Cinque Terre, an Italian gem that made it to UNESCO’s World Heritage List! Cinque Terre is an area on the Italian Riviera that consists of 5 small charming colourful coastal villages. If you love the ocean and ancient colourful buildings located on cliffs, Cinque Terre will be your heaven on earth!
The 5 coastal villages in Cinque Terre:
These 5 villages are located on beautiful cliffs right next to the ocean in the area called “Cinque Terre”. The ancient villages all look really similar from a distance but once you get to explore each one of these beautiful pastel coloured villages, you will notice the different beauty in them all. The individual characteristics of each town is described below:
Corniglia is the middle village of the 5 coastal towns in Cinque Terre. This beautiful village is located 100 meters above sea level and is surrounded by an endless amount of vineyards and terraces. This is the perfect place to explore to get breathtaking panorama views of the surrounding landscapes of Italy! The hike to Corniglia consists of a lot of stairs due to its high location and is therefore a good workout if you arrive by hiking.
Manarola, known as the romantic village of the 5 Cinque Terre villages! You will find everything from cafés to restaurants located on the cliffs with a view of the picturesque multicoloured buildings! This is the perfect place to grab a local Italian lunch with a view.
Monterosso al Mare
This is the town located the furthest away from La Spezia. Monterosso is also the town with the biggest beach of them all, and is known for being divided into the new town and the old town. Hence it has a bit of everything for everyone!
Riomaggiore is the town located the closest to the city La Spezia. It is located in the valley between two steep hills and is known for its beautiful pastel coloured stone houses. It is also known for producing olive oil and wine from the surrounding orchards and vineyards.
Vernazza is known for being the most characteristic village of the 5 villages and is defined as one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, even after it suffered the most from the flood in 2011. It is located right near the water with a small beach to go to if you would like to relax on the soft sand or go swimming. Vernazza is also a town with pastel coloured buildings, and once you get up on the trail you will have a wonderful view of the pictureque town.
If you’re a hiker, you will be happy to hear that there’s a 5-hour long hiking trail called “Il Sentiero Azzurro” along the coastline that takes you through every single one of these villages. If you’re not a big hiker, you can split up the hike and take a little part each day, or you can just take the local train that runs between the villages!
- Where to start: You can either start hiking from Monterosso al Mare and head south or from Riomaggiore and head north.
- When: All year. Start early if you plan to do the whole hike in order to avoid hiking when the trail is the most crowded and to have enough time to stop to relax and explore each of the 5 towns.
- Elevation: 220 meters
- Distance: 12 kilometers / 7.5 miles (One-Way)
- Approximately time: 5-6 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Cellular service: Intermittent
- Washrooms: Yes, in the towns.
- What to bring: Cash (to pay for entry to the park), water, snacks and swimwear + towel if you want to take a dip in the ocean at the beaches in some of the towns.
- Entrance fee: Usually €5-8
- Good to know: Parts of the different trails might be closed from time to time due renovation, landslide from heavy rain etc. So keep yourself updated before going!
How to get there:
Now, you’re probably wondering how to actually get to Cinque Terre. If you’re arriving in Italy by air, you have to fly into either:
- Pisa airport (PSA)
- Genova airport (GOA)
- Florence airport (FLR)
How to get from the airport to La Spezia:
After this, you have to catch a train from those cities to La Spezia. La Spezia is a big beautiful city that you can book your accommodation in if you’re seeking cheaper hotel and hostel prices compared to the prices of staying in Cinque Terre.
How to get from La Spezia to Cinque Terre:
Once you arrive in La Spezia you have 2 options on how to get to Cinque Terre:
- Catch the local train
- Take the ferry
It can be very frustrating to look for information, and not find a proper answer on everything you’re looking for. Cinque Terre is kind of a hidden “gem” and the information on how to get around etc. is therefore not that easy to find without doing a little research or wait till you arrive there so you can ask the local people. If you like having an idea of what your vacation will look like, you need information.
So here’s a small list of transportation prices:
Ferry prices (updated 2020):
- €35 – One day unlimited trips in the Cinque Terre, Portovenere and La Spezia
- €35 – One day unlimited trips in the Cinque Terre and Portovenere
- €27 – One day unlimited trips in the Cinque Terre
You can also buy one-way tickets, but those prices differ a lot depending on the place, the amount of stops etc. You can read more about these one-way prices on: https://www.cinqueterre5.com/en/cinque-terre-by-boat#price
Cinque Terre is not a cheap coastal area to be staying in. The villages are very small and only have a certain amount of local hotels. The hotels book up really fast, which allows the owners to charge a higher price per night.
For more affordable places to stay at, look for hotels or hostels in the city La Spezia, which is located south of the Cinque Terre.
As a backpacker, the hostel called “Grand Hostel Manin” is a good place to stay. They opened in 2016, their staff is super friendly, the facilities are clean and the price of a room is cheap! The hostel can be found here: https://grandhostelmanin.it/
Below are some pictures of the beautiful coastal towns!
ENJOY CINQUE TERRE!