How To Day Trip to Cinque Terre .

Cinque Terre is a collection of five seaside villages about two hours south of Florence and was at the top of my study abroad bucket list. These beach towns are full of colorful houses, flourishing vineyards, and the clearest waters you’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for a picture-esque spot to explore, then Cinque is certainly right up your alley.

While I could have stayed here for days on end, Cinque Terre is a very doable day trip from Florence. My roommates and I wanted to explore several of the beach towns so we ended up booking the Bus2Alps, Florence to Cinque Terre day trip. They do have a long weekend option if you’re interested in staying longer; however, we did the wine tour back-to-back with this so just a day trip was needed.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bus2Alps, they are a widely known travel agency amongst Florence’s study abroad students. They design discounted student trips to all kinds of destinations—Greece, Amalfi Coast, Morroco, and more.

Each tour comes with roundtrip transportation from the Florence bus station, Piazzale Montelungo, and is led by a few twenty-something travel guides who speak English. Most people on your tour will be fellow study abroad students so this is an amazing way to meet new people from other programs—we met so many fellow Fashion Merchandising students on our trip.

Stop #1: Manarola 

We were picked up from the bus station bright and early at 7 am. After a two-hour bus ride, we arrived in La Spezia Centrale. From there, we hopped on a short train ride to Manarola, our first stop of the day. They described this as “the picture spot” because it truly is the most photogenic town. This was the least touristy spot of them all with tons of locals living amongst the colored houseses, a small strip of loocal restaurants and cafes, and the most amazing water you’ve ever seen.

We were in Manarola for two hours and were free to roam around. The girls and I took some amazing photos and walked all the way to the top of the hills so that we could get a full panoramic view of the island.

There is no beach here, just huge rocks and a platform to jump off of. The water was some of the bluest I’ve ever seen and so clear. Olivia and I both jumped in, spending some time floating around. I am dying to go back and spend a full day right in this spot. I would have loved to stay longer; this was definitely my favorite of the beach towns we saw.

Stop #2: Vernazza 

From there we took a short train ride to Vernazza, which is known for its food! Pesto, focaccia bread, and fried seafood are super popular here and made fresh. This little fisherman’s town is full of clear water and a gazillion boats.

We stopped and got a seafood cone from a place called Batti Batti. Essentially, they have all kinds of fried food that you’re able to choose from, filling your cone to the top. I got the crab, calamari, cod (my personal favorite), onion rings, and a chicken nugget. The seafood was so fresh; I could have eaten three more of these.

This area was more tourist-centered and had a huge strip of shops and cafes to pop in and out of. I love looking at all of the local linen shops. I did pop in a cute local artisan’s store and pick up two postcards. It’s tradition for me to get one of these everywhere I travel to. I typically fill them out with the details of my trip + who I traveled with and keep them in my memory box.

We were here for about an hour and a half before catching the train to our last stop.

Stop #3: Montesorro 

Montesorro was our last stop and is typically where most people go to enjoy a full beach day. It was so packed here; I’d never seen so many people at the beach! Although there is a small “public beach” area, this area is known for its matching umbrellas and chairs. We ended up renting chairs for the entire day for ten euros each. It was so worth it, especially since these beaches are incredibly rocky, not sandy like your typical American beach.

Although this body of water is a sea, there were actually waves here and it was so fun getting to swim around. The water was incredibly clear, and so warm despite it being early September. We had four hours in this town so the girls grabbed frozen margarita buckets, I grabbed a book and we just lounged for the remainder of the day. It was so good to chill; I didn’t realize how much I missed the beach!

There were also little tourist shops, cafes, and restaurants in this area so if you weren’t looking to train from town to town, this was a good mix of them all. Although, this time of year it is still incredibly busy!

Around 5 pm we packed up our stuff and trained back to the bus station. We had a two-hour ride back to Florence and ended up getting home just before 8 pm. They packed our day to the brim and I have to say, it definitely felt like we got our money’s worth. We almost booked this trip on our own and I’m so glad we didn’t— Bus2Alps made it so easy to get from place to place and handled all of our tickets which was super convenient.

What I Wore

I was a little unsure what to wear on this day trip as I knew we’d be walking around for some of the day, but also need to be in a swimsuit for the other half. I ended up settling on a white, cotton dress to keep me cool during the sweltering day. I’m so glad I did because, boy was it hot!

This babydoll style dress looks so effortless on and the strappy back made for some super cute photos. I opted for straw slip-ons, my go-to beach shoe, and a tote bag to match. I tossed my bathing suit in here for the first half of the day and just slipped this on under my dress once we got in the water. Genius idea and truly the perfect outfit; I’m obsessed.

I’m so glad we were able to make it to Cinque Terre! I would love to go back and explore the beach towns some more if we have another free (warm) day. We’re off to Croatia this weekend for more time in the water and some incredible views. Stay tuned for all that fun + make sure you’re following me on Instagram so you don’t miss out on daily updates on what I’m up to.

With love, McKenz

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