What towns of Cinque Terre and villages should I visit?

The five towns of Cinque Terre in Italy are amongst those picturesque travel destinations that induce rhapsodic verses of this magnificent area of the Italian Riviera. A land caught between the sea and mountains and absolutely one of the most strikingly romantic locations in the world.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Cinque Terre is a cluster of 5 villages situated along the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. These charming towns, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are known for their scenic beauty and unique architecture that captures the essence of Italy’s coastal region. Each village has its own distinct personality but all share a common thread – incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. Cinque Terre is a must-visit destination for travellers looking to experience authentic Italian culture while indulging in breathtaking natural landscapes.

The Cinque Terre Towns are composed of five villages (in Italian “cinque” means “five”) their names are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Frequently Asked Questions about What Cinque Terre villages and towns should I visit?

1. What are the top towns and villages to visit in the Cinque Terre?

To experience the best of Cinque Terre, consider visiting all five charming villages: Manarola, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Monterosso, and Corniglia.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

2. Which village in the Cinque Terre is known for its sandy beaches?

If you’re looking to relax on a sandy beach, head to Monterosso al Mare, the village in Cinque Terre famous for its beautiful beachfront.

3. Are there popular hiking trails in the Cinque Terre?

Yes, the Cinque Terre is renowned for its scenic hiking trails along the coastal cliffs. Don’t miss the breathtaking hikes between Riomaggiore and Manarola.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

4. What is the best way to travel between the towns of Cinque Terre?

The most convenient way to travel between the villages is by train, with frequent services connecting all five towns. The Cinque Terre Train Card can be a cost-effective option for unlimited train rides.

5. Where can I find accommodation with stunning views in the Cinque Terre?

For accommodations with picturesque views overlooking the sea, explore options along the main streets of each village or consider staying in villages like Vernazza or Monterosso al Mare.

6. What are the must-visit attractions in the Cinque Terre?

Some of the must-visit attractions include the beautiful terraces, vineyards, and charming piazzas in the villages, as well as the scenic coastal overlooks offering breathtaking views.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

7. What is the Cinque Terre Hike?

The Cinque Terre hike, also known as the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail) or the Sentiero No. 2, is a renowned hiking route that connects the five picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre region in Italy: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. This scenic trail offers breathtaking views of the Ligurian Sea, terraced vineyards, and the charming villages themselves.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit
Via dell Amore, The Way of Love, pedestrian street. Cinque Terre, Ligury, Italy

What is the best time to visit Cinque Terre?

The best time to visit the Cinque Terre, a picturesque coastal region in Italy, is generally during the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). Here are some reasons why these periods are ideal:

Spring (April to June)

  1. Pleasant Weather: The temperatures are mild, ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F), making it comfortable for hiking and exploring the villages.
  2. Blooming Landscapes: The region is lush and green, with wildflowers in bloom, enhancing the natural beauty of the area.
  3. Fewer Crowds: Compared to the summer months, there are fewer tourists, allowing for a more relaxed experience.
  4. Activities: All hiking trails, boat tours, and outdoor activities are generally available, providing ample opportunities to enjoy the natural and cultural attractions.

Fall (September to October)

  1. Mild Weather: Similar to spring, the fall offers comfortable temperatures, typically ranging from 16°C to 24°C (61°F to 75°F).
  2. Harvest Season: Fall is the grape harvest season, and you can experience local wine festivals and enjoy fresh, regional produce.
  3. Less Crowded: The number of visitors decreases after the peak summer months, making it easier to navigate the villages and trails.
  4. Beautiful Scenery: The changing colors of the foliage add a different charm to the landscape, making for stunning views and photography.

Cinque Terre location

Cinque Terre, which means Five Lands, comprises the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso located in the Italian region of Liguria.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit
Corniglia village within Cinque Terre

The five villages of the Cinque Terre

  • Monterosso al Mare
  • Vernazza
  • Corniglia
  • Manarola
  • Riomaggiore

Over the centuries, the citizens of these Cinque Terre Villages have built terraces on this harsh rugged coastline right up to the cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea. It isn’t easy to reach the villages by car because the roads are precariously narrow through the mountains. Boats, trains and walking paths connect the Villages and hiking in the Cinque Terre is the best way to enjoy the region.

An inspiration to poets, painters and artists over the centuries the Cinque Terre Villages have inspired Dante, Pixar’s latest film, Luca, The Wolf of Wall Street and the Nobel Prize-winning poet Eugenio Montale.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

How to get to the Villages of Cinque Terre Italy

Cinque Terre villages train

The train easily connects the towns of the Cinque Terre and you can get from one to another in a matter of minutes. However, hiking between the towns affords jaw-dropping views that are worth fitting into even a short Cinque Terre itinerary.

Trains to the 5 Cinque Terre Villages leave from Rome, Venice and Florence to the Spezia Centrale train station which is the main hub for the towns. Some trains only stop at one or two of the towns and others stop at all five so be sure to check which tickets you buy.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

The International airport in Pisa is the best airport to get to the Cinque Terre villages. There is a train station in Pisa where you can catch a train for the Pisa-La Spezia-Genoa line which will bring you to the Cinque Terre Villages. You can also take a train from other destinations within Italy.

