Usually by this time of the year many people are planning, if not setting off on, their annual holidays. But of course we all know that this year is like no other, and all the best-laid holiday plans have been thrown into disarray. But the thing to remember is that these strange and difficult times will not last forever and we will be able to travel again. Here at Walkabout Florence, while it’s obviously not business as usual, we’re keeping our spirits high and making big plans for when that time comes – hopefully in the not too distant future.
One of our very popular experiences is our Cinque Terre day trip from Florence and so it got us to thinking that, for those who have never been to the area, it would be a great time to learn a little more about it – and get a taste of just why so many people love it so much.
Get to Know the Cinque Terre
Most Italophiles have at least heard of this magnificent coastal region, which comprises five lovely villages linked by a spectacular cliff side trail. The opportunity to hike between the five villages affords what many claim are the most spectacular views in the country, and indeed even the world.
This really is a place that’s best explored on foot, which is why we offer our wonderful Cinque Terre day trip. From Florence, we’ll drive you to the beginning of the hike and then it’s hats, sunscreen and walking boots on for one of the most memorable experiences you’ll ever have.
We’ve done other blog posts about the personalities and attractions of the five villages – Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Monterosso – but there’s so much more to learn about this magnificent region.
The wonderful guides that lead our Cinque Terre day trip from Florence know this place like the back of their hands, so we thought it would be fun to put them to the test. We’ve asked them to ‘survey’ some of the many beautiful beaches of the area and share them here – and they’ve risen to the challenge!
Beaches, Beaches Everywhere…
There are countless beaches dotted along the coastline, some of which are totally inaccessible except from the sea. It would be impossible to list them all but our guides have done a great job of including the main ones.
This is the biggest beach in the area and it’s situated in the village of Monterosso. It’s simple to get to (straight down from the train station), and once there you can enjoy a host of facilities including hiring stand up paddleboards, catamarans and boats. As one of the most popular though, it can get very busy in the high season.
Monterosso Old Town
Another option in Monterosso is hidden behind a big rock just on the edge of the Old Town. It’s a really lovely little stretch with great local character, and it’s from here that the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) starts.
There are two beaches to choose from in Vernazza, both of which are very easy to access. The smaller of the two is located a stone’s throw from the village’s main piazza, so it’s a great choice if you just want a quick dip. The other one is slightly further away but still easy to get from the piazza. You’ll enter via a passage running through a cave, which adds to its quirky appeal.
This one’s a bit different and definitely not as easy to get to as those mentioned above. Situated near the village of Corniglia, it’s accessible by a pretty steep and rocky descent off the Blue Path on the way to Vernazza. The beach itself is gorgeous and has traditionally been popular with nudists, but unless you’re very sure-footed (and open minded) this is one perhaps better left to the very brave!
There are a couple of choices around this village – one is very close to the train station and the other requires a walk of about half an hour. Despite its proximity, Spiaggione is very quiet and peaceful, although it’s also not always accessible when the sea level is high. The second beach of Corniglia can be reached from the centre of town and is worth the short hike for its lovely tranquil ambience.
Even though it’s just five minutes from the train station, this lovely little beach is not very often frequented. Accessed by walking down through a long tunnel and then heading towards a very large rock, which is impossible to miss, it is hiding just behind. This is one you might get all to yourself if you’re lucky.
Caneto can only be approached by boat, but it’s an absolute gem. Even with its rather wild and deserted ambience, it is situated quite close to the Riomaggiore railway tunnel. You can even see the trains as they trundle past.
Another that can only be reached by the water now, due to landslides blocking access, it’s wonderful to hire a small boat and motor away to enjoy this lovely wild place. There are no plans to repair the damage done by the landslide so it’s set to remain hard to get to but very easy to love.
This one is quite difficult to get to on foot from Portovenere or Riomaggiore, with a descent of around 45 minutes to get down to the beach. However, for those who don’t mind a bit of a hike, the reward is that it rarely has visitors – meaning you’ll have this stunning place to yourself.
A Little Further Afield
There are also some beautiful beaches just a little outside the region, including:
Palmaria Island – a magical place reached from Portovenere
Porto Pidocchio – a gorgeous and very secluded spot
Bonassola – another village with multiple beaches
- Levanto – second largest beach in the area
Discover Beautiful Coastal Vistas
For visitors to Italy, a Cinque Terre day trip from Florence is a fantastic way to see a very different side to the rolling hills and sunburnt landscape. The coastal views along this iconic hiking trail are nothing short of breath taking and it’s little wonder this experience is high on the bucket list of many visitors.
Even though we’re not able to travel at the moment, it’s a great time to start planning and finding out more about the places you’d like to go. So, if you’ve always dreamed about undertaking this world famous Italian coastal hike, now is the time to make a decision and make it happen!
At Walkabout Florence, our amazing guides are keeping fit, staying inspired and counting down the days until they can get back out on the road and help you make the memories of a lifetime.
We Are Walkabout Florence
At Walkabout Florence we’re proud of our reputation as the best in the industry for bespoke, small group tours, including Cinque Terre day trips from Florence. Our friendly and knowledgeable guides are committed to showing our guests the true heart and soul of Italy, with everything from memorable Fiat 500 and Vespa tours, to the very best authentic food and wine experiences and cultural day trips.