On our last full day in Cinque Terre, we decided to spend the morning in Riomaggiore as we just fell in love with the marina area just from our view during the sunset tour the evening before.
Before we left for Riomaggiore, we went up to Nessum Dorma for breakfast as we read that it was open 24/7. We probably should have reconfirmed that as disappointingly, when we reached the restaurant after a steep walk up we were told that they didn’t open until 12 noon.
So we decided to get some takeaway coffee and a couple of focaccias from a shop right in front of the station and headed to Riomaggiore, it was 10:30am and the station was already crowded with day trippers.
Once we made it to Riomaggiore we made our way up to the Castle of Riomaggiore and the views didn’t disappoint. We walked up the paths of beautiful homes which had gorgeous little gardens. Some of the paths were wider here compared to other towns although we later learned that the houses here had two entrances, with the back entrance generally on a higher level leading out to the more narrow labyrinth of paths used as an escape exit during pirate attacks way back when.
We also noticed that the houses here are much taller some up to 4 storeys high, but still of course this town is as enchanting as the next. I loved seeing mostly, if not all local shops and trade and the towns being so small we managed to cross paths with locals as they came in and out of their houses, speaking to each other in the street whilst I eavesdropped on their italian conversation imagining they’re inviting each other over for dinner or gossiping about what so and so did or didn’t do.
We came across veggie patches that were thriving in the hot hot sun and looked up to see the terraces built with hundreds of year old grapevine and olive vine. This place is awe inspiring, just imagining how they conceived to build the towns here on the rugged cliff faces, then managing to do so with very limited technology and still so many centuries later these towns exist to this day. I also loved for the longest time this place was so remote and removed from the outside world and the villagers living here had the best kept secret paradise. I think if I lived here I don’t think I’d ever leave, because it’s such a special place and I’d love nothing else then to eat olives, seafood and drink wine all the days of my life. Ofcourse we’d have to learn how to farm and cultivate or perhaps take up the tourism trade but that’s minor details when you wake up every morning to those gorgeous sea views.
And speaking of the views,got up to the top of Castle Riomaggiore and were rewarded with a fabulous breeze and reprieve in the shade. We enjoyed the views of the ocean as we sat on some steps in front of a sweet little chapel and I fed Harley her bottle and put her to sleep in such beautiful and tranquil surroundings. It was such a nice way to slow down and take it all in and at the same time enjoy staring at my sleeping baby’s face, another of my favourite views.
Once Harley was fast asleep I put her in the carrier and we made our way down to the marina to enjoy the beautiful water and some yummy gelato. The water is crystal blue and the harbour was just gorgeous. We walked down the beach and around onto the rocks enjoying gelato whilst we took happy family snaps. Harley finally woke and so we decided to head back to Manarola, but as we wanted to avoid the crowded train stations we decided to take a water taxi right at the Riomaggiore marina to Manarola.
The trip cost 8€ per person compared to the 4€ per person by train but it was worth it as we got to see the towns again by sea and we enjoyed the personal transport, especially getting to see that dramatic view entering the Manarola harbour. We were also on an all wood boat that was built in the 1940s, a stunning and sturdy boat. I highly recommend the boat tour we did the day before or even just taking the water taxi between the towns instead of the train. Such a nice way to see the towns.
Once we arrived in Manarola we had a late lunch at Tratorria Da Billy and even booked for dinner that night. We ordered the seafood starter which had 12 different dishes and the crab spaghetti special. The seafood started was stunning, with every dish being a melt in your mouth delight. The crab spaghetti was nice but not as good as the other dishes we had there and it’s a little fussy to eat.
Once we were sufficiently stuffed and somewhat digested, we got into our swimming gear and went for a swim in the gorgeous waters to the left of the marina. There are steps down into the water; you can dive in either from the little jetty they built or if you’re brave enough you can climb up the rocks and jump from the little cliff into the water. I’m not exactly sure how high it was but Lionel fearlessly jumped in as Harley and I cheered him on floating together in the Ligurian sea. Harley was loving the water despite it being very fresh and I suppose she was distracted by all the kids around us. She cried when we pulled her out as her lips were turning blue from being in the cold water for too long.
We made our way back to our room, washed up and enjoyed our last dinner at Da Billy, we ordered a mixed grilled seafood plate which was just divine and perfect seeing as we were still slightly full from the late lunch. Harley slept through dinner as she was just beat from the long day in the sun and water.
We watched the sunset as we walked back to our room around 10pm at night and we were all a little sad to be leaving the next day. I was already thinking about when we could come back.