Last autumn, my family visited Cinque Terre (staying in Manarola) after learning about it on your web page. I wrote some notes (a few months ago!) but I forgot to send them to you. Now that I have remembered, I am enclosing them below so that you may enhance your pages if desired. Hopefully it will be helpful to future travelers, especially if they take a small child like ours.
5 Terre notes:
– Train stations: Corniglia is way uphill from the train. May be unpleasant to carry bags up about 375 stairs. There were lots more cars than expected in Corniglia. The train is close to Manarola’s “center” (with hostel and some hotels uphill from there).
– Laundromat: one in La Spezia (close to Riomaggiore). I also saw one in Monterosso (up the main street from the children’s’ playground). I didn’t try that. If you do your own hand clothes washing, it’s great to dry your clothes on a clothesline (makeshift or often provided). It’s nice and windy, so the clothes dry quickly.
– The locals are surprisingly friendly; they don’t seem to mind all the tourists.
– Traveling with a baby/toddler: A stroller won’t get you far in Cinque Terre. You’re much better off with an alternative like a backpack or a sling. We did the easy Riomaggiore to Manarola and the Manarola to Corniglia hikes without much trouble. It’s best to go at naptime because the kids might get bored and they really don’t care about the scenery. We found a children’s playground in Monterosso (at the historical center) and Manarola (just at the start of the trail to Corniglia, further out on the bluffs).
– Weather: If it has rained in the last couple of days, hiking may be hard. On our trip, the trails were officially closed, even though everybody went on them anyhow.
The hike from Manarola to Corniglia just had a couple of mud puddles in the trail. Other routes may be trickier! If the weather in the area is bad and you can delay
your visit to Cinque Terre, that may be a good idea.
– Food: Tratoria da Billy (up hill in Manarola) was good. A small 3-story restaurant, they make effective use of a dumbwaiter. There are good opportunities for cheap eats (pizza, foccacia, and produce in the stores) around the towns as well.
My overall description of 5t: Vertical towns. Expect a cardiovascular workout; this is not a town for people who spend all their time in a car or on the sofa.
Thanks for your great web site!