Vernazza, Porto Venere, and a Big Surprise!

After spending 2 nights in Manarola, our last night will be at Vernazza; I split the 3 nights among those two villages because of the beautiful night photos that I have seen and I couldn’t decide which one to stay at so why not both! One downside of switching hotel is that check out usually by noon but check in is not until at least 2 pm…that brings a big question….where should we spend those time in between? Last night, we were looking at Google Map..should we go to Portofino? Levanto? And lastly, we decided to Porto Venere, a lesser known village but beautiful from photos. The first ferry from Manarola to Porto Venere was at 11:00 am so we had plenty of time to get more sleep. After breakfast, we checked out and stored our luggage in our Manarola hotel, one great thing about hotel vs an apartment. Then, we walked up past the train station tunnel to the other section of Manarola to check it out. A few souvenir stores there, not much…

We saw tourists dragging their luggage down the street, I imagined it would hard to locate the hotel over this side of the village! Ohhh did I forgot to mention that there were no street names?

One of the house’s front yard….for wine making?

And there is the church in Manarola….each village has at least one church!

And great views from up here!

We went in to take a peek 🙂

We walked back down to the marina to purchase the tickets, we took the back street this time with stairs faster to get down!

The locals were up and starting their day!

One last view of Manarola from the picture perfect spot! I just couldn’t get enough of it!

The roundtrip ferry ticket to Porto Venere was 28 euros each.

The boat came and we headed upstairs for better views, we had a stop at Riomaggiore to pick up more tourists and off we go!

In 45 minutes, we arrived Porto Venere, the first we saw was the castle! Get your camera ready, this is probably the best view of the castle!

And many many yachts! Who said Porto Venere is lesser known? At least for local Italians, it’s their popular summer vacation spot!

One thing that Porto Venere really stands out is their very narrow colorful buildings all attached together. I was thinking wouldn’t the house layout be weird in such long and narrow spaces?

It’s absolutely beautiful! WOW!

We were so glad we picked Porto Venere, it is more beautiful than picture!

We spent quite some time from the time we got off the boat and on the way to those narrow buildings where shops and restaurants located taking photos….I totally forgot that I was starving..it was 11:55 already! We walked around and checked out some menus before deciding on where to eat. Some restaurants were very cute and unique looking!

We walked to the back street; there were two main and long streets on this side of the old town/village, one next to the water and another one on top of the stairs!

We walked back down to the street next to the water; there are more restaurants there!

We picked Elettra and a table with the sea view 🙂

We ordered the seafood spaghetti of course! It was not the best but pretty good, we ordered two orders!

And cocktail shrimps, it was different than our cocktail shrimps….it was more creamy by the mayo.

Hubby ordered a dish of snails to try it out, I didn’t try but he said they were good!

Our lunch with wonderful sea view was 39 euros not too bad to be at the waterfront!

After lunch, we walked around the village and took enormous amount of photos haha! There was the restaurant Elettra!

There is a deck with tons of ladies out there sunbathing!

We made our way up to the church and castle!

On the side of the castle, a lot of people sunbathing on the rocks too!

 

Looking closely, the wall was created by stacking rocks.

The “window”

Continued on to the church!

We went inside, it is as nice as it’s from the exterior! I really liked the grey and white strips!

The view of the port from up here; it’s quite busy!

A very different view of Porto Venere!

It was quite hot without any shade up here! We walked back down to the main street on the back and did some souvenir shopping! We bought a miniature of the tall and narrow houses and was reasonably priced! Then, we walked along the sidewalk surrounding the village. It was around 2 pm and the angle of sun gave the colorful houses a warmer tone. I preferred the colors before noon time more though!

The water is very clear!

A short stretch of beach:

Porto Venere has a great atmosphere and less crowded than Cinque Terre….probably because it’s bigger. We had gelato while waiting for the next ferry back to Cinque Terre at 3:00 PM. Riomaggiore again 🙂

We got back to Manarola at 3:40 PM and picked up our luggage then took the next train to Vernazza. There’s luggage storage at Vernazza train station!

We walked out of the train station followed the direction into the village and made a left turn at the Pharmacy according to the direction that the apartment owner sent to us. Then, we were clueless if we should turn left or right and it has many flights of stairs upward. At this point, hubby regretted that he let me book a “room with a view” LOL. There was this local guy who was hanging out at the cafe and saw my poor hubby having a hard time lugging two pieces of huge luggage. He offered to help and asked the locals the direction to Affittacamere Elisabetta, our room. He even carried one of the luggage up many flights of stairs, such a nice guy!!! Local Italians are so friendly! (After the trip, hubby told all our family and relatives that if not that guy, he probably will faint before making the way up there!). After many flights of stairs, we finally reached the house and the owner was napping on the deck on the 2nd floor LOL. He greeted us, showed us the room, another three flights of stair to get to the top, poor hubby!

Up those stairs was our room!!!

The room was a lot smaller than I thought! A table on the hallway:

The hallway, that’s the door to the bathroom, you can barely lug two luggage on that narrow hallway!

Small bathroom!

Continued into the hallway to the room…

Our tiny room….a small table with the fan…yikes no AC!

The look not so comfortable bed:

The view of the sea from our room window:

The room can barely fit our two luggage so had to put one in the hallway!

Now I really missed our cosy and comfortable room in Manarola 😦 We walked up those stairs to the rooftop:

The view from the rooftop…wow..is it worth it?

I got sold by this view that was why I picked this room:

After some rest, we walked down to the village, there is a hole that has a caution sign to not enter but we saw people walk through it anyways! We were wondering if this is the way to the sea that we saw from our room window:

Walked down the village to the “marina”, there is a small beach and a nice church as backdrop!

