seriously I cannot believe how fantastic this Italian apartment was and I would recommend them to anyone. It was so much better than a hotel and significantly cheaper–we paid 40 euro per night, per person and worth EVERY EURO [hehe..I didn’t say penny!!]. Check them out: http://www.lulurooms-vernazza.com/index_eng.htm
Thanks to the kitchen with endless pots, pans, plates, and chinaware (seriously…chinaware), our morning breakfasts were delicious and helped us start the day the right way!
Hands down one of the best parts of this trip was hiking the Blue Trail.You get to see both towns if you decide to do the hike between Montresso and Vernazza (and maybe you have the gusto to hike to all towns..a cool 8 hour hike). I personally did Monteross to Veranza the first trip (about 2 hours), and the reverse for my second trip. Trust me when I say that Vernazza to Monterosso is SIGNIFICANTLY easier. My first trip I felt like I was literally climbing a completely vertical stairway to heaven–the stairs did not end for at least an hour. On the flip side, the Vernazza hike starts out very intense with extremely vertical stairs…but for about 20 minutes and then it mostly plateaus or goes downhill.
The views are breathtaking so make sure you bring your camera for the hike. I also loved how within the hike, we passed so many vertical vineyards. Hence the need to always buy the house wine when you’re in a restaurant– it will be cheap and delicious!
If you aren’t sure where to stop, you can ask someone and if you get confused on the trail, always look for the Red and White Striped Flag that is spray painted on nearby rocks to let you know you’re on the right trail! Make sure you take plenty of water because you will definitely be sweating within the first few minutes (assuming you go sometime between May and October) and keep in mind that in order to hike the trails, you pay for a 5 euro hiking day pass! Well worth it in my opinion…
Oh hello mountain kitty!
Eventually when you need to go back to your original town, you can be awesome (crazy) and hike back, or just hop on a train that goes to your particular destination. We did not buy train tickets when we were going from Vernazza to Monterosso and back, etc. However, if you want to buy a ticket, they usually cost around 2-3 euro. Also, if you don’t buy a ticket, then keep a lookout for ticket checkers—I luckily was paying attention to the cart ahead of us, saw a man in uniform checking tickets and immediately grabbed my friends as we went from cart to cart until we reached the caboose! When in doubt, speed walk away from potential disasters (running makes you look suspicious).
As I mentioned in a previous post, the rocks can be very slimy, so bring band aids in case you slip on a rock! Also, I highly recommend bringing goggles because the water is super salty, but also crystal clear with tons of fish swimming all around you and you won’t want to miss it! The goggles will also help in case there are jellyfish bobbing about, which was strange since they weren’t any during my first trip. Since I had goggles, I was put on jelly patrol.
Squirt. Jelly Man. Jelly Man. Squirt.
Eat delicious (sea)food
New Monterosso has surprisingly cheap prices for it’s excellent location. Vernazza was a little pricey, but less touristy–pick your poison.
I personally didn’t (and don’t) eat seafood, but my friends got a 2 person minimum dishes to share: Linguini + Seafood dish, as well as a Risotto + Seafood dish. From their faces of pure bliss, I can only imagine it was impeccable. Special shout out to Vernazza’s amazing mouth watering desserts (including their Creme da Cinque Terre gelato flavor in Vernazza).
Be wary of nice Italian (male) waiters who give you endless limoncello on the house.
Get fun trinkets like mini limoncello bottles, small handmade soaps, or vintage rings:
It was 12 euro for an hour. Go.
Keep in mind, I only visited Monterosso and Vernazza. There are three more towns you can explore if your heart desires!
I truly hope that everyone can be lucky enough to see this magical place.