Places to Stay:
Airbnb in San Lazzaro
Activities to Do:
1. The beach!! The beaches are beautiful with breathtaking views of the mountains surrounding you! I couldn't stop floating in the water & looking at the cliffs! You can rent an umbrella and chairs, or just sit on the towels like we did!
2. Get a pizza & coke in town. Of course this is the best thing to do anywhere, but we taking a break from the beach to have a relaxing meal.
3. Walk through the little shops. There were so many adorable little shops filled with the cutest trinkets. There was so much I wanted to buy, but we ended up settling for a tile Christmas ornament of the Amalfi Coast.
4. Go hiking! We found a beautiful hike in the little town we were staying in, San Lazzaro. We went hiking in the morning & got to see the beautiful views of the Amalfi coast from above & then headed to the beach & to see the view from below.
The next place on our trip was a small town on the Amalfi Coast, next to Positano, San Lazzaro. I had trouble finding exact information how to get there & just figured it would be easier to find out when we got there. We took a train to Naples, & then from there tried to figure out how to get a bus to Positano. It was not the best part of the trip. We were both starving and were running all around trying to find the bus stop before the 1 bus there left. We ended up finding it just in time & as we tried to get on the bus, were told we needed to have tickets ahead of time & could not get on the bus without them. After some tears (from me), we got an amazing little pizza for 1 euro and took a train to the closest city possible next to Positano, it was still about 45 minutes away from there though, they just don't have any trains right into the city. Once we got into this city, we realized it was actually just a little town and we could not find any buses or even any taxis. We were both tired and discouraged & had no idea how to get where we needed to go. I said a prayer in my head & then right as I looked up, we saw 2 missionaries!! It was such a miracle! They were from the U.S. and were so nice! They walked us to the town center, it was very complicated & we never would have been able to find it on our own. They found us a taxi driver and talked to him for us, and we were able to get a ride with him for $50, which we were more than happy to pay to just get there. We were so thankful for my answered prayer!!
The taxi ride was a little crazy but also very cool. The roads in and around the Amalfi Coast are so sharp and narrow! The whole drive was amazing though, so much greenery on so many cliffs!
Once we got to the town, we found the place we were staying. It was right on the edge of a cliff bordering the ocean & had a beautiful view of the water! I had been told the hotel had beach access & we found out that meant it had access to a path of stairs (thousands of stairs) that led down to the beach. Good thing we already had tons of practice on stairs!! We had dinner at the restaurant (pizza & coke) & then walked around, exploring the small town.
The next morning, we woke up early, had the free breakfast at the hotel (croissants & jam), & went on a hike that began in the town we were in! The hike went along the coast and the views of the ocean, cliffs, & greenery were amazing!! We had the whole hike to ourselves, which was really cool! At one part, there was a swarm of big black bees blocking the path. It was so weird. I am so freaked out of bees & have never been stung before & never want to. Nate casually walked through the swarm of bees and told me to also. I finally ran as fast as I could through them & one hit me on the head, on purpose probably!! But I did not get stung! On the way back I realized I could just walk around the path through a bush! After a few hours of hiking, we headed back so that we could go down to the beach! We decided we would take the stairs down to the beach & then take a bus back up, both ways were supposed to take an hour.
We hiked down the stairs for a little over an hour and finally got down to flat ground! Once we got to the road, we walked along the narrow road, trying not to get hit by cars & buses zooming by! We finally made it to the beach & it was completely worth it!!! The water felt amazing and it was so hot & sunny, a perfect beach day! The sand was incredibly hot & we had to run as fast as we could anytime we wanted to go from our towels to the water! There was a man renting umbrellas, which most people had, but we were fine without one. After spending a few hours in the water & on the beach, we looked in some of the shops in Positano & had some coke & pizza. Italy has Coke with real cane sugar. I don't like Coke normally but it is so good with cane sugar & with a fresh pizza!!! Also, it was the same price or cheaper than getting water most places! After eating and exploring, we went back to the beach. I loved the views from the water, the huge cliffs were breathtaking!!! I couldn't stop looking at them!!! As we were walking in on the beach I realized there was lots of seaglass in the sand! Nate helped me to collect a bag of it to keep as a souvenir! It ended up being my favorite souvenir of our trip! We loved Positano & the Amalfi Coast! It was so fun to go hiking and see the views from above in the morning & then swim in the ocean and enjoy the views from below!
We took the bus back to our hotel & that was quite an experience! We had noticed the narrow roads when walking down them to the beach, & riding in a huge bus through the tiny lanes was insane!!! The bus driver drove so fast and the road turned so sharply that you could never really tell if anyone was coming from the other end. The driver would honk the horn to warn in case there was. There were so many times I thought we would hit a car or another bus head-on! There were a few times that a bus would be coming from the other way and both buses would have to slam on their brakes and back up or wait while the other bus went through! We had dinner at the hotel restaurant again, pizza and coca cola. The perfect way to end an amazing day!
