My husband Brad and I had a hard time deciding where we wanted to go for our honeymoon. I had my sights set on Croatia and he wanted to go to Italy. Since neither of us were budging we decided to do the most logical thing…go to both. We compromised and agreed to skip the northern parts of each country this time around and focus on the areas around Florence, Rome and Dubrovnik.
Truth be told, I adore Italy. Even though I was eager to visit a country I hadn’t been to before, I became really excited to return to Italy and have brand new experiences with Brad. Upon landing in Italy, we settled into our first home base in Florence. The next day we decided to take a long day trip to Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre is a UNESCO world heritage site in Italy’s Liguria region. The literal translation of Cinque Terre is “Five lands”. Those 5 lands are the villages of Manarola, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza & Riomaggiore. This area is between about 2 1/2- 3 hours away from Florence, so the best option for us was to join a group tour. Since we didn’t have a long stay in Florence, this tour was a perfect way to maximize our time and save money. I will be the first to admit that a bus tour isn’t my first method of choice to explore but sometimes I have to work with the time off I’m given. I’d rather be open to a bus tour than to completely miss out on an opportunity. I was able to find an active day trip on Viator that would take us through all 5 villages in a single day. The tour included lots of hiking, eating and swimming. It sounded exciting, exhausting and it was a perfect introduction for us. We packed our swimsuits and aqua shoes for the rocky beaches and wore hiking shoes for the anticipated trails. While the towns were packed with tourists, the views & the tastes justified the crowds. The most memorable moments for me were going for a quick swim in Monterrosso al Mare, trying fried anchovies in Riomaggiore, enjoying the most delicious cinnamon gelato in Vernazza, eating a delicious pesto lunch with some wonderful travelers in Corniglia and simply looking up in Manarola.
Would I say a single day is enough time to see all five villages? No. We only got a taste of what each village has to offer. But if you’re in a similar position where you can only squeeze in a day to see Cinque Terre, then I would recommend this tour. I can’t wait to return and spend a couple of nights up there to truly experience la dolce vita.
Tour information: Cinque Terre Day Trip