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Exploring the colorful coast of Cinque Terre


Cinque Terre is a collection of five vibrant coastal villages - Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. These picturesque villages are popular for their colorful houses nestled along the cliffs by the Mediterranean Sea. A trip to Cinque Terre isn't complete without experiencing iconic viewpoints, savoring fresh seafood, and exploring all five villages. With so many sights and activities to explore, we've crafted the perfect 2-day Cinque Terre itinerary so you can make the most out of your visit to these charming coastal villages.


How to Get to Cinque Terre

The most convenient way to reach Cinque from Rome is by train. The journey from Rome takes around 4-5 hours, so an early trip will give you more time to explore the area. The first part of the trip is from the Roma Termini station to La Spezia, followed by a smaller train to your chosen village.

Getting Around Cinque Terre

A local train connects all five villages, offering an easy way to explore Cinque Terre. For adventurous travelers, there's a hiking trail that links the villages, stretching along the coastline for a more thrilling experience. Each village has its own bus system for local commuting, but they don't interconnect between villages. Another option is traveling by boat, allowing you to hop from one village to another while soaking in the scenic views! Each village is small and easy to explore by foot once you arrive.


Best Time to Visit Cinque Terre

The peak season in Cinque Terre spans from May to August. While the weather is great and everything is open, accommodation prices tend to be highest. We visited in early June and found it moderately busy without feeling overwhelmed by the crowds.


If you want to visit with less crowds, September and October can be a great option. Most places will still be open, and although the weather might be slightly cooler, it's a great time to explore.


Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

Choosing where to stay in Cinque Terre begins with selecting one of the five villages as your home base. Although the villages may seem similar, each offers a unique feel and characteristics that can influence your experience. Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare are the only villages that offer hotels since they are bigger than the other villages. However, you can opt for villas, guesthouses or Airbnb rentals throughout the area. We personally used booking.com and airbnb.com to secure our accommodations in Cinque Terre.


Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare stands out with its less hilly terrain and has the largest beach in Cinque Terre, making it an ideal choice for families and beach enthusiasts.


Casa Sopia is a 1-bedroom apartment with an independent entrance and just a 2-minute walk from the beach, restaurants, and bars


Vernazza

Vernazza can be one of the busier villages since many boat tours take off from here. Vernazza is also known for having great restaurants!


This 1-bedroom apartment is located in Piazza di Vernazza and offers a direct view of the square and sea


Corniglia

Located higher on a hill, Corniglia requires a climb up 365 stairs upon leaving the train station. Another option is to pay for a bus to take you to the top. While it's less crowded and offers more affordable accommodations, it's slightly harder to access and offers less restaurants and shops.


This 1-bedroom apartment is located in the center of Corniglia and offers a stunning private terrace.


Manarola

Considered the most picturesque and romantic of the villages, Manarola is a great spot for couples and honeymooners visiting Cinque Terre.


Il Sogno di Manarola by the First is just a 5-minute walk to the Manarola harbor with stunning views overlooking Manarola. Continental and Italian breakfast options are also available daily.


Riomaggiore

One of the larger villages, Riomaggiore is more lively and perfect for younger crowds. We enjoyed having Riomaggiore as our home base for exploring all of Cinque Terre.


This 1-bedroom apartment has an expansive terrace with mountain views and is just a 5-minute walk from Riomaggiore beach

Things to Do in Cinque Terre


Explore the Five Villages

We had so much fun taking the train and stopping at each of the five villages in Cinque Terre. Each village offers a unique ambiance and features to explore. Spending time in each village allows you to truly appreciate their individual charms - from the rocky landscapes of Riomaggiore to the harbor of Vernazza and the cliffs of Corniglia.


Admire the Views at Manarola's Scenic Viewpoint

To get the iconic views of Cinque Terre, you have to visit Manarola's scenic viewpoint. Though popular and often crowded, the views are absolutely worth it. We enjoyed walking to the viewpoints for the best views and even eating at the iconic Nessun Dorma for drinks and light snacks with breathtaking views.


Have a Beach Day at Monterosso al Mare

When you see beachy pictures of Cinque Terre, it's most likely the iconic orange and green umbrellas on the beach of Monterosso al Mare. It's the prime spot in Cinque Terre for a beach day, but planning ahead is crucial. While there's a small free beach area, it fills up very quickly, so an early arrival is key. Alternatively, reserve chairs and an umbrella at one of the lidos (paid beach clubs) in advance or early in the day, usually priced around €25 - €30 depending on the season.


