Cinque Terre

My favorite place to visit in Italy is Cinque Terre. Made up of five towns on the water, Cinque Terre is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing beach day. It’s an easy two hour train ride from Florence, and you can even stop in Pisa on the way to check out the leaning tower!

When you arrive, I recommend starting with the furthest town, Monterosso. This town provides the perfect beach experience, with calm waves and a relaxing atmosphere. If you’re planning to stay for a while, check out Colpi di Timone, where you can buy daiquiris and piña coladas by the bucket (a small bucket, of course). My friends and I pack snacks and relax on the beach in this town for most of the day as a way of getting out of the city for a bit.

Next, I recommend the town of Vernazza. This is less of a beach and more of a bay, but it’s beautiful! There’s a to-go restaurant that sells a variety of fried seafood, and it’s the freshest money can buy. This is a smaller town, so it’s the perfect place to stop for a beautiful view and delicious snack.

Finally, you absolutely have to visit the town of Riomaggiore. You’ve probably seen pictures of this place and never even noticed! Along the water, there are houses of all different colors that make for the perfect picture. Here, you can climb on the rocks to get a closer view of the ocean, or just relax at a restaurant and enjoy the view. This is my favorite town to grab dinner and watch the sunset, ending the perfect day.

While there are more beautiful towns included in Cinque Terre, committing to all of them in one day is a lot. After multiple visits myself, I would consider these three to be the best combination if you are limited to one day in Cinque Terre. You could easily see all of them and make it home for dinner, but you would be shorting yourself of a really great experience and the ultimate relaxing day.