Welcome to one of my favorite places in the world!
The first time I visited le Cinque Terre while back in college, it was still a fairly unknown little corner of Italy, tucked right under the muffin top. Sadly Cinque Terre has become one of the most popular corners of Italy since then, nearly overrun by tourists during the summer. But you CAN still enjoy it and avoid the crowds (here are my tips for an amazing trip), and the food and wine here are worth the trip.
This region, Liguria, is known as the birthplace of pesto, one of my favorite foods OF ALL TIME. So every time I visit, finding an amazing restaurant to have pasta con pesto is at the top of my list. Much of the time it’s served with this special pasta made specially for the pesto, called trofie. I still use my host mom’s pesto recipe to this day (from when I studied abroad), and it’s no-fail.
But pesto is just one of the many delicious things you need to eat in the Cinque Terre. When I visit Cinque Terre, I always stay in the southernmost town, Riomaggiore. There are yummy snacks every way you turn, from fried anchovies to creamy gelato and tiramisu to fresh fish.
Speaking of that sunset, you absolutely have to climb out onto the rocks in the Riomaggiore harbor and watch the sunset! It’s literally one of my favorite places and moments on earth, especially if you think ahead and bring a couple bottles of local crisp white wine.
But even though I’ve been waxing on about Riomaggiore’s charms (and go even further in this post), it’s only one of the five adorable villages clinging to the coast, that make up the Cinque Terre. Even though not all the trails are open anymore (SO SAD), you can do a combination of hiking and quick train rides between the towns to explore each in turn.
Want other ideas for what to eat in Cinque Terre? Have a glass of wine in Corniglia on one of the stunning belvedere views. Indulge in more cold gelato after a dusty and hot hike into Monterosso. Snag some pizza in Vernazza on the waterfront. You can’t go wrong.
It’s not hard to see why I totally fell for this place. Even though you have to get crafty to avoid the crazy tourist crowds, it IS possible, and it IS worth it. Your taste buds (and camera) will thank you!
Cinque Terre is great because it’s so central as well. You can easily get to Milan, Pisa, Genoa, Siena, San Gimignano (and all of Tuscany), and Florence within a couple hours, and basically the rest of Italy is at your feet. Have you been to Cinque Terre? If so, I’d love to know what you ate and drank, and what your favorite parts were!
Want to try Ligurian pesto yourself? Test out Giovanna’s pasta con pesto recipe!
Other travel and food adventures you’ll love:
- Sailing & Snacking in Sweden’s Gothenburg Archipelago
- Devouring Turkey’s Cuisine on Istanbul’s Asian Side
- Falling in Love with Middle Eastern Cuisine: A Week in Israel & Jordan
- Exploring Argentina’s Food & Wine
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