Places to Stay:
Airbnb in Corneglia
Activities to Do:
1. Go swimming at the beach! Many of the towns have beach access. Corniglia has a long staircase you can walk down to get to the beach. There are huge rocks to sit on, the water is so refreshing, & you can even jump of one of the bigger rocks. Vernazza has a swimming area & sandy beach, but beware of the hundreds of sea urchins!!! Monterosso also has a beach are that is pretty but crowded. Overall, I love the beach in Corniglia. Though it doesn't have sand to lie on, I thought it was the prettiest & definitely the least crowded.
2. HIKE!!! Of course you need to do the famous Cinque Terre hike between the 5 towns. The 5 towns of Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. Sadly, the trails to Manarola and Riomaggiore were closed down when we were there (trails are closed often because of damage from weather and so many people hiking on them). We hiked from Corniglia to Vernazza to Monterosso & then took a train back to Corniglia. The hike was beautiful with so many breathtaking views. It would switch from a lot of uphill to downhill to uphill so you do get quite a workout!
3. Take a boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore or vice versa. We really wanted to do this, but it was stormy when we got to Monterosso & so the boats were not operating. We did hear this was a great way to see a different view of the towns & coast though!
4. Eat dinner with a view! We ate dinner at the same restaurant both nights in Corneglia. I can't remember the name, but it had the most amazing view of the ocean & the vineyards. The food was very reasonably priced & we ate slowly & got dessert at the end to stay as long as possible taking in the view! It was such a nice, relaxing way to end each night!
5. Eat lots and lots of pesto. Cinque Terre is supposedly where pesto was invented so we made sure to try pesto everything while we were there. We got pesto pizza twice, pesto focaccia bread, & even basil gelato!! Which leads me to number 6..
6. Try the basil gelato & lemon gelato. We loved both of these, so refreshing!!! I don't know of anywhere else that you can get basil gelato!! The lemon was also so good & they used fresh lemons grown right in Corneglia!
7. Explore the towns! We explored around each of the towns & they were all so unique. Walk around & up & down the many staircases to explore! Vernazza has a castle that you can walk up to & all of the towns have beautiful view points that you can walk up to!
8. Go shopping! There are lots of cute little shops in each town. I love how local & authentic everything is. We got some bread, cheese, & olives from a tiny market to snack on when hiking. We really wanted to get some pesto & balsamic to bring home, but had traveled with only carryons, & couldn't bring liquid back. We did get some pasta to bring back though!!
Corniglia is one of the 5 towns of Cinque Terre. I was a little nervous about finding the place we were staying there because I realized I hadn't gotten a map or even an exact address of where we were staying... We took the train to the town & then had the option of either paying and taking a bus up to the main part of town or walking up 382 steps into town. We decided to walk. It was an extremely hot day & we had our huge packs on & I was quickly regretting choosing to walk. We went the wrong way first and after seeing locked fences and dogs barking at us, we realized we had gone the wrong way. We headed the right way and sweated to death, climbing up the many, many switchbacks! Once we got into town, we realized how tiny the town was. I asked a waitress at a little restaurant if she knew the lady we were renting from, Stefani, & she did!!! She pointed us in the right direction and we were able to find the lady we were renting from. She was sooo nice & gave us tons of tips & let us know how to get down to the beach!!!
We got in our swimsuits and pretty much ran to the water!!! It was a few hundred steps down!! We were so excited to cool down and jump in the ocean that I didn't even think about climbing back up all the steps!!! The ocean was beautiful there!!!! Once again, there were hardly any people, just a few locals. There was a big rock that some kids were jumping off of, so we swam over and jumped off! We spent a few hours rotating between swimming and lying on the warm rocks to dry off. It was such a great day!! When we finished, we walked up the many, many steps & realized that our next few days would be filled with thousands and thousands of steps!!
We had dinner at a restaurant recommended by Stefani & it was perfect! The restaurant had a big outdoor seating area with the most incredible view of the ocean & cliffs covered in vineyards. I still can't get over how beautiful the view was! We had pesto pizza and pesto lasagna since Corniglia is known for being the birthplace of pesto! Both were delicious & the pesto really was amazing! We ate slowly & it was so nice to just relax & not have anywhere we needed to be! After dinner, we strolled around town, got some fresh lemon gelato, and walked up lots of steps to see some more beautiful views!
The next morning, we woke up early and started our Cinque Terre hike! The 5 towns of Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, & Riomaggiore. Sadly, the trails to Manarola and Riomaggiore were closed down (trails are closed often because of damage from weather and so many people hiking on them). We were glad to be in Corniglia though, because we wouldn't have to take a train anywhere to start. We found the trail & began hiking! It started with a lot of flat & downhill & we remarked how easy it was! The views were amazing, you could see all the way down the coast line & could see the bright roofs marking each town.
