A GUIDE TO THE 5 BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF CINQUE TERRE
Known as the Riviera coast of the region of Liguria, Cinque Terre literally translates in Italian to ‘five lands’ or five villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) and surprisingly only covers an area of 15 square miles. But as the saying goes, ‘all small things come in great packages’ the fishing villages of Cinque Terre packs a real punch. The area is vastly romantic with its typical pastel shaded hues of the houses, awe-inspiring scenery, rocky cliffs, hidden coves, glistening blue waters, terraced vineyards and olive groves intertwined with the network of paths made perfect for hikes.
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Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which pulls in millions of visitors each year not just for its beauty but also the ease of travel throughout the villages from hiking, boarding, local boat or train, the villages can be seen in a day trip or as destinations in their own right, which is definitely the recommended method should you be lucky enough to have the time.
Where is Cinque Terre Located
Cinque Terre is made up of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare and can be found in the region of Liguria, north western Italy.
Click on Map to discover the area
How to Get to Cinque Terre
One of the most charming draws in Cinque Terre is that there are a limited amount of roads, meaning less cars but this can also make it a little more trickier to travel.
The closest airport to Cinque Terre is by far Pisa. It would take around one hour and 10 minutes by car to travel to La Spezia, which is a great base, if you don’t wish to stay in Cinque Terre itself. There are also accommodation options here and you can easily get a boat or train to the villages from here.
You can also fly into Genoa Airport which is around one hour 25 mins from La Spezia from which you can take a boat or train to the villages of Cinque Terre.
If you’re tying visiting Cinque Terre as part of a multi-destination Italy trip then here are some ideas on how you can get there from some of the more populate Italian destinations.
- Take a train from the main train station in the city, Santa Maria Novella station to one of the five villages, most frequent for Monterosso. Please note; the trains may not be direct and will require changes at multiple stops.
- 2.5-3 hours, dependent on stops (often this route involves going to Pisa so you may well get some extra sightseeing in.
- Price 11€
- Take the train from Milan’s central station, note to take the one headed for Cinque Terre.
- three hours
- Price 6€
- Take the train from Roma Termini station direct to Cinque Terre.
- 4-5 hours
- Price 13€
If you’d prefer to travel the scenic way (one of the best ways to see this coastline) you can by all means take a boat, however it’s worth noting that these destinations are much closer to Cinque Terre. You’d have to be basing yourselves or passing through Portovenere, Levanto, or La Spezia.
You can take a boat or ferry between all the villages. You should enquire at the visitor centre on arrival into your first village.
Be-lavie Tip: If the sea is very choppy, occasionally ferries can be cancelled for safety reasons. This on the whole is only a winter occurence and visiting Cinque Terre in winter isn’t the greatest idea as many things are closed due to the official tourist season being over. The boat only operates between April-October
The Best Time to Visit Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is at its most busiest from May through to August. This is also when accommodation options are the most expensive and restaurants will also be in high demand. However all five villages will be in full swing and absolutely everything is open. The weather is also brilliant during this time with June, July and August being the hottest. A visit in early May at the beginning of the season is a good option as the crowds have not fully set in yet and you can enjoy the villages.
If you don’t mind slightly cooler coastal breezes, September and October are perfect for a visit and everything is still open but is nearing the end of the tourist season. The climate is great for hikes and accommodation and restaurants will be a lot easier to make reservations at. Also the prices will be more inexpensive compared to high season.
It’s not recommended to visit between November and February especially as it’s cold, many of the tourist attractions will not be open but additionally a lot of restaurants and hotels could be closed for refurbishment and staff holiday.
How Long to Stay in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre deserves at least 3-5 days to explore and discover the essence of all the villages and hike between them should you wish. Cinque Terre can also be covered in a day as an express visit for a taste of the coastline. However I would advise upon only covering three of the villages if you’re only visiting for the day. For example, from Florence, it is a two hour drive to Manarola where you can have a little time, then take the ferry to Vernazza and stay for lunch. You can then head for Corniglia in the mid-afternoon for a couple of hours after which you’d have to make the journey back to Florence.
The Advantages of 3-5 Nights in Cinque Terre
- Explore and experience the village once the day trippers (there are a lot) have left. It will feel a lot quieter during the evenings and early morning before the trains and boats arrive.
