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Planning your visit to Cinque Terre

    Little Foot Adventures

    Cinque Terre is not one particular location, it means ‘Five Lands’ and refers to five different villages located on the coast of the Ligurian region of Italy. The whole area is part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

    How to plan a visit to Cinque Terre Pinterest

    Why visit Cinque Terre?

    The beautifully preserved landscape with the colourful houses on the cliffs facing the sea is the main attraction and one of the main reasons people visit.

    The small streets in the villages fill up with people every day coming from all over the world with something in common between all of them: the curiosity of visiting an area that has remained almost unchanged for centuries.

    No traffic, no stress, blessed with good weather and their own natural resources of food and wine that have made the area unique and unforgettable. Family restaurants and shops selling handmade artifacts are easy to find on every corner.

    For me it was the perfect getaway: five days of relaxing, sunshine and gorgeous landscapes.

    The five villages of Cinque Terre

    The beautiful scenery in the Cinque Terre villages has been unspoilt for centuries. The dark blue colours of the Mediterranean just had a spark to it and if you’re like me you’ll be inspired by the magical environment. So let me take you around the five villages in a nutshell.

    Monterosso

    The only village where you will find a proper sandy beach with traditional colourful umbrellas – very unique from the Liguria region. Compared to the other villages it has larger streets and less steep areas with similar restaurants and cafes.

    Cinque Terre Monterosso

    Vernazza

    It was my favourite village of the five. Although it had the traditional landscape similar to the other villages it seemed less crowded with people making the atmosphere very relaxed.

    The narrow streets full of handmade products are a must that lead you to the main square full of restaurants with a view to the harbour.

    Cinque Terre Vernazza

    Manarola

    The famous Cinque Terre wine, the Sciacchetrà is produced here. With a small hike to Punta Bonfiglio you get to enjoy one of the most iconic view of Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre Manarola

    Down the small harbour there is some fishing boats and also an area where people can be seen swimming. The water is crystal clear and the temperature is actually alright to have a dip!

    Manarola Cinque Terre

    Riomaggiore

    The very steep landscape and the tiny harbour are some of the unique characteristics of this village. It’s considered very romantic and this where I stopped the longest.

    Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

    Had a nice lunch further away from the main square as it was very expensive and had some ice cream by the harbour, enjoying the sunshine.

    Riomaggiore Cinque Terre
    Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

    Corniglia

    The only village not connected directly to the sea. It’s still easily accessible by train after climbing the 365 steps up the hill.

    It’s the only point where you can photograph all five villages at once, I could not do it, but if you do tell me how!!

    Corniglia Cinque Terre

    How to get to Cinque Terre?

    If you’re planning to make some stops before you arrive to Cinque Terre it makes sense to fly into major airports, such as:

    Milan – Drive 3h | Train 4h

    Rome – Drive 4h30 | Train 4h

    If you really want to go straight to Cinque Terre and don’t have a lot of time to see other cities I recommend you to fly over to smaller airports, such as:

    Pisa – Drive 1h20 | Train 3h20

    Genoa – Drive 1h30 | Train 2h

    Florence – Drive 2h | Train 3h30

    *All times are approximately and may not reflect traffic and other factors. The routes are calculated with final destination: Monterosso.

    Always remember that the largest and closest city to Cinque Terre is La Spezia, just in case you’re lost and fighting the GPS and from there it’s still takes about 45 minutes to get to Monterosso.

    Portovenere Cinque Terre
    Portovenere

    How to move around the villages?

    By train

    All villages have a good connection with trains and in between some villages it’s only a five minute ride. You can get the Cinque Terre Pass which covers all train tickets between Levanto and La Spezia and also covers the hiking fees. Get it here.

    By boat

    A ferry takes you to all villages except Corniglia. It also stops in Portovenere, which is beautiful. In one day you can have a taste of Cinque Terre on a hop/off system.

    You can see the schedules and prices here.

    I have enjoyed a full day doing this and it’s really relaxing you basically just have to decide how long do you want to stay in each village and it’s very easy. I boarded the boat in Levanto that was close to my accommodation.

    Riomaggiore
    Portovenere
    Portovenere
    On board of the ferry boat

     By car

    Although it’s relatively easy to drive over to Monterosso, the drive between villages it’s really not recommended and unnecessary as everything is so close.

    Also the streets are very narrow and I really can’t imagine a car going around. Levanto and Bonassola are good options to leave the car and get the train/boat.

    By foot

    Hiking is the oldest way to get around the villages and it’s still one of the activities that attract people from all over the world.

