Cinque Terre is the perfect place for people who want to experience different activities in a close proximity. Every village has something special to offer. Whether you want to relax on the beach, cliff jump, or hike, these villages have a little bit of everything. In this blog I’ll share some travel tips that will save you money and help you determine what you want to do.
Cinque Terre is full of tourists during the summer but don’t let this discourage you, there are many experiences to enjoy. However, do plan ahead to avoid the crowds.
It’s also a beautiful place to visit in the offseason if you would like more of a local experience. On our Private Cinque Terre Tour from La Spezia | Hike, Boat, Train & Sightsee, you get to explore the whole area in a day, from top to bottom.
The five villages of Cinque Terre
Even though it is one of the less photogenic villages, it offers a beautiful and a sizeable beach with white sand and turquoise water. It also offers a wonderful view from the statue of St Francis. There is a leg-weakening staircase to climb, but the view is incomparable.
In my opinion, Vernazza is the prettiest of the five villages. Along its steep there are stacked houses with an array of colours. Additionally, there’s a very pretty little piazza, and below it you can find little boats in the rocky harbour that just adds some character to this village.
Corniglia is the only one of the Cinque Terre without a harbor. Because of this, visitors arriving by train must climb up instead of descending into the village.The beach of Guvano in Corniglia is a secluded and stunning paradise that had great popularity among the hippy community during the 1970s.
Even though it’s not and official naturist beach, nudists still visit Guvano nowadays. However, you can still enjoy a nice swim in your swimwear if you don’t feel like getting naked.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie like myself, Manarola is the perfect place for you. There are multiple cliffs in the middle of the water where locals and tourists can go cliff jumping. To see its beautiful landscapes, climb to Punta Bonfiglio via the path that opens behind the old hostel on the church square, and enjoy a mind-blowing panorama.
At the eastern end of the Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore is the easiest to reach. If you are driving here from La Spezia, stop at the Sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero to savor one of the best land-based views encompassing the whole Cinque Terre coast.
Transportation and accommodations tips
- The first travel tip is about transportation. Walking is the most popular way to get from village to village in the Cinque Terre, and it’s what draws most visitors to the area. The villages connect by train, and a seasonal ferry will serve all the villages except Corniglia. Driving is not an attractive option, since none of the villages allow cars.
- If you just want to walk a short section of trail between two towns, the path between Riomaggiore and Manarola is the shortest (15–20-minute walk)
- The second tip is about where to stay. You should stay nearby to save money. Consider staying in one of the gateway towns to the Cinque Terre, like Levanto, La Spezia, Portovenere, or Rapallo. In the first two, especially, you’ll find cheaper and more plentiful accommodations
- Buy the Cinque Terre card. If you plan to take the train between the two or more towns and do any hiking on the trails, the Cinque Terre card besides being required to hike, will save you money.