The small fishing village Vernazza is probably the most characteristic of the Cinque Terre and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
Vernazza was founded about 1000 A.D. and was ruled by the Republic of Genoa starting in 1276. The medieval castle, Belforte, was built in the mid-1500's, primarily to protect the village from pirates.
An ideal way to arrive to this breathtaking village is by sea. The tiny port is surrounded by subtle colorful typical Ligurian houses and the charming piazza is lined with good restaurants and bars. There is a small, sandy beach in the natural harbor the Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia.
The village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced olive groves which are said to produce among the finest olive oil in the country.
Where to stay in Vernazza
Accommodation in Vernazza is quite limited and most places are privately-owned. There is just a couple of small hotels in Vernazza, all with spectacular sea views: Hotels in Vernazza.
There are some really nice guesthouses in the center of the village, with amazing views over the main square and the colorful small harbor. We have listed the best options here: Romantic guesthouses in Vernazza.
If you are traveling with family, or a group of friends, renting an apartment can be a better option. Here you will find a list of the best rated apartments based on their location and customer reviews: Apartments for rent in Vernazza.
Restaurants in Vernazza
In Vernazza you will find a wide range of restaurants, from shops selling street food pasta to exclusive gourmet restaurants offering great dining options. Here are our favorites: Best restaurants in Vernazza.
Hiking from Vernazza to Monterosso
Vernazza, in the heart of Cinque Terre, is the perfect starting point for hikes along the Blue Trail connecting Vernazza with Monterosso and Corniglia. Just remember, admission to these two trails requires the purchase of the Cinque Terre Card. On the following page you will find updated information about all open hiking trails: Cinque Terre trails.
If you are not able to do the full hike to the next village, Vernazza offers some great photo spots on the trails before you reach the checkpoints. This means you can do the initial part of the hike, about 10 minutes, enjoy the scenery and take some photos and return the way you came without needing a Cinque Terre Card.
What to visit in Vernazza
• The Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia, built on the rocks overlooking the sea
• The Tower of the Doria Castle, built in the 15th century to protect the village from pirates, is located above the bay and the small port of Vernazza.
Events in Vernazza
The Santa Margherita di Antiochia Feast, on July 20.
The Feast of Pirates (no precise date).
Weekly Farmers' Market in Vernazza every Tuesday morning.
How to get to Vernazza
By plane: Milan Malpensa Airport and Pisa International Airport Galileo Galilei are the most convenient entry points for onward travel to the Cinque Terre. From Pisa Airport you can in just 5 minutes reach Pisa Centrale station with the People Mover. From Pisa Centrale you can take a direct Intercity or a regional train to La Spezia and change to a local Cinque Terre Express train to Vernazza. From Milano Centrale station there are Intercity trains directly to Levanto and Monterosso. You will have to change to a local Cinque Terre Express train to reach Vernazza.
By train: The most comfortable way to get to Vernazza is by train. The five Cinque Terre villages are on the Genoa - La Spezia - Pisa line and the trains are running frequently from Milan, Genoa and Pisa. Monterosso is the only one of the Cinque Terre villages that is served by long distance Intercity trains. If you arrive from the north, Milan or Genoa, you can take an IC train directly to Levanto or Monterosso. From there you have local trains, Cinque Terre Express, that provide links to Vernazza. If you arrive from the south, take an Intercity train directly to La Spezia and change for a local train to Vernazza.
By car from Genoa: Take the highway A12 toward Livorno, exit at Brugnato, and follow the signs toward Borghetto Vara and Pignone. Turn left toward Cinque Terre and follow the scenic road until you reach Vernazza.
By car from La Spezia: Highway A15, exit at La Spezia. Follow the signs toward Cinque Terre until you reach Vernazza. The roads are narrow and winding through vineyards and olive groves high above the sea. Arriving by car can be very time consuming, but the views from the roads are stunning.
Parking in Vernazza
The Vernassoa Car Parking is located on the provincial road number 51, about 1 km before you reach Vernazza. This secure parking lot, with appr. 90 places, is open from 8am to 8pm. Other time on request. Free shuttle service down to Vernazza in 5 minutes. Parking fee: 2 euros/hour, 15 euros per day. It is recommended to reserve in advance. Tel: +39 333 267 7596.
You will find the Cooperativa Vernazza Car Parking on your right after the Vernassoa Parking. Opening hours: from 10am to 6pm. After this parking lot, do not try to drive further down the road as you will enter the ZTL area (only for residents) and fines can be rather high.