Caleb and I went to Italy a couple years ago for our honeymoon and one of the places we visited was the Cinque Terre. The Cinque Terre is a very special part of Italy located on the northwestern coast of the country. We had the best time visiting and can't wait to go back some day and spend a few days there just relaxing on the beach, drinking wine, and enjoying the views! I want to share with you though some of the wonderful places we did get a chance to visit while we were there in a little quick guide. For reference, Cinque Terre means "five villages," and the five villages are Riomaggoire, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.
There are a few options for getting to the Cinque Terre from other parts of Italy. You can take a bus, a train, or you can drive. Driving is not recommended as parking is very limited in the area.
The best major city to travel to the Cinque Terre from by bus or train is Florence. You can take the Italia Rail from Florence to Riomaggorie and it takes around 2 1/2 hours. If you prefer a guided tour and getting there by bus, you can book a day tour from Florence. We personally chose this day tour through Florence Tasting when we visited the Cinque Terre. It was priced at €110 per person and lasts about 12 hours.
There are 3 options for getting around to the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre which are by foot, by train, or by boat.
One of the most breath taking ways to see the Cinque Terre is by hiking through the area. The best way to do this is to hike along Trail #2, which is the Sentiero Azzuro or Blue Trail. The trail runs along the coast and it will take you around 6 hours to get from start to finish. You can start either in Monterosso and head south or you can start in Riomaggoire and head north. You can take your breaks from hiking while exploring each of the towns.
The easiest way to get from town to town is by train. The train stops in all 5 towns as well as a town called La Spezia, which is just outside of the Cinque Terre and is known as the main hub. This is where any trains you take from outside the area like Florence would stop for you if you are wanting to visit the Cinque Terre. La Spezia is about a 10 minute train ride to Riomaggoire and each of the other towns are only 5 minutes apart. It is recommended that you get a Cinque Terre Card for €10 for a day because it will get you unlimited rides on the line that goes to all 5 towns as well as access to the hiking trails and some museums. If you buy a 1 time train ticket for €1.80, make sure you validate your ticket at the station just before you get on the train. This shows that you're using the ticket for this ride and it wasn't previously used on a different ride. If you don't validate the ticket before you get on the train though, the conductor will charge you a lot of money to do it on the train.
The last way to get from town to town is by boat. There are a few different options, too, when it comes to getting around by boat. You can take a ferry, a boat tour from Manarola or Riomaggoire, or rent a private boat. You can catch the ferry from Monterosso and La Spezia and it will drop you off at every town except Corniglia.
Things to Do
The village of Riomaggoire is known for the beautiful colorful houses you always see in photos of the Cinque Terre. The best views of them are from Trail 531 and Trail 2. The town has some lovely shops and places to grab a bite to eat, as well. We recommend stopping in to Giammi Cafe and having a cappuccino and croissants first thing in the morning. This is also the best place to take a boat tour from!
This is the Cinque Terre's most romantic village. It's on top of a hill and has great views of the water. If you take a boat tour from Riomaggoire, you will be dropped off in Manarola. It is a wonderful experience that we highly recommend! We loved doing the boat tour and exploring this little village on our honeymoon. Our favorite part of this village was just relaxing up on a high cliff and watching the sea. Another cool stop to check out in this village is the Chiesa di San Lorenzo, which is a beautiful church.
Head over to the lookout called the Bar Terza Terra for some amazing views in Corniglia. This is also a great place to grab some drinks and food to relax with while enjoying the views of the sea. Another great place for some beautiful views is the Borgo Storico di Corniglia. Bring your walking shoes though because this is a hiking trail and will require some walking up and down hills.
My personal favorite village, Vernazza is where you can get in some amazing beach time. A great place to grab some lunch is Belforte and if you're up for some gelato (who isn't!?) stop by Gelateria Vernazza. For some history, you can check out the Castello Doria, which is a watchtower that use to belong to a much larger castle. It costs €1.50 to enter and climb the tower.
To view some fine art, tombs, and a beautiful church, visit the Church of San Francesco and Monastery. The church sits up on a hill, so it provides for some great views, too. It's a bit of a climb to get to, but the Monumento a San Francesco is worth it. It is a beautiful statue and once you get to it you'll be provided with a breathtaking panoramic view. Bring your swimsuit and towel with you to Monterosso, too, so you can relax at Spiaggia di Fegina. It is supposedly one of the 25 sexiest beaches in the world.
Where to Stay
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Hey there, friends! I hope you've been having a wonderful week. We've just been cuddled up at home, as usual! We had a nice quiet week though, just the 4 of us for the most part. We've gotten in lots of snuggles and are slowly catching up on sleep. Tuesday was extra nice because Kai and I took the "day off" and just snuggled all day long. We made what we call a couch fort where we push our couches together in our living room and we had a Harry Potter marathon. We munched on cookies and took a bunch of naps while we listened to the rain fall outside. It was the coziest most perfect day!
