Pitch: 5 quaint towns along the Italian Riviera connected by miles of trails over the mountains and through the vineyards of Cinqueterre. A must see if you are in Northern Italy (or anywhere close). Every picture you take will make you feel like a professional photog.
Stay: In Monterosso al Mare (we stayed at Hotel Palme). The town has a little more bustle and lots of beach. I also appreciated the variety of cafes and restaurants. The other 3 villages are quieter and really chill and Vernazza is in between.
Play: Spend the morning swimming, lounging and sunbathing at Bagni Eden beach club (Via Fegina, 7-11; 39-0187-818-256). A few euro will get you a colorful chaise and use of their changing rooms. There’s no better way to enjoy a morning by the sea.
Eat lunch: Enoteca 5 Terre di Sassarini Giancarlo (Via Fegina, 94; 39-0187-818-063) Toast your arrival with a little Franciacorta, then try the local sauvignon blanc. Nice bruscettas, pastas, and carpaccios.
Walk/hike: From Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza. Bring water, sunscreen, a camera, and supportive sandals or sneakers. Takes about 2 hours. Breathtaking journey over mountains and through vineyards...even though we had no water and donned flimsy flip flops.
Relax: Upon arrival stop for a few scoops of gelato and find some shade to watch the ferries come in and out of a rocky port. There are tons of cafes to people watch and sip on wine.
Home: Catch the train or ferry back to Monterosso al Mare. They’re constantly coming and going.
Eat dinner: L'Ancora della Tortuga (Salita Cappuccini, 6; 39-0187-800-065). Reserve an outdoor table for 8:30/9 - or right around dusk. The restaurant is a converted bunker...cool AND romantic. Can’t go wrong with the catch of the day and the scampi.
Stroll: L’Ancora della Tortuga is at the opposite end of Monterosso al Mare so enjoy a leisurely walk back to your hotel along Via Fegina. And who says you can’t have gelato twice in one day?!