travel guide to cinque terre

Book your 2017 girlfriend trip of a lifetime to the Cinque Terre Italy with Italian FixPlanning a trip to the Cinque Terre can be enough to do your head in, amiright?

All you have to do is check out the comments section in our Beginner’s Guide to the Cinque Terre to see how complicated people seem to find traveling to these five towns.

(There are literally hundreds of Cinque Terre travel questions from readers on that one blog post alone!)

It’s not like going to Florence or Rome, where you basically know what to expect. Even a jaw-droppingly gorgeous city in Italy is still a city — you figure out what you want to see and where you want to stay, and you go from there.

But the Cinque Terre is a place like no other, so before you even begin to plan, you have to wrap your head around this area’s sometimes seriously confusing logistics.

The answer to a simple question like, “Can I drive there?” is:

“Well yes, but also no. You can get there by car, but you can only drive down into the villages during certain hours of the day. And you have to park up at the top of town, not right at your hotel. And that’s only if you can find a space because the parking lots are small, so you might want to park in La Spezia or Levanto instead. In which case you’d have to take the train in anyway, and you’ll want to take the train between villages as well. So yes, you can drive there. But that doesn’t mean you should.”

Some others we get asked over and over again:

“How do I choose which town to stay in?”

“How do I know which trails I’ll be able to hike and which will be closed?”

“Should I stay in a different town each night?”

“Are there any restaurants where only the locals go?”

“What are the best spots for taking amazing photos?”

“Is it safe for women traveling solo?”

“I want to go for 4 days and 3 nights — what’s the best itinerary for me?”

“Can you PLEASE help me plan my trip???”

That last one is a biggie, because don’t you just want someone to do all of this work for you?

Wouldn’t it feel so good to skip all of the Googling and guessing and hoping you’re going to make the best choices and hit the coolest places?

If you have a week to see this magnificent part of the world, you want to do it right.

And you want it to be easy. (A vacation should = less, not MORE work!)

Well hey, you guys! That’s exactly what we do for you.

When you come on one of our tours for women (and we have space left on two this season — July 3-10 and September 21-28), you can relax!

You can spend the lead-up to your trip daydreaming about how blissful it’s going to be instead of stressing about whether you’ve done enough of the right research.

And you can rest easy because you know that we’ve got decades of experience in this area.

In fact, unlike other companies, our tour guides actually live in the Cinque Terre.

So we take you to the restaurants the locals love, the secret swimming spots you otherwise wouldn’t know about, the trails off the beaten path, and the under-the-radar towns nearby.

I mean, feast your eyes on this itinerary, wouldja?

DAY 1

Our driver will meet you and whisk you to your hotel in Monterosso’s historical center. We’ll meet for dinner with the area’s famous and colorful pastel homes as a backdrop. Enjoy new friends and great conversation — a meal of local seafood and wine will set you up for a good sleep. You’ll wake in the morning to the sound of church bells.

DAY 2

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel you’ll head off to your playground for the day, a 17th-century villa tucked into the quiet hills of Levanto. Eat lunch in a place you’d never find without us. You’ll prepare your meal with an Italian chef, and then dine al fresco under the wisteria. Since it’s Italy, all you’ll have to think about is relaxing at a nice beach — we’ll take you to our favorite in Bonassola.

DAY 3

Your driver will take you to Tuscany. Shop our fave market in Italy for Made in Italy clothing, shoes and gifts. Forte dei Marmi is walkable and stylish and right on the sea. Then you’ll head to a quiet, under-the-radar Tuscan town where the streets are filled with art. You’ll eat at our friend’s cool marble-sculpture-studio-cum-restaurant (where guests gush about the best meal of their lives).

DAY 4

You’ll want a day to rest and relax and read a book. Or walk. Or sleep. Or maybe you want to take the ferry and explore Portofino, Portovenere or hike more trails. Whatever you choose to do, we’re here to help you do it, because Italian Fix is all about making this the best holiday of your life. So lean on us!

DAY 5

Let’s escape to higher ground. You’ll hike the famous Cinque Terre trails through vineyards and olive groves. You’ll walk between small villages on ancient paths the locals use to tend their fields. You’ll see the entire coastline. Of course, lunch is at our fave spot. You’ll watch the sunset back at home on Monterosso’s stunning stretch of beach. Prosecco, anyone?

DAY 6

You’ll venture to the village of Riomaggiore to devote some time to an Italian pleasure: The Art of Eating and Drinking. You’ll explore the town and then have lunch at one of our favorite new finds, with panoramic views of the multicolored buildings, hillside, and sea. Then it’s off to Manarola, where we’ll introduce you to a special friend of ours and cap off the day with a fun Italian tradition — apericena — as you gaze over at one of the Cinque Terre’s most iconic and spectacular vistas. Yes, you will feel like you’re sitting in a postcard.

DAY 7

Wake up slowly and look back on your week. Take some final photos. Sit under a lemon tree on the veranda, barefoot. Our beautiful trip to Italy will end with a laid back gathering among new friends and old wine. Wasn’t it nice being on holiday with someone who took care of you, just for a change?

Or maybe you’re a more visual person, in which case, picture yourself here:

Take the plunge!

 

and here:

 

Cooking Class in Italy

 

and here:

 

Beach

 

We are a company of women who have called and do call the Cinque Terre home — like, we literally live here, you guys.

So our Cinque Terre tour is our baby — our signature trip — crafted and perfected over several years of on-the-ground experience and real insider intel.

No amount of Googling can top that.

Oh, and did I mention we’re also lots of fun?

And that we have a special knack for attracting some of the most positive, generous, and wonderful souls to travel with us in Italy?

So it feels like you’re traveling with a group of awesome girlfriends. And we take care of our friends.

Photo by Leela Cyd

Photo by Leela Cyd

Wanna come?

We have space left on our July trip (July 3-10) and our September trip (September 21-28).

And we would love to have you join us.

With love + lemon gelato,

Bianca + the Italian Fix Team

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beginners guide to the cinque terre and free itinerary

Note: This post has been updated for the 2017 season.

I love showing people the Cinque Terre for the first time.

I’m lucky enough to do that on my group trips to the Cinque Terre , and I dig seeing their faces when they arrive.

I’ve spent a ton of time in the area as a resident, a tour guide and a traveler. Whenever someone asks me, “What should I do in the Cinque Terre?” my eyes light up and I start listing off all my favorite things.

Since I get asked a lot of questions about what to do in the Cinque Terre, I decided to post this free itinerary for you to steal. Use it to plan your trip.

My DIY Cinque Terre itinerary is for four days and three nights and you can see it below.

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