From Pisa, we set off for Cinque Terre. We stayed in La Spezia and made our way via train to the five small towns along the coast. We did a mixture of walking and using the train to hop from town to town, stopping in Vernazza for lunch and Monterosso for the most delicious fresh strawberry daiquiris, a swim, dinner and gelato.
Cinque Terre was beautiful, but if I was going to go again, I would plan my day a lot differently. Unfortunately we skipped through Manarola, the town with the most iconic pastel coloured houses along the cliff side. Stopping at Vernazza was great though, and Monterosso was the highlight of the day. Positano and Sorrento were still (for me anyway) the best places along the coast that we visited and somewhere that hopefully I will go back to. Tip for next time to do my research before we set off! It was still an awesome day with some amazing people.
We passed through Lake Garda and Verona on our way to Venice. We didn’t really spend much time in either place, but from what I saw, both were lovely. Lots of markets and boutique stores in Garda and it wasn’t as busy as Verona. It was a beautiful lake and there were so many places to eat on the terrace beside the water. Verona was obviously more busy and a big tourist trap for people wanting to see Juliet’s balcony. It wasn’t anything special, but we wandered around the markets and the town for an hour or so. If you’re looking for some high end stores, Verona is your place (aside from Florence).
In Venice we took a gondola ride through the city, watched a lace demonstration, drank multiple glasses of aperol spritz, had mid-afternoon desserts alongside the canal and got lost in the city for the entire day. The city in general was nice, but not somewhere that I would go back to. The gondola ride through the canals was the definite highlight, but the city in general was quite dirty and a bit claustrophobic with all of the tall brick buildings and sharp cornered streets. We would have been completely and utterly lost without Google maps. Venice was the last big city on our tour, with a small stop in Orvieto before we headed back to London via Rome.
Top Deck was such an amazing experience and we met some people who will be friends for life. Italy was by far my favourite country that we visited and I will most definitely be back.