Jam-packed trains, alluring views, lots of cameras. Cinque Terre is THE hot spot of the year and one of the most photographed too. It’s almost impossible not to see it on Instagram: five small villages, right at the seaside, in Italy’s Liguria. We talk about Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The entire coastline, the cities, the hills and the vineyards around them are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. But, as you would imagine, everybody wants a piece of this scenic place. There is not a lot of opportunity to vary your view, the villages are quite petite. But, if you are longing for some images that will impress your friends and would like to keep the tourists away, here are some “not-so-crowded” instagrammable places.
1. The rooftop of Riomaggiore
When you hop off the train thousands hop off with you and seem to go towards the same direction. But, a couple of meters away from the city center, just turn left and head for the high streets of Riomaggiore. It’s a short hike but well worth the effort. You will meet mostly locals and have the entire view to yourself.
2. Vernazza at its highest point
There is a road that links Vernazza to Corniglia, a hiking trail passing pretty prickly pear plants and small vineyards. This route is not for the faint-hearted but sure does a lot of good for the eyes. As you start your ascend, the first thing you see is this beautiful image below. Then the trail slowly climbs, with the terrain dropping into the sea on the right hand side. You can see the entire coastline from here and there are plenty of photo opportunities even when you get further away on the trail. Because it’s not an easy climb, the route doesn’t get as crowded as the cities.
3. The small beaches of Monterosso
Out of the five, Monterosso is the only village with a real beach. This is also the largest of them all and, as you walk towards the old town with narrow medieval streets, you can catch a glimpse of the ocean embracing the mountains around.
4. The Manarola -Volastra – Corniglia trail
Last but not least we will share our favorite green spot: the Manarola – Volastra – Corniglia trail. You can start the journey from Corniglia ( the easy way ) or go up from Manarola. If you decide to take the last one, there is a long journey in front of you: 1200 steps. But, no matter which town is your starting point, the landscapes are astounding. There are vineyards, olive trees, forests of all sorts…topped with sea views. You will also pass by Volastra, an old small town where you can rest and have a gelato.
Last minute tips:
If you want to make the experience a cheap one choose La Spezia as your home base :). A short train ride will get you in the middle of the events in no time. But don’t be in a rush! You need at least 3 days to get the vibe of the place. And, by all means, bring your own wine. There are plenty of spots you can drink it 😉