Hi loves! If you follow me on Instagram, you might have saw that I was recently on vacation in Europe with my sister, Melonie. Honestly, the trip was absolutely incredible for so many reasons and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to travel with her. Side note too: I’m giving my sister all the credit for planning the trip; down to the locations, booking the train tickets, and were we stayed – she nailed it. The first location of our adventures started in Italy – a dream really.
I did fly alone to Europe to meet Melonie in Florence, Italy because she was already traveling in Europe for the week prior. This was my first time flying alone and let me tell you it was an experience (let me know if you want a story time post/tips on traveling alone). Unfortunately I only had the night in Florence because Mel and I had a train booked for Cinque Terre the next morning. No complaints though! As soon as I met up with her in Florence, we got dinner at this quaint spot right near her place, right along the charming cobblestone street. You can bet I devoured a dish of authentic pasta. I was literally the happiest girl in the world.
The next day, we traveled to Cinque Terre and this coastal region is seriously a place everyone should visit. Of the five villages, we stayed in Riomaggiore and the view was unbelievable, those famous photos you see of the colorful houses that are built right on the coast? Yep, those are most likely photographed here. I couldn’t believe how beautiful and charming every detail of this place was. Just look at the photos below – like how can a place be so cute??
The water was so blue, the houses were so colorful, there were hydrangeas everywhere – I was truly walking around in la la land. The last time I was in Europe, I felt euphoric for the entire trip but this time, walking around in this village, it was like I was in a dream.
For a late lunch the first day we came here, we got bruschetta and a prosciutto, gruyère cheese and mushroom sandwich. Oh and the restaurant where we ate was right on the cliff overlooking the sea – like can this get more visionary I don’t think so.
Holla it was vacation which means two desserts in one day is completely justifiable/expected. I. was. living. So, as one sweets-lover does, I got a nutella crepe for Mel and I to split.
Our next and final day in Cinque Terre, we mostly spent visiting the four other villages – Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. Of the five villages, my favorites were definitely where we stayed, Riomaggiore, and Manarola. These had the most local, authentic atmosphere of them all without an overwhelming tourist-y feel. I highly recommend staying at one of these locations.
The only village that isn’t directly on the coast is Corniglia and we had to hike up so many stairs that it wouldn’t be worth staying there – it was obviously still cute but definitely not the most ideal compared to the other villages. Monterosso is the only village that has a sand beach which was absolutely gorgeous but at the same time, did bring in the most tourists because of it.
For the rest of our time, we spent relaxing in our own village. I felt so safe and comfortable here that it was already starting to feel like home. Especially after so much exploring, I was starting to feel like a local. There’s something really special about getting a feeling like you belong in a place, especially when you’re anywhere but home.
The above picture encompasses what dreams are made of. For our last dinner in Riomaggiore, Mel and I went to this restaurant called Trattoria La Lampara. We got a prosciutto pizza and seafood pasta dish with mussels and shrimp. This meal was hands down one of the best meals I have ever eaten in my entire life – it was life-changing. Especially the pizza…I was in complete heaven.
If and when you get the chance to travel to Europe, please go to Italy. You definitely won’t be disappointed and you’ll most likely fall in love with it. The Cinque Terre is nothing like I’ve ever seen or experienced before and it was an incredible place to visit.
I also highly recommend staying at the exact AirBnB we did. It was right in the center of Riomaggiore and was exactly what we needed for our stay. The host, Andrea, was super helpful in giving us all the details about where to eat, train ticket info, and places to see.
Traveling with my sister couldn’t have made the trip better. From experience, if you’re traveling with friends, definitely be selective with who you decide to go with. It can really make or break the experience. It’s one thing being friends or acquaintances with someone, but when you travel together, you see every side of them. This isn’t a bad thing but just know that there are only a few people you’ll find you can actually go on a week+ vacation with. Traveling can get stressful at times so it’s good to have solid travel buddies with you.
The rest of our European adventure consisted of exploring Switzerland and France! Stay tuned for those blog posts this week!