The complete travel guide to Cinque Terre

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Hey my travel family! Today I will give you all our tips and tricks in this complete travel guide to Cinque Terre in Italy! We have been there in September to avoid the crowd and we stayed 3 nights in Riomaggiore. The Cinque Terre are composed of five beautiful villages: Manarola, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia and Monterosso. These typical villages made of colorful houses built in the rocks are absolutely gorgeous, the photos even not make justice to these places! If you visit these village, you will not be disappointed!

We had the time to visit almost all of them during these 3 days. After that, we have been 5 days to the Amalfi Coast to visit Positano.

If you are planning to get there this summer, you will find all the information you need here! We will talk about the different ways to get there, how to get around in Cinque Terre, where are all the most beautiful places to visit, all the best spots, what are the best hotels to stay and the best restaurants! Let’s start!

Where are located the Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a region located in the north est of Italy, on the Mediterranean coast. It is really close to France and Switzerland. It is just after Genova and before Tuscany. The Cinque Terre are composed of 5 villages located for most of them in beautiful coves. These villages, by their charm and beauty belongs to the UNESCO heritage.

How to get to Cinque Terre

By train

We have decided to go to Cinque Terre by train with an Interrail Global Pass, you can find everything about our great experience with this pass here. We came from the south of France to Cinque Terre in 12 hours, but the time just flew by! It was amazing because we could admire the different Mediterranean landscapes from the South of France (French Riviera) and the Italian west coast. This is the biggest advantage of taking the train. Also, you will arrive directly to La Spezia in the Cinque Terre. So you will be close to all the villages. Then, if you want to visit them, the train is a very good way!

By car

The second way to get to Cinque Terre is by car. If you are coming from European countries, you can easily come with your own car to Cinque Terre. But before considering taking that option, you need to know that there are not so many parks and they are so expensive! Also, the Cinque Terre is really well served by the local train which is more like a subway. So you don’t really need a car to get around between the different cities.

Tips: if you really want to come with you car, park it in Monterosso, it is the best way to find a place for a better price!

by plane

Then, you can come by plane to Cinque terre. It’s pretty easy, you can take a flight to Genova and then, take a train from Genova principe to La Spezia centrale (Cinque Terre).

How to get around in the Cinque Terre

Train

What is pretty cool in Cinque Terre is that it is really easy to get from a village to another. You can take the train with is actually like a subway. It comes from Monterosso and go to Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore in less than 30 minutes. And it is really cheap, 4€ per person. You can buy your ticket directly in the train station.

Little tips: you can buy a Cinque Terre card, it will allow you unlimited trajects for one day on this line (around 15€). The trains are coming regularly (every 15 minutes in average)

Hiking

Also, Cinque Terre is famous for its beautiful hiking ways! You can get from a village to another by walking on this amazing way. It is not free (7,5€ per person) but it really worths the price!

Boat

The third way to visit the Cinque Terre is by boat. We didn’t try this option because it was really expensive (20€ per person in average) and there were many people. If you want to take the boat, take your tickets in advance!

Where to stay in Cinque Terre

Most of the hotels in Cinque Terre are habitations managed by locals, the rooms are a kind of Airbnb. You need to know that the villages are really small and so are the rooms. Also, you will probably be disappointed by the price-quality ratio. And if you arrive after 9:00 pm you will have to pay a tax of 20€ per person. We have paid 145€ per night for a small room with breakfast in Riomaggiore but it worthed it because it was well located and the village was incredibly beautiful.

The Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore was our absolute favorite village. The color of the buldingswere gorgeous. And we felt the soul of this place. Especially in the morning and for the sunset. We have often taken away a pizza and we went to the harbor to eat while watching the sunset.

Where to eat in Riomaggiore?

Our favorite restaurant was La Lampara, located near the harbor. It’s an excellent pizzeria where you can sit or take away. The pizzas are homemade and are so delicious! They have many choices. Also, you need to know that in Italy when you’re going to the restaurant, there is a supplementary tax for the cutlery (2€ per person), but you can take away your pizza for free.

The squid cones are famous there, but you should avoid eating this if you want to protect the environment and not favorise the overfishing!

Monterosso et Monterosso Al Mare

We also really loved Monterosso al Mare and the village of Monterosso. The beach was beautiful and so typical with the orange umbrellas! But it is a pebble beach, so you need to take your water shoes lol.

If you want to go there, you can also visit the typical village of Monterosso, full of typical Italian restaurants and markets and also Monterosso al Mare and this famous beautiful beach.

The private beaches of Monterosso al Mare

There are many private beaches and only a few public ones. You need to know that the private beaches with long chairs and umbrellas are pretty expensive (15€ per person and per day). Also, if you are coming during summer you need to book in advance because there are many locals.

The beautiful beach of la Spiaggia Fegina was an amazing memory for us. We went there during September so there were no many people and the weather was amazing. The water was really warm. The orange and green umbrellas made us travel in the 60′!

Monterosso is the biggest and oldest of the Cinque Terre. Here, you can visit the famous Church of San Giovanni Battista and the Chapel Mortis and Orationis to enjoy the Baroque style of these churches.

Also, if you are looking for parties, Monterosso is a good place to stay. There are many bars there.

Vernazza

Vernazza is located between Monterosso and Corniglia. This is a very small village, we have visited this place in a half day. The hike until this point of view is amazing and easy (around 20 minutes)! You will have a gorgeous view of the harbor. You need to do this if you are going there! We have not had lunch there because all the restaurants were full. Also, you need to know that unfortunately, the famous Instagram spot in Vernazza is closed to the public and it is not possible to have a picnic or anything there.

Corniglia

Corniglia is a little bit different from the others villages because it is not located near the sea. This village is perched in the cliffs. You can come only by train or car. The main activity to do in Corniglia is the tour of the vineyards from the hiking trail and visit this small village. Personally I advise you to come in the morning early enough to enjoy the special atmosphere that this village gives off. Enjoy an Italian coffee with the sea view. Nothing like the morning!

Manarola

We have spent a whole day in Manarola. We arrived early in the morning and we have visited this little Italian village. Don’t be afraid to be lost in the little streets! It is the best way to find amazing places. In term of point of view, you have to follow the coast and you will find a cliff just in front of the village. In this place, you have the best restaurant in Manarola, the Nessun Dorma. We advise going there for the sunset. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets we have seen in Cinque Terre. While eating bruschetta and drinking Spritz, we could admire orange and pink colors reflecting on the cliff, the village, and the turquoise water. It was magical!

Little tips : check out on internet the hour of the sunset and come to the restaurant 30 minutes before! The restaurant is always full so you will have to come in advance, there is a long line!

Also, you can jump from the cliffs to the water during the afternoon. Many people are doing thisand there is a good ambiance! The people are watching the jumps and are applauding it’s really funny!

When is the best time to visit Cinque Terre?

The best time to visit Italy in general is between May and September. We decided to visit Cinque Terre in September to avoid the crowd and have cheaper prices and it was perfect! You can enjoy the amazing weather without the mass tourism. I recommend to not go there in July and August because it’s the high season. The best time of the year to go to Cinque Terre is May-June and September-October.

To conclude, the Cinque Terre is absolutely gorgeous and is very special. It really is a romantic destination. The villages built in the rocks are really stunning. The food is delicious and the ambiance is magical!

You need to go there one day! If you are planning to visit this place soon we hope this post will help you! 🙂 Don’t forget to comment below! And follow our next adventures soon on Instagram! Have a great day! xxx

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