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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.



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.


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.


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.


$80 Euro for a private room for two people.


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.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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  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. [email protected] 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.


    • 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.

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Adventure Travel

Walking the Camino de Santiago Photos

These are my favourite Camino de Santiago Photos from my pilgrimage along the French Way in March. A truly beautiful way to spend a few weeks.



Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

El Camino de Santiago kicked my ass. Well technically it kicked my feet. Turns out my minimal preparation for the Camino de Santiago was terrible. After a miserable effort of only 4 days, the doctor in Legrono told me that I wasn’t allowed to go on until me feet healed. I had walked just over 100 km’s and my feet were bloodied and blistered.

To be honest, I was relieved.

The thought of putting back on my shoes made my shudder. For the last 9 km’s I had stumbled along in jandals and socks. One of the travelling fashion sins I vowed I would never break.

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

Jandals on the Camino de Santiago

So while I have unfinished business with the Way of St James (an upcoming post), I did want to share with you some of my favourite photos from the Camino de Santiago. Because I had yet to reach some of the more “unsavoury” parts of the Camino that Sherry Ott had discovered, every step of my pilgrimage had been beautiful.

Puenta La Reina Bridge Camino Arrow

Puenta La Reina Bridge – Camino de Santiago Arrows

There is no way you can get lost on the Camino de Santiago. Arrows, scallop shells and signs point you in the right direction at every bridge, road crossing and intersection.

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Camino de Santiago Scallop Shell

Reaching the top of Alto Pedron gave views back the way I had come from Pamplona, as well as views to where I was going. The rocky path on the way down proved to be my ultimate downfall, as my too small shoes caused my toes to smash into the front.

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Alto del Pedron Camino de Santiago

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

Metal Pilgrims on Alto del Pedron

There were so many beautiful old churches along the Camino de Santiago. But since I was walking in early March, it seemed that most were yet to open for the busier summer season.

Church of Obanos

The Church of Obanos

And between every small village the well-maintained pathways of the French Way wound across the spectacular Spanish countryside.

The French Way - Camino de Santiago

The French Way – Camino de Santiago Photos

Puenta La Reina

Puenta La Reina in the evening

Puenta La Reina has one of the most amazing bridges I have ever seen. It was also the 1st village I had the pleasure of sleeping in after busy Pamplona.

Puenta la Reina Bridge and Sunrise

Puenta la Reina Bridge at sunrise

Most mornings I was up and walking before the sun began to sprinkle across the horizon.

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Spring flowers on the Camino de Santiago

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Pilgrims approaching Cirauqui, Spain

Every village and town was built on a small hill. Sure it looks beautiful until you realise you have to go back up again to go through them all!

Church of Santa Maria - Los Arcos

Church of Santa Maria in Los Arcos

While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.

The endless French Way

The endless French Way

Irache Wine Fountain - Fuente del Vino

The free flowing Irache Wine Fountain or “Fuente del Vino”

Hay bales along the French Way

Hay bales along the French Way

Every village had at least one ancient church and it wasn’t uncommon to find them dotting the landscape in remote locations either.

Ermita de San Miguel

Ermita de San Miguel

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

Iglesia de San Andrés de Zariquiegui Church

I have travelled through Spain in the past, including cycling in Costa Brava and surfing in San Sebastian with both independent planning and a vacation planner. But having the opportunity to walk at my own pace through some of the most beautiful scenery in Spain on the Camino de Santiago has so far topped them all.

Natural arches - Camino de Santiago

Natural arches on the Camino de Santiago

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel



Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.




Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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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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