Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy

Cinque Terre: Complete Guide to Visiting the Cinque Terre

September 18, 2023

Cinque Terre in Italy is known for its five small fishing villages located on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, in the region of Liguria. The Italian name Cinque Terre means ‘five lands’ in English. The area is popular among tourists for its beautiful landscapes and traditional Italian culture.

The walking paths between the five villages, the small bays, and the seaside restaurants and cafes attract many visitors. The Cinque Terre area also offers excellent hiking trails with stunning views of the sea and mountains.

Is Cinque Terre worth a visit?

Absolutely yes! In fact, we think the Cinque Terre is a must when visiting Italy.

The Cinque Terre is a place that offers many attractions and experiences. The special atmosphere of the five villages, the colorful houses overlooking the sea, the traditional Italian cuisine and the finest Italian wines all contribute to make your trip special and memorable.

Moreover, its location makes it easy to fit into a tour of Italy.

When traveling to the Cinque Terre you can explore the rocky paths, enjoy excellent Italian food and local wine and relax on the beaches. The Cinque Terre is a place where you can feel the magic of the Italian countryside at every moment.

Overall, if you love Italian culture, seaside holidays, nature and Italian food, you should visit Cinque Terre for a guaranteed wonderful experience.

How to get to the villages of Cinque Terre?

There are no good road connections between the villages of Cinque Terre, so the best way to reach them is by train or by sea.

Train connections are very convenient as trains frequently run between the villages and the journey is relatively quick. Trains between the villages of the Cinque Terre run approximately every 15-30 minutes. The journey time between each village is between 2-8 minutes.

The railway line between the villages runs between La Spezia and Levanto, and trains stop at all five villages. It is advisable to purchase a ticket for the entire line, as you can get off at any village and continue your journey later.

You can buy so-called Cinque Terre Cards, which give visitors unlimited travel within the Cinque Terre. There are two types of these cards: Cinque Terre Train Card and Cinque Terre Trekking Card for one or more days.

The Cinque Terre Cards can be purchased at train stations, tourist information centers, and can also be pre-bought online. If you are planning your trip, it’s worth considering the Cinque Terre Card as it allows flexibility in your travels and enables you to explore all of the villages as well as the surrounding hiking trails.

It’s important to note that due to the area’s environmental sensitivity, tourism is regulated, and the number of visitors is limited.

Sea transportation is also a good way to explore the villages of Cinque Terre. During the journey, there are spectacular views of the mountains and villages from the sea, and there is an opportunity to visit various beaches and coves. The boat service operates between Porto Venere and Monterosso, and various ticket prices and schedules are available.

You can find more detailed information on how to get to Cinque Terre by clicking on the link.

When to travel to Cinque Terre

The best time to visit Cinque Terre is during the spring and autumn seasons when there are fewer tourists in the area.

The photos you can see were taken in April. Spring is the perfect time to travel to the Cinque Terre because it gets dark late, giving you plenty of time to explore as many parts of the charming villages as possible. The weather is also perfect for a walking trip. Moreover, in April we have not experienced unbearable crowds even on a weekend. Fortunately, we had plenty of opportunities to look around and take photos everywhere.

May and September can be similarly good months to visit Cinque Terre, just avoid traveling on holidays if you can as they can be very crowded.

Weather in the Cinque Terre area

The weather in Cinque Terre is typical Mediterranean, with maybe a little more rain.

The winter is mild and rainy. Spring and autumn are variable, but generally ideal for travel with daytime temperatures between 10-20°C.

Cinque Terre is most popular in summer. This is when you can expect typical summer weather with high temperatures, which makes it ideal for a beach holiday.

Be aware that the Cinque Terre is a place where storms can come very quickly. There are also often winds, which cause big waves on the coast. Climbing on the cliffs along the coast is therefore not recommended, or only when there is no wind.

How to dress when visiting the Cinque Terre

If you are visiting the Cinque Terre, it is worth choosing comfortable clothing. The villages have lots of steps, steep paths and trails, so wear comfortable shoes that are easy to walk and hike in. Trekking trails, by the way, are only allowed with hiking shoes. We haven’t seen this anywhere else, but in the case of the Cinque Terre, you could be fined if you hike without hiking shoes!

