Cinque Terre means “Five Lands” located on the coast in north west Italy in the Liguria area. As the name states, it consists of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. All are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I have been drooling over Instagram photos for years, so it was about time to see this place with my own eyes.
Based on our short experience I would definitely recommend to visit a few, if not all of these villages. We couldn’t do them all in only one day, so I suggest to go for at least two days to give each village a proper visit. Each village is a bit different and has its own charm, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
In this article you will find the ones we have visited!
From Spezia to Cinque Terre
I read a few blogs before we went, and it was pretty clear that it isn’t smart to go to Cinque Terre by car, because all the villages are car-free.
As many have suggested, we stayed at La Spezia, which is the perfect link to Cinque Terre. From La Spezia you can go to the villages by boat or train.
Cheapest is by train, but the boat ride is a wonderful experience, admiring the landscapes of these Ligurian villages from the sea.
By boat it’s about 1 hour to reach the first village. The boat prices are from 8€-35€ depending on your destination.
By train is the easiest way, it’s 18€ per person for the whole day for all villages. From La Spezia it only takes 9 minutes by train to reach the first village, Riomaggiore.
The Cinque Terre card includes unlimited train rides and give you access to all hiking trails in the National Park.
tip: Free parking around Viale Giovanni Amendola in La Spezia. From here you can easily walk to the train station or to the harbor to Cinque Terre.
Note, color coding for parking spaces:
White = free; Blue = Paid; Yellow = reserved.
Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso is the biggest village of the five, where most of the Cinque Terre visitors tend to stay. If you’re planning to take a dip in the water and chill at the beach, I would suggest to do that at Monterosso al Mare as this is the one with a sand beach. You can rent a pair of beds with parasols for 15€.
Manarola is a very colorful village, with a small harbor. There are large rocks to jump off from for the daredevils.
We didn't stay here for too long, as it was pretty crowded here.
From all the villages, I would suggest to end your day at Riomaggiore, because of the position to watch sunset.
This village has plenty of restaurants, but I would skip all of that and do the following: spare yourself the money at a restaurant, just grab a Pizza to go and find yourself a sweet spot at the harbor to watch sunset. It’s so romantic, it was the highlight of our Cinque Terre visit!
Lastly, I would like to share this lovely Bed & Breakfast. It’s not located in Cinque Terre, but in La Spezia. Specially during high season, it will save you a lot of money to stay in La Spezia. Free parking here!
This B&B is located on a hill, which is very peaceful with a beautiful view. The hosts are super friendly and have the best tips for the area and Cinque Terre.