- Dine in some of the best restaurants on the coastline at your chosen time and enjoy the beautiful ocean views whilst relaxing. This is something that isn’t quite the same when you feel rushed to eat during the day when things can get rather busy
- You’ll have much of the villages to yourself after hours, so brilliant for capturing photography, especially at sunrise and sunset. You’ll get some fab photos during golden hour.
- The villages are very romantic so if you are on honeymoon or a special trip with a loved one, staying in the area is a must. There are some beautiful accommodation options to choose from, try out some of the boutique hotels, Air BnB’s and small family run guest houses. Who doesn’t want to wake up in a pastel coloured house with sparkly sea views framed by rocky paths and the sight of fishermen heading out to get the catch of the day?!
How Expensive is Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a hot spot tourist destination but it can be enjoyed on a budget. For example, you can hike the trails for free, and there’s no cost to enter the villages and the local transport to get there is also very reasonably priced, you just need to plan ahead of course.
For example you can get dinner or lunch for less than €12 but Cinque Terre is not the most budget of coastal destinations by any means. Accommodation is quite pricey and most of your budget will be spent on this even if you do manage to budget your food spend.
You can keep accommodation cost down by opting to stay in La Spezia, which can be accessed by train or boat daily to whichever village you’d like to explore.
How to Travel Around the Villages of Cinque Terre
- Train – This is by far the easiest way to get around Cinque Terre. The train service connects all of the five villages but note where each train stops as not all of them will stop as each village. The train option is very convenient but can also be very crowded during the high season so prepare to stand but each trip will only last around 15 minutes max.
- Bus – These generally only operate in each village and don’t actually connect any towns so this is probably not the best method for getting to the other towns.
- Boat – The most scenic option of course is the boat. The coastline is best experienced from the sea, especIally for views. The boats are actually ferries that go from town to town at designated times as highlighted in this timetable. The ferries only operate between April-October but are generally the least populated of all transport modes around the villages.
- Hiking – If you love a good hike, Cinque Terre is for you! Each town can be accessed via the last town in between 1-2 hours and you’ll enjoy the best coastal views.
Be-lavie Tip: Purchase the Cinque Terre Card for the train service or/and the Blue Train card for hiking. It’s best to purchase these for as long as possible as they will save you money over a longer period,
Where to Stay in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is not as modern as some of the bigger cities in Italy so there aren’t heaps of hotels available. Most of the hotels, Air BnB’s and Guest Houses are located in Riomaggiore and Monterossa al Mare. These are the two bigger villages of the five.
Be-lavie Tip: Book your accommodation for Cinque Terre as soon as possible – the prices will only rise and rise! Additionally as there is not so many accommodation options the earlier the better, if you’d like something with a sea view balcony.
Due to the location of accommodation, you will see the most amount of people staying in Riomaggiore and Monterossa al Mare but if you prefer a more quieter location, definitely look at options in Corniglia, Vernazza and Manarola. You’ll find a more quieter atmosphere here especially in the evenings.
If you can’t decide which village to stay in, based upon what you’d like to do, why not look out for two locations, such as Riomaggiore and Monterossa al Mare. Many Guest House owners often have sister properties in more than one location.
Search for Accommodation in Cinque Terre
The 5 Villages of Cinque Terre
Riomaggiore is the most eastern village of all of the five villages of Cinque Terre and is also the first stop on the train from la Spezia. Thus if you are taking the train, it would make sense to explore Riomaggiore first. The incredibly quaint small harbour is framed by steep houses, making for a truly photogenic spot.
Be-lavie Tip: The best view of Riomaggiore are from the sea during the day but also at night. Try and either arrive or leave for the other villages by ferry so you can capture the views.
Riomaggiore is one of the larger of the five villages and house the Cinque Terre National Park Headquarters. The town is very well know for serving as the starting point of the famous Lover’s lane (Via dell/Amore) trail which leads to Manarola. Unfortunately, due to landslides, this trail has been closed but you can still hike via other trails.
Things to do in Riomaggiore
- The small and often secluded beach, Fossola is a great spot to hang, it’s located to the northeast of the marina.
- Capture great photos from the pebbly beach of the steep hillsides
- Hike to the the 11th century Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero
- Take the easy walk up to Castello di Riomaggiore and take in the views from this castle.