Dress for the weather. In winter the weather is usually cold and windy. It can also be cold in the spring and autumn, so it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket to keep you warm and protect you from the rain. In summer it can be hot, so light and loose clothing is recommended. When you are at the beach or the seaside, don’t forget to bring a swimsuit and towel.

Whether you want to go hiking or just visit the villages by train, always take a backpack for your stuff. Pack some food, drinks and an extra layer of clothing. Walking through the villages of the Cinque Terre is a tiring and long journey, so it is worth preparing in advance.

How many days are needed to get around the Cinque Terre?

In fact, the answer to this question is very individual – the ideal amount of time spent is different for everyone.

We think you can explore the five villages of the Cinque Terre in one day, if you can dedicate the whole day, if you’re fit and only want to see the most important sights.

Two or three days are ideal for exploring all five villages of the Cinque Terre, with time to sit in local restaurants, shop in local shops and visit all the attractions of the Cinque Terre National Park.

Four or more days are already enough for relaxation, beaches and boat trips. You can visit other towns within driving distance of the Cinque Terre, for which we also make recommendations in this article.

Where to stay in Cinque Terre

When visiting the Cinque Terre, it is worth staying nearby, but not necessarily in one of the five villages. If you do want to stay in one of the villages of the Cinque Terre, you should consider that Monterosso is the only place where you can leave your car close by and park it easily.

In the other villages of Cinque Terre (in Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore), you can only leave your car further away from your accommodation in most cases. If you are traveling by public transport, this is not a problem, but with a car you have to take this into account.

In the Cinque Terre villages we recommend the following accommodation:

Alternatively, it might also be a good idea to book accommodation in the nearby city of La Spezia. La Spezia is close to Cinque Terre and the five villages are easily accessible by train. In La Spezia we recommend:

If you are looking for cheaper accommodation and are prepared to travel longer, you should consider looking for accommodation in places like Lucca or Pisa, or the coastal towns around Massa.

Or if you want to find accommodation in Cinque Terre using a map, you will find the right place below.

The five municipalities of Cinque Terre

The five seaside villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare offer breathtaking views of the Ligurian Sea and a unique opportunity to enjoy a stunning combination of natural beauty, coastal life and Italian culture.

After the essential information, here are the five villages of the Cinque Terre, one by one.


Riomaggiore is one of the villages in the Cinque Terre region. It is the first of the five villages seen by tourists coming from the south and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area.

Riomaggiore’s traditional colorful houses are set on steep hillsides close to the coast. The old town of the village is full of narrow streets, steps and terraces. Riomaggiore has a small church called San Giovanni Battista. In the centre of the village is the port, from which boat trips depart to the other Cinque Terre villages, as well as to Porto Venere and La Spezia.

Riomaggiore is also the starting point of the Via dell’Amore path, which links the village with Manarola. This short, steep route offers hikers a number of good views.

Riomaggiore is one of the most beautiful and picturesque of the five villages and is well worth spending enough time to explore during a visit to the Cinque Terre.


Manarola is the second of the five villages seen by tourists arriving from the south and is one of the most romantic and breathtaking locations in the Cinque Terre.

Manarola is full of traditional Ligurian houses with their colorful walls built on steep cliffs. Manarola’s narrow streets and steps lead down to the sea, with plenty of lookouts offering stunning panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding mountains. Sunsets are particularly beautiful in the village, so it is well worth timing the visit to Manarola for sunset.

In Manarola, one of the best ways to explore the area around the village is to walk along the trekking trail. Manarola is known for its viticulture, so you can see many vineyards along the trail.

Manarola is a beautiful place and a real must-see in the Cinque Terre region.


Corniglia is the middle of the five villages of the Cinque Terre. However, unlike all the other villages, which are located directly on the coast, Corniglia is built on a hilltop, making it more difficult to reach than the others. On foot, there are about 400 steps from the train station up to the village of Corniglia. However, once you get there, the quiet, peaceful atmosphere and beautiful views are worth the effort.

