ROAD TRIP ITALY - FRANCE
PISA, PORTOVENERE, CINQUE TERRE
Portovenere, a small town located western of the bay of La Spezia, was our Monday's second stop. Without it being a part of Cinque Terre, Portovenere gives you a taste of Cinque Terre as it is equally beautiful and colorful and it has a pictresque little harbor that connects to it to the surrounding villages. It is a great place to book your accommodation as accessing Cinque Terre via water taxi is easy and it promises you a magical ride. The same way you could visit Portovenere from Cinque Terre, while Portovenere offers you the chance to visit Portofino by boat.
RIOMAGGIORE - CINQUE TERRE
Our most awaited moment of the day had finally come. We left Portovenere and drove to Riomaggiore. Cinque Terre literally means 'Five Lands' in Italian - five small villages on the Italian Riviera: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. They are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. In other words, Cinque Terre is a touristic miracle, five fish villages that have managed to become a hot spot of the Italian Riviera.
If you wish to access all five villages, your best option is to leave your car at La Spezia and use the train or, if you've booked a hotel at one of the villages, you could use the paths connecting the villages to each other - a 9km path that's said to be ideal for hiking.
As for us, we didn't choose either of the above options due to lack of time. We decided to visit Riomaggiore and oh, it was a dream! All I've heard and all I've seen till that time was nothing compared to its beauty! The colorful houses blew my mind, the smell of salt in the air mesmerized my senses and all together, I felt part of a fairytale - I just simply didn't want to leave. The point in visiting Cinque Terre is to explore all five villages and not stay in just one. However, we had a long day ahead us and left before sunset.
Riomaggiore, like the rest of the Cinque Terre villages, gives you the illusion that it's hanging down on the steep cliff above its scenic harbor. As we moved towards it, we admired the stunning, sky-high buildings with their tiny, blooming terraces - a dreamy scenery that makes you never want to leave this place.
Riomaggiore is a small fishing village, where the sea isn't really ideal for swimming but if you enjoy cliff diving and sun bathing on the rocks across the harbor, then you'll love it. Thus, there are a few good spots to enjoy the sunrise and the sunset or simply turn your back and admire the colourfulness and vibrance of the view.
Maybe you'll read about how Cinque Terre is an amazing place or how it's simply overrated. Some people say they loved it, others that it was not quite what they expected or better, they expected more. The truth lies in your eyes. Regardless how many articles you'll read, how many photos or features you'll see, the way to know if you love or hate Cinque Terre - or any other place - is by seeing it with your own eyes.
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