- Visit Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, a church dating back to 1340.
- To explore the shoreline you can rent a boat or snorkey and even snorkel or scuba dive in the surrounding waters.
- Other beaches to explore are the one directly in front of the harbour (usually where all the instagram shots are taken from) and also the pebble-beach Spiaggia di Riomaggiore
- Riomaggiore is a great place to experience the sunset – it’s become rather an instagram cliche but take the stairs leading down from the old coastal trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola. On the right hand side of the harbour there’s a rocky outcrop and platform where you can wait for the sun to go down.
- Discover the Old Town and the Piazza.
- If you’re feeling adventurous and brave, how about Cliff jumping. Make sure you seek professional advise and definitely not something to attempt solo or on a whim!!
Recommended Riomaggiore Tours:
Where to Eat & Drink in Riomaggiore
- Bar e Vini a Piè de Mà – A nicely hidden little gem of a spot which is not far from the train station with nice vibes, chilled music, a great selection of drinks and very nice views
- Caffe Bistrot Nonna Vittoria – A great breakfast/brunch spot with delicious pastries and coffee selection. They also do vegan options in terms of milk and other food.
- Primo Piatto – If you are staying in Riomaggiore and want a good handmade bowl of pasta, head here and you can cook this at home.
- La Lampara – Definitely a great option for well priced pasta and pizza dishes.
- Britta – One of the best places to head if you’re vegan as it’s all plant based, fresh and healthy and you can take-out too!
- Tutti Fritti – This is hailed as the best seafood in Cinque Terre, you can even get takeout cones of fried fish that you can enjoy on the beach. Definitely a must for seafood lovers!
- Rio Bistrot – Fine dining aficionados, with a nod from the Michelin Guide, this is seafood restaurant on the harbour is considered to be one of the very best dining experiences in Riomaggiore, and whilst we didn’t personally dine here, it would be remiss not to mention it.
Where to Stay in Riomaggiore
- CinqueTerre Residence: This four star rated hotels boasts a great garden, hot tub and added bonus of all rooms having a balcony with lovely views over Riomaggiore. Price: From €195/night. Check Best Rates & Book
- Affittacamere Le Giare: This guest house is super quaint with only four rooms of which three have sea views. There is also disabled access. From €115/night. Check Best Rates & Book
- Stellio Affittacamere – An exceptional guest house with a touch of luxury. There are only two rooms decorated beautifully with stone walls and contemporary interiors. Both come with balconies and sea views. Only five minutes walk from the train station. *Be-lavie Top Pick. Price: From €170/night. Check Best Rates & Book
According to historians, Manarola was the first town of Cinque Terre. Well it’s easy to see why everyone actually wants to visit Cinque Terre for this picturesque town with an iconic viewpoint. If you’re also looking to woo that special someone then Manarola wins hands down for being the most romantic of all the Cinque Terre villages.
There’s no denying it, Manarola pays the price for being the jewel of Cinque Terre as it’s the most busiest, the train station, which is located right in the centre of town, has a very famous viewpoint and makes for a great swimming spot.
Things to do in Manarola
- Sit at Manarola harbour filled with the colourful fishing boats, swim or sunbathe or just hang.
- Enjoy the views from Manorola’s highest viewpoint. Punta Bonfiglio. If you’re hoping to catch golden hour, just be mindful this spot has been let out of the bag so it’ll be crowded, just managing expectations! There is also a children’s playground here as well as the world renowned Nessum Dorma restaurant which makes for a great place to sip and watch the sunset.
- Have a stroll through the old town and take in the village scenes. washing hanging, the cute alleyways lined in bougonvilliea and clay planters.
- Visit Piazzale Papa Innocenzo, a small piazza with a bell tower that was once used as a defensive lookout. Chiesa di San Lorenzo a church dating back to 1338 is also located on the same Piazza.
- Most of Manarola’s commotion is concentrated around two central streets of Via Renato Birolli and Via Antonio Discovolo, They run from the cliffs to the sea, and this is where you’ll find the majority of restaurants, shops, and cafes
- Take the Manarola Vineyard Walk which is 20 minutes with the paths circling the village. Don’t forget to try the wines.
- Hike the Blue Trail or Sentiero Azzuro. This links all five of the villages together however, coastal erosions and landslides have led to the trail being closed from from Riomaggiore to Manarola, and Manarola to Corniglia. You can however start the Blue Trail from Monterosso al Mare or Corniglia. Just take the train to either of these from Manarola.
- Spend a day enjoying the azure waters around the village in kayaks, snorkelling or diving.
Where to Eat & Drink in Manarola
- Nessun Dorma – located at the Punta Bonfiglio viewpoint, this location is incredible. A fab place for a class of Cinque Terre wine and some bruschetta or a meal whilst overlooking the views. The prices are pretty reasonable but the queues can be quite long, at around 30-40 minutes wait. If you have the time, it’s well worth a visit.
- Trattoria de Billy – A must book if you intend to visit, this Trattoria comes highly rated by many and definitely worth the walk up the hill to get to! Of course the focus is on seafood dishes but the prices are very reasonable and the views are beautiful overlooking the terraces and sea.
- La Cantina dello Zio Bramante – Located on the main Via Renato Birolli, this is a great pick for live music and a nice evening atmosphere and remains open until 23:00.
- Gelateria 5 Terre – The best Gelato on this coastline. Not only is it absolutely delicious but they cater for vegans too.
Where to Stay in Manarola
- Marina Piccola – A great location, only a five minute walk from Manarola train station. There are 12 contemporary decorated rooms with stone walls. Rooms feature balconies looking out over Via Birolli or the Marina. They serve a great quality breakfast here too. Price: From €160/night. Check Rates & Book
- Amanarola – This guesthouse has two double rooms and a beautiful suite. The location is second to none with rooms having a great view of Manarola and the attention to detail is second to none. Price: From €154/night. Check Rates & Book
- L’Emporio Rooms – This stylish hotel has three rooms and an apartment with nautical vibes running through the decor, the rooms benefit from harbour views and contain all modern amenities. Price: From €125 per/night in high season. Check Rates & Book
Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso is by far the biggest and busiest of all the villages and most definitely feels a little resort-like. You’ll immediately notice a lot more restaurants, shops, accommodation options. It’s also quite a flat village with two lovely beaches. If you’d like to swim in the sea and sunbathe, Monterosso is the just the place for you. There is a sandy beach as well as a pebble beach so take your pick!
Monterosso is made up of two neighbourhoods, The Fegina (New town or beach area) and the Vecchio (the old town and historic centre) both are connected by a promenade and a tunnel that runs through a rock. If you are arriving by train, you’ll be in the Fegina district.
The most popular attraction in Monterosso are the beaches! Monterosso’s beaches run along most of the coastline and are full of tourists sunbathing under the green and orange stripped umbrellas. Another must-visit site is the Church of San Giovanni Battista. It is considered one of the oldest churches in Cinque Terre.
Things to do in Monterosso al Mare
- Definitely spend time on the beaches under the orange and green umbrellas sunbathing and dipping in the sea. This is the best place in Cinque Terre to enjoy beach-time. There are a number of beaches you can hang out at: Spiaggia Fegina (largest sandy beach in Cinque Terre in the new part of Monterosso, opposite the train station), Spiaggia Il Gigante, next part of the beach adjacent to Spiaggia Fegina. It’s a lot smaller with two lidos but is a great alternative if Spiaggia Fegina is too busy, Spiaggia Portiglione, not usually visited by tourists but is really nice and is also free and it’s about ten minutes walk from the station. Spiaggia Tragagia, this beach area is through the tunnel in the old town and is also free with good swimming access.
- Taste the Cinque Terre wine, the oldest wine shop in Monterosso is Enoteca Internazionale and run by the Barbieri family. From here you can buy artisan food products as well as try some of the finest local wine and also international varieties. You can make a reservation for wine tasting directly with their bar which is equipped with indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Spend around half a day walking the Blue Trail to Vernazza and then Corniglia can be done in by taking the trail as well as hiking.
- Hire a boat and float out to sea with a skipper who can show you the villages from the water, as well as give you some hidden gem info. You can also hire kayaks as well as go on a romantic sunset boat tour for something special.
- Head to the Old Town, it’s so small and there isn’ t many must sees so wander the intertwining streets but you should note the black and white marble 14th century Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, and Oratorio dei Neri (the Church of the Dead).