Caleb and I have started dreaming about our next trip to Walt Disney World and we've started thinking we are going to make it happen next spring for my birthday so we can go to the Flower and Garden Festival! Just the thought though inspired me to think up a fun Disney post for all of you! One of the things that many Disney goers have on their Disney bucket list is eating and drinking around the World Showcase at Epcot. If you've never done it before it might sound confusing and overwhelming or if you're not aware of this awesome Disney tradition let me fill you in! Epcot's World Showcase has 11 different pavilions that represent different countries all around the world. Each pavilion has different food and drinks that you can try. So a lot of Disney goers will make it a goal to go all the way around to each of the pavilions and try a food and drink item from each country! You will roughly spend around $150 per person if each person decides to get food and drinks at every pavilion. Personally, Caleb and I like to share because it's so much food! Here is our guide for helping you choose the best eats and drinks while you're there during a non-festival time. We personally like to go counterclockwise around the lake. (During Festival of the Arts, Flower and Garden, and Food and Wine there are special menus with additional countries you can visit...which I will go over in different posts in the future).
Food - Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, Signature Poutine
Drink - Labatt Blue
Rose & Crown Pub
Food - Fish and chips
Drinks - Pimm's Cup, Guinness
Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
Food - Macarons, Pain au chocolat
Drink - Champagne
Crepes de Chefs de France
Food - Chocolate crêpe
Drink - Café espresso
Spice Road Table
Food - Hummus fries, Three lamb sliders
Drinks - Pomegranate mimosa, Sangria, Andalusian Nights
Food - Spicy crunchy roll, Spicy calamari tempura
Drink - Sake
Fife & Drum Tavern
Food - The American Dream, Jumbo turkey leg
Drink - Not Your Father's Root Beer
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Food - Calamari Fritti, Margherita pizza, Cannolo Siciliano
Drinks - Via Napoli Sangria, Via Vesuvio
Food - Gelato cup
Drink - Prosecco
Food - Traditional Sausages
Drink - Schöfferhofer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen
Joy of Tea
Food - Pork egg roll
Drink - Tipsy Ducks in Love
Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe
Food - Viking Chocolate Mousse
Drink - Viking coffee
La Hacienda de San Angel
Food - Pork empanadas, Tacos de Camarones
Drink - Lime raspberry margarita, Rosita margarita
Caleb and I have "been around the world" the last two years and these are our favorite picks from both years! Good luck...and don't forget to drink water! ;) Cheers! Prost! Salute!
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Merry day after Christmas, everyone! I hope you all had a magical holiday yesterday! We had a wonderful weekend filled with family, Christ, cookies, and good food. It's still so hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that we will have one more family member with us next year to celebrate this special season! It's less than a month till my due date and while I know only about 5% of babies come on their actual due date, I can't help but keep a countdown. I'm just so excited to see our little one and start this journey with him!
Today I wanted to bring you some old content from This Boundless Journey. Our quick guides we're some of our most requested posts, so I plan on gradually moving them over here to Tiny Dapper Fox as well as creating ones for places that I never got around to with TBJ. I figured we would start out with one of our favorite places to visit in the whole world...wine country!
Wine Country or Sonoma County is a short hour and a half drive from the great city of San Francisco. It is recommended that you rent a car in San Francisco or Oakland (we love renting from Dollar) and driving out to Sonoma for anyone who does not live within driving distance of the area. If you must fly, you can fly in to San Francisco International or Oakland International. We prefer to drive around the area while we are there since there are so many different areas to explore and everything is very spread out in the countryside. However, you must be careful not to drink and drive, so you either have to have a DD, try a wine tour, or see if the hotel you are staying at offers bicycles that you can use to ride from winery to winery. But be careful while drinking and riding a bike, too!
As said above, Sonoma County is very large and spread out with many different regions. There are seventeen different regions to explore in Sonoma County that stretch inland all the way to the Pacific Coast, they are: Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Carneros - Sonoma, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Fort Ross - Seaview, Fountaingrove District, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Knights Valley, Moon Mountain, Northern Sonoma, Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, and Sonoma Valley. Each region or appellation offering different varieties of wine.
Best Wineries for Wine Tasting
Clos du Bois - 19410 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville (Alexander Valley)
Clos du Bois is our absolute favorite winery. This is the winery that truly made us fall in love with Sonoma. They have a small and intimate tasting room with well-educated wine pourers who are incredibly genuine and love what they do. We recommend not passing up a chance to try their Cabernet Franc and purchase a bottle if available. Their premier wine tasting offers 6 wines for $15 per person. They do take reservations for tastings on their website.
Francis Ford Coppola - 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville (Alexander Valley)
The famous director of The Godfather owns two wineries in Northern California. One in Napa Valley, and the other in Geyserville (Sonoma County). The one located in Geyserville is the home to all of the movie paraphernalia and can't be missed if you're in the area! The property is gorgeous and hosts a large pool where guests can rent cabanas for the day to relax and enjoy their wine. The wine is of course wonderful and their first flight tasting runs at $25 per person for 4 limited production wines. They also offer a Sonoma inclusive tasting that runs at $18 per person and includes 4 of their wines and they offer a complimentary Rosso & Bianco Tasting every day that has 2 wines. If you wish to take advantage of the pool on the property, then you will be required to make a reservation on their website. It is recommended that you make these reservations as far in advance as possible as the days sell out very quickly.
