I FIND THAT the best trips are those with a good “home base” – a place you can quickly run to if you want to freshen up, change shoes, or grab a scarf when the night air gets nippy. I’ve always enjoyed visiting Paris, London, and other large cities, but I’m a homebody at heart and love vacation destinations that really make one feel just that way: at home! For me, that is what defines a true, relaxing vacation – even if it makes me sound 40 years older and retired for saying so. ;)
All of that said, it’s no wonder why I think Cinque Terre is the perfect vacation destination. The region is a collection of five very small towns built into terraced hillsides on the Ligurian Sea, and aside from the delicious local cuisine (fresh seafood, and regional specialties like foccacia and sweet Sciacchetrà wine) the views are stunning and the locals are friendly, proud, and ready to show you a good time. Our home base was in the colorful village of Vernazza – a true fishing village with a very photogenic harbor, and one of the northernmost villages of the group. Christoph and I used Airbnb to locate a cozy apartment near the coast, and we loved living next door to local residents and the seaside. The village itself has only about 1,000 residents, so it doesn’t take more than ten minutes to walk anywhere you’d like, but the hiking paths leading to the other four Cinque Terre jewels will keep you busy (and fit!) and present you with some of the most gorgeous vistas in the world. Don’t believe me? See for yourself!