Riomaggiore is a small village located in the province of La Spezia, in the region of Liguria, Italy. It is one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is known for its stunning beauty and rugged coastline. The village is built into the cliffs, and its colourful houses are stacked on top of each other, cascading down towards the sea. This charming and picturesque village offers something for everyone. Its combination of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and local cuisine make it a must-visit destination for your next trip to La Spezia. So here is a guide to things to do while you are at Riomaggiore.
Things to do in Riomaggiore
If you’re visiting this charming town soon, here are the top things to do in Riomaggiore during your time there:
Castello di Riomaggiore
The Castello di Riomaggiore was built in the 13th century, and it was originally used as a defensive structure to protect the village from attacks by pirates and other invaders. It was later renovated and converted into a residence for the local noble families. Today, the castle is open to the public, and you can explore its well-preserved rooms and halls, which contain exhibits and displays about the history of the castle and the village.
The castle also has a beautiful garden with a terrace that offers breathtaking views of the sea and the surrounding countryside. And if you love to spend time in the heart of nature, you can explore the hiking trails and picnic areas, which are great places to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Cinque Terre.
Sanctuary of Montenero
The Sanctuary of Montenero, also known as The Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero is located on a hill overlooking the town of Montenero and the Mediterranean Sea. The sanctuary is known for its beautiful architecture and its stunning views of the surrounding area. Even if you don’t get to go inside the sanctuary, the hike up to it and the view from the cliff top is more than enough to satisfy your wanderlust.
The view of the sea and the surrounding vineyards is just mesmerising and is worth the one-and-a-half hour of hiking to the top. The combination of religious and cultural significance, beautiful architecture, and natural beauty will make it a unique and memorable experience for you.
San Giovanni Battista
The Church of San Giovanni Battista, also known as the Church of Saint John the Baptist, was built in the 13th century, and it is a great example of mediaeval architecture. A popular tourist attraction in Riomaggiore, it is known for its beautiful frescoes, ornate altars, and other artistic details. You can explore and admire all of its architectural details and experience history through the different changes that the church has gone through over the centuries.
You can also climb up the church’s bell tower to get an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding countryside and the villages.
Discover the old town
If you want to have an authentic Riomaggiore experience, then you have to explore the old town. It is just so charming and a picturesque area that is full of narrow streets, colourful houses, and quaint shops and restaurants. The main street, Via Colombo, is the heart of the old town, and it is lined with local vendors.
The best way to explore the old town is on foot, and as you do so, you may find some hidden corners and alleys waiting there to be discovered just by you. You can wander through the winding streets, stop at a local café for a coffee or a snack, or browse the shops and markets where you can get a souvenir to remember this place.
Watch the sunsets and viewpoints.
Catching a sunset while at Riomaggiore is one of the most beautiful experiences that you can have while in this village. One of the most recommended spots to catch the sunset is the terrace of the Castello di Riomaggiore, which is located on top of a hill overlooking the ocean. You get a picturesque panoramic view of the ocean and watch the sky turn coral as the sun sets.
Another great place to experience the sunset is in the garden of the Sanctuary of Montenero, which gives you an astounding view of the sunset. After a long day of exploration, you can just get some drinks and snacks and get to any of these places to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful sight of the sun setting on the ocean. You can also stroll along the harbour of the village to get some amazing photographs of the sunset with the colourful houses in the frame.
The Via Beccara starts in Riomaggiore and ends at the start of the Via dell’Amore, it’s a relatively easy hike, and it takes about 30 minutes to walk from one village to the other. The walkway is well-maintained and has handrails and steps, making it accessible to most people, so you don’t have to worry about overstressing while on this beautiful walkway. You can simply walk at your own pace and take a break at any of the gazebos and benches that line up the walkway and enjoy breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding countryside.
The Walk of Love, also known as the Via dell’Amore, is another scenic walkway that connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola. Well, it’s called the walk of love; hence it does attract a lot of couples, especially newlyweds and honeymooners; it is a great place for you to take your loved one and maybe enjoy a scenic meal by the seaside at any of the restaurants and cafes that you will find along the walkway. It is currently closed and is said to reopen in the near future, so if you plan to explore this walk of love, you might have to wait until it reopens.
Go Snorkelling or Scuba Diving
One of the best water activities to do while visiting Riomaggiore is going scuba diving or snorkelling. There are several spots along the coast near Riomaggiore where you can take part in snorkelling or scuba diving excursions with an experienced guide. These excursions also include all the necessary gear needed, so you don’t need to carry your own snorkel from home.