Many colorful boats docked there!

And locals and tourists sunbathing on the marina:

And even cliff jumping!

This is Vernazza, it’s so beautiful, I think it’s my favorite of the 5 villages!

We were trying to figure out the postcard perfect spot for night photos, I searched online and found out that the spot is in the trail to Monterosso. We walked around the church and just few houses down the church, we saw the sign pointing to Monterosso!

But wait before the “hike”, we went to the nearest convenient store and bought a bottle of water…unfortunately we grabbed the carbonated water blah!

Those no-ending stairs LOL!

Within a minute or two after the stairs, we could see the beautiful village already!

Continued on the trail…..every few steps, we turned and see the view! It started to look like the postcard picture!

Not quite there yet…continued on! More stairs:

And then through a dirt path where it smelled like pig ewww…

After 10 minutes or so, we were there! That is the spot!!!!!!! Vernazza wow, you are astonishing!

 

 

Time to walk down for our dinner!

Walking down is always so much easier than walking up!

In no time, we were down in the village again!

I reserved a table at Belforte, a very famous restaurant, at 7 PM months before the trip. We still have time so we went to the mini market to stock up on drinks and breakfast items for tomorrow morning. We took those flights of stairs up to our room; we got more exercise walking up to our room than hiking!

Our drinks and yogurts can barely fit into the mini fridge in our room..it was the smallest fridge I ever seen!

While hubby was catching his breathe in the room, I walked up to the roof top again for the view…the sun is setting…so nice!

The tower that stick up in the middle of the photo, it’s the “castle” where Belforte Restaurant is located!

When almost time, we headed down to the village and walked up to Belforte. A lot of people got turned down because they didn’t have reservation; I was so glad I did hahahaha! Every table was reserved wow the food must be good!

Inside Belforte:

Our table facing the sea:

And had a view of people jumping cliff 🙂

Hubby ordered the famous Cinque Terre anchovies cooked in 4-5 different ways:

I only like the fried ones……there were ones that were super sour!

The steamed mussels cooked perfectly, now that’s quality!

That’s the most romantic table where the umbrella is but you have to be the first one to reserve when they start to accept reservation!

I was craving for rice and ordered the seafood curry rice, it was delicious!

Hubby also ordered the seafood “soup” OMG it was the best we ever had in Cinque Terre! It’s so flavorful and cooked perfectly!

Hubby said if he knew the dishes were that delicious, he would order more to try more out! Too bad we only had one night in Vernazza or else we’ll come here for every meal!!! It’s expensive though total 94 euros but totally worth it…the quality of the ingredient and the preparation…PERFECTO!!!

We had to hurry to get our bill and then ran up for the blue hour! There was another photographer there for the blue hour!

Amazing!!!

We really like Cinque Terre; it’s beautiful, friendly people, not crowded, and delicious food! After the night photos of Vernazza, we walked down the trail and important to carry a flash light, it was dark! By the time we got down, it was peak dinner time haha!

The village at night….love the atmosphere!

We will be taking the 7:32 AM train to Milan the next day so we walked back up to our room to pack and rest.

Vernazza at night from our roof top:

The right side is the Vernazza train station platform:

Good night Vernazza, I only had half a day here but it has become my favorite Cinque Terre village!

No AC but thankfully the wind cooled down our room. When we were in the bed and chit-chatting before falling asleep, I saw many stars out the window. I looked up and saw a “cloud” of stars and I got excited..could that be the Milky Way? I took out my phone and use the star app to locate the Milky Way…that’s the direction! I dig out the tripod that I have already packed in the luggage and my camera, set, click, and view….I couldn’t believe it…I have been hunting for the Milky Way for many times and never have the luck…I finally get to meet the Milky Way unexpectedly, unplanned, and at Vernazza, Cinque Terre!!!!

I was screamed at my husband that there’s the Milky Way! I put on my jacket (I was wearing my pajamas), grabbed the tripod and the camera, and walked up to the rooftop for more photos!

It was such an amazing way to conclude our trip! Thank you Milky Way, thank you Cinque Terre, and thank you hubby! I know you must be exhausted after lugging the luggage up here and now in the middle of the night to stargazing with me!

The next morning, we woke up after sunrise and my last view from the roof top: morning in Vernazza!

A panorama from our rooftop, absolutely awesome! I ran out of words to describe how beautiful it truly is!

Our rooftop:

Goodbye Cinque Terre, you are very unforgettable, I will be back!

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6 thoughts on “Vernazza, Porto Venere, and a Big Surprise!

  1. Such a beautiful place! This was an awesome trip report! Cannot wait for the next one. Must go eat now, your report has made me starving!!!!!

  2. The cover girl of Cinque Terre! It is my most favorite too. We were there few years ago for 3 nights and I want more! Belforte was awesome, isn’t it? Love all your postcard pics😀

  3. Beautiful photos! it looks like an amazing place! What dates were you there? was the temperature too hot or comfortable? And was it a good time for flowers to be blooming? I think I saw some purple bougainvillea’s in peak bloom? I think those pops of colour really add to the scenery of a photo 🙂 so I really want to plan my trip when this happens. Have you visited the Amalfi Coast before?
    Kind regards, Sienna

    • We were there from July 9-11th, temperature was great: no rain and not too hot. Most of the flowers were in bloom so yes they added colors. I am not sure if those are the bougainvillea’s, I thought those usually bloom later in the summer? I have not visit the Amalfi Coast…some day hopefully soon 🙂

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