Friday, January 20, 2023

Arriving in Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre, and Hiking to Levanto

The time for our annual (for the last 14 or so years, except for one missing year due to Covid travel restrictions) trip to Cinque Terre has arrived (September 2022).  We fly into Milan and take the train to Monterosso al Mare, travelling first to Genoa, then turning south along the Mediterranean, passing many scenic coastal towns (Rapallo, Chiavari, Sestri Levante, Levanto) as we approach Monterosso.

Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre is one of our most favorite places in the world.  We're looking forward to retirement (in a few years) so we can come even more often than just one week every year!

Travelling down the Mediterranean coast

We arrive in Monterosso and walk out from the train station along the sea on Via Fegina,  immediately spotting the distinctive Monterosso umbrellas in the sand.

Arriving in Monterosso al Mare

We walk from the new town (where the train station is located) through a tunnel to the old town where our favorite hotel, Hotel Villa Steno (to which we return every year), is located.  Passing through Piazza Guiseppe Garibaldi, we head up Via Roma to the hotel.

Piazza Garibaldi

Walking up Via Roma

As we walk away from the sea into town, we see that a small fair along the beach is selling musical instruments.  We aren't looking for one, but do stop to admire the offerings.

Musical instruments for sale

We drop our bags at Hotel Villa Steno and immediately (it is late afternoon) start out on a hike to Vernazza, the next town south.  We do lots of hiking in Cinque Terre, mostly up and down the Mediterranean coast, and enjoy starting each arrival with a quick hour-and-a-half to two-hour hike.

Leaving Monterosso toward Vernazza

As the sun gets lower in the sky, Monterosso grows farther in the distance and we continue on the coastal ridge heading south.

Sun getting lower in the sky, Monterosso farther away

We move fairly rapidly to make sure we get to Vernazza before dark.

Along the trail to Vernazza

Continuing along the trail

Monterosso getting much further away

More trail

Soon, Vernazza appears in the distance and we start to descend into town.

Vernazza appears in the distance

As we approach Vernazza we see the city and harbor spread out before us, reminding us of its great food, drinks, sights, and experiences.

Almost to Vernazza

We descend through stairs and tunnels of the Vernazza city streets to the piazza and just soak up the atmosphere before hopping on a train back to Monterosso.  We'll be back in a few days to wander more through the city, but it's time to get back to Hotel Villa Steno and think about dinner

Streets of Vernazza

Piazza Marconi in Vernazza

Walking back up to the train station

It's a great start to another wonderful week in Cinque Terre!

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