Cinque Terre is one of my favourite Italian coastlines. The picturesque, old-style fishing villages situated on the Italian Riviera are definitely a must-see on any trip to Italy. Situated in the beautiful region of Liguria, which is easily reachable by train, Cinque Terre is made up of five quaint, romantic towns: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia and Riomaggiore – each one just as unspoilt as the next.
How can I get there, and how can I make my way around?
Cinque Terre is easily reached by train from both Genova, Pisa and La Spezia. One thing I would strongly advise, is to not hire a car as you are not allowed drive through any of these towns as it is a protected UNESCO heritage site. This means finding a parking space outside the park and preparing yourself for a very long walk with all of your belongings.
All five towns on this beautiful coastline are connected by train, only taking roughly 3-4 minutes. So grab yourself an unlimited day pass and don’t limit yourself or waste time.
For the more active souls…there is the hiking option which includes many scenic routes between all of the five towns.
With one night in Cinque Terre, I managed to get myself around three of the five towns: Manarola, Vernazza and Riomaggiore.
Manarola is a terraced town built into the cliffs edge. It is also a one street town with a beautiful harbour for swimming and plenty of cliff jumping opportunities (if like me you’re into that). Like all of the towns there are plenty of artisan shops scattered through the lanes.
Also don’t forget to take a stroll up the coastal path, Sentiero Azzurro. It’s a beautiful walk that provides you with the perfect picture opportunities.
The beauty queen of Cinque Terre. Once you have worked up an appetite from exploring the coast, head to Vernazza and make a bee line straight for Batti Batti Friggitoria, a tiny restaurant situated on the main stretch of Vernazza. You’ll be served up a paper cone filled to the brim with freshly fried fish and veggies.
Exclusive tip! Ask for extra calamari, it’s so good.
Another must in this beautiful town is taking a short, uphill walk from Vernazza harbour to a viewing point where you can look right out over the bay – another one for the photographers/instagram lovers.
Riomaggiore was my favourite town out of the three, maybe because I was lucky to catch the sunset over the Mediterranean sea. If you do happen to make your way to Riomaggiore in the late afternoon, I suggest grabbing a couple of icy beers and some typical focaccia and heading down to the rocks. Make yourself comfortable and marvel at the sunset.
Riomaggiore is definitely more hilly than the others so a little harder to get around, but definitely the gem of the 3 in my opinion.
Where to stay?
Travelling with friends, and only staying for the one night, we opted for pretty budget accommodation and it suited just fine. The hostel was called Hostel 5 Terre, I stayed in a basic six-bed dorm with shared bathrooms – maybe not what you would call a romantic getaway spot but it did the trick. If you are looking for something with a little more luxe appeal, there are definitely some great options.
For an extensive list of places to rest your head, I’d point you in the direction of CN Traveller. Follow the link as they’ve got all bases covered! From the clean, bright and simple hotels by the boats to the rooms with terraces on the cliffside, there will be something that suits.
Have you been to Cinque Terre? Or the towns I haven’t seen, Corniglia and Monterosso?
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