Cinque Terre is a region in Italy that is made up of 5 villages – that is the direct translation from Italian. Unlike Portofino, and other places along the Mediterranean in Italy, Cinque Terre has yet to become extremely commercialized. And that is WHY this hidden gem in Italy will blow your mind!
The architecture amongst the villages is as it goes – beautiful narrow houses, mostly coloured in pastel tones, and dark green windows. The five villages are: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. All the villages are approximately 5 minutes apart from each other by train, but if you have time to spare there are plenty of paths to walk along the coast or hike up the mountains. You can choose whichever village for accommodation, but my suggestion would either be Riomaggiore or Manarola. Both villages are quite small, and more enjoyable to stay in as they are not as occupied as the other 3.
How many days do you need?
How long should you visit this region for may you ask? In my opinion, 2 days is more than enough (max 3) to explore this hidden gem. It’s very possible to even explore all 5 villages in one full day if you commute on the train. To help you plan your future upcoming trip to Cinque Terre, ( as I highly suggest it ) here is a brief itinerary of what to do in each village during your stay.
If you are travelling from North to South along the rail, Monterosso will be your first stop. This is the largest town out of the five by size, with the most amount of shopping to do. There you will find plenty of Italian goodies and souvenirs. Interested in learning how to make pesto? Pesto Lab in Monterosso organizes classes you can sign up for to become an expert at making traditional Italian pesto sauce. Monterosso is also a great place to take a dip in the Mediterranean, as it has the longest beach out of the five villages as well.
The following village is Vernazza. This terre is mostly recognized for it’s U-shaped shoreline with it’s astonishing church. There are plenty of terraces for you to grab a bite or a drink at and admire the breathtaking view. I recommend Ristorante Gambero Rosso, as they have a variety of items to satisfy your taste buds and the restaurant is situated right on the shore.
Next up is Corniglia. In order to get up to the town you can either take a bus or walk up some stairs to the top. All of the 5 villages have plenty of stairs, but if you’re looking for a nice hike, Corniglia has a great path for that. Once you get to the village, you can ask locals about the hikers path to Manarola. Along the way you will see several wine yards, olive trees and petit houses resting on the mountains. The whole journey all together will take approximately 2 and a half hours but it’s defiantly worth the panoramic view.
Manarola is the most famous village for watching the sunset. The shore faces the west side of the coastline, so it provides a spectacular view. You can either admire the sunset from the cliffs or take a seat at Nessun Dorma. This restaurant has very affordable prices for drinks, their bruschetta is absolutely finger-licking and it has a million dollar view.
Lastly, is Riomaggiore. This village was absolutely my favourite. It is quite small, yet there are so many heights to explore. Not many people stay overnight in Riomaggiore, but that’s because there is limited accommodation in comparison to the other villages. The most recognized photo for post cards from Cinque Terre is taken from the Riomaggiore bluffs, with a perspective that is even more breathtaking in person.
Cinque Terre is a golden place to visit due to the way its’ villages are situated. As they rest on the cliffs, it’s like they are taken straight out of a fairytale book. The pastel colored houses, the wine yards, narrow streets and hundreds of stairs all contribute to the spectacular appearance of Cinque Terres.
Read more: 8 Delicious Restaurants In Cinque Terre