Beginner’s Guide to Cinque Terre

Are you planning to visit Italy? If so, you should know that a trip to this country would be incomplete without a stop at Cinque Terre. These picturesque Italian villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso) offer the opportunity to enjoy a fantastic atmosphere on the west coast of Italy. The best part is that Cinque Terre is a perfect destination you’re sure to enjoy regardless of whether you’re traveling with your family or going solo.

Cinque Terre

Why Visit Cinque Terre?

  • Do you love the sea? If so, Cinque Terre is the perfect destination for you because of its amazing coastline and crystal-clear waters.
  • It’s also a unique place with striking views.
  • You’ll find lots of beautiful walking trails.
  • It’s an ideal destination for photography.
  • The food and wine are excellent!

When to Visit

If you’re planning to visit Cinque Terre, you should have an understanding of the best time to visit. For the most part, the best time to visit is from April to September, as the days tend to be longer and warmer in these months. From April to May and in September, you will get to enjoy beautiful, sunny days on the beach, explore the villages and go trekking without getting challenged by the heat and crowds. In June, July and August, Cinque Terre will likely be overbooked and overcrowded; however, this is still a perfect time to visit for anyone who wishes to take a dive in crystal-clear waters and unwind at the beach.

Starting in mid-October and continuing through the winter months, rainfalls become more frequent, but there are also a couple of cold sunny days to enjoy. It’s also important to note that many activities, including bars and restaurants, are closed in the off-season, so finding a place to eat can be difficult. The good news is that the area is not very crowded during the winter months and the villages are more peaceful and quiet. Now, that’s just the good news; the great news is that this season is your big chance to see the world’s largest presepe, which is located in Manarola.

Where to Stay?

Cinque Terre means “five lands.” As a matter of fact, there are five villages that make up the entire area or zone that is called Cinque Terre. So, which village do you want to stay in? This is the very first thing to decide before booking your accommodation. I’m going to say a bit about each of the villages, and all you have to do is pick the one that tickles your fancy. Sound good? Let’s explore!


This is the first of the five villages as you head into Cinque Terre from La Spezia. You should expect a lot of steps and hills primarily because the village rises from the little harbor. For the most part, Riomaggiore offers a few more options if you’re looking for accommodation. It tends to have more places to stay than do Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola. Moreover, it’s the most populous of the five villages, with approximately 1700 residents.


Manarola is the quietest of the five villages and offers a scenic view as you hike along the coastal trail. Due to its closeness to Riomaggiore, the village is sure to be bustling during the day. It’s also important to note that hotels are limited, so you should start your search for one early. The village has a population of about 450 residents.

Statue of Antonia Poja, the woman grape, Manarola, Italy.


This village is as quiet as Manarola is. It sits high on a cliff above the sea, which gives you the opportunity to enjoy great views and sunsets. This is actually the best place to choose if you want to get away from the crowd. You can find the train station down by the shore, and it takes about 382 steps to reach the town. Don’t want to walk? There’s a shuttle bus you can take for a small fee.


Vernazza is perhaps the most picturesque village in Cinque Terre. The town has a couple of streets to wander down and explore, and the views are unforgettable. This is probably the most popular village among tourists, so be sure to start your search early. Vernazza has a population of approximately 1,000 residents.


This is the biggest village in the pack, and it boasts more accommodations than the other four villages. Choose this village if you want to enjoy quality time on the beach or if climbing stairs makes you tired. There are also a number of shops to visit while you explore the village.


How to Get Around

You can explore Cinque Terre by train, ferry, boat or kayak. The train is sure to be your best choice.

Hit the train station

The good news is that it takes only five to 10 minutes to get from one village to another by train. The train runs regularly from La Spezia to Levanto. Note that the timetable may vary from season to season, so be sure to check the Cinque Terre official website for more information.

Take the ferry

You can also get around by ferry. During the spring and summer months, Cinque Terre has daily connections by sea from La Spezia, Lerici, Porto Venere, Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Rent a kayak

Are you looking to explore the villages by sea? Just head to the Monterosso beach, rent a kayak and explore! The best part is that the prices are very affordable!


Well, there you have it! We’ve covered everything you need to know about Cinque Terre. Now it’s time to pack your bags and hit this amazing destination. Happy holidays!