Cinque Terre guide

Cinque Terre, Italy
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Cinque Terre is located along the Italian Riviera. It is made up of five fishing villages where multi-coloured houses are built within the jagged cliff faces. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and has quickly become one of the most bucket-list worthy places in Italy due to its spectacular coastal scenery and picturesque towns. Here is a guide to Cinque Terre including the best things to do, eat and experience.


The Five Towns:


Vernazza is by far my favourite town. It’s relatively small but has oodles of rustic charm with a few boats in the marina, lots of authentic Italian eateries and plenty of cobbled back streets to get lost in.



Riomaggiore is the first of the villages that make up the five towns of Cinque Terre. The best photo opportunity is to be had at the foot of the valley with a perfect view of the harbour in the foreground and multi-coloured houses built into the rocks in the background.



Manarola is probably the most picturesque of the towns. It’s where the famous hiking trail Via dell’Amore commences which is the most walked of all the trails due to its ease and scenic views.

Corniglia Cinque Terre


Corniglia is the only village that isn’t directly on the coast; it’s set amongst rolling hills and vineyards making it the most verdant one (image via



Monterosso is the only village with a proper beach therefore it entices a lot of visitors who want to swim in the glistening sea and sunbathe on the long, sandy beach. However, being the biggest town, there is a lot more to keep you occupied than just the sea.


What to Do:


The main thing to do in Cinque Terre is to explore the five aforementioned towns. The charm of Cinque Terre lies in getting lost down the back streets, seeking out authentic Italian haunts and watching the locals go about their daily routine.



Hiking makes up a big part of exploring Cinque Terre. You can hike between all five of the towns although some of the trails are pretty tough but the phenomenal views make it all worthwhile. My personal favourite is from Vernazza to Monterosso as the views over the town of Vernazza are breathtaking particularly at sunrise and sunset.


Boat trip

Another way to get around the fishing ports is to take a boat trip between them. You can either hop on one of the larger ferries or one of the privately owned boats (which are a little pricier) but either way it’s a great way to view the coast and the harbour from a different perspective.


Watch the sunset

The sunsets that you’ll see in Cinque Terre will take your breath away. The sky ignites with vibrant hues of pinks, purples and oranges and spectacular cloud formations fill the colourful sky. I would recommend sitting on the rocks by the marina and watching the sun slowly sink into the horizon over a pesto pizza and a beer or two.


What to Eat:

Trofie pasta with pesto

The hometown of pesto is Cinque Terre’s neighbouring Genoa so you can guarantee that anywhere along the Ligurian coast you’ll find the freshest, tastiest pesto you’ve ever tried in your life. Trust me you cannot leave without consuming a considerable number of bowlfuls of this dish.



The best way to tackle the summer heat is by eating gelato followed by gelato to cool yourself down and keep your energy levels high. The most authentic gelateria I found was Gelateria Vernazza made with all natural and organic ingredients.



The tomatoes in Italy are so sweet and ripe that they make the most divine bruschetta. Toasted bread rubbed with raw garlic, generously topped with vine tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil and cracked sea salt to taste makes the perfect light lunch in between hikes.


Where to Stay:

Porto Roca

The Porto Roca hotel is the only luxury hotel in Cinque Terre and therefore tends to get fully booked very quickly. It’s no wonder as it really is one the most beautiful locations for a hotel you could imagine, located on the sheer cliff face of Monterosso overlooking the vast Mediterranean sea, it spoils guests with endless breathtaking views.



There are plenty of privately owned hotels and guest houses in each of the towns. I would personally recommend staying in Vernazza or Manarola as they are two of the prettiest villages in my opinion and make a great base for hiking to the others.


Air bnb 

There are some great Airbnb apartments in the area especially around la Spezia which has a train station which is interlinked to all of the towns therefore making it easy to get around by train.

Photography and words by Faye Bullock

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    Aimee Barnes
    February 22, 2016 at 2:30 am

    Added to my bucket list!

    Pall Forloney
    December 5, 2015 at 1:15 am

    Jumping over a fence to have a photo taken is not the best idea. There is a reason they have put a fence there in the first place. (7th photo girl w/Vernazza below) Many people come to Cinque Terre and most are on a bucket list. What they miss is the real beauty of the area. To understand the history and the hard work it took to build this area. The tour busses run the people through like cattle and not really seeing what is the true life of Cinque Terre. I have lived here for 15 years now and have taken people on my treks up along the villages and hillsides. What amazes me is how many people just run around not knowing what they are seeing or just taking a photo for back home. Do you know that the people of some of these villages what you come and stay, live, feel and discover what it is to be part of Cinque Terre. There is so much to see and understand in this area, plus you can’t do it in a day. There are some problems with trails and the political head butting here. If you live here you know how to get around and also beat the crowds. If you are doing to Cinque Terre in the future, plan on staying for a day or so. The evening sunsets, the bus people are all gone and the food is yours to explore. Stay away from that Firenze Bus Tour, find a local who can really show you the inside of Cinque Terre.