- Head up to the Torre Aurora, a 13th-century tower that once formed part of the village’s fortifications ( the other 12 towers haven’t survived), then walk a little further up hill to the 16th century Chiesa di San Francesco and the Capuchin monastery from which there is a stunning panorama.
- There are plenty of shops in Monterosso to buy souvenirs and support local small artisanal boutiques.
- Monterosso is famous for Anchovies. It’s all to do with the way they’re caught so make sure if you love your fish, you try them. The best eaterie to try anchovies in Monterosso is Trattoria Da Oscar.
Recommended Monterosso al Mare Tours:
Where to Eat & Drink in Monterosso al Mare
The following recommendations are from the Old Town of Monterosso – they seemed more authentic as many locals also like to hang out here. You’ll find a number of restaurants and bars in New Town too.
- Gastronomia San Martino – A popular spot with tourists, the menu changes daily and produce is fresh and seasonal. Portion sizes are large especially for pasta dishes and prices are great value. It doesn’t’ have much outdoor seating so get there before the rush.
- L’Ancora della Tortuga – If you’re looking for fine dining or a special occasion and romantic place, this is it. It’s recommended by the Michelin Guide and is hidden away in a cliff. The focus is on seafood pastas, local wines with an amazing location, reservation is most definitely required here.
- Da Eraldo – this is Italian home-cooked food style in a homely unpretentious setting with the best value for money prices.
- Wonderland Bakery – Great stop to pick up pastries and coffee, especially great for breakfast if you’re staying in Monterosso al Mare.
Where to Stay in Monterosso al Mare
Due to the cute look and feel of Borgo Antico (The Old Town) these recommendation of hotels are located here but you can easily find some great New Town hotels too by searching through booking.com or Air BnB.
- Piccolo Principe Affittacamere – A two room guesthouse in the centre of the old town has undergone a refurbishment but still have the old period feature vibes retained. In high season there is a double room occupancy. Price: From €175/night. Check Rates & Book
- Hotel Porto Roco – This is more of a traditional hotel set-up with 43 rooms and suites. It is two minutes walk from the beach and offers a panoramic cliff-top location with stunning sea views, it’s also a five-minute walk from Monterosso centre. The Blue Trail starts here. It has some high ratings and is spoken of highly in the area. It offers luxury and an impeccable location with great service. Price: From €300-€400/night depending on room. Check Rates & Book
- Zia Letizia Bed And Wine – A guest house with homely yet high quality furnishings and decor with a great roof terrace. A great quality continental breakfast is also included. Price: From €145/night in high season, Check Rates & Book
Vernazza is the village which is known to be the most prettiest in Cinque Terre and bares closest resemblance to a ‘true’ fishermen’s village. This is depicted by Vermazza’s natural harbour and array of colourful fishing boats all lined up in the small harbour front.
It is also the quaintest and steepest village and only has one street which runs straight from the station right down to the sea with narrow lanes (Caruggi) breaking off, it and a maze of stairways. This conveniently means almost all of the houses benefit from a sea view.
Things to do in Vernazza
- Get the best if the sun in the beautiful colourful harbour from early to mid-afternoon.
- Take a walk through the photogenic town and take in the historic building, artisanal shops and hidden alleyways. Look up at all the hanging washing from all the local apartments in the village. The further you delve into the myriad of lanes, the further you’ll be leaving the crowds behind.
- Check out these viewpoints: The viewpoint over the harbour (can be seen on Blue Trail on the way back from Monterosso), the viewpoint at the top of Vernazza (beginning of the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia), the viewpoint from Doria Castle.
- Vernazza is home to Castle Doria, the oldest surviving fortified castle. What remains mostly today of this 11th century ruin is a circular tower. To get there, head up the steep narrow staircase by the harbour. On the opposite side of the harbour visit a small Ligurian-Gothic church. The sea views through the narrow arched windows from inside this 12th century church are incredible.
Where to Eat & Drink in Vernazza
- Ristorante Belforte – hailed as one of the best restaurants in the Cinque Terre, it’s located in an 11th century castle that’s carved into the rock with incredible views. This is quite a pricey place and reservations are essential.
- Batti Batti – For a quick take out lunch, this is a great place for some Focaccia or pizza.
- 5Terre Bistro – Serving a great menu of pasta dishes and incredible wines which can be recommended by the very knowledgable staff here.
