Exploring Italy: 3 Days in Cinque Terre

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Advisor - Trina Henry
Curated By

Trina Henry

  • Cinque Terre

  • Luxury Travel

  • Beaches

  • Food & Wine

  • Architecture

  • Foodie

  • Sightseeing

colorful houses on a coast
Curator’s statement

Cinque Terre is one of the many jewels of Italy. Nestled along Italy’s northwestern coastline in the Liguria region, are a stunning collection of five colorful fishing villages. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are known for their breathtaking beauty and charm. Also this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers visitors a unique blend of rugged landscapes, vibrant architecture, delicious seafood, and scenic hiking trails that connect them.

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Where to stay in Cinque Terre, Italy

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Things to do in Cinque Terre, Italy

castle balcony overlooking island coasts

With three days to explore Cinque Terre, here are the top things to do in order to make the most of your time in this picturesque region of Italy.

Getting Around

  • By Train: First off, you can visit each of the five villages easily by taking the local train that can be caught in La Spezia. By train you can either head first to Riomaggiore and make your way north or start in Monterosso al Mare and work your way south. By Sea: Another option is to take a ferry or boat tour between the towns if you want to take in the gorgeous coastline by sea. Sail along the rugged cliffs and admire the colorful buildings clinging to the hillsides.

  • By Foot: For those who are able I’d highly recommend taking a leisurely hike along the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Trail), the scenic coastal trails between the villages. This will allow you to admire breathtaking views of the cliffs, wine terraces and the sea.

  • TIP: If you’re concerned about how much time you have in the area, limit your hiking to just between one or two of the villages. Also wear the right shoes as the trail is not just a walk in the park :)

No matter your method of transportation, stop by the charming town squares, indulge in local cuisine at seaside restaurants, and savor gelato while strolling along the narrow streets. You can also enjoy swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean or relax on the sandy beaches.

Visit a winery to taste the famous local wines, such as the white Cinque Terre DOC or the Sciacchetrà dessert wine. End the day by watching the sunset from one of the scenic viewpoints.

  • Monterosso al Mare: The largest of the 5 villages, the main train station drops you at the western and most touristic section of Fegina. You can take a stroll along the long sandy beach and go for a swim in the Ligurian sea then make your way east to the ancient village center to grab a bit to eat at one of the many restaurants.

  • Vernazza: Known for the colorful building surrounding one of the natural ports in the region. This town notably has no car access and is great for pedestrian exploration. Climb up to the Doria Castle for panoramic views of the village and the sea. Indulge in some traditional seafood dishes like the spaghetti with clams or the stuffed anchovies at one of the local restaurants.

  • Manarola: Taste the local specialty, "Sciacchetrà" wine, at one of the vineyards in Manarola. For the adventurous water lovers, try your hand at cliff jumping in the clear waters of the Marina. Then watch the sunset from the rocky waterfront promenade, capturing the village's epic beauty.

  • Riomaggiore: Explore the colorful houses and winding streets of the village. Hike up to the historic church of San Giovanni Battista for panoramic views of the sea. And don’t miss trying the delicious Ligurian pesto at one of the local restaurants.

  • Corniglia: While not quite as well known as the other four villages, Corniglia offers charming narrow streets where you can’t admire the medieval atmosphere. Note, you can climb the famous "Lardarina" staircase, consisting of 382 steps, to reach the village perched on top of a cliff. While there taste the local specialty, "Miele di Corniglia," a delicious honey produced by local beekeepers.

Places to eat & drink in Cinque Terre, Italy

winery on the coast on cloudless day

Trattoria dal Billy: Seafood restaurant in Manarola. Their traditional stuffed mussels are and Pesto Pasta great!

La Taverna: Little hole in the wall restaurant Monterosso. Try dishes like the beef carpaccio to Risotto Al Frutti Di Mare.

Ristorante Miky (Da Miky): Also located in Monterosso, while a bit pricey you'll find fresh made pasta daily and you won't regret ordering the catch of the day! The seafood risotto and local anchovies are recommended.

Also for the seafood lovers try the fried seafood cones (fritto misto) in Riomaggiore, delicious! While there are pleny of options check out Il Pescato Cucinato.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Guide to Porto, Portugal: Food, Wine & Culture.

Advisor - Trina Henry

Travel Advisor

Trina Henry

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