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Travel Tip: Train to Cinque Terre from Pisa

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For years, my mum has talked about travelling to Europe and visiting the Cinque Terre. And after seeing pictures on Coles post from a few years ago, I wanted to see it for myself too! However, after doing a bit of research, I was still stumped as to HOW to get to Cinque Terre from Pisa, and was not confident as to WHERE I could or should book accommodation. Everyone travels there and posts their pretty as a postcard pictures, but NO ONE gives facts on getting there from Pisa!

First of all, I didn’t know what to search – Cinque Terre, Cinque Way Terre or one of the many names of towns I kept coming across…

Vernazza

Vernazza

Train to Cinque Terre from Pisa

Catching the train to Cinque Terre from Pisa was EASY! So easy in fact, that I do not know what I was worried about.

First of all, we caught a train to La Spezia. At Pisa Central train station, we were able to turn up and buy our ticket right there and then from a machine to La Spezia Central. We must have struck luck as the next train departed in 5 minutes and tickets only cost 7.20 euro per person. Warning: Do not forget to validate your ticket before boarding the train!

Once you are in La Spezia you will then need to purchase a Cinque Terre Card, which will give you access to the train line that travels to all the towns along the Cinque Terre, plus it gives you access to the ‘official’ walking tracks.

Note: You can also reach Cinque Terre from Genoa. You simply need to board the Cinque Terre train from the other end in Levanto (scroll further down to see a map).

The beach in Vernazza

The beach in Vernazza

Cheap accommodation in Cinque Terre

With so much tourism, nowhere is CHEAP in Italy, let alone Cinque Terre. The cheapest option I could find (during September) was a hostel in Biassa called Ostello Tramonti which was cheaper than Coles 80 euro private room in Monterosso but the reason it was cheap, is because we were bunking in a dorm room.

We suggest grabbing a takeaway pizza and gobbling it down with this view in Riomaggiore

We suggest grabbing a takeaway pizza and gobbling it down with this view in Riomaggiore

Where does the Cinque Terre train stop?

Cinque Terre is famous for 5 of its towns, but just to make your research confusing – there are more than 5 beautiful towns! Here is a map of the Cinque Terre region. The train follows the coast, starting and ending at each of the train icons, visiting each of the 5 Cinque Terre towns (marked by hearts). Some of the towns can also be reached by car eg Monterosso and Riomaggiore, but they are certainly easiest to reach via train.  I have also pointed out Biassa, which is where we stayed, and the ‘other’ beautiful town called Porto Venere (which is not accessible via train).

Apologies, this map has temporarily been disabled 🙂

How long does it take to walk the Cinque Terre?

Unfortunately, when we visited in September two of the tracks were closed due to landslides. From looking behind the barred gates we assume that these two pathways between Riomaggiore – Manarola – Corniglia, would have been the two easiest and most beautiful as they hug the coastline. There was no sign to say if or when the paths will be fixed. However, the two that are open, were fairly hilly but only took us one day to walk. Yes we were exhausted, but it was a great day!

Two of the Cinque Terre walk ways are currently closed

Two of the Cinque Terre walk ways are currently closed

How many nights should we stay in Cinque Terre?

We stayed three nights and this was perfect! However, if the other two tracks had been open we would have needed 4 nights. It gave us enough time to have a dinner in Riomaggiore, and Manarola, see the main 5 towns in one day, plus spend a day walking to Portovenere.

Doria Castle (Castello Doria) is open from 10am – 8pm. Make sure you climb to the top of the tower!

Doria Castle (in Vernazza) is open from 10am – 8pm. Make sure you climb to the top of the tower!

The ‘other’ beautiful town near Cinque Terre

Porto Venere is like the forgotten youngest sibling, however it was one of our favourite towns! You cannot travel there via the Cinque Terre train. Instead you can bus, drive or trek. The owner of our hostel suggested a route to trek there from Biassa, so we took his advice and even though it was a terribly rainy day, we had a blast!! The path was a lot more challenging than the famous Cinque Terre walk, so I’m almost proud to say I only slipped over once!

