• Cinque Terre Extension

    October 1—5, 2017

    1 Spot Available
    Contact Onward Travel To Register

The Cinque Terre is a magical stretch of coastline encompassing five fishing villages built on cliffs with pastel-colored buildings, grapevines and olive groves, and charming piazzas. Life centers around the Mediterranean sea with heart-stopping views and fabulous fresh seafood as the ultimate rewards.

The vast Cinque Terre National Park surrounds the stretch of coastline from Riomaggiore to Monterosso and the inland terraced gardens. This stretch of coastline is a UNESCO world heritage site, because it represents “the harmonious interaction between people and nature to produce a landscape of exceptional scenic quality.” It is truly a sight to behold.

Onward Travel has planned an adventure on the Ligurian Coast, perfectly timed to complement Italy Con Gusto or Magic on the Water, two culinary adventures occurring September 23—October 1. Add this extension to enjoy more time in captivating Italy.

Explore the towns on foot with a charming local guide, see the coastline from the water, take a dip in the sea, feast on local seafood, sip a glass wine while you admire the unique terraced vineyards, stroll along lemon and olive groves, and take in truly unforgettable scenery and experiences… the Cinque Terre truly has it all.

Sunday, October 1—Welcome to Coastal Paradise

  • Walking tour with local guide to experience several villages and unique vistas
  • Cocktails and a Mediterranean sunset with new friends

Join a transfer from Venice or Florence and arrive in Monterosso midday. Travelers coming from Florence will make a stop in La Spezia to enjoy the region’s monthly antique market. Monterosso is the Cinque Terre’s largest village, known for having a large stretch of beach with colorful umbrellas. This is a quintessential resort town, charming and walkable with a beautiful promenade. We’ll spend the next three nights at Hotel Marina, a small family-owned hotel with a rooftop lemon garden. The hotel is well located near the beach, train station, and shopping.

Let’s dive right into discovering this unique landscape! Our local guide, Margherita, will be waiting when we arrive, and happy to share her local insight and knowledge. First, we’ll try a casual local specialty: focaccia. We’ll swing by a focacceria to enjoy a tasty lunch. The Cinque Terre’s villages used to only be accessed by sea or a vast network of foot paths. In the late 19th century, a train was built and it is now great fun to take the quick train ride between villages, admiring the character and depth of each. Margherita will introduce us to Monterosso in depth, plus we’ll visit nearby villages Riomaggiore and Manarola.

Once back in Monterosso, enjoy some free time this afternoon to settle in and wander town. We’ll convene before sunset to enjoy a spritz together… such as limoncino, a refreshing cocktail with local lemon liqueur, prosecco, and mint. Then it’s time for a delicious feast, with views out to the sea illuminated by the moonlight. For dinner consider to-die-for squid ink with tagliolini pasta and prawns or another local specialty: pesto with handmade trofie pasta. Buon Appetito!

Meals Lunch, Dinner

Monday, October 2—Ligurian Kitchen

  • Leisurely morning in Monterosso
  • Hands-on cooking class featuring Ligurian cuisine

Enjoy a delicious Italian breakfast buffet as you will each morning. If the Mediterranean sun in shining, wander down to the beach and swim in the sea or perhaps rent a paddleboard and explore the coastline. The shops are open and many walking paths are easily accessible. Enjoy the morning at your leisure. Onward will provide a list of suggested restaurants and you may wish to visit one for lunch… such as Da Oscar’s, a charming family-owned trattoria. Or a cone of fried fresh seafood and a lemon gelato may be just the thing.

Early afternoon, we’ll convene to head to the hills in the nearby town of Levanto where we’ll roll up on sleeves for a hands-on cooking class at a beautiful villa. The class takes place in the villa’s 18th century kitchen and concludes with a candlelit dinner on the terrace. We’ll cook with fresh and local products, with fruit, vegetables, and herbs picked from the garden; it’s an abundant time of year. Our multi-course dinner will be complemented by local wines. We’ll toast the evening with a sip of the Cinque Terre’s famous sweet wine: Sciacchetrà, made from the grapes you see on the terraced hillsides.

Meals Breakfast, Dinner

Tuesday, October 3—Daytrip to Portovenere

  • Boat ride along the picturesque Cinque Terre coastline
  • Explore charming Portovenere

Truthfully, it’s no secret, the Cinque Terre has been discovered. An anticdote to the “thriving” tourism industry on this stretch of coastline is to venture a bit further afield. So this morning, we’ll board a ferry boat and travel along the coast to Portovenere, a charming town considered the unofficial “sixth” village. Margharita will join us to point out sites of interest from the boat, plus walk us around the interesting town and the San Pietro Church built in the 12th-century. Take some time to wander the shops and admire the scenic marina and grab lunch on your own.

Early afternoon, we’ll board the boat, once again marveling at the coastline as we travel back to Monterosso. The evening is yours to enjoy as you wish. Perhaps you want a swanky dinner out or another bowl of pasta with pesto… Enjoy.

Meals Breakfast

Wednesday, October 4—Drinking in the Landscape

  • Get up close and personal with the vines: enjoy a hike along the terraced hillsides and local vino
  • Visit Portofino, a famous resort-town

By now you’ve noticed the beautiful terraced hillsides, still alive with agricultural activity. Historically, each family had its own small vineyard. Today, there are still family-owned wine-making operations plus the picturesque stone walls. In fact, the Cinque Terre has over 4,000 miles of dry-stone walls that need a good deal of maintenance as they’re built without mortar. It’s an art. You may simply relax this morning or you may grab your sturdy shoes and join us for a scenic and moderate hike.

The Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail) is the most famous route but much of it is closed following devastating flooding and mudslides in 2011. Plus, the trail is overrun at times from tourists. The Cinque Terre National Park consists of over 10,000 acres and is home to many beautiful footpaths affording great views and over 10,000 acres. So, depending on the group’s interests and energy, we’ll choose a path and enjoy the bucket-list worthy activity of hiking in the Cinque Terre.

Is hiking through the vineyards making you thirsty? Good, we’ll gather midday to enjoy a spread of cheese, fruit, olives, and crostini… plus some delicious local wines. Soak up the scenery and the dolce vita, because late this afternoon we head off to an airport hotel at the Milan—Malpensa Airport. En route, we’ll stop in legendary Portofino for a light supper and a quick jaunt around town. This high-end fishing village is famous as a celebrity hotspot and yacht magnet. It mirrors the coastal beauty and charm of the Cinque Terre. After a fun exploration of Portofino and a two and a half hour drive north, get a comfortable night sleep before your travels tomorrow.

Meals Breakfast, Dinner

Thursday, October 5—Arrividerci

We’ll be at a hotel convenient to the Milan—Malpensa International Airport, so book your departure out of Milan and take the shuttle to the airport at your leisure. A train station is also available at the Milan Airport and Onward Travel can help organize transfers to other cities or airports. Get in touch and we’re happy to assist! Journey home with wonderful memories.

Meals Breakfast

  • $1,295 based on double occupancy.
  • Air travel is not included but Onward Travel is happy to assist. Please see the Itinerary PDF for additional information on coordinating your flight.
  • Contact Molly with questions at 267.825.5880 or molly@onwardtravel.co.