It is highly recommended that you do not attempt to drive the Cinque Terre most village centres are inaccessible by car and some are car-free.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Best time to visit the Cinque Terre Villages

When visiting Cinque Terre Italy the towns are often completely overwhelmed with tourists during the summer months so try to plan your visit for the early fall (September and October) or the spring (April and May).

How Long to spend in Cinque Terre

Deciding how many days to spend travelling the 5 towns of Cinque Terre will depend entirely on your chosen method of travel. Do you plan to do the Cinque Terre hiking trails? Or slow travel the Cinque Terre Coastline? Do you want to explore the Cinque Terre at your leisure and spend a few days in each of the five beautiful hillside villages?

Cinque Terre villages map

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Should I buy the Cinque Terre Card?

The Cinque Terre Card gives you unlimited train travel on the La Spezia – Cinque Terre – Levanto railway line and access to the two chargeable Cinque Terre trail paths from Monterosso to Vernazza and from Vernazza to Corniglia. If, for example, you do not plan to visit more than two villages in the day and do not go hiking, there is no point in purchasing the Cinque Terre Card. If you don’t buy the Cinque Terre Card you only pay for the train. A train ride costs € 4. If on the other hand, your program is to visit at least 2 villages and hike in one day then it is worth buying the card.

You can buy the Cinque Terre cards as you enter any of the trails or at one of the Cinque Terre train stations.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

There are two types of cards:
– Cinque Terre Trekking Card (gives access to the trails)
– Cinque Terre Train Card (gives access to the trails + an unlimited number of train trips)

Cards are on sale at the National Park visitor centres in all Cinque Terre, La Spezia and Levanto stations. To avoid queues at the counters, we recommend that you buy the card online. Click here! The cards are only valid on the day of purchase until midnight, so not for 24 hours!

Cinque Terre Villages Trekking Card

The Cinque Terre Trekking Card allows you to:

– Access to all the hiking trails
– Use the park’s minibuses
– Reduced entry to the municipal museums of La Spezia

Only the coastal paths have a toll (trail Azzurro). You only need this hiking map for the following two trails: Monterosso – Vernazza and Vernazza – Corniglia. All other paths are free and you do not need a Trekking card.

It is not necessary to purchase the card in advance. At the entrance of each trail, there is a checkpoint where you have the option to buy it. The card is personal. Before using it, write your name on the back.

Cinque Terre Villages Train Card

The Cinque Terre Train Card allows you to:

– Unlimited travel on regional trains on the La Spezia – Cinque Terre – Levanto round trip in 2nd class
– Access to all hiking trails
– Use the Park minibuses
– Reduced entry to the municipal museums of La Spezia

Attention, Remember to validate your tickets in one of the terminals before your departure (green machines at the station and sometimes on the platforms).

The best towns in Cinque Terre


Taking the train from La Spezia, the first village you’ll reach is Riomaggiore and the one with the most dynamic nightlife. Riomaggiore is the best town in Cinque Terre for folks who are looking for a bigger livelier centre to stay in. 

Riomaggiore village on cliff rocks and sea at sunset., Seascape in Five lands, Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria Italy Europe. Square format.

Riomaggiore is, often, the least expensive town to stay in of the Cinque Terre Villages. Riomaggiore is a rather steep village so if you have mobility issues this may not be the place for you.

Riomaggiore is a former fishing village. The most beautiful area of the village overlooks the small cove and port. The houses stacked up on the rock are so tightly packed you might think you are looking at a painting.

The village is said to have been founded in the 8th century by Greek refugees fleeing the persecution of Leone III Isaurico.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

From Riomaggiore, you will find the famous Via dell Amore that connects Riomaggiore to Manarola. The famous “Way of Love” is currently closed until 2022 due to a landslide. This jaw-dropping 1 km trail is accessible and offers some absolutely incredible views of the sea it is perfect for those of us less inclined or able to hike a long and difficult trail.


Manarola is one of the most beautiful villages in Cinque Terre built next to a cliff that offers breathtaking views. In Manarola you will find the best view of the sunset from its hilltop viewpoint. Manarola is also famous for making its wine, Sciacchetrà, which has been celebrated for centuries.

Manarola village on cliff rocks and sea at sunset., Seascape in Five lands, Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria Italy Europe. Square format.

The houses seem to cling to the cliffs and hang over the sea they descend to the port which is enclosed between two rocky outcrops. Don’t miss visiting the Church of San Lorenzo built in 1338 in Ligurian Gothic style and the defence tower.


Corniglia is located in the middle of the Cinque Terre. Perched on a rugged high cliff, it is the only town that does not have access to the sea. To get to the village you have to climb the Lardarina which is a steep slope of 377 steps. The houses in Corniglia are lower than most in the Cinque Terre Villages and they centre around the main street Via Fieschi. Don’t miss the gothic Baroque Church of San Pietro and the Oratory of Santa Caterina.

