How to Discover the Authentic Cinque Terre
I swallowed the bitter taste of disappointment as I trudged along the concrete path. I had traveled to the Cinque Terre, a region in Italy encompassing five small villages on the Ligurian Sea, to hike a famous trail. The crowds and the vendors lining the concrete path were in stark contrast to my vision of a dusty trail through vineyards. I left the day trip convinced that there are far too many tourists in the Cinque Terre for an authentic experience.
In hindsight, I wondered if my timing was a factor. Perhaps a sunny Easter Sunday isn’t the best time to visit the Cinque Terre. Years later I decided to give the Cinque Terre a second chance. A friend raved about La Torretta, a charming hotel in Manarola, one of the five villages, so I reserved a three-day stay.
Return to Cinque Terre, Italy
Arrival in Manarola on a busy mid-summer day brought back memories, and they weren’t good ones. Serious doubt descended upon me, but La Torretta proved to be a welcome haven from the crush of summer tourists. By nightfall, the crowds had disappeared, and it felt like we had the village to ourselves.
The first morning was magical with neighbours chatting over fences, peaceful village streets and views of locals tending their vines. By 10 am the bubble burst, and the crowds returned.
La Torretta hotel was our sanctuary when we weren’t exploring the villages by ferry or foot. We found that we could avoid many of the tour groups by departing early in the morning and returning to relax at La Torretta in the afternoon.
With travel, you often have to dig a bit deeper for an authentic experience. This may mean hiring a guide, rising early in the morning to avoid the crowds or committing time to get to know a destination. I am grateful I returned to the Cinque Terre and got to know the area on a deeper level. Have you ever traveled to a destination and found it didn’t meet your expectations? Did you give it a second chance?
Authentic Cinque Terre Travel Tips:
- For the most authentic Cinque Terre experience, consider staying in one of the villages.
- The villages are in a national park so you will need to buy a Cinque Terre Card to access the paths.
- Although it is possible to travel between villages by train, we have always opted for a passenger ferry.
- I have included a link to La Torretta in Manarola if you are interested in learning more about the accommodation.