In 2020 we had the chance to visit the Five Lands in Italy. A beautiful coastal area which name comes from the five villages you’ll find there: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
We did only 2 trails but when it’s open you can reach all the cities by very nice walking paths. For the lazy ones you also have a cheap and fast train until La Spezia or the boat which is to me the most beautiful option!
We arrived in Vernazza and parked our car to “Vernassoa” parking which charge 15€ a day with the transport to the city (very handful when you carry luggages).
Vernazza is very busy during the day and week-end, with the main place full of restaurants, but it’s also very quiet when the tourists have left and you can swim whenever you want (it’s restristed to a time slot in the other villages).
We had lunch in one of the restaurant by the sea (very touristic and not so tasty), enjoyed a little swim, and ended up to Monterosso by the trail starting behind the church!
Addresses in Vernazza:
> To see the sunset : Climb close to La Torre restaurant!
> To take a drink: Gianni Franzi Deck (great cocktails)
> To stay: Marinarooms Hotel, ask for the sea view rooms!
The treck from Vernazza was very easy and offers you a very nice view on Vernazza (don’t forget to look back !) You’ll arrive from the top of a hill and it’s really better to come this way, only the start from Vernazza is kind a dificult.
Monterosso has very nice streets, and we climbed up to the Covento Frati Cappuccini where you have a view on almost every village of the coast (at least on Vernazza). It also has a nice railway bridge.
We took the train officially to go back to Vernazza, but we landed in Riomaggiore where we enjoyed a very beautiful sunset from the harbour.
Trail between Vernazza and Monterosso: 3,5km, 1h (looks easier in that way!)
> Check the train schedules and fees
We found a very quiet city at the end of the day. We enjoyed a “Gelato” (icecream) on the stones of the harbor watching the sunset, and went back to Vernazza by train.
The second day we started from Vernazza and took the trail starting from the top of the city (on the right side when you have the harbor behind you). It lead us to a very nice break at Bar Il Gabbiano with an amazing view on Corniglia.
Corniglia is not so big but is full of very cute paths. As it’s on a top of a cliff you can’t swim there.
We wanted to keep going to Manarola, passing by the Love Way, but it was closed at that time (the path lead you in a dead end). We decided to take the train, passing through a giant stairway* to go to Manarola.
*Good to know: To transit to Corniglia you have the train but must take the Scalinata Lardarina with its 384 steps, so it’s better to follow our example : come walking from Vernazza and THEN take the train!
Trail from Vernazza to Corniglia: 4km, 1h30
A bit more spacious than the other villages, Manarola has plenty of restaurants but no beach (even if you can jump into the sea in the harbor).
We climbed to Parco giochi Paradiso where you can have a huge point of view. You could even have lunch on the beautiful Nessun Dorma restaurant if you get chance to have a free table!
After only one hour, we went back to the station to go visit La Spezia (only 12min from Manarola).
Even if it’s not officially part of the 5 villages, La Spezia gaves it names to the province. It’s an old city, much bigger that the Five lands we saw. You have modern pedestrian way area and beautiful authentic streets and buildings. We went to the harbor and to the Castello San Giorgio (which was closed but gave us a nice view on the city).
The boat we wanted to take to go back to Vernazza was only starting from Riomaggiore, so we went back there a second time and it really worth it: The boat excursion is the best point of view you’ll have on the villages!