One of the most beautiful places in Italy is Cinque Terre. This stunning region is made up of 5 oceanside villages with colorful villas and views overlooking the Italian coast.
It’s one of the most gorgeous parts of Italy. And yet all too often, it’s overlooked by tourists for areas like Venice and Rome. Cinque Terre offers an experience like no other.
One of the top reasons it’s such a perfect place to visit is that it’s not overly touristy like the big cities, and you’ll get a taste of the local Italian culture!
But before you pack your bags and book some delightful places to stay in Cinque Terre, you need to know everything to plan the most amazing trip. What is there to do, what foods must you absolutely try out, and where will you stay?
In this complete travel guide, share the best travel trips for Cinque Terre, from famous restaurants to hiking trails, and everything in between.
We hope that by the end of the reading, you’ll know all of the best details to plan an awesome adventure in Cinque Terre!
Best Things to See and Do in Cinque Terre
Once you reach the coastline that holds Cinque Terre, you’ll realize that there are lots to see and do, and probably not enough time to fit it all in. That’s okay because we’ll be going over the top things to do in Cinque Terre.
Even if you can only stay for a day, rest assured you’ll have an amazing time. You will create some of the most wonderful memories in Italy’s coastal towns.
Here are the TOP must-see destinations of Cinque Terre:
1. Spend the Day at Monterosso Beach
Who doesn’t love a good beach day? Grab your swimsuit and your sunglasses for a fun day of relaxing in the sand, taking in the views of the water. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you may be swimming in the water instead of just viewing it from afar. It’s completely up to your preferences.
This iconic beach is popular with both locals and tourists, so we recommend getting there early in the day to find a good spot, especially during peak season.
Check out the best beaches in Cinque Terre.
2. Explore the Fantastic Five Villages
Cinque Terre is named such for a reason! The phrase means “five lands” in Italian. With the five coastal villages, the name simply makes sense.
The villages of Cinque Terre are:
These stunning villages are selected as part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, which is a pretty big deal.
Each of these towns has unique characteristics, but there’s one thing they all share. Beauty. Cinque Terre is known for villas of colorful pastel palettes and quaint homes, which is something you’ll have to see for yourself.
Even walking through the towns is enough to keep you busy for days.
3. Experience the Blue Trail
If you’re into hiking or just love walking among nature and seeing beautiful views, this trail is one that you won’t want to miss. It’s a narrow and slightly dusty coastal path that follows terraced vineyards and overlooks the sea.
It’s a classic Cinque Terre experience, so as long as you’re up for it, it’s a top recommendation on our list. You can begin in Corniglia or Monterosso.
Before you lace on your hiking shoes, be aware there are some steep and challenging parts along the trail.
4. Take in the Sights at the Vernazza Viewpoints
It may be apparent that the big thing to do in Cinque Terre is to take in the lustrous beauty around you. It’s stunning and magical all at the same time, and with breathtaking sights, you will never tire of the views.
Visit the various viewpoints and take in the magnificence of Cinque Terre.
Another great reason to visit this viewpoint is because it’s on the Blue Trail. If you’re already planning to hike the trail, it’s a great opportunity to add this on the way toward Monterosso. It’s beautiful during golden hour, so plan to go around then if possible.
Best Foods in Cinque Terre
Each part of Italy has something unique to offer when it comes to food. It’s always a treat trying different foods in different countries and learning what makes them special for that population.
In Cinque Terre, they’re known for the typical Italian food (pasta and pizza, of course), but they add their own twist. This coastal town brings in a mix of Mediterranean flavors and tons of delicious seafood too.
Here we have a list of the best foods to try in Cinque Terre:
- Focaccia is a light, lofty pizza/bread that’s found throughout Italy, though it originated in Liguria. Many of them include rosemary, garlic or onions, and olives, tomatoes, or other veggies.
- Pasta with pesto, a favorite of many, was first developed in Liguria. As they say, the basil grown in Liguria is more flavorful than anywhere else. It’s a must-try when you’re in Cinque Terre.
- We know what you’re thinking. These are popular in Cinque Terre and are often served marinated, fried, salt-cured, or with pasta. You have to try them at least once.
- Fritto Misto is a mixed fried plate that includes fish, shellfish, and vegetables. As a street food, it’s usually served in a paper cone, but if you go to a restaurant, you’ll probably get a heaping basket.
- Farinata di ceci is an interesting dish consisting of chickpea flour pancakes topped with onions or zucchini. It’s often eaten as street food or at the beginning of a meal.
There are so many amazing foods you could try in Cinque Terre that you could practically eat your way through the five towns.
You need to taste each dish at least once if you’re visiting. Yes, even the anchovies, because you probably haven’t tried anything like the local ones here.
Where to Stay in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre offers many great stays, many of them offering oceanfront views of the water or the cliffside. Enjoy staying in a quaint villa that is loaded with colorful settings, friendly staff, and phenomenal service. They also have many choices in hotels throughout the area. There’s something for everyone.
It’s good to plan an Airbnb, hostel, or hotel in advance. As for pricing, you can find a room for two at a basic hotel for €80. Not too shabby!
Cinque Terre Travel Tips
Get ready for a vacation of a lifetime! We want you to be well-prepared, so we’re finishing up with our best travel tips.
Get a Cinque Terre Treno Card
This train card is a day pass that costs €18.20 for adults and €11.40 for children between 4 and 12. It’s a good idea to have if you’re planning on hitting multiple towns in a day because it provides trains from 4 am to midnight, as well as anytime buses that take you around within the village.
How to Get to Cinque Terre
La Spezia Town is the starting point for Cinque Terre, so we recommend getting a train directly to this town from another main Italian city like Milan or Florence.
Each of the villages has its own train station, though, so you wouldn’t be wrong to go to any of the others instead. It just seems easier to start from the top or bottom and then hit each of them in a line.
Other Travel Tips
Here are a few more pieces of advice to keep in mind during your stay in Cinque Terre:
- Pack light, airy clothes during the summertime. They will keep you feeling cool, and it makes for cute pictures!
- You can fill up water bottles from public water fountains, but restaurants will often charge for water. Or buy a water bottle from small stores that are usually around the cities.
- Bring a swimsuit, flip-flops, sunglasses, and sunscreen for spontaneous beach days
- Check out the places that not many people go to. You just might discover something new and exciting
A Once in a Lifetime Experience in Cinque Terre, Italy
We wish you an amazing time in Cinque Terre, and we don’t doubt that you’ll experience it! With such beautiful views of the ocean and villages, it’s a location that you can’t pass up if you’re visiting Italy.
Enjoy yourself in Cinque Terre! We dare you to try an anchovy while you’re there.
Cinque Terre Map
Can I visit Cinque Terre in one day?
While you technically can hit each village in one day, we recommend taking at least a few days in the region to get the full experience of being there. It’s no fun to rush around on vacation.
What are the 5 towns of Cinque Terre?
The five towns of Cinque Terre are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Each town is unique but shares the same iconic colors and beachfront views.
What is the best month to visit Cinque Terre?
The best month to visit is probably June because it avoids the busy tourist season (July-September), but it’s still warm enough that you won’t have to worry about the weather.
What is so special about Cinque Terre?
Cinque Terre is special because of its uniqueness in appearance and style. Once you’re familiar with the town, you can recognize it from anywhere. Trust us, you’ll be seeing it on postcards around Italy.
Which is better, Amalfi or Cinque Terre?
It’s a hard choice because both are amazing in different ways. They offer different characteristics, so it will ultimately be a personal preference if you decide to visit the Amalfi Coast as well as Cinque Terre.