The Cinque Terre is a stunning coastal paradise located in the Liguria region of Italy. It’s made up of five picturesque fishing villages: (1) Monterosso Al Mare (2) Vernazza (3) Corniglia (4) Manarola (5) Riomaggiore.
These colourful villages are perched on cliffs overlooking the Ligurian Sea. They are renowned for their scenic beauty, vibrant houses and terraced vineyards. The area is also a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The region is a very popular destination for hikers who enjoy navigating the scenic trails connecting the five villages, offering stunning views of the coastline and the surrounding landscape. It is possible to walk the entire route in about six hours.
I’m very lucky to have visited it twice, once as a day trip off a cruise ship last year and then again this year as a weekend break. Many cruise lines offer excursions to Cinque Terre. The cruise ship would dock at a nearby port such as La Spezia or Livorno and from there you can take an organised tour or if you’re brave enough you can venture there yourself. There are a few transport options available such as train or ferry service that connect the port to the villages of Cinque Terre.
Personally, I’d recommend taking the excursion the cruise line has to offer especially if it’s your first time visiting Cinque Terre as the Cruise ship excursions are designed to make the most of limited time in port. They typically offer well planned itineraries that allow you to visit multiple villages or enjoy specific activities within the given time frame, ensuring you get the best experience of Cinque Terre. They also offer expert guidance from knowledgeable guides who provide valuable insights into the culture and history of Cinque Terre
When I visited Cinque Terre a few weeks ago I decided to stay in Monterosso Al Mare as it’s the first village we reached from Levanto (we flew into Genoa and took the train to Levanto) Monterosso is also the largest village in the Cinque Terre with the largest and most popular beach so there are plenty of beachside cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from. We stayed in a lovely three star hotel called Hotel 5 Terre it was an excellent choice and only a 5 minute walk to the centre of the town and the train station. A two minute walk took us to the fabulous beach.
The train is the most popular mode of transportation between the villages. Getting from Monterosso to the other villages is very easy and convenient. The train station is right in the centre of the town within walking distance of most of the accommodation available. Be sure to check the train schedule and make sure to catch the train heading towards la Spezia as this is the main direction for trains connecting the villages. Trains are frequent, and the journey from Monterosso to Vernazza takes less than ten minutes and costs only a few Euro for a return ticket. The same goes for the other villages.
Vernazza is considered one of the most picturesque and photogenic villages in the area. It has a small harbour with a rocky beach where you can relax and take in the the coastal views and watch the multicoloured fishing boats bob up and down in the water. Take a walk into the beautiful Piazza Marconi (Vernazza’s main square) lined with cafes, restaurants and small colourful shops. The square is a lively gathering place where people can relax, enjoy one of Italys famous gelatos and savour the local seafood delicacies or just sit back and people watch. Regardless of what you choose to do you can be sure to have a good time. Overall, Vernazza’s beauty lies in its enchanting blend of coastal scenery, colourful architecture and a relaxed welcoming atmosphere. It serves as a perfect gateway to the natural wonder that is Cinque Terre.
Next stop for us was Manarola, It’s known for its postcard-perfect beauty. It offers a charming and idyllic experience, we were totally blown away by its beauty. It’s a small village characterised by the narrow winding streets that lead to breathtaking viewpoints, revealing stunning panoramic views of the sea and surrounding landscape. Its colourful buildings create an amazing picturesque scene against the turquoise water. Manarola is renowned for its terraced vineyards that produce the local wine including the famous Sciacchetrá which is a rare wine. I tasted both and thoroughly enjoyed!! We wandered around the main street lined with shops cafes and restaurants and sampled the local cuisine including a delicious “Spaghetti alle Vongole” ie “Spaghetti with Clams” To Die For!! Manoarola’s charm lies in its intimate and tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal place to wander, soak in the coastal beauty and unwind. Regardless of which towns you decide to explore in Cinque Terre, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Put it on your bucket list, It’s on my “I need to return bucket list” Cinque Terre will leave you mesmerized and yearning to return again and again as it did me !!
Four nights break 21st to 25th Aug flights to Genoa with Ryanair Official Ryanair website | Cheap flights from Ireland | Ryanair
Hotel 5 Terre with Booking.com Euro 522 pp Booking.com | Official site | The best hotels, flights, car rentals & accommodations