Things to See & Do
You can hike to and from each of the five towns; this is a great option to take in the spectacular views. You also meet tons of great people along the way. Check trail conditions before you head out as some can be closed.
Riomaggiore to Manarola: 0.6 miles
Manarola to Corniglia: 1.2 miles
Corniglia to Vernazza: 2.5 miles
Vernazza to Monterosso: 2 miles. This is the most challenging, with a steep climb/descent to and from each town.
Spend the day shopping, sitting at cafés, visiting vineyards and exploring the towns.
Go on a wine tour or do some wine tastings. The hills are covered in grapevines. This is also a great way to enjoy the sunset on the ocean horizon.
The pesto is a local specialty in Cinque Terre. Put on an apron and get to work. Hopefully everything you learn will taste just the same when you're back home.
In the warmer summer months, you can rent kayaks in Vernazza and Monterosso.
Boat Rentals & Cruises
You can either rent a boat or take a boat tour/cruise. Sunset boat cruises are spectacular!
- Take lots of pictures. Cinque Terre is one of the most scenic and unique places to visit.
- Watch the sunset. The sunsets here were the most incredible we've ever seen.
- If it's warm enough, go swimming and/or sunbathing in Monterosso.
Where to Eat
A Pie’ de Ma’: This place is perfect for sunset snacks and a glass of wine.
La Cantina di Miky: Local wines and ocean views. Do we need to say more?
Nessun Dorma: enjoy a meat and cheese platter while overlooking the water. The owner also teaches a pesto class. YUM!
A Cantina de Mananan: This is a tiny restaurant serving authentic Italian food using fresh and local ingredients. They have great music. The place is packed every night so get there early.
Alberto Gelateria: so many tasty flavors. Try them all.
Gelateria Vernazza: Because you need to try all of the gelato flavors while you are here.
Ristorante Ciak: This restaurant specializes in seafood and traditional dishes of the area.
Enjoy a cappuccino and croissant in the mornings, before you start your hikes. Pesto, focaccia, seafood and gelato are the favorites here. Eat and repeat.
Where to Stay
The largest of all towns. Beautiful views of the sea and colorful houses.
The classic Cinque Terre pictures are usually from Manarola. Punta Bonfilio is a great spot to take in the views of the town.
Monterosso al Mare
This is where we stayed. The location was ideal because it is the town in the middle; this made day trips easier to the other towns. Corniglia is small and quaint. We paid $110/night for a room through Airbnb.
Vernazza has beautiful views and has a small beach in the center of town.
Monterosso has more of a “resort” feel than the other towns and has a large beach.
There are not many hotels in the area. Most places to stay are apartments, guesthouses and Airbnb's. We used Airbnb and had a great experience. Book your lodging well in advance.
Tips & Resources
Length of Stay
3 - 5 days.
We took the train to Cinque Terre from Rome (booked through Italiarail). When we left we continued by train to Milan. Our train tickets were Rome -> La Spezia Centrale -> Corniglia and Corniglia -> La Spezia Centrale -> Milan. They cost a total of $31.5 per person.
You could also drive to La Spezia if you prefer, park your car there and then take the train into the five villages.
Cinque Terre is not car friendly. The best way to get there is by train. Once there you can move around the towns either hiking, by train, or by boat.
You will be happily rewarded if you slow down and spend 3-4 days here soaking in the sites, sounds and feel of these quaint fishing villages.
Don't try to eat dinner late. Many of the restaurants (especially in Corniglia) close early! It was after 9pm the evening we arrived, and we ate gelato for dinner - which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Helpful Apps & Websites
Make sure your camera/phone is charged or have a battery pack with you. Around every corner is a more beautiful view than the last.
ItaliaRail: Find train tickets to and from Cinque Terre.
Airbnb: find lodging and book “experiences.”
Google Maps: You can download a map area for use without cell service or WiFi service. We also always save our lodging on the map as well as ideas for things to-do, places to visit, restaurants, cafes, etc. It saves time for us when we want to grab a coffee or a bite to eat.
Google Translate: This is helpful during those language barrier moments when you need to ask a question or make a menu item request. Also good for translating food labels or other signs. You can download Italian and still use the app if you have no service.
WhatsApp: A free messaging app to keep in touch with friends and family. WhatsApp also has free audio and video calling.
XE Currency: How many dollars is that?