Visit the Picturesque Village of Vernazza

Vernazza is the home to Cinque Terre's only natural harbor, complete with a small beach, great seafood restaurants, and a small lido during the summer months. Wander through the narrow streets of Vernazza's old town full of charming buildings and local shops. Don't miss taking the trail to the top of Vernazza for amazing views!


Explore Corniglia

Corniglia is the smallest of all five villages in Cinque Terre and is located on top of a cliff. Once you get off the train, you'll need to climb 365 stairs (or opt for a bus ride) to reach the village. Getting to Corniglia might be more challenging, resulting in fewer tourists and more affordable accommodations. However, this means there are limited dining options and shops. We visited Corniglia for a short time taking in the beautiful views and exploring its charming streets. Also, about 10 minutes from the city center, you can explore a rocky cove and swim in the aquamarine water.


Watch the Sunset on the Rocks of Riomaggiore

We really enjoyed walking out to the water below the village of Riomaggiore and finding a secluded spot on the rocks to relax and watch the sunset. It was so nice having a private piece of Cinque Terre to ourselves, soaking in the beautiful views.

Maddy and Max relaxing on the rocks of Riomaggiore

Walk the Blue Trail

The Blue Trail Hike connects all five villages through a beautiful pathway and rugged landscapes. If you're considering this hike, make sure to keep in mind your fitness level and familiarize yourself with the trail's rules beforehand. This is a more adventurous way to explore Cinque Terre!


Where to Eat in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is known for its seafood, pesto, local wine, and focaccia. We enjoyed trying all these local specialties during our stay in Cinque Terre. Check out our favorites below!


Nessun Dorma is an Italian restaurant with stunning views of Manarola. We highly recommend this spot for the best views in Cinque Terre. Sip on a cocktail, enjoy light appetizers, and soak in the beautiful scenery of Manarola.


Tutti Fritti
  • $

  • Fried seafood takeaway restaurant in Riomaggiore

  • We absolutely loved these fried seafood snacks!

  • Via Colombo, 161, 19017 Riomaggiore SP, Italy


  • $$

  • Seafood trattoria with outdoor seating in Monterosso

  • Their seafood and pasta is amazing!

Pasta and mussels at Ristorante Ciak in Cinque Terre

Enoteca Dau Cila
  • $$$

  • Classic restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the water in Riomaggiore

  • We loved the seafood pasta and house wine with great views

  • Via San Giacomo, 65, 19017 Riomaggiore SP, Italy


The Perfect 2-Day Monte Isola Itinerary


Day 1:
  • Arrive in Riomaggiore and check into your accommodations.

  • Stop at Tutti Fritti for a quick snack.

  • Take the local train to Monterosso al Mare, the first village.

  • Enjoy the beach with iconic orange and green umbrellas.

  • Have lunch at Ristorante Ciak.

  • Explore Monterosso al Mare's charming streets, shops, and more.

  • Take the local train to Vernazza, the second village.

  • Wander through the narrow streets and visit the natural harbor.

  • Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Vernazza.

Day 2:
  • Take the local train to Corniglia, the third village.

  • Explore Corniglia's charming streets, climb the stairs (or take a bus) to the village center.

  • Enjoy breakfast in Corniglia.

  • Take the train from Coniglia to Manarola.

  • Explore the picturesque streets of Manarola and visit the harbor.

  • Hike up to the scenic viewpoints and admire the picturesque scenery.

  • Enjoy a light lunch at Nessun Dorma.

  • Take the train back to Riomaggiore and explore the charming town.

  • Watch the Sunset on the Rocks of Riomaggiore

  • Enjoy dinner at Enoteca Dau Cila.

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The Perfect 2-Day Cinque Terre Itinerary Takeaways


Cinque Terre is a perfect coastal destination for a quick getaway. The vibrant colors of the houses perched on cliffs, the exquisite seafood, and the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea created a picture-perfect setting. Exploring each village allowed us to savor the unique character of Cinque Terre. Staying in Riomaggiore was a perfect home base and we were able to immerse ourselves in the local culture. If you find yourself in Cinque Terre, make sure to indulge in local specialties like seafood, pesto, and regional wines.

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