Sunday, August 12, 2012

Riomaggiore - 5 Ways to Save in Cinque Terre

We stayed in the southernmost town, Riomaggiore.  Apparently this means “big river,” but I saw no rivers, just beautiful scenery.

Even the sun looks happy here!
The “beach” is made of rocks there.
A little hard to walk on, but perfect for sunning!
Oh, so you are probably wondering why this town, and the others in Cinque Terre are so “economical,” seeing as how I promised you how to save money.  I have “cinque” reasons the Cinque Terre is more fun the less money you spend.
1. We bought wine for about $5.  In the convenience store.  And I’m not talking Barefoot or Ecco Domani, I’m talking Cinque Terre regional wine.  We drank it… a lot.
Totally aware of my drinking problem, you don't need to tell me!
You can even drink at a restaurant for next to nothing.  You can see this bill at a bar in Riomaggiore totals €3.50 for a carafe of wine.

I'd like to say we stopped after this drink, but we don't have that much self-control.

That was about two glasses each.

Total Cost: As little as €3.50 for four glasses of wine ($3.86)

2. The primary form of transportation in Cinque Terre is hiking.
This trail starts in Riomaggiore and runs to the next town in the Cinque Terre, called Manorola.  It’s called the Via dell’Amore, or the walk of lovers (as you might have been able to tell from the accordian music).  Want to know why it’s named for lovers?  Click here

We bought into the story, as I mostly do, and wrote our names on the ceiling, amongst all the other graffiti.
A lady wanted to take our picture to show her daughter-in-law.
Sorry, daughter-in-law, for any angst that may have caused!
Anyhoo, this particular walk is 20 minutes, on flat terrain, full of breathtaking views.  It’s not free, but for €5 a day (€8/day if you buy with someone else), you can get hours upon hours of entertainment. 

If you’re feeling even more ambitious, trails connect all of the towns, most of them easily accessible with the Cinque Terre Park Card (for more info on costs for the card and discounted rates for families, click here.

Warning: some of the walks are pretty challenging, as was the one from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza, see the proof below.
You can't tell from the picture, but I'm about to
have a heart attack.  At least I could keep the
camera steady in a time like that.
And, if you are a super hiker, like we thought we were, you can hike for free around the Cinque Terre.  Free, it has a nice ring to it.  We embarked on what was supposed to be a five hour hike from Riomaggiore to Portovenere.
Just make sure you follow the correct trail, which is clearly marked.  Since my husband has hiked the Appalachian Trail, I led him take the lead and here is where we ended up.

Probably don't listen to someone who drank three bottles of
wine the night before.
That’s Riomaggiore.  That’s where we started about one hour earlier.  Oops. 

Total Cost: €8 for two people for one day, about $9.89

Best Deal: Hiking a trail not inside the park for free

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