Tuscany Day Trip | Cinque Terre

Ok... another day trip that isn't technically in Tuscany,

but is easily do-able from there...

so, don't fret about it.

Thanks to

Rick Steves,

this hidden paradise has become a hot spot

for American tourists over the past decade.

While Cinque Terre may be loosing a bit of it's secret charm,

it's definitely not shedding any of its beauty.

We went with friends for the day,

and decided to take it easy.

As the five towns 

("Cinque Terre" = "Five Lands")

are connected through a hiking trail,

you can spend several hours taking the gorgeous walk

along the sparking Mediterranean sea.

However, if you are feeling a bit lazy,

like we were,

you can also take the train. 

It's about $1.50 to take the train between each town,

and takes about 5 minutes to reach the next spot...

which means, it's a great option if

 you're ready to relax.

While each town has it's unique charms,

my favorites are Manarola & Vernazza.

Manarola wins for it's amazing swimming right off the marina

and Vernazza shines for it's perfect sunsets and idyllic dining.

Liguria (the region that the Cinque Terre is located)

has a few famous dishes that are great companions

for your time in the Cinque Terre:

Foccaccia & Pesto!

My recipe for the perfect day in the "5Terre:"

Hit the beach in Manarola first.

The earlier you get there, the better position you'll have for the day.

Grab a slice of (cheap) pizza from the shops above the natural marina.

One should never lay out on an empty stomach...

heaven forbid your tummy look flat. :)

The theme of Italian beaches is to wear as little as possible...

so be prepared to see a lot of skin.

The Mediterranean sun is very intense, 

don't forget your sunscreen & a hat

or you may end up looking like an Italian meatball...

In case you're in need of good sun protection,

I personally use

Susan Posnick's ColorFlo.

{Brush-on powder, foundation, sweat=proof, &... SPF 26!}

There is a refreshing shower at the marina

 that is nice for washing off salt water stickiness

that you'll be feeling after your (glorious) swim in the sea.

When you've had enough sun for the day,

head to Vernazza 

via the train

and for the evening.

Many of the small groceries will provide you 

with anything you could dream of having 

at a seaside picnic

along the town's iconic rocky harbour...

....olives, fresh mozzerella, meats, fresh bread, sun dried tomatotes....

It cost us $15 to get drinks & (a lot) of salty goodies

to enjoy between the four of us.

I just love cheap pleasantries like that.

For the rest of the daylight,

we just lounged and watched the cutest Italian kids swim

by us in the harbour.

It was one of those moments that makes Italy... Italy.

If you're looking for a good dinner,

head to the middle of the main drag in Vernazza

and try

Trattoria Da Sandro.

It's a staple spot for us,

and the owners are just so nice.

The local special, fresh anchovies, are pretty amazing...

even for those of us that would typically be a bit squeamish at the thought.

I would definitely recommend hiking at least one of the trails-

after all, it would be a shame to go all that way 

and miss out on 

the area's scenic views and lush landscapes.

The path between Riomaggiore & Manarolo is the most famous,

and probably the least difficult. :)

Whatever you decide to do while you are there

or which town you decide to spend your time in,

the good news is:

you'll still most likely have the time of your life!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy