The Cinque Terre is a must-visit destination for those who love the outdoors, hiking, the seaside and all that the Mediterranean offers. The five villages are all within a beautiful National Park and they are together a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We recommend at least three to four nights to be sure that there is time to visit each village.
Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are accessible by foot, train, boat (weather dependent) and car / motorbike for those who have experience driving on narrow and steep roads. The preferred way to visit the villages is by hiking the world famous coastal tracks from village to village. You can then get back with the ferry or train (both are priced very reasonably).
All of the villages have a tiny port except for Corniglia which is the only village that is perched on clifftops accessible by a regular bus service.
Monterosso al Mare is the only village with sandy beaches with both paid and public beaches for basking and bathing after long hikes in the hills.
The village is split between the charming historic center with narrow lanes of pink and orange painted buildings and the more modern side to the north.
The monochrome Church of St John the Baptist is worth a visit while exploring the old village.
There are also two restaurants, mentioned in the Michelin guide, serving fresh seafood and local specialties. One is Da Miky, the other L'Ancora della Tortuga.
The picturesque village of Vernazza has a quaint and sheltered harbor with the village square and church on the waters edge.
There are plenty of great restaurants to choose from, and many people enjoy buying takeaway and picnicking on the beach or harbor side.
The Belforte restaurant is built into the rock wall under the Castello Doria and is a lovely place to enjoy the sunset.
Ask for a table on Andrea's terrace ... you will understand when you're there! Vernazza is a great village to be based for your visit.
Corniglia is a gorgeous hilltop village with a pretty square that is buzzing with restaurants and church-bells under the shade of plane trees.
Corniglia shouldn't be overlooked for visiting, hiking or even as a base for your stay. As it is probably the most difficult to access it is less touristy than the other villages.
Manarola is a lush village with breathtaking views. A must visit is Nessun Dorma - Sara and Simone do it all - restaurant, wine tasting, boat tours and for the armchair traveler they even post boxes full of local wine and produce around the world.
Riomaggiore is the most southern village and is irresistibly photogenic. The colorful homes are built into the rugged rocks and there is a mini-harbor and boat ramp in the middle tucked in between the U-shaped village. There are two restaurants that are noted in the Michelin guide and are well worth visiting; Dau Cila and Rio Bistrot.
If you're wondering what you will see on the menu in the Cinque Terre - forget any 'land' foods. This is the place to enjoy ultra-fresh seafood and Ligurian Trofie al Pesto. Of course wine and gelati is always within easy reach!
Don't forget your hiking gear! Andiamo!