we went back and forth during the first half of our road trip on wether or not we would drive into italy and hit up the cinque terre. on one hand, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this incredible popular tourist site with very few tourists. on the other hand, it would cost us an eighteen hour drive – with two energetic boys and one big pregnant belly – back home to london. despite a few bouts of motion sickness and some periods of whininess, our road tripping had gone pretty well … and so eventually we decided to go for it – to carpe diem and drive to cinque terre. i am so glad we did! we had such an awesome few days along the italian coast soaking in so much charm and beauty (and pasta and pizza and gelato!) and it was totally worth the long drive home (broken up with our final stop, the impossibly fairtale-ish town of colmar back in france). i had been to cinque terre when i was a pre-teen; it was better than i had dimly remembered and all three boys loved it, too.
we found a random last minute airbnb up in the mountains above la spezia. it turned out to be the perfect place to stay, with an above-ground pool that moses adored, some kids’ toys and puzzles, and a little terrace with amazing views over the rolling hills. and the breakfast that our host made for us each morning was soooo delightful – with warm croissants the size of mo’s head!
we started our exploring of the five cliff-hung, colourful villages in the southernmost one, riomaggiore. to get there, we drove to la spezia, parked our rental car, and hopped on the train that connects the coastal towns (much easier than driving on super windy steep roads!). as soon as we started walking the streets of riomaggiore down to the harbour, we were all in love with cinque terre!
we got some suuuuper delicious pasta at an outdoor restaurant and went to the rocky beach (which i somehow took zero pictures of!). the tide was too strong over the rough rocks to swim much but it was beautiful and we had fun.
then we hopped back on the train and got off at vernazza. we headed up to a viewpoint, along the well-known hiking track that connects the five villages.
from there, we split up for a bit – ian hiked from vernazza to monterosso, with gabriel taking his nap in the backpack. moses and i headed back into town and got gelato and played on the beach!
my views vs ian’s views:
we were going to hike all together, but, especially considering it was super hot and i was super pregnant, i’m glad we split up 🙂 gabey slept the whole journey and ian loved hiking this famous trail. moses had a blast at the beach and i was able to relax a tiny bit!
we met back up in vernazza (ian and gabriel took the train back), got a cold drink, then got back on the train, this time getting off at manarola. we walked up to a spot where we could see the whole town and happened upon … a playground! perfect!!
the next day we headed straight to cinque terre’s northernmost and least cliffy town, monterosso. we rented a spot among the beach loungers and canopies and played at the beach and in the water. it was a chill and fun morning.
on our walk to the stretch of beach that we spent the morning at, i delighted in the colourful umbrellas and aquamarine sea and green hills. here’s way too many photos from that ten minute stroll…
we rented a slide-on paddle boat! the boys had sooo much fun and gabriel even dared to go down the slide at the end after much trepidation, causing uproarious cheers from the rest of us.
ian and gabey went for round two on hiking, this time from vernazza to corniglia. some scenic shots that gabes entirely missed while napping:
meanwhile, mo and i explored the impossibly charming streets of monterosso. moses picked out a blue popsicle and we played at the playground.
gabes and daddy returned to monterosso by train to meet back up with us. the boys loved watching for the ocean after going through tunnels whenever we were on the train.
then we all returned to riomaggiore (to train back to our car in monterosso) by boat! the ride, spotting all five of the cinque terre’s towns along the way, was exhilarating!
then it was on to the long drive home the next morning! the boys were entertained by all kinds of things in the back seat, including staking silly selfies, haha!
thanks for the excellent couple of days, cinque terre! so glad we went for it and saw this jewel of a place so relatively empty.