Ledson Winery and Vineyards - 7335 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood (Sonoma Mountain)
We like to call this winery "The Castle." This gorgeous property is located on Sonoma Highway (Hwy 12) and is one of the first wineries you will come across on your way to downtown Sonoma from Santa Rosa via Hwy 12. The property is very impressive with its large estate right up against the mountain. Their wine tasting includes 5 exclusive estate wines for $20-$30 per person. There are multiple tasting rooms so they are never short on space to accommodate you.
Kunde Family Winery - 9825 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood (Sonoma Mountain)
This winery stands out thanks to their incredible property being right up against the mountain (similar to Ledson) but this winery offers tastings atop the mountain! At Kunde, you can opt for their mountain top tasting for $50 per person and enjoy some incredible views. If you don't feel like being so high up you can indulge in their estate wine in their main tasting room for $15 per person or on their patio with a cheese pairing for $30 per person.
Where to Eat
Hank's Creekside - 2800 4th St, Santa Rosa
Situated right up against the Santa Rosa Creek in Santa Rosa, this quaint diner serves the best breakfast in town. We recommend the Eggs Benedict or the Cornbeef Hash with a cup of coffee.
Omelette Express - 112 4th St, Santa Rosa
Looking for a huge delicious breakfast to get you through the day? Then Omelette Express is the stop for you. These huge omelettes come with pretty much any ingredients you wish for and leaving you feeling happy and full, ready to take on the day of wine tasting.
Cafe Citti - 9049 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood
This delicious Italian restaurant is the perfect spot to hit for lunch while wine tasting along Sonoma Hwy. Grab a seat on their patio and enjoy the sunshine and views while having a pasta dish with their pesto sauce. It is the best around.
El Molino Central - 11 Central Ave, Sonoma
This is a must not miss spot while in Sonoma. This Mexican restaurant is located near downtown Sonoma and is a great pick for taking a break from all the shopping and wine tasting while in Sonoma. Their enchiladas are some of the best we've ever had!
Tex Wasabi's - 515 4th St, Santa Rosa
Have you ever tried BBQ Sushi? Well now's your chance! This fun take on sushi is great for dinner and located right in downtown Santa Rosa. Grab a bite to eat and continue your fun night out right in the heart of it all with more drinks in the Historic Railroad Square.
Shogun Japanese Restaurant - 1531 Farmers Ln, Santa Rosa
Be prepared to have the best sushi of your life at Shogun! This friendly family owned restaurant is our absolute favorite in the area. Caleb has been going here since he was a kid and the quality is still there today. We recommend any sushi roll, a bento box, and the lemon chicken. You'll be leaving with a very happy stomach.
Chocolate Cow - 452 1st St. E, Sonoma
Ice cream, chocolates, sweets...they're got it all at the Chocolate cow. Our favorite stop in downtown Sonoma for a sweet treat. Their old fashioned ice cream is incredible and don't skip out on getting a few truffles to share in Sonoma Plaza just across the street.
Michelle Marie's Patisserie - 2404 Magowan Dr, Santa Rosa
The best bakery in town is by far Michelle Marie's. Located in Montgomery Village, you can grab some pastries and do some shopping. Don't miss the macarons or the eclairs, they are some of the best you will ever have.
Where to Stay
Hotel La Rose - 308 Wilson St, Santa Rosa
This historic hotel is located in downtown Santa Rosa, which is very convenient for getting to the best restaurants and wineries in the area. It is walking distance from many great spots in Santa Rosa and you can easily hop on the highway to get to all the other regions for wine tasting in Sonoma County. The hotel is split into two parts, the main building and the carriage house. The carriage house has a relaxing courtyard and all the rooms have balconies/patios, making them all dog friendly. The rooms are all decently sized and offer WIFI and cable TV. The hotel also serves a continental breakfast daily.
Things to Do (Besides Wine Tasting)
Hike in Armstrong Woods - 17000 Armstrong Woods Rd, Guerneville
Armstrong Woods is one of the best places to see the redwood trees up close. The woods have many trails for hikers to enjoy the impressive nature of the area. Make sure you wear proper clothing and shoes for hiking and drink plenty of water. Entrance to the woods is free.
Shop in Historic Railroad Square/Montgomery Village
Both areas are located in Santa Rosa. Railroad Square offers many independently owned shops and boutiques to find one of a kind treasures. You'll find some favorite well known shops in Montgomery Village that should never be missed.
Visit Bodega Bay
Take a drive out to the coast and visit the town of Bodega. It is a cute and quiet fishing village that has a beautiful view of the ocean and cliffs at the beach. You can climb the cliffs and enjoy the whales migrating or you can head inland and see where Alfred Hitchcock filmed his famous movie, The Birds.
Have you been to Sonoma County before? If so, what is your favorite winery in the area? Hope you all have a great week ahead...cheers and stay warm!
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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