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Creating the perfect tourist attraction – Cinque Terre Photo Essay

Check out our Cinque Terre photo essay to see how the tourism board has created the perfect tourist attraction in Italy.

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Riomaggiore photos Cinque Terre

If you are a tourism board and want to create the perfect tourist attraction then follow these easy steps:

  1. Find a remote inaccessible location in the northwest of Italy.
  2. Make sure the location is facing into the setting sun.
  3. In your new location build a tiny village of terraced houses onto the cliffs above the shockingly colourful turquoise sea.
  4. Paint these houses every bright colour of the rainbow.
  5. Repeat until you have five villages within a few miles of one another.
  6. Invite Lonely Planet to come and visit.
  7. Sit back, rub your hands together as you watch the tourists arrive in their thousands.

The problem with Cinque Terre is that it is too damn cute for it’s own good.

Vernazza Cinque Terre photos

Since Lonely Planet “discovered” the Cinque Terre area the tourist hordes have descended on the tiny villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, in the northwest of Italy. Every tourist wanders all, or pieces, of the same hiking trail happily taking thousands of holiday photos home to show their friends and families their exciting adventures.

We decided to join the phenomenon and these are our favourite Cinque Terre photos.

Vernazza harbour Cinque Terre photos

Vernazza as seen from the harbour.

Rock Giant Monterosso Photos Cinque Terre

Rock giant carved into the cliffs above the beach at Monterosso al Mare.

Vernazza Cinque Terre photos

The colourful village of Vernazza as seen from above.

Monterosso al Mare Cinque Terre Photos

Monterosso al Mare from the hot and sweaty hiking trail on the way to Vernazza.

Cinque Terre Photo Essay

The locals livelihoods used to come from the sea and slopes. Now they come from the tourist hordes.

Manarola Cinque Terre Photos

Along the shoreline looking towards Manarola.

Corniglia Photos Cinque Terre

Corniglia is situated smack in the middle of Cinque Terre and looks as if it has been painted upon a clifftop canvas.

Riomaggiore photos Cinque Terre

Risked life and limb to capture this shot out on the water near Riomaggiore.

Where to stay in Cinque Terre – Le Sirene, Monterosso

The five villages of Cinque Terre are really small so while you used to be able to show up and book a place that day it is usually no longer feasible due to its new found popularity. We found stayed at Le Sirene in the slightly larger, albeit more touristy, town of Monterosso al Mare.

Location

If you are coming from Rome it is the furthest of the five villages in Cinque Terre. However, accessibility is fine with local trains every 15 minutes to all the other towns. A perfect location to start you hike along the Cinque Terre trail.

The Rooms

Our room was private with one double bed and a bunk bed. And although very basic we did have our own bathroom and a small balcony to enjoy a glass of vino at the end of the day.

Other Amenities

Unfortunately there were no other amenities. It was really disappointing that we didn’t have WiFi or even a place to prepare a bit of food each day.

Staff

We only saw the owner, who was extremely lovely, when we checked in. So while we have no complaints, we don’t have a lot to say either.

Social Atmosphere

There was no social atmosphere at all. Although this was expected as there is no common areas or places to chill out apart from on the beach.

Cost

$80 Euro for a private room for two people.

Overall

As a Bed and Breakfast we expected a wee bit more. In saying that, we were there to hike the Cinque Terre and relax on the beach afterwards so Le Sirene definitely fit the bill for that. Especially as Monterosso is the only village with a beach in Cinque Terre. If they would just offer WiFi, even a paid service, then they would go way up our accommodation rankings.

Disclaimer: We were guests of HostelWorld but as always our thoughts are always our own.

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44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    July 11, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Perhaps the phrase “postcard perfect” was coined here…

  2. Laurence

    July 12, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Hard to believe that in my many trips to Italy I’ve not managed to make it here. Ah well, another reason to go back! Great shots – love the one of the boat prow close up in particular 😀

  3. Laura

    July 12, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    Your beautiful photos are not helping with the over crowding…now all the other people who don’t have Lonely Planet guides will be arriving!

  4. Turtle

    July 12, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Beautiful photos!! You’re never going to be able to keep the tourists away from somewhere like that, though. I guess you’ve just got to suck it up and join them.

  5. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    July 13, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Yep, we “wandered” the entire hiking trail between the five cities, and let me tell you. It was brutal – I’ve never climbed so many stairs in my life!! Thank god the views and gelato in each city made the hike worth it in the end. 🙂

  6. Ali

    July 15, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Looks gorgeous! I haven’t gotten to Cinque Terre yet, but I know I will someday!

  7. Laura @Travelocafe

    July 15, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    This is such a great idea. I hope to follow in your footsteps soon enough.

  8. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    July 16, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    I did a 3-week tour of Italy with the Atlanta Boy Choir when I was 11, and I think this may be the only major Italian tourist attraction we DIDN’T see. Looks lovely, especially the colors of the buildings and water. Nice shots!

