Three Days in Liguria: What to See and Where to Eat Between Camogli and Cinque Terre
There is a thin strip of land at about an hour and a half car drive from Milan, located between mountains and the sea, that will gift you with gorgeous views: it is the Liguria region, and in particular the Cinque Terre area. It is the perfect weekend getaway, pack some trekking shoes (and a swimsuit) and start exploring!
We will make you discover the Eastern riviera of Liguria, in particular Camogli and Cinque Terre. Here are all our tips!
CAMOGLI – SAN FRUTTUOSO – PUNTA CHIAPPA
Our starting point for discovering Riviera di Levante (Eastern coast) is Camogli, a typical sea town famous for its little marina and colourful houses. After a short walk and a quick breakfast (with coffee and Ligurian focaccia, of course!) in one of the many cafés facing the sea, we take the path that will lead us to the San Fruttuoso Abbey.
After an hour walk we reach San Rocco, a tiny town at 300 meters above the sea level, perfect for a first stop at the Dai Muagetti bar with a good drink and some focaccia, enjoying the view from our table with sea view.
We then go back to hiking and after other two hours we reach the marvellous San Fruttuoso bay, with a 10th century abbey that was founded by a group of Greek monks and that is still in perfect conditions. From this bay you can reach, both by land or sea, the beautiful Portofino or go back to Camogli, with a quick stop at Punta Chiappa, an amazing promontory on the Ligurian sea. At the end of a fantastic day, and quite exhausted, go head to Levanto.
FIRST STOP IN CINQUE TERRE: MONTEROSSO
Cinque Terre is a jagged part of the Ligurian coast, located in the province of La Spezia between Punta Mesco and Punta di Montenero, where there are five towns, of as they were called ‘lands’ (Cinque Terre is Italian for ‘Five Lands’): Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore (in order from West to East). They have been part of the Unesco World Heritage Sites since 1997.
Cinque Terre can be conveniently visited by train of ferry leaving from Levanto or, for the adventure seekers, you can wear some trekking shoes and walk through the paths that connect one town to another. From the Levanto coast line you can start the first path that will bring you to Monterosso in two hours, after enjoy some breathtaking (to say the least) panoramas.
Monterosso al Mare is the biggest of the five towns, and it is the only one where you will find a big enough and equipped beach. Our piece of advice is to skip the modern part of the town, where you will arrive from you path and where the train station is located, and walk along the sea and reach the old town in about ten minutes. Once you get there it will be lunch time and is there anything better than some seafood linguine or gnocchetti with shrimps and cherry tomatoes? We fell in love with the menu at Il Moretto, with its outdoor tables facing the main piazza and the super kind personnel.
From Monterosso you can reach the second ‘terra’: Vernazza. We take Sentiero Azzurro (light blue path) and after a two hours walk among vineyards, endless stairs and amazing greenery overlooking the sea, we can see the colourful houses of the Vernazza port.
For a lunch with a priceless view (based on fresh fish, of course!) of for some nice snacking, check out Belforte, a stone built restaurant, on the sea, located right after the main little piazza, where you will enjoy quality and an enviable location.
Corniglia is the smallest of the five towns and also the only one that does not merge in the sea. It is in fact located on a promontory at 100 meters asl and it is surrounded by vineyards organized in typical stip terracings. In order to reach the town center, from the station and from the path, you will have to climb 400 steps of a stairway, but once you will reach the top your effort will soon be forgotten and replaced by excitement.
To enjoy the breathtaking view go to Bar Terza Terra (via Fieschi, 215) for an aperitivo with excellent focaccia, and indulge in some sunset watching while sitting on the sofas with sea view.
We suggest taking the train to get to Riomaggiore, because the paths in this Eastern part of the Cinque Terre park are a little bit dangerous after the damages caused by the last flood. The station is located just out of the town center but if you walk through a short rock tunnel, you will pass the promontory and find yourself immersed in the old residential town made of the super colourfoul Genoese ‘towers’.
While walking on the main street, between cute shops and gorgeous sea views we found a real gem: Pescato Cucinato, a little street food place where you can enjoy fresh (amazingly!) fried fish!
Our last stop is Manarola, that we reach after an hour of walking from Riomaggiore, on a part of the Sentiero Azzurro that is still accessible and doable, and also very panoramic. The town recalls the other ‘terre’, with its colourful houses overlooking the sea and the many internal alleys.
After a short look at the center, we suggest getting back on the path (on the right, when facing the sea) and reaching the most wonderful of all terraces in Cinque Terre, the Nessun Dorma restaurant. It is perfect at any time of the day, you can order good and simple food, such as plates of cold cuts, fish starters and good local wine, and enjoy the sunset from the best view point.
Who said that trekking is only for the mountains? Save this little guide and explore Liguria!
Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. This English version was translated by Tamara Ilic.