- Gelateria Dal 1968 – This family run business is also the oldest pastry and gelateria, developing some great sweet treats for over 50 years. Try the lemon gelato here, it’s delicious.
Where to Stay in Vernazza
Many of the hotels in Vernazza do not take on a traditional hotel set-up. They are small rooms which are let out with no on-hand staff. You will be given a contact number should you require any kind of assistance.
- Affittacamere Benedetta e Isabelle – This small guesthouse only has two rooms but is decorated in a modern style and has some incredible views of Vernazza. Price: In high season rooms can cost as much as €125-€360 per.night. Check Rates & Book
- La Polena Camere Vernazza – Suite vista mare – A bedroom guest house with a panoramic shared terrace is located just 100 yards from Vernazza centre. All rooms have sea views with breakfast included in the rate, which is served at a local nearby restaurant. Price: high season from €185 per/night. Check Rates & Book
- Affittacamere Elisabetta – centrally located within a minutes walk from the beach and with four rooms, two of which with a private balcony featuring panoramic views, this is a great find. Price: From €168/night. Check Rates & Book
Corniglia sits on a rock formation about 100 metres high off the mediterranean sea and is the smallest of all the villages. Once you arrive by train or a hike, you will be able to access the village by climbing the 382 steps to get to the village centre. Corniglia is a quiet and quintessential town with it’s most exceptional feature being a large sea-facing terrace where you can view all of the five villages from. Corniglia can also form the start or end point of the Blue Trail
Be-lavie Tip: Corniglia is said to be the quietest of the Cinque Terre villages but that just means there are fewer crowds due to the more difficult accessibility. Unfortunately the secret is out that it’s a lot quieter and you will see more people here in high season than you expect. Don’t let that put you off, arrive early!
Things to do in Corniglia
- Corniglia doesn’t really have. a beach but, well not a typical one but it does have a cove, with a concrete platform and it also a great spot to sunbathe. Access is a ten minute walk from the centre of the town and many steep stairs but it is signposted and you just follow the ‘Al Mare’ or Via all Marina to get there.
- The best gelato in Corniglia is from Alberto Gelato where their speciality is the basil flavour. They grow the basil in their garden along with extra virgin oil.
- If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can hire a kayak from the marina and head for Guvano beach. Bear in mind this is a nudist – friendly place but consists of a pebble cove but the azure blue waters are worth the visit.
- There are two incredible viewpoints points in Corniglia. The first is Belvedere di Santa Maria with its 180-degree sea views. Follow Via Fieschi through the village until you get to the clifftop balcony. The second is La Torre. This viewpoint overlooks the coastline to the next village over which is Manarola. To find it, look for a staircase that leads you to Piazza Taragio
- Corniglia is well places to explore the rest of Cinque Terre therefore you can start or end the Blue Hiking Trail here.
- Do the vineyard walk – this hike is around 5.5km long but goes through a number of vineyards and of corse you’ll get some great views.
- Try some local wine. Corniglia is well-known for a wine called Vernaccia di Corniglia, Terra Rossa is a great spot to do some wine tasting. The Enoteca is run by lovely local ladies and offers small plates of bruschetta, cheese and antipasti to go with the wine selections. It is quite busy and located as you enter into the village so reservations are advised.
Where to Eat & Drink in Corniglia
- Bar Pan e Vin – Perfect as a lunch spot, make sure you arrive to get one of the tables outside! They do some fab sandwiches and of course Focaccia and the antipasti platters look delicious.
- Bar Nunzio – A super great value for money place, located in the main Piazza. You’ll distinguish it by the yellow chairs and €5 breakfast options.
- La Scuna – This is your best spot in Corniglia for some great cocktails particularly around sunset. The terrace is beautiful too.
- KMO – You’ll be drawn in by the floral garden and is such a pretty setting for dinner, This is one of the only local places that serves craft beer.
