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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.

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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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.

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Europe

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.

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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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Europe

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Check out our guide for the first timer in Amsterdam visiting a coffeeshop.

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How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.

And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshop

When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. 

Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.

Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.

In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.

Smoke weed in Amsterdam

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.

Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.

The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.

We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!

Bulldog Coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Buying weed in Amsterdam

As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.

We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.

For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.

What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t be an idiot

Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.

If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.

EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.

A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.

Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.

If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.

Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.

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Europe

Four Jandals Visits an Amsterdam Peep Show

Have you ever wanted to visit an Amsterdam peep show? We had the chance to go and embraced it with open arms. Check out our experience here

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Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

An Amsterdam peep show is a must, just like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Okay slightly different. But you have got to go!

And if you have ever wanted to visit Amsterdam then more than likely you are going to be interested in checking out a peep show in the red light district. It might be worthwhile checking out this Amsterdam’s Red Light District – The ultimate guide.

Amsterdam Moulin Rouge Red Light District

There is something about the red light district that draws the punters and tourists alike in. Maybe it is the bright red neon lights that illuminate the darkened alleyways that pull them in like moths to a flame. Or the bars and coffee shops that let a certain smell waft lazily across the glistening canals.

Or maybe it is just the fact that sex really does sell.

When we visited Amsterdam with a couple of friends we actually spent what I now consider an embarrassingly long time in that same area. The fact is that we seriously could not get enough.

Not like that of course!

We just couldn’t believe that everyone is so open and carefree about what is for all intents and purposes, window shopping for sex. The number of guys knocking on windows and being ushered behind the curtains of every room were staggering.

However, we were not enticed ourselves to fork over $50 euros but were intrigued enough to want to check out an Amsterdam peep show. I just want to clarify here that it was actually Adela that was the most keen. I just didn’t want to let her down so went along with it…

Amsterdam Red Light District

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaynekaye/4792525797

Visiting the Amsterdam peep show

Much to our surprise, there is only one Amsterdam peep show left in the whole city back in 2012!

The very originally named “Sex Palace” is situated on the banks of one of the main canals in the heart of the red light district on Oudezijds Achterburgwal street. Walking under the neon flashing lights into the entrance way your senses are assaulted by sights, sounds and disturbingly smell.

All around the walls are posters and screens showing ladies in various states of undress and positions. A white board lists the movies that you can rent out for your viewing pleasure in one of the many private booths. But we were only there for one thing:

The circular structure sitting slightly to the left of the entrance with a dozen small doors along it’s walls. 

Each of those small doors lead into equally small rooms no larger than a traditional UK phone box. A small covered viewing window blocks your view forward.

The money box clinging to the wall to operate the viewing window only accepts coins. But don’t worry if you only have notes as they handily have a large coin machine dishing out $2 euro coins for ease of watching.

Once you close the door and chuck in your money, the viewing window pops open for 2 minutes and allows you to view the large, slowly-rotating stage on which a scantily-dressed woman displays herself. With her flexibility she could have represented any country in the upcoming Olympics!

Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmangum/2301545978

I was cracking up laughing the entire time I was in there because you can actually just make out the rest of the “audience” in the opposite booths. I even got a little wave and smile as the girl slowly revolved past my window.

The Amsterdam peep show was a little bit creepy. But even though we were there late on a Saturday night the booths were doing a roaring trade. Obviously nearly everyone else, from the hens parties to the couples, were there for the same reason as us. To check out one or two rounds before heading back into the night giggling like school girls at a sleepover at what we had just done.

The shifty eyed single men on the other hand skulked away to their respective viewing windows again and again with pockets full of coins.

If you ever get the chance then we actually do highly recommend taking the plunge and visiting an Amsterdam peep show. Just make sure that you are always respectful of the women in the shows and the ones on the streets!

Have you ever been to an Amsterdam Peep Show or Sex show? Tell us about your experience below.

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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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