While snorkelling, you can expect to see a variety of colourful fish, as well as other marine life, such as octopuses, crabs, and sea urchins. The crystal clear waters make it easy to see everything in great detail. Scuba diving allows you to dive deeper and explore more of the underwater world, including shipwrecks and other hidden treasures. Snorkelling and scuba diving in Riomaggiore are great activities for both experienced divers and beginners. Whether you are looking for a relaxing way to spend the day or an exciting adventure, these activities offer something for everyone.
Get in some beach time at Pebble Beach.
Enjoying time by the beach is another fun water-related activity that you can do while visiting Riomaggiore. Some of the best beaches to spend time at are the pebble beaches, just a short walk from the centre of the village. A lovely spot for a day of sunbathing and admiring the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea. The beaches are surrounded by towering cliffs, providing a stunning backdrop as you soak up the sun on the smooth pebbles, but there are rocks in and around the water, making it very dangerous to swim in.
The Mediterranean’s crystal-clear waters make for excellent swimming, and some of the beaches are really nice for a fun little dip. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, you can also enjoy beach activities such as beach volleyball and frisbee or simply stroll along the shoreline and take in the breathtaking views. If you get hungry, there are several beachside cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat or a refreshing drink.
A boat trip in Riomaggiore
Whether you are looking for a relaxing day on the water or an exciting adventure, there is a boat trip in Riomaggiore that is sure to fit your needs. On a boat trip, you can expect to see breathtaking views of the rocky cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and charming villages that make the Cinque Terre region so famous.
You may also have the opportunity to spot dolphins, seals, and other marine life as you cruise along the coast. In addition to the stunning natural beauty, many boat trips also offer an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the region with guided tours and information about the local landmarks and traditions. The combination of stunning scenery and rich history make it an unforgettable way to explore this beautiful corner of Italy.
Food to Try in Riomaggiore
During your time in Riomaggiore, here are some restaurants and some local dishes to try:
For a nice Lunch or Dinner
Having a nice lunch or dinner in Riomaggiore is pretty easy as you will find some amazing places to explore and choose from before you sit down to enjoy the delicious, freshly cooked food that they serve you. Some of the places that you can go around exploring and choose from are the Ristorante Il Grottino, Vecio Muin, Ristorante La Lampara, Trattoria La Grotta, Enoteca Dau Cila, Ristorante Borgo Di Campi and such. You will find delicious home-cooked food to enjoy in an outdoor sitting area with a view of the ocean; what else would you ask for during a meal?
Sliced Pizza and Focaccia
For a more casual dining experience, you can try a bar or a Pizzeria that serves pizzas made with locally sourced ingredients. You can enjoy the deliciousness of the pizza with a drink to complement it in a very laid-back and relaxed atmosphere surrounded by people out to enjoy with their friends and family. Some of the bars and pizzerias that you can explore are La Lampara, Da Dulin, Bar O’ Neto, Bar Centrale, Bar A Pie De Ma, and for a great panoramic view, Bar Il Sole a 180 degrees.
A cone of fried fish
A very delicious and unique treat that you will find in Riomaggiore is a cone of fried fish by the water. These cones are typically filled with a variety of fresh, locally caught fish that has been battered and deep-fried to perfection. The fish is then placed into a cone-shaped container, and served hot. Eating a cone of fried fish in Riomaggiore is a unique and enjoyable experience. The salty sea air, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, and the delicious scent of the fried fish all combine to create a truly memorable culinary experience. A cone of fried fish is the perfect snack to enjoy while soaking up the beauty of Riomaggiore.
Taste Cinque Terre wine
Well, when you are in Cinque Terre, you are bound to taste some of the locally made wine. Cinque Terre wine is made from grapes grown in the rocky, terraced vineyards that line the hillsides of the region. The unique terroir of the Cinque Terre, with its rocky soil and Mediterranean climate, imparts a distinct character to the wines produced here. There are three main grape varieties grown in the Cinque Terre: Sciacchetrà, Vermentino, and Ciliegiolo. Sciacchetrà is a white wine made from the Vermentino grape and is known for its intense aromas and flavours of apricot, honey, and almonds.
Vermentino is also a white wine, but it has a lighter and fresher character with flavours of citrus, green apple, and herbs. Ciliegiolo is a red wine with flavours of cherries, raspberries, and spices. Some of the best places to enjoy Cinque Terre wine in Riomaggiore are Enoteca D’UU Scintu, Vineria Gheme, and The Wine House; you can also join a wine-tasting tour that will take you around and let you explore the different types of Cinque Terre wines.
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