Cinque Terre is one of the most charming areas in all of Italy (and it won’t be for lack of places). So beautiful is it, that since 1997 it is part of the UNESCO Heritage. But what is Cinque Terre? It is essentially a strip of coast in the Ligurian region, where five small villages stand out: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.
Its main characteristic is the chromatic mix, with the green of the mountains, the grey and brown of the rocks and cliffs, the blue of the Mediterranean and the bright colours of the façades of the little houses. A truly magical place that we recommend to all types of travellers.
Read on and learn everything you need to know about Cinque Terre.
Monterosso is the largest village in Cinque Terre and, although the set of facades is not the most spectacular of all, it is worth getting lost in the narrow streets of its historical centre. Wander through them until you come across the city’s points of interest: the church of San Giovanni Battista, the Capuchin Monastery and the church of San Francesco, the Villa Montale, the statue of the Giant, the fortress and the Aurora tower.
Don’t forget either that you are by the sea and that one of the best things to do in Cinque Terre is to relax while watching the waves. Why not lie down in the sun on what they say are the best beaches of Cinque Terre?
Anyone visiting Cinque Terre can’t miss Vernazza. This is the most picturesque village in the region thanks to its location and the beautiful colorful houses on a cliff. After looking at it from some of the viewpoints, you should walk to the parish church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia, the fortress and the Belforte, the wall that served as a defence against pirate attacks.
Remember that one of the best things to do at Cinque Terre is to walk along the paths that link the villages. From Monterosso to Vernazza you can do a simple route that will take you between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
Overlooking the sea, but without access to it, Corniglia is also situated on the rocks of a cliff. Surrounded by vineyards (with all that that means…), the village has many attractions to visit. Don’t miss the ruins of Corniglia Castle, St. Catherine’s oratory and St. Peter’s church.
The village of Manarola is one of the things to see at Cinque Terre, yes or yes. It is said to be the oldest of all and it is a true and romantic pleasure to walk through its winding streets that lead to the sea. In it, apart from toasting with a good wine, you will find the remains of the old fortress and the bastion.
From Manarola, the most famous path of Cinque Terre, the Via dell’Amore, starts. Along this one-kilometre path you will reach Riomaggiore, where you can enjoy spectacular scenery. Don’t forget to complete this path if you are thinking of sightseeing in Cinque Terre.
Riomaggiore is the closest town to La Spezia. Stand by the sea and look up to marvel at a city that looks like it will fall into the Mediterranean Sea any minute. The structure seems impossible and when you get inside you realize how beautiful it is from every angle. Our recommendation is that, in addition to walking aimlessly around Riomaggiore, you should climb the Clock Tower for some beautiful views.
Where to stay at Cinque Terre
If you are planning to stay for a few days, the best option to sleep in Cinque Terre is Monterosso, the biggest village, the one located further north and the one with the best beaches.
Although you will find hotels with a lot of charm, staying in Monterosso can be quite expensive. A cheaper option is to sleep in La Spezia, which usually offers cheap accommodation in Cinque Terre and then move on to the other villages for excursions.
If you are planning a romantic getaway, the best place to sleep in Cinque Terre is Manarola. After a day exploring the region, there is nothing better than sitting on a small terrace overlooking the sea and vineyards with a good wine.
Keep reading the following articles if you are planning your trip to Italy:
The 10 best routes in Italy to do by car
The 10 best beaches in Italy
Discover the calories of Italian food to travel to Italy
Shopping in Rome, a shop window paradise for all pockets
10 free things to do in Milan