My significant other and I are planning to fly into Milan on 31 August, and then staying in that part of the world departing on 9 September. We would appreciate any advice, recommendations, and counsel about where we should consider staying as well as great dining options. Also. any thoughts about what not to miss, day trips, etc. will be appreciated. Many thanks.
Cinque Terre, five lands, is small. Three nights is about the right amount of time to explore this area. We went when we could hike the main trail from beginning to end and did it over two days.
Also spend a few days in Santa Margherita Ligure or Camogli to the north a little ways.
Others who have been more recently than me hopefully can give recommendations. We enjoyed our stay and water views at Hotel Porto Roca in Monterosso, fabulous dining there too.
We enjoyed wonderful seafood here. https://www.ristorantemiky.it/ Pricey but worth it.
We were in Italy mid-Oct to mid-Nov 2019 with 4 nights in Vernazza. Stayed in a VRBO apt - quite a climb. No view but a decent place. Eating in Vernazza was a disappointment as very mediocre. Especially the RS recommended Antico Osteria il Baretto - the seafood was poor and poorly prepared. We have had fresher in the middle of Kansas! The grocery store & bakery had better food. The other towns had good to very good meals, so we ate there before returning to Vernazza.
We stayed at Hotel Marina, a family run place with an outdoor patio where we had breakfast.
Ristorante Miky is fantastic for seafood. Pesto dishes are supreme in this area.
Check out Enoteca da Eliseo where you can dip a biscotti in the local sweet wine while opera music plays.
We stayed in Manarola. I will differ from many when I say that of the 5 villages, I liked Manarola and Riamaggiore the best. We stayed at a wonderful place up high with a view over both Manarola and the ocean, Aria di Mare. In Manarola, we ate at Trattoria dal Billy (make a reservation) just steps from Aria di Mare. I wish we'd eaten there a few times while we were in CT. Great views from the Trattoria, too.
Five or six years ago I stayed five nights in Monterossa al Mare at "Hotel 5 Terre." It was excellent. Very, very clean with nice rooms and nice continental breakfasts, too. Reasonably priced, as well. The staff spoke English, too. It was about a ten-twelve minute walk from the train station on a quiet side street.
As for dinner, every meal we ate (in any of the villages) was excellent. We really enjoyed the seafood there. But Restaurant Miky in Monterossa al Mare was the best. It is in RS' tour guide book.
As for what not to miss, I'd suggest a few things: 1) walking the trail that connects all five villages: great views and scenery. 2) We went in mid-May and were able to swim and the water was really beautiful - torquise and clear. 3) riding the ferry/boat that connects all five villages on a nice sunny day. Seeing the five villages, all tucked into and rising out of the green vistas is really beautiful. 4) Finally, I would suggest taking the boat/ferry down to what I call "the 6th Terre" or PortoVenere. It is small, quaint, beautiful and far less visited than the other five villages. I think it's about a 40 minute ferry ride from Monterossa al Mare.
I'd suggest a few things: 1) walking the trail that connects all five
villages: great views and scenery.
A note on this:
There are many trails in the park, not just one. "The trail" referenced is more than likely the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path; the four SVA2 sections on the park map) that runs closest to the coast, and which has only been partially open for some years now due to damage not necessarily caused by the 2011 flood. The Corniglia> Manarola leg was closed by a landslide in 2010, and the Manarola>Riomaggiore leg to dangerous rockfall in 2012. Neither are reported to open this season. The "Blue" route is also the only one, last I knew, which requires a paid daily or multi-day "toll" pass; the others in the park don't (or didn't) have toll gates. The park website is a little sluggish - it takes some time to come up and change views - but has lots of good info:
Another great info website for the region:
Our hotel of choice was La Spiaggia in Monterosso. It's not fancy and rooms are small but clean and comfortable - you won't be spending THAT much time in them! - it's an easy walk from the train station, has an elevator, and is practically on the beach. Request a room with sea view and balcony. Been locally owned by the same family for a long time, and is very popular; usually books up well in advance.
Fave meal was at Cantina di Miky just a few doors from the hotel (more casual sister of Ristorante Miky.)
Absolutely recommend Ristorante Mikey in Monterosso!
We stumbled upon Il Pirata after reaching the top of a street ... it has a bit of a "local" flair versus tourist closer to shore. Great for desserts! https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187822-d1061941-Reviews-Il_Pirata_delle_Cinque_Terre-Vernazza_Cinque_Terre_Italian_Riviera_Liguria.html
Hotel Villa Steno in Monterosso. Fabulous views, and hosts are wonderful.
We stayed at Hotel La Spiaggia in Monterrosso. It’s a 5 minute walk from the train station and it’s right on the beach. We requested 2 beach view rooms with balconies and we got them! We didn’t have a chance to go to Ristorante Miky but we did go to Cantina di Miky (same owners, more casual) and the food was really good. The owner of the hotel recommended a restaurant at the top of the steps in Corniglia called La Posada. We sat under the olive trees with a beautiful water view. We just had the waiter bring us whatever and it’s still one of my favorite memories. One tip, take the bus to the top of Corniglia, otherwise it’s like 500 steps up!
I second the vote for Il Pirata in Vernazza. It does not come with a sea view, but the incredible food makes up for that. They have outdoor and indoor seating. More locals than tourists were eating there. It's run by Sicilian twin brothers. We enjoyed it so much, we had dinner there every night. On our departure day, they made us take away food for the train ride. Seafood was incredible, the desserts to die for. I still dream about them.