Our first stop in Switzerland was the charming lakeside city of Lucerne. We hopped on a train in Italy and several hours later we arrived into Switzerland ... gotta love traveling in Europe! Lucerne is located in the middle of Switzerland and the city is picture perfect. A small scale city with wonderful food, shopping, and historic buildings to explore. We had a wonderful three days in and around Lucerne!
Cinque Terre was a dream come true - five villages nestled into the ocean and filled with old colorful houses! We spent several days wandering through the villages and hiking above the ocean from village to village. We even found time to jump into the ocean for a wonderful cool down!
While spending time in Lake Como we decided to take a day hike to Rifugo Menaggion. From our hostel we caught a local bus and began our trek up to the refugio which overlooks both Lake Como and Lake Lugano, in Switzerland. We were blessed with clear skies and stunning views overlooking two countries!
Our final stop in Italy was Lake Como and we loved our time spent on the lake and wandering through the lakeside towns. We stayed in Menaggio at a wonderful (yet very hot!) hostel with stunning views down to the lake and surrounding mountains. We spent our time tasting Italian gelato, swimming in the lake and taking ferry rides back and forth between different lake side towns. I celebrated my 28th birthday here and as a very special treat we had lunch at Villa de Este - a stunning luxury hotel in Cernobbio.
We loved our time in Cinque Terre. While the destination is an Italian tourist hot spot, especially in the summer months, we decided to hike off the beaten path and head towards Portovenere - a village on the Ligurian coast in the province of La Spezia.
We chatted with a local lad who worked at the hostel near Riomaggoire, where we were staying for several nights, and he told us of a locally known day hike from Riomaggiore over the mountains and cliff side over to Portovenere village. We had a wonderful day hiking off the main route (and trying not to get lost!) and coming across beautiful and challenging areas as we made the trek over to Portovenere.
After exploring the village and having an extra large pizza we boarded the ferry and headed back to Riomaggiore for the evening.
While traveling from Rome to Lucca we decided to make a pit stop in Pisa to visit the very popular Leaning Tower of Pisa. We had such a fun time doing as all the other visitors do and trying to stop the tower from falling! We enjoyed the little town of Pisa, which is comprised of colorful buildings, local cuisine, and lots and lots of people!
After a lovely week in Southern Italy we drove our rental car back to Rome. Before heading off to Tuscany we spent a lovely 24 hours exploring Rome by foot - and doing so very quickly! We stayed close to the Termini Train Station and once we put our backpacks down we were off to wander through Rome. Our fist stop was the Roman Colosseum followed by Trevi Fountain and a large slice of pizza. We had a wonderful time jotting around the city, both day and night!
We spent a full day on the Island of Capri off the coast of Sorrento. What a splash of pure luxury! We boarded the Capri bound ferry just after breakfast and before we knew it were were docking on the Island of Capri. From the ferry port we walked up the narrow streets until we reached the heart of the village - a beautiful square filled with boutique shops, yummy food and gorgeous views.
Wandering through the ancient ruins of Pompeii was a highlight of our time spent in the South of Italy. From Sorrento we hopped on a local train and headed to the outskirts of Naples for a morning to explore Pompeii. While the sun was high and the tourists were plentiful we really enjoyed our time walking amongst the ruins and learning about Pompeii.
After exploring Positano and Amalfi we headed inland into the hillside to Ravello for the afternoon. Ravello sits above the Amalfi Coast and from the tiny village you can see views down to the ocean below. We wandered through the narrow streets and tried ice cream and local treats until the sun set into the mountains surrounding Ravello.