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Adventure Travel

Travel Tip: Train to Cinque Terre from Pisa



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…



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 Cinque Terre


Stairs to Corniglia from the train station

Stairs to Corniglia from the train station

Path markings

Red and white path marking







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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  1. MissLilly

    October 27, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Looks really a beautiful place

  2. Franca

    October 27, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    We loved Cinque Terre too and we took a train from Pisa as well. When we went some paths were still closed so we decided to take the alternative one through the hills and we ended up walking on a very steep one walking by the vineyards, it was pretty scary because I’m terrified of heights and there was no protections at all, but the view was worth it!

    • Rebecca Barlow

      October 27, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      Hi Franca, that’s awesome that you chose to do the alternative walks. They sound pretty scary though, probably more similar to our walk to Porto Venere!

  3. Kieu

    October 28, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    Absolutely obsess with Ligurian cuisine and this region of Italy! We had the best lobster linguini in Manarola.. and anchovies, love the anchovies. 🙂

    • Rebecca Barlow

      October 29, 2014 at 12:18 AM

      Wow! Maybe I will have to go back and try more of the food!

  4. Tracey Carisch

    December 23, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    Our family was recently there as part of this around the world adventure we’re on together. You’re right about those two closed trails – beautiful and easy walks. It’s a shame you couldn’t do them. A note for anyone going with a family, they have family passes you can by on the trail giving trail and train access for 2 adults and all kids in the family. It’s a good deal that you sometimes have to ask for specifically or they’ll charge individual prices.

    • Rebecca Barlow

      December 25, 2014 at 6:55 AM

      Wow that’s awesome you are travelling as a family! Thanks for the family pass advice and safe travels 🙂

  5. Tiina

    May 12, 2015 at 11:02 PM

    We will be traveling here in just a month! So excited. Before that we will be traveling around other parts of Italy though. Did you guys travel through all the 5 cities in one day? We were thinking that if we start in the morning we could go through them in one-day-hike. Do you think it’s possible, or do you need to run to be able to do it?

    • Rebecca Barlow

      May 17, 2015 at 1:22 AM

      Hi Tiina, yes we explored all five cities in one day, however we only walked between two of the towns. Some of the main paths between the towns are probably still closed, however there are other roads and routes you can walk. If you wish to walk between all five towns I highly recommend giving yourself more than one day as there is so much to explore within each town! The paths are neat, but the towns are more exciting than the walking routes 🙂

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Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour



Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

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Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica



The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

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Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations



Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

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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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