After a lot of flat and down hill, the steps up began! After hundreds of steps up, we made it to Vernazza! Vernazza was beautiful and had a little swimming area that we realized had thousands of sea urchins!! We carefully swam around in the clear turquoise water. We got some pesto foccaica bread & it was incredibly delicious! We also split a basil gelato, it sounds weird but was really refreshing!
It was starting to get hotter, so after checking out a pretty viewpoint, we started on the trail to Monterosso. Once again, the views from the trail were breathtaking and it started out mostly flat & downhill and then ended with hundreds of steps up to Monterosso. It started to rain, which felt great! We saw the ocean & sat on the beach for a little, but were too cold from the rain to swim. We got lunch at a little cafe, pesto pizza & pesto gnocchi! Then we were wanting to take a boat from Monterosso to Riomaggiore to be able to see all of the towns from the water, but because of the rain & wind, they were not running any boats. We took the train back to Corneglia & decided to end the day at the same restaurant, we loved it so much! We were seated at a table next to a European couple & ended up talking with them for a couple hours. They were big travelers & it was fun to hear about their trips & get some tips from them!
We loved Corniglia & Cinque Terre so much, & like every place, we were sad to leave! It is the smallest out of the 5 towns & I loved how quaint it was! Since it's the smallest town, it had way less tourists & seemed more authentic and relaxed.
Places to Stay:
Airbnb in Rapallo
Activities to Do:
1. Relax at the beach.The lady who owned the airbnb we stayed in told us of a little path to take down to the beach. There were only a few people on the beach, since it was hidden from the regular beach area. You could walk along the road in Rapallo & find paths to little beaches with little or no people, which I loved! There were also many beaches along the main street in Rapallo.
2. EAT!!! The food in Rapallo was delicious. We walked along the main road which has the ocean on one side and lots of little shops and restaurants on the other side. Everything we had was delicious. The gelato we had in Rapallo was the best I had as well!!! Sadly, I didn't write down the names of the places we ate.
3. Explore the town.- Rapallo is very quaint & it is fun to walk through the little streets, look at the houses, and walk past the castle near the ocean.
4. Take day trips to other nearby towns.- Cinque Terre is just a short train ride away and the perfect place to hike along the coast & do more exploring. (I will do a blog post on Cinque Terre soon!) There are so many cute little towns along the coast, it would be awesome to be able to just get a train ticket and choose a random town to visit!
If you asked me my favorite place that I have traveled, I would quickly answer Rapallo. Rapallo, Italy is a place that combines all of my favorite things: sparkling blue ocean water, delectable food, & laid back atmosphere. We visited there last summer & I am still always talking about way to get back there!
We arrived in Rapallo in the early afternoon and were picked up at the train station by neighbor of the place we were staying at. He took us to the little home we would be staying at and I fell in love with it at first sight. It had seafoam and white tiles all over & a huge deck with a gorgeous view of the ocean!!!
We dropped out bags off & immediately ran down to the ocean. There was the cutest little beach that was only a 5 minute walk from where we were staying. And there were almost no people there, my kind of beach!!! The beach was rocky instead of sandy, but it was actually nice because there were tons of huge rocks to lay out on to warm up after jumping in the water. The water was the most gorgeous turquoise color! We spent a few hours switching between floating & swimming in the clear water and sunning on the warm rocks. It was a perfect afternoon!! I begged Nate to stay at the beach until dark, so we stayed as long as possible, until the sun went down. Then we walked down into the town center to get some dinner.
We actually ended up eating at the first place we saw & I was so glad we did! It was right on the water and had a beautiful view of the ocean and a castle, Antico Castello Sul Mare! I also got my favorite dish from our whole trip there! I was feeling like a tomato pasta, and they had one with pesto that sounded good, so I asked if they could make it with tomato sauce. The waiter told me they had a special dish, Pasta Portofino, that wasn't on the menu that I would love. It ended up being the most delicious dish ever!!! Trofie pasta with a sauce that was a mix of pesto & tomato sauce, served in a parmesean bowl!!! My mouth is watering just thinking of it!!! After dinner, we walked around on a path by the water. There were little shops selling things and lots of people strolling around. Nate wasn't feeling very good, so we headed back up the hill to our little house. I got a hazelnut & stracciatella gelato on our way up and it ended up being my favorite gelato. So pretty much I just completely loved everything about Rapallo!!!
I woke up early the next morning & let Nate sleep in while I walked down into the town square to look for breakfast. I got some croissants, cookies, and fruit from a few different little shops. On the way back, I found a walkway down to a private beach and swam for a little bit! I loved having my own private little beach!!! Then I headed up to get Nate!! We brought our food down to the beach and swam a little more. Then we went to the beach from the first day. We found a spot that no one else was at, and I was in heaven, having our own little beach again! I had my little "route" where I would jump in the water, swim around to a big rock, climb on the rock, and then jump back in the water, and then get back onto our little beach. Haha, it was awesome though!!! We stayed there all morning & afternoon & then it was sadly time to head to our next destination, Corneglia.