When I planned my trip to Europe, the Cinque Terre was one of the places I looked forward to visiting most. I would be going in April, during off-season, and really looked forward to encountering this place I had heard so much about.
On my travels, nature is what speaks to me the most and I had a vision of submerging myself in the energy of this beautiful place. I envisioned a sleepy Italian fishing village that would be similar to what I had experienced in Trapani. Unfortunately, for me, the Cinque Terre turned out to be the worst place I had ever visited. Here’s why:
1. Herds of People
Even though, this was supposed to be the off-season, there were herds of people everywhere. To walk the few steps from the train to any village, would take at least twenty minutes. The crowds weren’t just around when getting off the train, though. They were everywhere. Along the back streets, on the beaches, in the restaurants. One day, I was relieved to find a park bench overlooking a gorgeous view, and there was only one other person around. She happened to be a tour guide, and she, too, was lamenting at the number of people around. But, she warned me, it got much busier in high season, and she told me I was lucky to be visiting when I was. I had to stand in line to take almost every photo that I took there, and never felt like I was in an authentic Italian town. Instead, it felt like a cleaned up, Disneyfied version. This was not the Italy I had come to know and love.
2. Mediocre Food
After spending almost a month eating my way through Sicily and Sardinia, I was completely disappointed in the touristy food that was being served in most of the restaurants of the Cinque Terre. I tried to find restaurants in the Cinque Terre that catered more to the locals than the tourists, but when I did, there still seemed to be a complete lack of attention to the preparation of the food.
3. Everything Was Overpriced
Compared to other parts of Italy I visited, everything was overpriced. The food was more expensive. (A restaurant meal ranged between $25-45 per person!) The hotel rooms were pricey with budget hotels starting at $85 USD a night. (There were hostels, but even those were more expensive than normal.) I guess your paying for the view, but to me, it wasn’t worth the price.
4. Drunk-Ass Buckets And Bucket Lists
The Cinque Terre has become so popular that many people are coming (in droves) to cross it off their bucket list. They have no desire to submerge themselves in the true culture of Italy.
Many of them are there on day trips just to see the pretty views, so they can check it off their list. What’s even more strange, is that many of them spend their days in the bars, drinking the “drunk-ass” buckets and miss the beauty that is surrounding them. One Sunday, the only place open for breakfast at 7am was the wine bar. There were already people inside drinking wine flights that early in the morning! I guess I’ll never understand people who spend thousands of dollars to visit a place, and then dull their senses to it when they arrive.
5. There Are No Secret Trails Left