Hi everyone! I am currently on week 2 of my 6 week backpacking trip through Europe. It’s my last night here in Cinque Terre, Italy and I have honestly loved it SO much. It can be a little confusing at first navigating these 5 villages and trying to figure everything out. This short post will give you a few tips & things to note when you’re planning your trip to Cinque Terre.
What and Where is Cinque Terre?
Cinque Terre is an area in Italy that is composed of 5 villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore). The villages are connected mostly by train, boat, & hiking trails. You might have seen photos of the colorful buildings in these quaint little towns. Cinque Terre is located off the western coast of Italy about an hour train ride from Pisa or a 2 hour train ride from Florence.
Each village is a little different, but each has shops, restaurants, hiking trails & gorgeous views. Monterosso has the only real beach of the 5 villages & Manarola is best known for their vineyards.
- The blue trail is the main coastal hiking trail that connects all 5 villages. As of this writing, almost all of the blue trail is closed and under construction for the forseable future. The only part of the blue trail that is open is the stretch between Vernazza & Monterosso. You can hike either direction, starting in either Vernazza or Monterosso. Having said this, my tip is to hike in the direction starting in Vernazza and ending in Monterosso. The hike is much easier going this way so you (and your knees/calves/entire body) will thank me and yourself later.
- The start to the trails are kind of difficult to find in my opinion. Don’t be afraid to ask locals or your fellow travelers around you for help finding the right trail.
- Know that the train connecting the 5 villages only comes every 30 minutes the earlier or later in the day it is. As the day goes on, the train becomes more frequent usually coming every 15-20 minutes, but of course it just depends. I learned this the hard way after missing the train and having to wait 30 minutes for the next one.
- Any of the 5 villages are great to stay at. I stayed in Riomaggiore at a really great hostel called Mar Mar. It really has more of an apartment vibe than a hostel vibe, but I loved it! There are also lots of other hostels & hotels as well as airbnbs. You really can’t go wrong wherever you stay.
- Be prepared for lots of stairs & uphill! There really isn’t much more to say about this, but it’s a good thing to note in case you or the person you’re traveling with has any mobility issues or health problems.
- I mentioned this earlier, but know that the only real beach with sand and all that jazz is in Monterosso. Due to this, this town typically is where most tourists stay and feels the most touristy out of all the 5 towns in my opinion.
- If you’re not ballin on a budget, consider booking a sunset boat tour or wine tour! Or even if you are ballin on a budget, consider booking one of these. I actually did both and my bank account might be feeling sad at the moment, but it was worth it! I booked both experiences through airbnb and I was not disappointed. If you want to see the exact tours I did, click the following links. Click here for the sunset boat tour. Click here for the wine tour/hike. And finally, click here if you have never used airbnb and you want to get $40 in credit when you sign up.
- If you are trying to save money though, Cinque Terre is a great place to not spend a lot of money. A lot of the mountain hikes don’t cost money & the coastal hike is only $7.50. You can also find very cheap meals in each town (less than $10)
- The train cost $4.00 for a 1 way ticket. BUT, it’s important to note if you have a Eurail/Interrail pass, this train counts as part of your pass and so you don’t need to pay. (And if you’re confused about what this pass is, then don’t worry about it. You would know if you have one).
- Speaking of the train, there is also the option to buy the Cinque Terre card. This card includes hiking & the train for a full day (or 2 days or however long you buy it for). It costs $16 for one day.
- Give yourself time to get from the city to the actual train station in that city. Most are at least a 5 minute walk from the main tourist area and some like Corniglia are a 15 minute walk. So remember to give yourself adequate time so you don’t miss your train.
- For the classic photo of you sipping wine with the colorful buildings of Cinque Terre in the background, check out Nessun Dorma in Manarola. It’s not a full restaurant as they only serve light meals, snacks, & drinks, but it is a great place to enjoy a drink & take in the view.
So these are my tips about making the most of your trip to Cinque Terre. I hope this post was helpful and that you have the best trip in Cinque Terre! Comment some of your own photos of Cinque Terre, questions, or response below.
Texan On The Go
3 thoughts on “A Short Guide to Cinque Terre”
Thanks for so much info! It’s good to know the train travel there can be included in an Interrail pass. Seems like one of the most unique, characterful places in Italy!
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Thanks for reading! Yes, it was very nice that the trains were included with my pass. Definitely saved me a lot of money.