Porto Venere

Porto Venere

More photos from our Cinque Terre adventure

Walking the Cinque Terre

Walking the Cinque Terre

Tunnel to the beach at Vernazza

Tunnel to the beach at Vernazza

Vernazza

Vernazza

Vernazza Cinque Terre

Vernazza

Stairs to Corniglia from the train station

Stairs to Corniglia from the train station

Path markings

Red and white path marking

Monterosso

Monterosso

Manarola

Manarola

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Looking down on Vernazza

Looking down on Vernazza

Man selling Limoncello near Monterosso

Local selling Limoncello near Monterosso

Fresh cold water in Cinque Terre

The various fountains are great to refill at and safe to drink

Cinque Terre Bridge

Canon at Manarola

Canon at Manarola

Cinque Terre Sunset

The towns face West, allowing for great sunsets

Since May 2014, Rebecca has been wearing out her jandals. She loves anything that involves the ocean whether it be scuba diving, wakeboarding, jet skiing or more recently - sailing! Consider following her via RSS Feed, Twitter and Facebook.

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Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt

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Heidelberg Castle

Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:

Neuschwanstein Castle is there somewhere amongst all the fog!

Neuschwanstein Castle is there somewhere amongst all the fog!

We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!

Mespelbrunn Castle

Mespelbrunn Castle

Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!

Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle

Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.

On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:

Andechs Monastery

Andechs Monastery

The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.

River surfing in Munich

River surfing in Munich

Rothenburg

Rothenburg

Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!

Bamberg

Bamberg was a neat town with old buildings in the center of the river and had a famous smoked beer which Moss just had to try!

Auto Technik Museum in Sinsheim

I’m not the hugest car or plane fanatic, but even I enjoyed the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim. A highlight for me was sliding out of an airplane (from the museum’s roof)!

The worlds narrowest street

Don’t go out of your way to see it, but the world’s narrowest street in Reutlingen is worth a photo if you are passing through.

Frau Rauscher spitting statue Frankfurt

In Frankfurt, go to the old part of town for an apfelwein and see the Frau Rauscher statue – watch out, she spits about every 12 seconds!

The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.

Suppose you’re interested in traveling to Germany for a damn good deal. In that case, plenty of tour companies have some pretty unique and affordable vacation packages to Berlin, Munich, and Bavaria.

It may be small but this building on Trappensee Lake is classed as a castle!

It may be small, but this building on Trappensee Lake is classed as a water castle!

We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!

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Adventure Travel

Running with the Bulls Video

Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.

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San Fermin Running with the Bulls still

We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.

Running with the Bulls Video, Pamplona

Running with the Bulls

All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.

Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.

Unfortunately, I was standing in their path. 

What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.

Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!

Running with the Bulls Video

Would you ever consider running with the bulls?

While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.

If you want to join the next Festival of San Fermin or any other wild festivals in Europe, such as Sail Turkey, book with our partners Busabout.

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Adventure Travel

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide

Find out how you can explore the streets, canals and local markets within minutes of Bangkok with our Outdoor Activities in Bangkok Adventure City Guide.

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Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - The Klongs

Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Bangkok?

As part of our Adventure City Guide series, Ian from Where Sidewalks End shares his expert insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities to do in Bangkok.

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - Adventure City Guide

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide – Photo by Evoflash

Why visit Bangkok for adventure?

Bangkok is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a gateway for most of the world to access the rest of South East Asia. With numbers surpassing 14 million people in the Greater Bangkok Region, this is no small player in the world’s super-cities. Of course, having such a long history with foreign visitors, the city has become incredibly established in the world’s tourist sector.

This has allowed it to grow many facets of adventurous activities – making access to something for everyone!