Where to Stay in Corniglia
- Locanda Il Carugio – Modern and contemporary rooms including a double room, a studio and an apartment. They all have a lovely terrace with spectacular views and breakfast is included in the rates. Price: From €160 per night. Check Rates & Book
- Daa Maduneta Affittacamere – This guest house has absolutely beautiful rooms, modernised but with original features such as Ligurian rock. The views once again are beautiful and the rates include breakfast. The breakfast is not served on site but at their partner restaurant in the village, a short walk. Price: From €160 per/night. Check Rates & Book
- La Casetta Rossa – This one bedroom apartment is exceptional if you’d like the flexibility of a more homely base. It is decorated very traditionally but is clean and modern and has both city and coastal view. You can also catch a great sunset from the large terrace. Price: From €200 per/night. Check Rates & Book
3 Day Cinque Terre Itinerary Inspiration (Relaxed)
We’d recommend around five days if you have the time to explore the beautiful Ligurian coastline of Cinque Terre but if this isn’t’ possible then have a look at some itinerary inspiration for three days which will give you a great flavour of each of the five villages. You can chop and change what you include based on your interests. The itinerary assumes you’ll be staying on the coast or in nearby, La Spezia,
Day 1: Riomaggiore and Manarola
- On your day of arrival, start off in Riomaggiore. If it’s close to lunch, why not try our the famous Tutti Fritti, which is great for some local fish fry
- Meander through the streets of Riomaggiore and finally end up at the beautiful harbour. Take a walk down to the rocks for some fab views ad perspectives if you love photography or try out one of the many activities/things to do listed above.
- When you are tired of that spectacular view, (which is pretty hard – you’ll never tire of it to be quite honest) hop on the next ferry/boat to Manorola.
- Taking the boat rather than the train, will ensure you see the coastline from the most spectacular angle. The best angle in our experience.
- Once in Manarola, take a hike straight up to the vineyards (experience what a typical Vineyard in Cinque Terre looks like). Be sure to take in the views from up here.
- Carry on your hike until you get to Nessun Dorma (ensure to book ahead to guarantee a table) and enjoy a delicious meal, complete with local wine with sunset views out to see. It’s truly a romantic sight.
Day 2: Corniglia and Vernazza
- Make your way to Corniglia either by boat or ferry (depending on your base) Corniglia is truly underrated. It isn’t actually on the sea but 300 plus steps up from the coast or train station. Prep yourself for the truly ‘worth it’ uphill walk!
- Due to its ‘harder to get to location’ and size, Corniglia is a lot less busy than the other Cinque Terre villages. There is literally no agenda or plan to follow in Corniglia except to wander around and explore the alleyways and gelato spots. Grab some wine, a coffee and just walk. Always look out to the sea from the walled coves between buildings. You’ll get some beautifully framed shots.
- You can easily hike the scenic route over to Corniglia from Vernazza in an hour. Once there why not head and have a late lunch at one of the many restaurants along the harbour. Try the Focaccia bread or Focaccia bread pizza, have a pesto dish or even head to Gelateria II Porticciolo in Vernazza for gelato!
- Walk to the Doria Castle Tower and the beautiful Church of Santa Gelateria II Porticciolo in Vernazza. The Church you’ll see is located at the end of the water and you’ll see it in the pretty harbour. This is also a great place to end your evening with a take-out and watching the sunset before you head back to your accommodation.
Day 3: Monterosso al Mare
- Either take the ferry or train to Monterossa al Mare and make a day of it. Walk around the Old and New Town, spend some time sunbathing and enjoying the beautiful large sandy beach. Eat in one of the many locals favourite Old Town restaurants and enjoy the beauty of this Ligurian coastline on your final day. If you love fish, make sure you try the highly acclaimed Monteresso al Mare anchovies from Trattoria Da Oscar.
10 Local Speciality Foods to Try in Cinque Terre
Each village has a great list of restaurants and bars you can visit, covering varied budgets so give the local cuisine a try, it’s most certainly fresh – you can’t get fresher than the catch here. Here are some must-try things when in Cinque Terre:
- Focaccia – It originated in the Liguarian city of Genoa
- Pesto – It was first developed in Liguria
- Anchovies – called acciughe in Italian, the best ones can be sampled in Monterosso al Mare
- Lemons – These grow in abundance in Cinque Terre
- Fritto Misto – On the street, these portions of lightly fried fish, shellfish, and vegetables are sold in paper cones.
- Farinata di Ceci – a thin, savoury pancake made with chickpea flour and is sometimes topped with onions, and courgettes is eaten as street-food.
- Polpo Con Patate – octopus with potatoes is a cold salad with chunks of grilled octopus and boiled potatoes. It’s often served as a stand-alone dish, appetiser, or as an antipasto misto (mixed appetiser).
