This summer I went to Italy to experience “La Bella Vita”. After I had spent some lovely days with friends at the house of a friend’s sister in Bologna, I took the train to La Spezia. It marked the beginning of an awesome journey on my own.

La Spezia

La Spezia is a city at the Mediterranean Sea in the north of Italy. Perfectly located to reach by train or ship, it was my hub for getting around in the near environment. As I will explain a bit further, you can easily reach famous Cinque Terre, but also other cities like Pisa, Florence & Torino in the blink of an eye.

It is a perfect example in how you imagine a typical Italian city at the sea. You have the smell of grilled fish and salt in your nose and colorful houses at the side of the road. There are also pizza restaurants and small cafes right around every corner. And not to mention, the beautiful sea view. Shortly, you experience Italy in the way it naturally is.

One part of this city, you should see, is the harbor. On the one side, there is a huge area at which container ships will get loaded and every once and then there is a cruise ship, like the Freedom of the Seas. On the other side, you see Yachts, which will make you wish to join for a cruise or sea clubs to hangout.

If you feel sporty, you can also take a long walk to the top of the hill from where you can enjoy an incredible view over La Spezia.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre are the five famous towns which are built at the sea and in the mountains at the same time. Probably, you have seen a lot of pictures of, at least one of them, at Instagram before. Because I loved this pictures so much I decided to take a look at them by myself. Here, I will tell you my experiences from visiting them and give you an short overview of what you can expect there.

Something worth mentioning is, that you should think twice at which day you will explore them. Normally they are crowded with tourists. I heard, that especially at weekends they aren’t enjoyable to visit. Although there are this many people, the Italians manage to keep the water crystal-clear. The only problem in most places you could dive in, there is always a huge amount of people.

So, you either look for a secret spot or you cuddle with some strangers at the beach.

To get to the Cinque Terre from La Spezia you can buy the so-called “Cinque Terre Card”. It provides an all-day access to use the regional trains between La Spezia and Levanto, the next-bigger cities, around the Cinque Terre.

Riomaggiore

If you are coming from La Spezia and head to Levanto, the first town of the Cinque Terre you will come across is Riomaggiore. With its small streets and the incredible sea-view you will get the first introduction what will await you at the Cinque Terre. It fulfills all of your “Instagram-seen” checkboxes, a beautiful view, colorful houses, steep streets and an awesome flair. For the guys who want to relax, there is a beautiful café with a Seaview terrace, impossible to oversee.

Riomaggiore

Manarola

In my opinion the most beautiful town of the five because of its tranquil mood and the even more awesome view you will get there. With lots of alleys you can easily get lost in the beauty of this town. And at every corner you can see different things whether it is just a cat lurking around or a hidden gelateria/restaurant.

Manarola

Corniglia

In Corniglia you have to walk quite a bit to reach the pretty small but beautiful town. If you feel like exercise you can take a long walk to the top of the mountain to achieve a beautiful view at Corniglia and the Mediterranean Sea. The path at the top of the hill above Corniglia is part of the Cinque Terre hiking path. This path connects the five towns and provides awesome views and strenuous walks.

Corniglia

Vernazza

Vernazza isn’t only the biggest of the Cinque Terre, it is also the most touristic one. Lots of gelaterias, souvenir shops, restaurant, snacks, retail shops and more are waiting for the loads of tourists. Here, you are always surrounded by someone. Crowded with tourists, you see that this city is the money-maker of the five towns. Although Vernazza still has its charm, I felt uncomfortable between the huge number of people and the touristic approach of the stores.

Vernazza

Monterosso al Mare

I wouldn’t describe Monterosso al Mare exactly as a town rather than a street along the Mediterranean Sea. At one side of the street you found anything you’ve seen at Vernazza while at the other side you see a huge beach. At this beach, you can do everything from hanging around, playing beach-volleyball and football. In addition, you can find more of the colorful houses if you walk more onshore.

Monterosso al Mare

In the end, I am happy that I visited these colorful and welcoming little Mediterranean towns, with their steep streets, fresh sea-breezes and stunning views.

How do you like the Mediterranean flair of these towns with their colorful houses?