From Corniglia’s main square you can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding hills and the sea. There is also the church of San Pietro, built in the Middle Ages. Corniglia is also known for its vineyards and excellent wines. Strolling through the village streets you can visit the local craft shops, restaurants, bars and cafés where you can sample local food and drink.

The best views of Corniglia are from the north, along the trekking trail. These viewpoints are more difficult to reach if you are traveling by train, so it is worth considering whether it is worth it.


Vernazza is perhaps the most charming and one of the most photogenic of the Cinque Terre villages. Vernazza’s old town streets are narrow and winding, and its houses are colorful and overlook the sea. The village has a beautiful port, where traditional fishing boats and other vessels await travelers. The characteristic building of the village is the Doria Castle, situated on the hilltop next to the coast.

The village has a number of restaurants and bars where visitors can sample local specialities such as fresh fish, as well as the famous Ligurian wines and pesto.

Vernazza is also the starting point for moderately difficult hiking trails, and the surrounding hills offer wonderful views of the sea and the village. We think the best views are from the trekking trail in the north of the village, on the way to Monterosso.

Vernazza is a fascinating and romantic place not to be missed when visiting the Cinque Terre.


Monterosso al Mare is the largest of the five villages and the northernmost village in the Cinque Terre. It has the most accommodation, shops and restaurants.

Monterosso consists of two parts, the old part of town and the new part of town. The old part of the town is located along the coast and is full of narrow streets, so visitors can enjoy the idyllic, seaside Italian atmosphere.

The sandy beaches along the coast are one of the main attractions of the village and are very popular among tourists. The water is clear and cool, perfect for swimming or just relaxing on the beach.

Monterosso is a wonderful place to visit if you are in the Cinque Terre. Monterosso is the ideal place for relaxation and a perfect vacation, and can even be the good starting point for exploring the Cinque Terre. Several hiking trails start from here, and the magnificent views of the Ligurian Sea and the surrounding mountains are breathtaking.

What else to visit around Cinque Terre

Porto Venere

Porto Venere is an enchanting, colorful little town on the Ligurian coast, south of La Spezia and close to the Cinque Terre National Park. The town centre is located on the seafront and offers a wide range of cafés, restaurants and shops.

Porto Venere’s main attractions are the Doria Castle, which reflects the town’s historical past, and the Church of San Pietro, which is the town’s emblem and offers wonderful views of the surrounding area.

If you visit Porto Venere, you can see the Isola Palmaria, a beautiful island in the middle of the sea, which offers a great opportunity to go hiking and beaching.

Porto Venere is a charming town that offers a great opportunity for both beach holidays and cultural exploration, and is an unmissable attraction for visitors to the Cinque Terre.

Going to the beach on the Tuscan coast

If you visit the Cinque Terre in summer, it would be a shame to miss the Italian beaches. The beaches of Tuscany offer great bathing opportunities and some are within easy driving distance of the Cinque Terre.

The municipalities around the town of Massa, such as Marina di Carrara or Forte dei Marmi, have excellent beaches and are ideal for a great beach holiday.

Visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Pisa is a town in the Tuscany region of Italy, about 100 km from the villages of the Cinque Terre. The city is best known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction of the tower began in the 12th century, and while its construction continued, the building’s load on the ground shifted, causing it to be tilted into an inclined position. Worth a visit if you have time left over from your visit to the Cinque Terre, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a truly world-famous landmark. Also, the historic centre of Pisa is beautiful and full of impressive Renaissance buildings.

So if you visit Cinque Terre, you are guaranteed not to be bored. The Cinque Terre and its surroundings offer countless attractions, a wonderful atmosphere with colorful houses, winding streets and historical monuments.

The Cinque Terre is a wonderful destination, whether for just one day, or for several days if you want to explore the place in more depth. It is an ideal destination almost all year round, for couples, families, hikers and those who want to relax.

We hope our article has given you some inspiration and ideas to plan a trip to Cinque Terre.

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