The Blue Trail that connects Vernazza to Corniglia is an enjoyable, 1.5-hour-long hike with incredible views.

Corniglia traditional typical Italian village with colorful multicolored buildings houses on rock cliff and Genoa Gulf, Ligurian Sea background, National park Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy

If you are in the village in June you will be able to see the Medieval Festival and procession of the patron saint, San Pietro which will include the distribution to all in the square of the “Torta dei Fieschi” (Fieschi Cake) which commemorates the wedding between Opizzo Fiesco, Count of Lavagna, and Bianca dei Bianchi, an aristocrat from Siena, that took place in the year 1230.


The most popular Cinque Terre city is the small fishing village of Vernazza is probably the most iconic of the Cinque Terre Villages and that means the busiest and most photographed. A large central square is surrounded by beautifully coloured houses and its port is filled with fishing and leisure boats.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

The town dates back to the XI century and its gorgeous streets with colourful houses are meant for wandering around and through.    

The village is dominated by the Doria Castle and is well worth a visit along with the Church of Santa Margherita. This is one of the busiest villages and is chock full of restaurants and hotels it is perfect for that romantic trip for two.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Vernazza is dotted with defensive buildings, tower-houses, the Tower and the castle of the Doria, a symbol of the economic importance had in ‘antiquities and protected by the Genoese against the Saracens and the barbarian invasions.

The slopes of Vernazza are covered with olive trees, vines for the superb wine created here along with lemon trees and stunning gardens.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso is the biggest of the five villages of the Cinque Terre and it is the only one with a sandy beach and the only one not hanging on the rocky cliffs. The crystal clear waters are full of beautiful reefs and attract many Italian and international visitors.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

There is still a charming old town centre but along the coast is more modern resort-style developments. The hiking trail connecting Monterosso with neighbouring Vernazza is one of the most popular stretches of the Blue Trail (the Sentiero Azzurro), and offers incredible views over the next village on the list

If you love an Italian beach check out this article on the Beaches of Sardinia

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Where to stay in Cinque Terre

La Serra Sul Mare Monterosso – This property is a 4-minute walk from the beach. La Serra Sul Mare is in Monterosso, 500 m from the historic centre. It offers air-conditioned rooms and free taxi service to the centre.

Boasting sea views, the rooms come with satellite TV, tea and coffee-making facilities and a minibar. Each one has a private bathroom and a balcony or patio.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Il Conventino delle Cinque Terre – Vernazza – A beautiful holiday home with 4 bedrooms this house is 50 metres from Vernazza Beach. This is a whole home rental with sea views and all the facilities you need to make this your home for as long as you need.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Affittacamere Arbasia De Ma, Terre MarineCorniglia 

This property is a 3 minute walk from the beach. Arbasia De Ma offers basic, functional rooms in 2 buildings overlooking the sea, in the small Ligurian village of Corniglia. The train station is a 10-minute walk away, and the staff can pick you up if you arrive between 19:30 and 23:30. The rooms of Affittacamere Arbasia De Ma, Terre Marine offer views of the Ligurian Sea. The studio comes with an equipped kitchenette and a terrace.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Fiesse Cottage – Manarola – Boasting mountain views, Fiesse Cottage offers accommodation with a garden and a patio, around 1.6 km from Riomaggiore Beach. The holiday home includes 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom with a bidet and a shower, a seating area, and a kitchen with a fridge.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Scorci Di Mare – Riomaggiore – The property is a 3 minute walk from the beach. Case Vacanze Scorci Di Mare is a 14th-century building set in the Cinque Terre National Park, 50 m from Riomaggiore’s rocky coast. It offers sea-view rooms with satellite TV. It has been recently renovated with eco-friendly materials, the rooms feature modern furnishings, wood-beamed ceilings, and tiled floors. Some have a balcony and a fully equipped kitchenette.

The town centre, full of restaurants and bars, can be reached by climbing a flight of steps near the Scorci Di Mare. Hiking and mountain bike paths are also available in the park.

5 Exquisite Cinque Terre villages and towns to visit

Visiting the Cinque Terre is truly a magical experience. A day trip from Genoa takes you to some of the prettiest seaside villages in Italy. From indulging in delicious focaccia to enjoying authentic gelato by the beach, there is so much to love about the Cinque Terre. The best places to visit include Monterosso, the largest of the five towns, and Vernazza, often considered the most picturesque village to stay in.

Spending nights in the Cinque Terre allows you to truly appreciate the beauty and charm of this UNESCO World Heritage site. During the high season, make sure to explore the attractions in Cinque Terre and indulge in the local cuisine at the best places to eat.

Your trip to the Cinque Terre will be unforgettable, from the stunning beaches to the narrow streets of the five villages of Cinque Terre. Whether you choose to stay in Monterosso or Vernazza, you will be immersed in the beauty of this charming coastal region. Don’t miss out on a daily Cinque Terre experience that includes exploring the largest of the towns and enjoying the unique landscape. The Cinque Terre is truly a must-visit place to stay when visiting Italy.


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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