Top 5 things to do in the Italian Riviera

Published October 29th, 2015

The world's most picturesque places are increasingly becoming populated by skyscrapers and big business. But there are still some special places that have remained untouched and make for the perfect modern escape.

Cinque Terre, a region comprised of five seaside towns perched on the picturesque Italian Riviera in the north west of Italy, is one such place. Here, the Italians have the notion of La Dolce Vita down pat.

Here are five simple things you can do to embrace the sweet life when visiting Cinque Terre. Where dolce faliente (the sweetness of doing nothing) is purposefully encouraged.

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Hold up your gelato! Image: Prasanthi Purusothaman

1. Indulge in the best gelato

Decadent, indulgent, creamy, sweet, sugary goodness. Gelato is a must when strolling through towns exploring on a hot day. There is an abundance of gelateria’s across the Cinque Terre’s five towns so you will be spoilt for choice. Tip: Try the pannacotta or pistachio, they are to die for!

Take me to the Italian seaside! Image: Prasanthi Purusothaman

2. Unwind by going for a swim in the ocean

The five towns are perched across the exposed, rugged cliffs of the coast and therefore provide some amazing spots to swim. For something a bit quieter, take a dip in the clear and calm bay of Manarola. If you are looking for a full on beach day, check out the only sandy beach of the region in the Bay of Fegina at Monterosso Al Mare. Grab a sun bed under the rows of matching umbrellas and kick back and soak up that sunshine.

Pretty much? Image: Prasanthi Purusothaman

3. Get some fresh air by taking a hike

The Cinque Terre region is famous for its various hikes. They vary in difficulty from the famed short and sweet Via dell’ Amore (The Path of Love) between Riomaggiore and Manarola to the more arduous five hour Sentiero Azzurro (The Blue Trail) that spans across all five towns. It’s well worth it though to experience some fabulous views over the towns: cliffside landscapes, vineyards and some incredible coastal views.

Is it lunch time yet? Image: Prasanthi Purusothaman

4. Treat your taste buds to some amazing Italian local cuisine

Being next to the big blue makes for plenty of fresh seafood with several fish and chips shops dotted all around the towns. Alternatively, take a break at a cute family run café and sip on an espresso at the bar paired with some homemade ricotta cheesecake. The region is also well known for pesto. So get yourself a glass (or two) of local sciacchetrà vino and have your own Liz Gilbert ‘Eat’ moment.

The end to the perfect Italian Riviera day Image: Prasanthi Purusothaman

5. Reflect by catching the sunset at clifftop church

Grab a friend or your loved one and walk up to the top of a town where the cute churches are usually located. The towns face west which make for some jaw dropping sunsets over the sea. If you’re lucky, some talented local musicians will often accompany the moment with some calming acoustic guitar tunes. The perfect end to the day as you watch the sky change hues as the evening descends over the Cinque Terre.


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 This guest blog is brought to you by Prasanthi Purusothaman of travel and lifestyle blog  Harping on the Bizarre.