Click the thumbnails below to read more about what to see, where to eat, things to do, and getting around in the Cinque Terre.
The coastline of Italy along the Ligurian Sea is rugged and rocky, yet it’s a region we highly recommend visiting for a chance to experience the Cinque Terre. The ‘five lands’ are the hillside villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riamaggiore – quaint and colorful towns that share an equally colorful history in a region of Italy that was prone to attack by pirates, and invaded and conquered by the Byzantines, Lombards, Normans, Romans and Saracens. This stretch of coastline is protected under the Cinque Terre Marine Reserve and the picturesque communities are now part of the Cinque Terre National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With miles of walking and hiking trails between villages, terraced hillside vineyards and citrus groves, not to mention wonderfully fresh seafood and the amazing views, the Cinque Terre are Italy’s best kept secret. This is where you can enjoy taking things at a slower pace, explore the various villages and take in the beautiful views.
Monterosso, the largest and flattest of the five villages, is our recommended base for a stay in the Cinque Terre. It’s not the least expensive, but the trade off is that everything in Monterosso is easily accessible and there are more services available; internet cafés and ATM machines, for instance. Also, there are more options for dining and lodging, with a couple of hotels worth considering (Hotel Baia and Pensione Agavi) that are close to the train station, saving you from a major uphill hike with your luggage.
For trips throughout the Cinque Terre, we recommend traveling by train. It’s a cheaper, quicker and easier way to travel than by boat, though the boats may offer better views. It’s also less strenuous than hiking the trails. Besides, due to weather conditions and safety measures, the trails may be closed…and arrival by car is NOT recommended. Once you get here, you’ll see why.
Ciao Cinque Terre! from tommy hartanto on Vimeo.