    November 6, 2015 at 5:15 am

    Cinque Terre is actually a region in Italy consisting 5 cities (cinque terre = five villages/places)!!!!!!
    I have to admit that I thought Riomaggiore was Cinque Terre……and when I said that I want to go to Cinque Terre I meant the city Riomaggiore!!!! LOL
    I feel so stupid right now………
    So today you taught me something!!!!! Thank you!!!!!!

    November 2, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    My husband and I just returned from a fabulous trip to Italy and we had 3 glorious days in Cinque Terre. We stayed in Vernazza in an airbnb rental that overlooked the ocean. It was very reasonable (compared to prices we are used to paying for places in the USA). I agree with all of your notes about each city (although we did not go to Corniglia). We hiked from Vernazza to Montorosso, had lunch and walked around, then hiked back. It made for a full and tiring day, but the views were worth it! We had reserved an outdoor table at L’Ancora della Tortuga in Montorosso in advance. I highly recommend planning ahead for this. As mentioned in a previous comment, the Via dell’Amore from Manarola to Riomaggiore is mostly closed due to a landslide. You can only walk a little way on it. I wish we could have stayed in Cinque Terre for weeks.

    November 2, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I’ll be living in Italy from April to June next year and this is definitely going to be a weekend trip. Most likely when my mum and her boyfriend are over from Australia.

    I’m going to get so fat off all of the gelato, pasta and pizza :-O

    November 1, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Thank you – perfect timing for my planning, we will be there in April 2016.

    • Brooke Saward
      November 1, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Have a great trip Raquel! 🙂

    Inês Serôdio
    November 1, 2015 at 8:24 am


    October 31, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Cinque Terre is absolutely incredible, one of my favourite places in Italy. For some reason I can’t get enough, I just keep going back!

    Check out my post about Cinque Terre’s most scenic restaurant/bar it is beautiful!

    October 31, 2015 at 7:53 am

    Cinque terre! wish to were there. definitelly on my bucket list 😉 thanks for this guide

    Kerjan | Backpack Babe
    October 31, 2015 at 7:31 am

    one word: gorgeousssssss!

    October 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Surely one of the most intriging places on earth. Already the name, Cinque Terre, is so awesome.

    Jacob Shook
    October 30, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    These places are amazingly beautiful and It is a goal for me to be able to visit them in my life. The food also looks very good. @jasonshaffer

    Photo Masking
    October 29, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I want to eat Trofie pasta with pesto this is so alluring food.

    The oracle
    October 29, 2015 at 1:50 am

    Wonderful! You write beautifully and such helpful suggestions.

    Laura Mareno
    October 29, 2015 at 1:27 am

    This is too beautiful!! I want to go so bad!! great post!:D

    October 29, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Cinque Terre is actually one of my most favorite places in the world, I can’t wait to go back. Thanks for this guide, it’s really made me miss this place so much. Your photographs are gorgeous!

    October 28, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Ohhh I was there last week, on a rainy day. Nonetheless, amazingly beautiful over there <3

    October 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Your photos are breathtaking! Thanks for such great info. Someday I’ll go back there. I went in college.Hopefully!

    Nicola Easterby
    October 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    This is amazing! I had such a great time in Cinque Terre and all your photos brought me back there. I got a very similar shot looking over Vernazza, its a classic! Here is my little guide of the place if you wanted to have a look- 🙂

    Nicola x

    October 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    I would like to go!! Already on my bucket list!! Thanks for the information!

    October 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Hey guys, good job with this guide. I live nearby the Cinque Terre and I just want to say one thing: the Via dell’Amore trail is closed now due to a landslide. We don’t know yet when they will fix it. So from Riomaggiore to Manarola you have to take the train or if your fit enough you can hike on the Alta Via delle Cinque Terre.
    Oh, and the picture you posted under Corniglia is actually showing Monterosso.
    Cheers from Italy
    🙂 Jonathan

    October 28, 2015 at 10:35 am

    So beautiful. Desperate to go there!

    Have a look at our new collection

    October 28, 2015 at 9:19 am

    I love these tuulavintage places!

    Abbie E.
    October 28, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I love gelato!!!
    Abbie E.

    October 28, 2015 at 7:48 am

    so exciting! I’m going there in April so this was definitely handy for planning!