  9. Andrea

    July 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    As pretty as I imagine it to be. Haven’t been yet – am worried a bit that it will be too crowded but the walking/hiking part of seeing the towns really appeals to me.

  10. T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries

    July 16, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Beautiful! And, as you say, perfect location to use as a base camp for hiking the Cinque Terre trail…something I didn’t do when I was in Italy back in 2009 and hope to do sometime in the future!

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Jeremy Branham

    July 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I loved the Cinque Terre. I spent a lot of time in Vernazza but didn’t get out and explore more as I would have liked. I would have loved to hike between the villages. The last time I was there was years ago. It was very touristy then with lots of Americans. However, it still is a must see place. So glad to see they have been able to rebuild and recover after the devastating floods and rain.

  12. Cheryl

    July 16, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    I heart Cinque Terre. Spent 5 days there last year and loved it … so thanks for bringing back some great memories as well as sharing yours! 🙂

    As always, your photos are lovely.

  13. Armands Balodis

    July 17, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Looks like nice colorful town. If only you could add beach to this place – it would be just perfect.

  14. Surminga

    July 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    That rock giant is amazing! How did they do that on such a large scale….

  15. Arti

    July 20, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Beauty which my eyes could scarcely believe!!! Just so scenic. Loved the captures, dreamy!!

  16. Larissa

    July 21, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    So gorgeous! Love your photos, especially that up close boat shot – super cool. I have been wanting to visit Cinque Terre for so long but maybe I should save it for a time when I have a nice gentleman to accompany me? Seems like a place that is too sexy & romantic to go alone.

  17. Will Peach

    July 22, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Love that shot of all the boats lined up, such a pretty place. Cheers for sharing the pictures.

  18. Angela

    July 29, 2012 at 1:42 AM

    Beautiful pictures, I would love to swim in those waters!

  19. Kaikki pikavipit

    August 1, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    I have just one word to say: Amazing!!

  20. Alexandra

    August 8, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Such gorgeous pictures! I hope to make it there on my European Road Trip this fall!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 8, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      Let us know if you need any tips for visiting the area as it is absolutely gorgeous and a must-see in Europe. Just try to go when there are less crowds but make sure everything will stop be open. A fine line.

  21. Tariq Mehmood

    August 11, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    Nice click by your camera. Its true traveling also makes you a good photographer. 🙂

  22. Christina Dometakis

    August 18, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Photos look amazing, how many days would you recomend spending here?

    • Cole Burmester

      August 19, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      You could do the whole walk in one day but we were there for 3 and it felt a bit more relaxed. Gives you time to chill out on the beach and do different walks each day.

    • Isaac

      September 18, 2013 at 6:23 AM

      Is this christina dometakis of wellington?? haha

  23. Amanda

    August 19, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    Sooooo pretty. This is one place in Italy I definitely HAVE to go to!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 19, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      Make sure you stay a couple of days at least to experience it properly. Such a beautiful part of our world.

  24. Sharif

    August 21, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    What I found disappointing about 5T and Liguria in general, is that just about every swimmable spot is crammed with boats. So, you end up swimming in water coated with motor oil unless you go to someplace like Lavagna. In Portofino, I saw a fisherman blatantly dump nasty bilge water in the bay. Maybe I have been spoiled by places like Dominica and Greece, but I don’t find the Italian Riveria to be anything that special. Even less so now that the tourist hordes have descended en masse. Of course, August is probably not a good time to go, but I did not have a choice there.

    BTW, I believe it was Rick Steves who put 5T on the tourist horde radar.

    Lovely pics though.

    Cheers

    • Cole Burmester

      August 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM

      Haven’t been to Greece or Dominica yet but hopefully will next year. Greece has been on our travel list for years so it is great to hear that it is more beautiful than the 5T’s 🙂

  25. Sharif

    August 24, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    Greece is amazing. You can still find lovely and largely unspoiled and uncrowded beaches on any one of the hundreds of Greek Islands 🙂

    The food and people are great too. Plus it is fun to island hop using the ferries and experience the uniqueness of each island, esp. the Dodecanese.

  26. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    September 2, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    My favorite souvenirs of Cinque Terre are the beautiful granite rocks that washed along the shore of Monterosso al Mare.

  27. bridgette

    September 24, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Spent a week here in September 2009. The weather was patchy, but I come from Melbourne soooo.., We stayed in Monterosso al Mare. It was one of the best weeks I have spent anywhere. The whole area is unbelieveably beautiful. Monterosso and Monterosso al Mare are amongst my favourite places and I’d head back in an instant!

  28. Marco Fiori

    December 28, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    It’s a beautiful part of Italy, but I much prefer nearby Lerici – it’s a wonderful bay, isn’t as overcrowded and still offers stunning views. It’s also a lot more affordable and in high season, priced. Still, you can’t really complain at Cinque Terre.