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok

Exploring the Klongs

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - The Klongs

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – The Klongs

Klongs are canals that used to feed the entire city with life-giving water, branched off from the city’s main artery – the Chao Phraya River. Today, the locals wouldn’t drink the water if you paid them, but there is still a fascinating life along the Klongs’ banks. There is so much to explore, from floating markets to old houses on stilts, and it gives insight into this ancient way of life!

What’s it cost, and how to get to the Klongs?

You can usually arrange the Klongs from the pier “Saphan Taksin” along the Chao Phraya River. This is conveniently a stop on the Skytrain, making it very easy to access. Usually, you will be renting the entire boat for the day (about 1000 THB, or USD 35) and not paying a per-person rate. So if you can find a few people to go with, the price will drop significantly per person.

Rickshaw City Tours

If you’ve never been to Asia before, Rickshaws are one of the most fun ways to get around. Although they can often be a little more expensive than metered taxis, you get an experience (and a view) that is unparalleled, especially in the busy streets of Bangkok.

What’s it cost?

Occasionally, you can even haggle a deal for a city tour for next to nothing (50-100 THB or $1.50-3 USD), as long as you visit a couple of affiliated ‘custom suit tailors’ throughout the day, as they’ll get a kickback from the shops just for bringing you there… No purchase is necessary.

You can often find Tuk Tuk drivers willing to do this standing along the perimeter of the Kings’ Palace. It may take a few attempts of asking for a ‘special city tour,’ but you will be bound to find someone ready for a cut of this business.

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - Rickshaw Tours

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Rickshaw Tours

Local Secret Spot

Chatuchak Market

Though most people wouldn’t consider going to a market an adventure, they probably have never experienced the likes of Chatuchak (also known as JJs). This is one of SE Asia’s LARGEST outdoor markets. It’s so prominent that you can find maps of the market to help navigate. It’s roughly the size of 4 city blocks and is divided into various sections.

You’ll find everything under the sun here, from clothing to handicrafts, food, mobile phones, and even puppies and other cute critters for sale!! It’s bonkers. If it gets too much for you, you can take a break in one of Bangkok’s most famous parks (Chatuchak park), located next to the market.

How to get there?

You can get here via Skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT), taxi, bus, you name it – it’s very accessible! But it’s only open on weekends, from about dawn until 5 or 6 pm at its peak. Some shops stay open longer, but most will be closed by dusk. It’s free entry and a perfect place to buy ANY souvenirs at the end of your time in Thailand.

Suppose you can coordinate to be here on the weekend. I generally hate shopping for ‘stuff,’ but I love this market and its energy!

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok - Chatuchak Markets

Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Chatuchak Markets

Best time of the year to visit Bangkok for adventure?

Bangkok is in the tropics and quite close to the Equator. Of course, this means it’s hot on a year-round basis.

It’s considered the rainy season from May to October, though showers can happen at any time of the year. This is generally a less busy time for tourists, though the rains are not quite as bad as expected and often only last 30 mins-1 hour, cooling the city’s heart. Peak season is in December-January when temperatures are at their most astounding ad driest… though it’s still pretty hot!

And if Bangkok isn’t to your taste, the luxury Koh Samui will be. Endless sandy beach, beautiful clear waters, and nightlife that could be lived in forever. The luxury rental properties are stunning, and we recommend Tempston Luxury villa rentals.

Finally, the reason I love Bangkok for adventure is that…

It’s never-ending. This city is SO BIG that you could get lost in a new neighborhood almost every day. Single. Day. And still find new, exciting things to explore. On my list for the upcoming weeks, I’ve got the Scala Cinema, the Thai Air Force Museum, Papaya Vintage Shop, and the Erawan Museum – to name a few. Every time I explore one place, I learn of 3 more!!

BIO:

From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He’s since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. You can follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries on TwitterFacebook, Google+ and his travel blog Where Sidewalks End.

Have you been to Bangkok? What were your favorite outdoor activities in Bangkok?

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Meet Cole and Adela

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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