Although I have been to Italy before I have not had the chance to go to Cinque Terra and it was a LONG day trip from Milan but totally worth it! The main reason we did the trip from Milan was that we booked our accommodations before we planned our trip (and before Ace booked her ticket) and by the time we got around to planning it we realized we wouldn’t have enough time to go from Florence and that we couldn’t make the changes to our accommodations. Luckily it worked out! Our train left at 8 am from Milano Central and got into Monterosso at 11 and we had a great view as soon as we stepped out of the train station!
After using the bathroom and getting a quick snack we headed to the trail that goes from Monterosso to Vernazza. The trail was really easy to find – you just go to the left along the water after you exit the train station, go through the tunnel, pass the small beach and there are signs that show you to the trail. It’s about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour hike and the first 30 minutes is almost straight up tons of stairs. When we were about halfway through we tried to take a nice picture of Ace on this cute bridge but she was exhausted and showed us the ‘help’ sign! At least we got a cute picture of us!
It was a super hot hike but when we started descending into Vernazza and had amazing views of the quaint town it was definitely worth it. We are definitely starting to enter the tourist season because we thought we’d be able to get lunch no problem in Vernazza but that was not the case – I’d suggest a reservation. The tiny town was overrun with tourists and there wasn’t a single restaurant with a 3 person table available so we had some gelato to try and postpone Hangry Megan but it didn’t work very well so we caught a ferry back to Monterosso for lunch.
After lunch we relaxed on the beach and Ace got a chance to swim in the Mediterranean. In case you wondered, that wasn’t Ace on the paddle board! It was already warmer than it was in Nice just a week before! Just prior to heading back on the train we grabbed some street food – fried mixed seafood with spicy marinara – so delicious! We almost got stuck in Cinque Terra. As the sign says below, a train strike was scheduled for the next day. That wouldn’t have been the end of the world.