- Mussels – available in bountiful amounts in the Ligurian sea. Mussels are served with a garlicky tomato sauce (alla marinara), in pasta, or just braised with lemon, olive oil, garlic, and parsley
- Tegame alla Vernazza – a dish that combines all the best of the Cinque Terre. The starter is a specialty of Vernazza. It’s made with anchovy fillets, potatoes, tomatoes, olive oil, and other seasonings layered in a baking dish
- Antipasto ai Frutti di Mare – order an antipasto ai frutti di mare. It translates literally to “fruit of the sea appetiser” but figuratively means a mixed plate of seafood and shellfish
- Cinque Terre Wine – The vineyards of Cinque Terre are very different to those found elsewhere so if you love a glass of wine, then be sure to ask your waiting staff for a locally made wine.
Why You Should Visit the Vineyards & Taste the Local Wine
You’ll notice that the Vineyards in Cinque Terre have a very organic look to them with Cinque Terre wine-makers hailed as heroes due to their efforts to produce great wines on the steep slopes and rock terrain of the land in the area. Maintenance to harvesting of the grapes have to be done by hand up here and is no easy feat. This is why it’s really informative to go and witness the vineyards for yourself.
If you will be hiking the Blue trail between Monterosso and Corniglia, you’ll see many vineyards, so do stop and take a closer look..
There are two main local varieties: the Cinque Terre DOC (a dry white made with the native Bosco grape, together with Albarola and Vermentino) and the Sciacchetrà DOC (a sweet dessert wine),
If you are a wine drinker, it’s imperative to try these wines and you can sample the locally made wines at many Enotecas (wine bars) across the five villages.
Be-lavie Tip: Ask the locals for recommendations of Enotecas to sample the best local wine. Often the wine comes accompanied with cheeses and another local product, Focaccia, You’ll find where the locals drink is quite rustic and great value for money. You may even pick up some of the local lingo!
Which Cinque Terre Tours to Book
- Five Hour Kayak Tour from Monterosso al Mare
- Vineyard Wine Cellar Tour with Wine Tasting from Riomaggiore
- La Spezia Cinque Terre Food Tour
Be-lavie Top Tips
- RESERVATIONS – It is recommended to always book your dinner and lunch spots to avoid disappointment. Especially those over-looking fantastic viewpoints.
- NO DRONES – It is strictly prohibited to fly a drone over Cinque Terre, unless you have a specific licence.
- OVER-TOURISM – avoid crowds and contributing to over-tourism, try and visit in off-peak times such as early May or late September to mid October. The weather is still warm and mild.
- SUSTAINABLE & RESPONSIBLE TRAVELLER – Minimise plastic, take a refillable water bottle, use hessian re-usable bags, (Look at the great selection of reusable and travel items at &keep clean up after eating outdoors, source activities ethically and support the local economy as much as possible.
- CARRY CASH – Cinque Terre is pretty small and a lot of the local small eateries don’t accept card. It’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you. some of the more well-known and touristy spots (generally the ones with the amazing views) would take cards!
- SUNSCREEN – If you’re travelling in peak season and will be hiking, hanging out at the beach, ensure you’re well protected. Wear it all the time even when the sun’s not out, the last thing you want is sunburn ruing your trip.
- BE FLEXIBLE – It’s good to note, that hiking trails can be closed off due to bad weather conditions and landslides. Always check at the Tourist Centres at each town upon arrival.
- FOOTWEAR – Unless you’re spending the whole day at the beach, make sure you have a comfy and well fitting pair of shoes. Hiking trails and cobbled stoned piazzas and lanes can get rocky, slippery and dusty!
- CLOTHING – Shoulder season, Early May and September/October time can get a little nippy in the evenings and early mornings with the coastal breeze so layers work well.
Cinque Terre Roundup
I hope that this comprehensive guide has put Cinque Terre on your travel map. Whereas it is a beautiful location, it does pay its price in over-tourism. Therefore a lot of the tips and tricks featured in this bumper guide steer more towards responsible travel. Don’t be put off by the crowds of high season because when you do visit, it’s undeniably beautiful, you’ll have a great time, there’s plenty to do
- Tuscany (Medieval Towns) & Florence
- Amalfi Coast
- Hotel Reviews in the Area
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