Cinque Terre: Three-Day Itinerary
If you’re in Rome, the easiest way to get to Cinque Terre is by train. You can take the train straight from Rome to Corniglia. Buy tickets at the Central Station either the day of or the day before. Also, if you’re taking the afternoon train you will be arriving at night, when many establishments are closed. Grab something to eat for later tonight if you don’t want a gelato dinner.
In Cinque Terre, we recommend that you stay in Corniglia, the middle town; this way you can easily venture in both directions. If you arrive at night, there will likely not be any taxis or buses at the train station. You can either arrange transportation with your hotel/Airbnb/hostel or you can do what we did and walk up a very long, dark flight of steps (365 is what they say). If you are bringing more than a backpack or a carry-on this may not be the best option for you.
Let the hiking begin (or not)! Start your morning with a strong cappuccino breakfast at a one of the little cafés around town. Today you will be visiting the two northern towns of Cinque Terre: Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. To get to each of these towns you can either hike or take the train. The train takes 10 minutes to get to each town. Hopefully you’re in the mood for some hiking though. From Corniglia expect about a two-hour hike to Vernazza. You will meet so many friendly people along the way and the views are spectacular. The hike is easy to moderate. Once you get to Vernazza, have some delicious pizza and gelato by the ocean. This little town is adorable, colorful, and it’s easy to stay there all day wandering the streets and people watching.
From Vernazza you can again hike (or take the train) to Monterosso al Mare. Again, this is an easy to moderate hike and it takes about two hours. Monterosso seems a bit bigger than Vernazza and has more of a “resort” feel than the other two towns. Monterosso also has the biggest beach, so take a beach day if you’d like! Explore the town and its cute shops and restaurants before taking the train back to Corniglia. Have dinner at Manana and, of course, have more gelato. How else are you going to try every single flavor?
Today you’ll be hiking south to the remaining two towns. FYI: the hikes south are longer and more difficult than the hikes north. You may have a little difficulty finding the path, but there are plenty of other friendly people that will send your in the right direction and may even hike with you. One of our favorite things about Cinque Terre was meeting and talking to people on our hikes.
Once you find the path, you’ll start your hike to Manarola. The hike is moderate to difficult and will take over two hours. Don’t worry, you will be rewarded with some of the most scenic views and pizza. Repeat your routine from yesterday and stroll around town visiting shops and people watching. Feeling rested? Great! Now it’s time to keep hiking to the final town: Riomaggiore. The hike to Riomaggiore is probably the most difficult of all but it is definitely the best. You will want to stop every ten steps to take pictures of the landscape. Eventually, you’ll get there. We have one request while you are here: please go to a beautiful restaurant called A Pie’ de Ma’, where you will see the sun setting behind the ocean while enjoying some snacks and wine. After this magical experience, find a nice little pizza place and have dinner before heading back to Corniglia to have more gelato. You’re not tired of pizza and gelato, are you?
It’s already time to say goodbye to the “five lands.” Plan on taking the train out of Corniglia tomorrow morning. Ciao!