Cinque Terre and Porto Venere: A 3-Day Itinerary

Advisor - Alexandra Maria
Curated By

Alexandra Maria

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  • Cinque Terre

  • Porto Venere

  • Italy

  • Sightseeing

  • Romantic

  • Local Food

View of a castle, buildings with sea in the background.
Curator’s statement

Cinque Terre is a coastal region in Italy comprising five charming villages, conveniently reachable by boat, hiking, or train. Nestled along the Italian Riviera in northwest Italy, this picturesque destination provides an enchanting escape from the ordinary. Discover vibrant cliffside villages, each possessing its own distinct character and allure, against the backdrop of breathtaking Ligurian Sea views. Delight in terraced vineyard pathways that evoke awe. Embark on scenic village-connecting trails, indulge in the region's renowned pesto pasta, and relax with a glass of local wine as the sun dips below the horizon.

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Where to stay

Hotel Albergo Degli Amici

Experience the warmth of Italian hospitality at Hotel Albergo Degli Amici, where comfortable accommodations, friendly service and a convenient location create a welcoming and memorable stay in the heart of Italy.

Villa Accini

Discover Tuscan charm and tranquility at Villa Accini, where rustic elegance, lush gardens and comfortable accommodations come together to offer an authentic and enchanting stay in the heart of Italy's picturesque countryside.

Hotel Marina

Located in the heart of old town Monterosso, this family-run hotel is a charming Cinque Terre escape.

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  • Welcome drink & fruit plate.

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Day 1: Arrival in Monterosso Al Mare

A rock in the sea on beach.

Morning: Welcome to Monterosso Al Mare

Welcome to the charming village of Monterosso Al Mare, your base to explore Cinque Terre and beyond. After arriving at either Levanto (if coming from the west) or La Spezia Centrale (if coming from the east) take a short and scenic train ride to Monterosso. While you may drive, there is only one small garage at the top of the hill, which is usually full during peak season. Check into your cozy accommodation, and prepare for a magical adventure ahead.

Late Morning: Beach Bliss in Monterosso

Start your day with a visit to Monterosso's renowned beach. Sink your feet into the soft sands and let the soothing waves embrace you. Whether you prefer relaxation or water activities, the beach has something for everyone. Soak up the Mediterranean sun and rejuvenate your senses.

Afternoon: Hidden Gems in Monterosso

As you explore the village, you'll find hidden gems beyond the beach. Venture into the historic center with its medieval charm, and discover delightful eateries serving local specialties. Don't miss trying the famous Ligurian focaccia and freshly caught seafood, a true culinary delight.

Evening: Sunset Stroll or Boat Ride in Monterosso

Witness a breathtaking sunset from the cliffs or the waterfront promenade of Monterosso, or if you prefer, on the water from a boat. The warm hues of the sky reflecting over the sea create an unforgettable spectacle.

Day 2: Discovering Manarola and Porto Venere

White flowers and buildings in town of Manarola

Morning: Boat Ride to Porto Venere

Set off on a scenic ferry ride, where you will sail along the rugged coastline and witness the 5 villages that make up Cinque Terre from a unique perspective. Sit on the back left of the boat for the best views, and to avoid any boarding/deboarding crowds. You will get off at Porto Venere, a hidden gem nestled just outside Cinque Terre. Immerse yourself in the town's ancient charm and discover its historic treasures. Hike up steps alongside an ancient castle to find a picturesque view, venture to a pristine church, have a bite overlooking the water, and if you’re lucky, you will happen upon a local artist, Mori, creating art by the church.

Afternoon: Captivating Manarola

In the afternoon, take the ferry 2 stops to Manarola, one of the most iconic villages in Cinque Terre. Be prepared to be captivated by its colorful houses perched on the cliffs. Be sure to walk through to the back of the town, and take a walk along the vineyard paths that overlook the colorful scenery and beautiful water. Take in the breathtaking views of the vineyards and the sea, and breathe in the tranquility of this charming village.

Evening: Sunset in Manarola

End your day with a mesmerizing sunset view from Manarola’s waterfront. Savor the magical colors over a glass of local limoncello or wine before returning to Monterosso on the train or ferry.

Day 3: Hiking and exploring Vernazza and Corniglia

Houses on a cliff overlooking the sea.

Morning: Hiking to Vernazza

Today, embark on an exciting hike to Vernazza, one of the most picturesque villages of Cinque Terre. Take the famous Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail) trail from Monterosso to Vernazza, and enjoy stunning vistas of the coastline and lush terraced vineyards, making it a nature lover's paradise.

Late Morning: Vernazza's Delights

When you arrive in Vernazzza, get lost in the winding narrow streets, and be enchanted by its colorful buildings and vibrant harbor. Enjoy the charming shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafés. Treat yourself to some delicious local pastries and coffee while savoring the delightful atmosphere of this enchanting village.

Afternoon: Corniglia

In the afternoon, continue your hike to the next village, or take a short train to Corniglia, the smallest and quietest of the five villages. Perched on a cliff, Corniglia is the only town without water access, which rewards you with stunning vistas and a serene ambiance. Explore the quaint streets, and feel the authentic charm of this lesser-known treasure.

Evening: Farewell Dinner

End your incredible journey with a farewell dinner in Monterosso. Relish the delightful Ligurian dishes and toast to the unforgettable memories you've made during your Cinque Terre and Porto Venere adventure.

Cinque Terre and Porto Venere offer a dreamy blend of coastal beauty, history, and culture. Embrace the enchanting villages, indulge in local flavors, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of this captivating region. From Monterosso Al Mare to Porto Venere, this 3-day itinerary promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return. Cherish the memories and let the magic of Cinque Terre stay with you forever. Happy travels!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Ashtin Robison’s guide, The Heart and Soul of Venice: Where to Eat, Stay & Explore.

Advisor - Alexandra Maria

Travel Advisor

Alexandra Maria

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Italy.