I was in Cinque Terre for Laura Belgray’s writing workshop in June. Bianca is the one who runs these tours – so if you book one, let her know I sent you. You’ll adore her.
The workshop was held at Riomaggiore’s famous castle, Castello di Riomaggior. The castle itself isn’t really anything special – but the hike to the top provides some spectacular views.
Getting to Cinque Terre
I took the train from Rome to Pisa, then Pisa to Cinque Terre. The train from Pisa to Cinque Terre is under $15 and takes 1.5 hours. Otherwise, you can hire a private driver to pick you up from the Pisa airport – which will cost you about €150 each way.
Where to Stay
I stayed in an apartment right in the heart of Riomaggiore. The place was called Vento di Grecale, it had no wifi, no AC or fan, and so it was pretty musty smelling. Occasionally, I’d smell sewage. I couldn’t tell if that was coming from outside, or within the building. The bed was super comfortable, as were the pillows! Because you’re right in the center of all the action, it’s incredibly noisy from around 5am to 2am. Their booking.com post advertises free public wifi, but I had none. You’ll need to climb a lot of steep stairs once inside the apartment building – so pack lightly. If you’re looking for just a place to crash for a few hours, this is the perfect location!
A friend stayed near the train station in a beautiful apartment with super cool AC and free wifi. So, be sure to look around and read the reviews!
Where to Eat
Right outside the Vento di Grecale is a restaurant that serves amazing Nuttino. It’s like a little espresso shot with nutella around the rim. It was so good, I had probably three. Absolutely worth it.
However, a word of caution. My friends and I ate together there and paid for our meal inside. A few left, and then the last two were harassed and accused of not paying the bill, and threatening to call the police. This poor girl was sobbing and called us back down there. As soon as we show up, the owner realized the mistake and that we had already all paid.
We had antipasto during our last evening at Fuori Rotta- it was delicious!
How to Pay
They use Euros in Cinque Terre. I found that most places take cards, but a few places only took cash. There are a couple of ATMs located throughout Riomaggiore, but sometimes they were not working.
Getting Around Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is literally full of hills and stairs. It is exhausting. And if you’re there during the summer, it’ll be scorching hot and humid.
Here’s a trick:
Walk up the hill or stairs for like 20 seconds, or just before you start to get huffy and puffy. Pause, turn around. Spend a couple of minutes taking pictures of the views. Resume. Repeat as often as needed.
The train can take you between each of the five towns, or you can walk one of the many trails.
I heard that you can buy passes to take you around via bus, but why take the bus when you can get in a killer workout after eating three Nuttinos?
Safety as a Solo Female Traveler
I didn’t take my family with me on this trip, but Cinque Terre felt very safe to me. As usual, you’ll want to practice good safety, like keeping valuables close to you and being aware of your surroundings.