People often wonder what Cinque Terre is. Is it a thing, an animal, an occasion, a person? Our guide offers you all the answers.
If you’ve landed here after conducting numerous online searches, you already know what Cinque Terre is. However, if this is your first time on any site that mentions the words “Cinque Terre,” we consider ourselves lucky to give you an introduction.
Cinque Terre is a tourist resort in Italy. Its name is not used to describe one area of land or one place. Instead, it describes five beautiful villages, the coast, and all the adjacent hillsides that make up Cinque Terre National Park. Don’t get confused trying to figure out train schedules or hotel bookings in Cinque Terre. You must choose a village – or several villages if your traveling dates are flexible enough – and then make additional reservations once you’re there and you’ve chosen your home base.
Many people might not be familiar with this fact, but Cinque Terre is, in reality, a national park that is a protected waterway and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This tourist resort takes you back to a time before neon McDonald’s signs crowded your eyes at every stop and vehicle traffic was a pain in the neck. With beautiful trails leading from one village to another and the most delicious of foods to tempt your taste buds, the perfect Cinque Terre experience should not be missed.
Here we have compiled a list of the top 10 things to do in Cinque Terre to make your trip truly incredible.
- Pick a Village
As we mentioned, Cinque Terre is an area consisting of five separate and beautiful villages from which you must choose your first tourist destination. All the villages are close to each other and it can take you a day’s hike to get from one place to another. If you want to travel by train, a trip between twenty and thirty-five minutes long can get you where you want to go. Sometimes, it might take even less time depending on where you want to travel.
At Riomaggiore, you will find the Church of St John the Baptist, an oratory, chapels, the Castle of Riomaggiore, and the beginning of the Via dell’ Amore. Riomaggiore consists of one main street, a harbor, a rocky beach, a pharmacy and a dozen restaurants. It also has a good train connection and is the closest village to the main city of La Speiza. Riomaggiore is an absolute tourist’s favorite!
Manarola is situated north of Riomaggiore. Similar to Riomaggiore, it is a one-street town and has a small harbor in which you can take a dip. The most famous Cinque Terre photos are taken here. At Manarola, you can find the Church оf St Lawrence and the oratory, ruins of fortifications, Groppo, the beginning of the Via dell’ Amore, and the biggest Presepe in the world.
This is the smallest village in the whole of Cinque Terre. It’s the “baby” of the family and a rebel. Corniglia is built far above the ocean upon cliffs; to get there, you must climb the 382 steps that take you to the center of the town. The city of Corniglia is situated at an altitude of 100 meters above sea level, and here you can find the Church of St Peter, the Oratory of the Flagellants of St Catherine, the remains of Genovese fortifications, Spiaggione beach, and Guvano beach. It truly has a lot to offer!
Visit Monterosso al Mare
This is the northernmost village and the “biggest kid” in the family. When you arrive in Monterosso you will find many streets as well as cars, which might surprise you.
Your experience at Monterosso will be unlike any other. Monterosso’s landscape isn’t as vertical as the others’, and this is why you can spend the entire day not climbing hills or stairs, simply relishing its activities. Monterosso has a more resort feel. Here you can find the Church of S. Giovanni Battista, oratories, a Capuchin monastery, the Giant or Neptune, a castle, and lots of walls and towers.
Vernazza is the beauty queen of the Cinque Terre and is probably the most popular girl at school. Vernazza, like most of the other communities, is a one-street town and has a church built on water! Here you can find the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch, the monastery of Reformed Franciscan Friars Minor, a palazzo with porticoes, and Belforte Tower. Vernazza even has the remains of an old wall that protected the city against pirates. It also has a gorgeous waterfront piazza. No doubt, Vernazza is one of the hundred most beautiful villages in Italy.
Take the Blue Path
This is the most recognized and beautiful path for your tourist hike or passage from one town to another. The path is marked by a white-blue strip and requires about five hours to complete, not including your time visiting any of the villages.
Hike the High Path (number one)
If you’re a serious hiker and want to test your abilities, you must take the High Path. The High Path is a difficult path for tourists to take and stretches beyond Cinque Terre National Park, linking the town of Levanto in the north with the town of Portovenere in the south.
The Sanctuaries Way
Created after the last war, this path gets its name from the fact that it links all the sanctuaries of the National Park of Cinque Terre. This path is fully marked with a white and red stripe.
Head Towards the Beaches in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre has five miles of rocky coastline that is home to outcrops of rocks overlooking the sea, small coves, bays, gorges, beaches between the rocks, and a unique landscape with a crystal-clear sea. Don’t forget to visit the most famous beach in Monterosso and Guanavo beach in Corniglia.
Eat in Cinque Terre
Your tourist vacation is not complete if you haven’t feasted on the fine assortments of local specialties and treats! The characteristic dishes of Cinque Terre provide you with an unmatched combination of taste and fresh products. Cinque Terre’s main and proudest choice is seafood, but for vegetable lovers, the villages offer delicious vegetables in their dishes, too. At the end of your meal, don’t forget to sip on a glass of Sciachetra: a local specialty of strong sweet wine created with raisins. It helps with digestion and is very tasty, too.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but with our list, we hope that we have answered all your Cinque Terre questions and that you have the best Cinque Terre experience ever.