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      Hadn’t heard of Lerici. Thanks for letting us know about it Marco 🙂 Will hopefully get a chance to explore it one day soon!

  29. Dana

    January 13, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Gorgeous photos! We are headed to Italy for the first time this summer and I’m busy dreaming…

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      I hope you make it to Cinque Terre then Dana because it was a dream destination! Did you see our other Italy posts? We had quite a few 😉

  30. Abi

    September 25, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    nice pics. yeah i was there as well and managed to get some pics myself that i posted on the blog.

  31. Laura

    December 7, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Great post. We’ve been to Italy three times and still haven’t made it to Cinque Terre but your photos make me want to elevate it on the list!

  32. Mr.Loto

    March 20, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    I’ve been to Cinque Terre two days ago, I walked the path Moterosso-Vernazza and I loved it.

  33. Pingback: Recommended travel tip: Train to Cinque Terre from Pisa

  34. Pingback: Meet Adela May and Her Trespass Harket 35 - Her Packing List

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Europe

Tips for Making Any Overseas Trip a Romantic One

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Vacations are a great way to leave our everyday lives behind to spend some stress free time with the one we love. Travel in itself can be quite romantic but there are definitely ways you can spice up your holidays even more.

Follow these helpful tips to make sure your romantic holiday gets off on the right foot and continues to head down the tunnel of love and passion. You can easily turn any part of your travels into a special romantic affair.

Choosing the Right Destination

A romantic trip starts with selecting the right destination. There are definitely cities and regions which are much more prone to sparking romance than others. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but generally destinations such as popular European cities, beach getaways, Asian resorts, luxury ski resorts, or tropical islands make for a good choice.

Couples should pick a destination which they both will enjoy as this will of course make it far easier to express their love for each other.

Choosing the Right Time

It is a good idea to select a time that will be most appropriate for your holiday. Choose a time that is easy for you in regards to taking time off work or from household duties. This will make it far easier to feel relaxed while on your holiday, allowing you to focus more on fuelling the romance.

You may also want to research when the best time is to visit your chosen destination so as to avoid peak crowds or unideal weather conditions.

Choosing a romantic date to travel such as an anniversary, honeymoon, or birthday can also turn any holiday into one filled with more passion. Travelling during Valentine’s Day can make for an especially romantic holiday of which there are many perfect Valentine’s Day destinations.

Fly Business Class

Although your destination may be exhilarating, the flight or flights to get there can be stressful. Minimise the stress of flying by booking business class where you’ll enjoy the VIP treatment with far more comfortable seats which many times convert into a bed allowing for a decent rest while in the air.

As a bonus you can many times be granted access to luxurious airport lounges when flying business class which makes waiting for your flight much easier as you are treated to free food and drinks along with clean bathrooms and seating areas.

Private Transportation

Public transportation can not only take longer to get to your hotel or attractions in your chosen destination, but they can also kill the mood for you and your loved one. By booking private transfers via your hotel or on your own, you can avoid buses, trams, and trains which can be crowded and noisy.

Choose a Nice Hotel

It may be difficult to find romance if you are staying in a dodgy motel or hostel. Be sure to book quality accommodation which has private en suites and clean furnishings. Remember that your vacation is supposed to be an escape, so make that escape the best it can be with premium toiletries, fancy marble bathroom floors, plush pillows, quality linen, and a nice hotel room view. All of these luxuries will make for a far more romantic getaway.

Eating Out

Nothing can ignite romance more than delicious food although preparing it isn’t always that much fun. One of the best aspects of travelling is that it gives us an excuse to not have to cook.

Seek out popular restaurants that offer a romantic setting, quality service, and mouth watering flavours that will leave you passionate for more than just satisfying your hungry stomach.

Get Dressed Up

Although you and your loved one may look good in any light and attire, it is never a bad idea to put on your Sunday’s best. It can sometimes be difficult in our everyday lives to find occasions to get all dressed and made up, so why not make your holiday abroad an excuse to do so.

Although clothes may not necessarily make the person, a nice dress or suit and tie can go a long way to giving us a little extra special glow to spark a bit of romance.

Log Off and Put the Phone Away

Nothing can kill a romantic dinner or event than the sound of message notifications, phone calls, or emails. Any holiday should be an excuse to remove the stress of the online world or work and with romantic holidays this becomes even more paramount.

You want to be focusing your attention on the love you and your partner share or if travelling solo you want this time to focus on the beauty of the destination you have selected which may in turn bring you a bit of romance. Disconnecting is all about reconnecting; so log off and put the phone away!

Reduce the Risk of Stressful Situations

Stress can kill romance very quickly. When we are stressed we can easily find ourselves getting into silly arguments or bouts of criticism. Your holiday is supposed to be an enjoyable experience so don’t let it turn sour by making the possibility of stress to creep on in.

