Cinque Terre – Monterosso al Mare

Another choice I made while planning our Italy trip was deciding between Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast. Between the two coastlines, what ultimately swung my decision was reading about the hiking at Cinque Terre. In all of my research, the Amalfi Coast had a more relaxed and resort feel while Cinque Terre seemed more active and rustic. After weeks in big cities, both Stephen and I enjoyed our two day mountain stay with fresh air, ocean views and more hiking than I was prepared for.

Where we stayed

We chose to stay in Monterosso al Mare, the northernmost and largest village of the 5. Sticking to Airbnb, we booked a private cottage in the mountains that was surrounded by lemon trees and had a stunning view of the ocean. Our host picked us up at the train station and drove us back, which was wonderful because the steep trek would’ve been very difficult with our luggage and then the entrance would’ve impossible to find without help.

The cottage was a brisk 10 minute walk to old town and the start of the hiking trail to Vernazza. From there, it was a just a few more minutes to the water. I really enjoyed the tranquility and peacefulness of being in the mountains, especially once the sun set. From the patio, the lights of the other 4 fishing villages sparkled in the dark. If you’re travelling with a lot of luggage or are less mobile I would recommend staying in town, which is a lot more accessible. The 15 minute trek down the mountain turned into 30 (maybe 45?) minutes on the way back.

Where we ate

Our first night in Monterosso, we had dinner at a lovely restaurant in the heart of old town. We walked by many seafood restaurants while exploring the beach and settled on Da Eraldo Piazza Agostino Poggi, because it felt cozy and relaxed. Service was friendly and there were no language barriers. We started with a Caprese Salad that was simple and refreshing. I chose the Frutti di Mare Pappardelle for my main while Stephen opted for the Pesto Lasagna. Both dishes were really good. I enjoyed the fresh seafood in mine and while Stephen’s lasagna wasn’t photogenic, it was incredibly flavourful. For dessert we split a molten chocolate cake, fuel for the the hike home.

On our second afternoon in town, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up ingredients for breakfast. At this point in our trip we had been travelling for nearly two weeks and both Stephen and I were missing home cooked meals. Having access to a kitchen is one advantage of booking with Airbnb that I love.

Unfortunately after dinner our second night, I fell ill. I’m not sure if it was food poisoning, but all the symptoms lined up. This made our trek down the mountain from our Airbnb to the train station extra difficult. Stephen had to manage both our carry ons while I tried my best to stay alive. Our original plan had been to stop for a few hours at Pisa on our way to Florence. However, I was passed out in my seat for the first half of the train ride and nearing Pisa, I was still in no shape to move.

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