We spent a whole entire week in Cinque Terre, Italy. It was one of the three places we had booked before we left (Rome for when we arrived, Cinque Terre because it’s hard to get accommodation since it’s so popular and I KNEW I wanted to go there, and our final stay in Madrid before we headed home). We are so so so glad we spent that long there – we really got to explore the five cities, eat everywhere we wanted to eat, and have a beach day hanging out in the sunshine withe a picnic. It was pretty much perfect.
But it’s also a lot of time and even though I would go back and book the same amount of time if we were to do it again, we looked for other things to do, too. One morning, at the suggestion of the hostel owners in Biassa (they were amazing), we headed the other direction.
We took the bus down to La Spezia, the city we had accidentally explored when we arrived by train while we looked for the bus to take us up to our hostel. We spent the morning being lazy in the sunshine outside a café. We were both pretty addicted to cappuccinos (and, let’s be honest, pastries) by this time in our trip (like two weeks in; it was bad, I know), so we sat outside the café and just enjoyed ourselves. I remember feeling like we were one of the little Italian grannies that were next to us – free with all the time in the world.
From there we got on a bus and headed over to Porto Venere. We had heard it was the most AHHHMAZING place ever with the most beautiful views. It’s really really pretty. This view was my favorite, right near where we got off of the bus – aren’t all those little houses along the edge so cute? So traditional Italian? The answer is yes to both things.
That being said, there isn’t a TON going on here. There are some really cute restaurants, so we did get a drink and some snacks along the water here. You can take a ferry across to another island that’s right near by, but we decided it was too expensive and skipped that. It would have been nice to go, but sometimes you just have to balance the Euros, ya know?
There’s a sweet church at the end with a stunning view. It’s not the one you see up at the top – that one was closed for a wedding when we arrived. It was lovely and cool inside and the lady who was renovating the bench or door or something was really really nice and did a very funny Titanic impression for us over the balcony. Sam and I laughed about it for weeks afterwards; it was so endearing and she really managed to hit the nail on the head with her joke, even though there wasn’t a ton of great language communication between the three of us.
Seriously though, that view is amazing, no?
I wanted to ask some strangers to take a photo of the two of us together, but Sam got nervous and we ended up with two photos of each of us separately. The imaginary photo of the two of us with this view behind us is probably my favorite picture from the trip, haha. 😉
After walking around and then lunch and sitting and enjoying the view, we took the bus back to La Spezia and then to our hostel in Biassa. From there, we found the trail that took us up and over the mountain, through first fog and then sun and through lots of trees. It was really relaxing, although we did manage to get seriously lost (not in a bad way) and toured a few very remote small towns where there were definitely only locals around. It was a favorite afternoon for me.
Plus, whereas the trails in Cinque Terre are pretty busy with tourists who are also doing the hikes between the towns (it’s fun to chat with everybody along the way; pretty much everybody speaks English), this trail was empty – just us. We ran into a few Italian trail runners and one or two people walking their dogs, but that was it. Locals only. Don’t you just love stumbling upon days like that when you’re traveling? It’s the best, really.
Here’s the view from the top of the mountain on our hike. So nice.
And some gorgeous afternoon light. <3
We had a lovely day, the day we visited Porto Venere. Sunshine, lovely views, a nice snack and a drink on the patio, and then a really nice hike. I LOVE this part of Italy and would definitely love to come back (we will, we will).