This is something I’ve been owing to myself and I’m finally keeping my promises. So here it is, my Cinque Terre diary! My Italian holiday was a total dream and also budget friendly-ish, but that doesn’t particularly mean that I’ve starved to death eating budget meals from a supermarket. Okay, so I don’t really know where to start from as I haven’t ever done an actual “guide” of the whole trip before. This is probably not very professional of me to mention but I’d rather keep things clear and honest on this space. I’m trying to do my best and I think you would appreciate some honesty as well haha. To start with, we flew from Brussels Airport to Pisa. The return flight was actually 100€ for two people plus our luggage which was 20€ each way. In total we spent 140€ to get to Italy in the first place. We flew with Ryan Air which is pretty uncomfortable but considering the price and that it’s only a one and a half hour journey, it’s not so bad. I have a love-hate relationship with the airline but you get use to it lol.
Once we got to Pisa, we took a train from Pisa Airport to Pisa Centrale to then take another train to La Spezia Centrale, which is where we were staying the whole trip. The train tickets for this journey were 56€ return for two people. Lots of people choose to stay in Levanto or La Spezia when visiting Cinque Terre and it’s easy to tell why, hotels and airbnbs are a lot cheaper in those cities specially during peek season. We chose La Spezia as our base camp because it was more convenient considering we were gonna land in Pisa. Levanto would be best if you flight to Genova. For accommodation, we booked an airbnb two streets away the central station that cost 200€ for 5 nights. We paid for the entire flat which had two bedrooms with two double beds and a single one, and there was only two of us haha. So imagine this, you’re going with 4 other people and all of you together would only spend 200€ for 5 nights. Mad innit? The flat was sparkling clean, very modern and also included all the Italian coffee you could possibly want. Oh and we also got a tv so my boyfriend could watch the Champions League. If you ask me if we were happy with our choice, the answer would be a massive yes.
Regarding the transportation from La Spezia to Cinque Terre and back, I know there is something called the Cinque Terre Train Card. The prices are 16€ for one day, 29€ for two days and 41€ for three days pp. Kids from 4 to 12 would pay 10€ per day and the family fare is 42€ per day. The CTTC also includes the access to some walking trails and busses. We didn’t get the card because we thought it was unnecessary for us, as we are lazy people and weren’t gonna do any hiking, also a little detail: the busses don’t get to the villages. So we bought a single ticket each day that cost 4 euros each way pp. In total we spent 16€ per day for two people and that was fine for us as we ended up spending the whole day in each village. If you’re planning to take several trains in one day, then the Cinque Terre Train Card might be something for you. The Cinque Terre line goes back and forth between La Spezia and Levanto and the whole journey takes around 30 minutes from one end to the other. It takes about 8 minutes to get to the first stop which is Riomaggiore and about 20 minutes to get to Monterosso al Mare which is the last village before you get to Levanto. The train comes every 30 minutes and I think it’s important to mention that if you buy you ticket at the station you need to validate it at one of the little green machines. They’re located everywhere around the station but if you can’t find them you can always ask the staff. It’s highly important you validate you ticket if you don’t want to pay a very unfriendly fine. You can also purchase your ticket online and for this case you won’t need to validate it.
Now for food, I absolutely stuffed my face with ice cream every single day. I’m a huge fan of ice cream and it was like I was in heaven. I was having around 3 ice creams per day and I’m not even joking, neither am I ashamed to admit that. I made it my duty to try as many ice cream shops as I could, only to share with you the very best! I usually love to explore new flavours but my favourite ones are always Amarena, Pistachio and Cheesecake, so I decided to try mainly these flavours from each place to make it a fair competition. After carefully consideration my favourite ones were: in first place, obviously the quite famous Gelateria Vernazza in Vernazza. There’s a reason why it’s so well known and it’s because their gelato is simply delightful. Second place goes to Bar Centrale‘s Gelateria in Riomaggiore. Although I wasn’t sure about this place at first, as it didn’t have an amazing review when I looked it up on google but it turned out to be absolutely great. Then in third place we have Gelateria Gusto in La Spezia, I know it’s not actually in one of the five Cinque Terre villages, but if you stay in La Spezia you should definitely try this one. Finally in fourth place, Gelateria Artigianale Il Golosone in Monterosso, which was quite good but I found that the others were better and that’s the reason why it’s in last place. I actually really wanted to try some gelato from Gelateria Scogliera also in Monterosso, because I’ve read some amazing things about the place but unfortunately they didn’t have any left by the time I went there so that must say something about it! So if you do go to Monterosso you should perhaps give it a try. I’ve also went to some other places but they didn’t blow up my mind. The average prices are 2,50€ for two scoops and 3,50€ for three. Some places also do one scoop for 1,50€.
Time to talk about lunch and dinner… and I think you probably already know what we were eating during those days. Yes! Pizza, pasta and pesto (we didn’t really have any pesto). Except for one day that we had dinner alongside some cocktails and an breathtaking view at Nessun Dorma in Manarola. I so wish I had saved the receipt to give you a more precise information about this, but if I’m not mistaken we ended up spending about 44€ in total for 3 cocktails, bruschettes and the antipasto Nessun Dorma. The other 4 days we had pizza (mostly me) and pasta (mostly my boyfriend) for dinner and we were having fried seafood for lunch. My favourite pizzas were from a pizzeria in La Spezia called Pizzeria Masaniello, their cheapest pizza cost 5€ and they were by far more delicious than some others I’ve tried in Monterosso, Vernazza and Riomaggiore. We’ve also tried fried seafood in different places but we found the best flavours in Monterosso, at a place called Il Bocconcino. The individual price for a cone of the fried seafood of your choice goes between 9€ to 13€ depending on type and size. They offer a promotion that includes two cones and two portion of chips with 2 sauces for 20€ and that’s the one we got. I also liked the cones from Tutti Fritti in Riomaggiore a lot, but they are in second place for me.
Anyway, if you made it until here, thank you so much for reading it and I hope you enjoyed it like I did writing it. I’m pretty sure I’m forgetting to mention lots of things because my brain doesn’t work properly these days but if you do have any questions you can always ask! I’ll be super happy to answer 🙂
Lots of love,