    The walking trails are well known with beautiful views along the way, sometimes near the sea, others further way. There are some parts of these trails that a hiking permit is required that comes when you purchase the Cinque Terre card.

    When preparing your trip to Cinque Terre and considering walking in between villages, please be aware that some trails are often closed so you’ll have to arrange alternative trails.

    You can check which trails are available here.

    How long do I need in Cinque Terre?

    Some say that it is impossible to see the five villages in one day. I believe that if you have limited time and really want to see them it’s possible. Off course you will miss some experiences but overall you will get a taste of the culture, people and landscape.

    So, it’s really up to you. Ideally if you have 3 to 4 days to spare this would be best. With that time you can explore the villages slowly, hike the trails and try all the delicious food in the restaurants around. With a bit more time to spare you can also go out for a swim in the beautiful Mediterranean water.

    Food Cinque Terre
    Traditional fried fish in Cinque Terre

    Where to stay?

    Cinque Terre can be very expensive when it comes to accommodation, so either you book it months in advance to pay a reasonable price or you will be paying a small fortune.

    A lot of affordable options are just around the villages in the surrounding towns like Bonassola and Levanto. Staying outside the villages of Cinque Terre is also nice because you get to escape the crowds at the end of the day.

    You can have a look at alternative accommodations such as La Francesca Resort that I have shown you on my last article.

    Visiting Cinque Terre was a dream of mine and I finally got to go there and can honestly say it’s beautiful and everyone should visit at least once! Have you been? Tell me your experiences!
     
    Tags : Cinque TerreItalyLiguriaManarolaMonterossoRiomaggioreSummerVernazza
      Amalia

      The author Amalia

      Hi! I love travels and adventures. Hope that I can inspire you to travel more by sharing my personal experiences from around the world.

      54 Comments

      1. This place looks amazing! I love how they were able to preserve as much as they can from the past. It does remind me of the movie Mamma Mia though. Hahaha!

      2. What a lovely place! The houses are so colorful and I love all the water activities you can do while there. I totally missed this, the last time I was in Italy. However, if I get a chance to travel to Italy again, I will make sure I visit Cinque Terre.

        1. Thanks Kristine! Please do visit on your next time, I may come back myself as I feel I needed more time over there, X

        1. Thank you Marina! I had a great time and your comments make me want to continue to share the beauty in this world!!

        1. Yes, no point on doing diet there!! It’s a seafood paradise, check the other article ‘Staying at La Francesca Resort’ before this one, more yummy food there, X

      3. I have fallen in love with Cinque Terre since the time I was learning Italian and watching a lot of Rai Uno. I had to visit, so during my European Inter-railing, I stopped by for a day. I loved it so much that the next year I returned for almost a week and still didn’t do everything that there was to do and see. This year I will be back in Italy and I’ll probably pay it a visit again.

        1. I got that feeling too!! I want to come back to spend more time and this time maybe plan in advance and stay overnight in one of the villages!

      4. I’ve never heard of Cinque Terre before but it looks breath taking! I’ve always wanted to go to Italy so I’ll try and remember these villages when I actually get to plan my trip

      5. Cinque Tree does look amazing. I love all of the little villages you have shown here. I can’t imagine trying to do them all in one day. You miss so much when you try to do that.

        1. Yes, I did spend 5 days in the area! But if you really short of time I think you can have a good feel about the villages in one day, X

      6. Not only is the view gorgeous, my first thought was that the people living there must surely get a lot of exercise climbing those hills! I have never been to Italy and really want to go. Seeing this post makes me want to go even more.

        1. Sandy, it’s really hard work and if you opt for hiking in between villages it must be crazy! When I was there the weather was super hot and didn’t fancy that, went for the boat hop/off instead which is pretty good!

      7. such a beautiful place to visit. will be nice to experience this first hand, sure looks like some where with lovely and warm set of humans you know.

      8. This looks absolutely spectacular. Your photos are amazing. Can’t wait to visit one day. Very detailed post. It will come in handy when we finally organise a trip there. I will save it for future reference.

        1. Thank you Cindy, please do, I tried to keep it very simple so it’s easy to read and use while traveling! All the links you need to buy tickets and other details are all here, X

      9. Your post actually came in good time as I just won a weeks stay in a villa in Tuscany and I am pretty sure it is near monterroso. I looks beautiful either way and it was interesting to learn about what you can do in Cinque terre

      10. Oh wow, what a stunning trip. Lol, 365 steps would probably put me off too, even if it is a fantastic photo opportunity!

      11. Lovely post! I used to work at a restaurant called cinque terre (italian of couse) which sadly no longer exists.This certainly brought back lots of memories

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