Don’t try to overload your itinerary with too much and avoid setting too rigid of a timeline. Prior planning is important to avoid any unwanted surprises or disappointments when it comes to securing reservations for flights, hotels, or activities.

Should anything go wrong during your travels, you want to have the peace of mind you are protected by travel insurance from InsureandGo. Travel Insurance can help when the unforseen happens while you are overseas.

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Europe

How to Plan a Trip to Iceland

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If you have ever heard the amazing stories about Iceland, they are all true!  If you’ve come this far into doing research about how to plan a trip to Iceland, I’m here to help you cross the bridge and fill in gaps so you can make your dream a reality.

As someone who has done this trip, I’m able to assist in every step of the journey.  I’ve boiled this down into cliff notes so you can do your own research after reading them and dig deeper into tours that will fit your personal preferences and budget.

First off, you are going to need to trust the Internet.  It’s a big place with a lot of information that can help you get there in one piece and not be stressed out.  Long gone are the days of visiting a travel agency and having someone plan everything for you – for a fee!  It’s your adventure, and you can know that every item is covered online, you just need to know how to look for it.

The best tip I can give you is to leverage the various Facebook Groups about Iceland.

Resource:  When In Iceland Facebook Group.

Next, you’ll want to decide when to visit Iceland.

The winter months will allow you to have more freedom as the tourism numbers are down.  However, this comes with the caveat that it will be below freezing and there will be very little sunlight!  The sun is only out for approximately six hours during the month of December!

On the positive side, this allows you a great opportunity to view the Northern Lights, which is a marquee attraction in Iceland.

Conversely, the Fall and Spring will bring you better temperatures and less snow, but there will be a much slimmer chance of viewing the Northern Lights.

Lastly, there are the Summer months.  While you will see a greener country and experience a lot of beauty on that end of the spectrum, it does come with a much higher price tag.  Be prepared to spend more money if you choose to visit Iceland in the Summer.

Also, you’ll want to have an agenda.  If you are one to take things in on your own and adventure into the wild, Iceland will be a perfect escape for you.  There are also guided tours that you can hire and they will accommodate to your every need or desire.  Simply ask anyone in the aforementioned Facebook group and they can steer you in the right direction.

You can of course, do public transportation in Iceland.  It’s entirely safe and used by many people.

Iceland is a fantastic, unique place to visit.  If you need any help planning your trip, please visit my Iceland Tour guide resource and leave a comment.  Happy Travels.

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Europe

Overlooked and Underrated Euro Vacations

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Here’s a quick list of places to possibly include in your next European itinerary. 2018 is the year of the underrated vacation spot in our humble opinions, and we want to honor it.

Basque Country:

This place is in this author’s humble opinion easily and hands-down the most underrated little corner of Europe.

And honestly, between the two, the Spanish side of Basque country is going to cost you probably around 50% what the French side will, and most people in the know will agree that the Spanish side is at least 100% more fun!

 

Canary Islands:

There are two ways to do the Canaries: simply fly in and enjoy them, or treat yourself and a loved one to a romantic Canary Island cruise.

Best time to visit is definitely either spring or fall, as it does get quite cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer. If you are a beach bum, on the other hand, summer is best (but there will be a lot more tourists in the summer).

 

Siena, Italy:

This city is often overshadowed by Rome, Florence, and Venice, but it actually is arguably the best-preserved city in Italy and has the best historic city center. The cuisine here is absolutely to die for, and you won’t have to pay inflated tourist prices like you will in the aforementioned places either!

If you can, try to make it for the famous Palio, a horse race that has been going on literally for centuries.

 

Brussels:

Just as Siena is overshadowed by other bigger Italian cities, Brussels tends to stand forgotten next to London and Paris. But Brussels has key elements of the two metropolises, as well as its own unique and delicious cuisine, its own beer (considered by more than a few experts to be the worlds best), and easily the worlds best chocolate, both in solid and drinkable form. Belgian chocolate will seriously change your life forever.

 

Istria, Croatia:

This is one of the world’s best summer beach destinations. It’s incredibly beautiful, and by Western European standards, almost outrageously cheap.

Hipster tourists are starting to come in and drive prices up, but it still remains a great bargain by any standards, and most importantly, it’s a bargain without really having to give up any of our beloved amenities.

 

Budapest:

Budapest could be called the poor man’s Prague, but in reality that name isn’t very fair. For one thing, Hungarian culture and Czech culture are actually extremely different (for one thing, the Hungarian language isn’t in the same family as the rest of Europe, it’s its own thing completely, like the Basque language).

Prague is gorgeous, but it’s getting almost as expensive as the rest of Europe too, and honestly Budapest’s history and culture is much more interesting, especially for the seasoned traveller.

 

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Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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