During an evening of research in Pisa, I discovered how close by a magical bit of coastline was called the Cinque Terre. A friend I made in Lagos had just been bragging about being in Cinque Terre for the last few days, and looking at her facebook photos, I could see why. The best part was that it was only a short train ride away from Pisa. The hard part was choosing accommodation as being such a beautiful and popular bit of coastline, it can be pricey to stay there. I settled on a hostel with apartment dorms eventually after much review reading, and ended up really pleased with my decision.
As the train pulls into Riomaggiore, the first little village out of the five dotting the coastline, the view just from the train platform is magnificent. I walked through the tunnel and up the hill of the one-street village in a bit of daze. The beauty of the cliffs, the sea, and closely built colourful hillside houses was just staggering.
The view from the ‘port’
On my way to the beach along the cliff path
This is the kind of isolated coastal village that I’d always dreamed of honeymooning in one day. It was gorgeous!
Admittedly being surrounded by couples sitting on the rocks watching the sun set was a little lonely. I found drinking cheap red wine and eating chocolate-dipped strawberries with the other backpackers later in my small apartment helped that feeling. Laughter is always the best medicine.
I went hiking the next day with some Americans and together we explored each of the five seaside villages that make up the Cinque Terre coast. Hiking high up the steep hillsides with never-ending staircases to almost 400m altitude, and through the vineyards in the hot sun felt very special. We walked a good 10km in total plus a mixture of cheap trains to cover the distances.
Hey mum, dad! I found a vineyard for you to work in!
This is Manarola. The prettiest and most photographic village I thought out of the whole day
Following trail markers through the hillside vineyards
Vernazza, another pretty village
Rather sweet view me thinks
Trying not to fall over..
Jellyfish? I think in the water in the final village Monterosso. Not floating condoms as I initially thought!
I slept like a log that night exhausted from seeing so much beauty. It was tempting to stay on another night. I’d grown very attached to my small Riomaggiore hostel apartment and loved the easy friendly atmosphere created by sharing such a cozy space with other like-minded people. There was no wifi in the apartment, only in the hostel office up the hill. But it was great as no one was on their phones, and were instead actively conversing and hanging out.
However it was raining rather hard when I woke on my final morning in Cinque Terre. I reluctantly packed my bags, and dodged raindrops with another Swedish chick on the way to the train station.
Where I stayed: Sul Porto Hostel
Price: €25 a night in a 8 bed apartment
Overall: I loved this hostel. I can see how some people wouldn’t like it with the lack of wifi and strict check-in hours (once the office closed for the day at 8pm, that was it). But I thought it was fantastic being in such a cozy apartment. It even had a kitchen which was so good. It was clean and warm overall with very comfortable beds.