Cinque Terre is a rugged coastline on the Italian Riviera composed of five beautiful hillside villages; Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
The five villages are connected by hiking trails open all year round. For the trails Monterosso - Vernazza - Corniglia you will need a Cinque Terre Card. All other trails are free! The Cinque Terre Express trains are running every 20 minutes between the five villages. You can also enjoy this scenic coastline by taking the ferry and hop on and off where you like.
Monterosso is the largest of the five towns and has the most amenities. Beach-lovers should definitely stay here. Monterosso has the only sandy beach in the area, you can rent chairs and umbrellas, or a kajak to explore the many coves around the coast.
Monterosso has the largest selection of hotels and guesthouses situated near the beach. There are plenty of shops, aperitivo bars and seafood restaurants in the old part of town and along the promenade.
Monterosso is relatively flat compared to the other Cinque Terre villages and it is much easier to get around.
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Vernazza is probably the most picturesque of the villages and is named as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is a traditional fishing village with colorful typical Ligurian houses and boats bobbing on the waters of the small harbor.
In Vernazza there are only a few hotels to stay in but several Bed & Breakfasts and apartments for rent. Most of the restaurants and bars are concentrated around the seaside piazza. There is a small, sandy beach at the natural harbor.
Vernazza is the perfect starting point for hikes along the Blue Trail to Monterosso and Corniglia. There are some great photo spots at the initial parts of the trails. You don’t need to walk too far up the steep path to be greeted by the breathtaking view of Vernazza from above.
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Corniglia is located in the heart of the Cinque Terre National Park. It is the only village which is not built directly on the sea, but on a cliff 100 metres above sea level. It is the smallest of the five villages and the least accessible. You have to climb 382 stairs to reach the village or you can take the shuttle bus from the station.
Corniglia is probably the most genuine town of the five and with the least amount of tourists. This is a great place to enjoy the sunsets and the romantic atmosphere in the evenings. There are a few small, high-quality hotels in Corniglia, all with amazing sea views.
Corniglia is the ideal starting point for hiking tours. Here starts the two most spectacular trails connecting Corniglia with Vernazza and Manarola.
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Manarola is one of the most famous villages of the scenic Cinque Terre coastline. The village has a small harbor with a boat ramp, picturesque multicoloured houses facing the sea and a tiny piazza with seafood restaurants. This is the perfect place to spend a lazy day sunbathing and watching people jumping off the cliffs.
Here you will find some really romantic guesthouses with spectacular ocean views. If you are travelling with your family or a group of friends, it can be more convenient to rent an apartment in Manarola.
From Manarola you can easily reach the other Cinque Terre villages by boat or by train in just a few minutes. Manarola is also connected to the other towns by hiking trails.
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Riomaggiore is considered to be the most romantic of the Cinque Terre villages, ideal for young travelers or couples looking for a base which is great to hang around in during the day and also has some nightlife. Near the picturesque harbor you will find guesthouses with sea views perfect for couples on a romantic getaway.
The village is basically a cascade of multi-colored houses in the typical Ligurian style, all tightly clustered around a tiny natural harbor carved out in between the rocks. This is, in our opinion, the best sunset spot in Cinque Terre.
There is a pebble beach behind the rocks, not far from the boat docking point. In the harbor there are compnies offering boat and kayak rentals, as well as boat tours.
More information about Riomaggiore.