Cinque Terre: The Complete Guide

The Cinque Terre are 5 coastline villages located in Liguria, Italy and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cinque Terre translates to “five lands” as there are 5 unique villages (Vernazza, Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Manarola)

Although all five villages are highly recommended for a visit, I’d like to focus on my three favourites. If you happen to be pressed for time, I highly suggest visiting Riomaggiore, Vernazza, and Manarola first.

How to get there:

The Cinque Terre are accessible by car but I do not recommend this option unless you do not have an alternative. In order to reach the villages you will end up parking quite far away (if you even find parking – it is impossible in summer!). The ideal way to visit the villages is via train. The regional train will take you directly to the center of the village, and you can even buy a Cinque Terre Pass in summer on Trenitalia.com or at the ticket offices inside of the station.

Where to Eat:

I currently live in Liguria, and most locals will tell you what you may already know, the Cinque Terre are massively crowded with tourists, and most cafes and restaurants don’t offer top quality food. If you have the chance to explore the Liguria region, I highly suggest having dinner in Sestri Levante, Rapallo, or Chiavari, which are small towns about 30-40 minutes away by train. If you are pressed for time, have a drink and some appetizers at Nessun Dorma in Manarola. It usually gets quite full in summer, so make sure to go a bit earlier in case you need to wait in line. It is a cafe/bar where you can order a pizza, bruschetta, sandwiches, or some wine. The best part? The view! You will not regret it. It is probably one of the most spectacular views you can have in the area while having a glass of wine!

What to do:

The villages are gorgeous and are a monument in themselves. If it’s not too hot and you have a decent pair of shoes you can even hike from one village to another. In the afternoon, you’ll see tourists grabbing an ice cream and a beer and watching the sunset in Riomaggiore and Vernazza.

Where to go swimming:

If you have an extra day to spend at the beach, head to Monterosso al Mare! The village has the most expansive beaches. Remember that in Italy, many beaches are private. What does this mean? You need to pay to rent a sunbed/umbrella in order to stay there and lounge around. The prices usually range from about 10-20 euros per sunbed rental in the Liguria region, but if you head to Monterosso in peak season (June-September), get ready for some higher prices!

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