Cinque Terre Travel Guide

Explore Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre Italy Travel Guide

Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre (5T) or five lands is a string of five towns perched on the side of a cliff on the Ligurian Sea, the towns are centuries old and surrounded by olive groves, lemon trees and vineyards, with stunning views out to sea. The Cinque Terre is UNESCO listed and  linked by the famous Sentiero Azzurro walking trail, along with other trails that sneak their way up and down the steep hills. Cars were banned from the Cinque Terre years ago. A train line runs behind the 5T in a series of tunnels making access relatively easy.

I have visited the Cinque Terre three times and have seen a huge increase in tourism over the years so pick the time you visit and try to travel out of peak time.

My biggest tip? Take time to sit and enjoy this beautiful part of Italy, have a coffee or spritz and just sit. On my last visit there I saw so meany poeple get off the train at one end of the trail rush headlong along the trail to jump back on the train at the other end. Tick – we’ve done that. Really? How well?

Things To See & Do In The Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is the most southern village of the Cinque Terre and the largest. Dating back to the 8th Century Riomaggiore, when the inhabitants of the Vara valley, searching a milder climate to raise grapevines and olive-trees without the fear of pirate raids, moved towards the coast. The town is a collection of pretty stone houses with coloured facades that climb up along the ridges overlooking the sea. Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Lane) starts in Riomaggiore a pretty path known for the romantic atmosphere and amazing landscapes. The path leads to Manarola and is the easiest section of the trail taking about 20 minutes to walk.

Manarola

Manarola

Manarola is  built high on a rock 70 metres above sea level, is one of the prettiest (and photographed) Cinque Terre villages.The tiny harbor features a boat ramp, picturesque multi coloured houses facing the sea, a tiny piazza with  restaurants. Bosts are pulled onto dry land when the seas are rough. Manarola has no real beach here, but it does have some of the best deep-water swimming around. wander top the top of the village to visit the church and bell tower where locals used to watch for raiding pirates.

Cornelia

Cornelia

Little Corniglia is my favourite town on the Cinque Terre and I stay here each time I visit. As it has no direct water access it is a little quieter than the other towns and at night when all the tourists have got back on the train you can wander the alleys totally alone. Corniglia is located in the middle of the Cinque Terre and sits 100 meters above the sea. Dating to Roman times Corniglia has a long history  of agricultural tradition. Visit the eighteenth century square largo Taragio with its Oratory Santa Caterina. The  village is connected to the train station by a footpath known as Lardarina with 377 stairs or a bus runs to/from the town and station

Vernazza

Cinque Terre Italy

Vernazza

Vernazza is a small fishing village and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is also the most popular and the busiest. Vernazza was founded about 1000 A.D. and was ruled by the Republic of Genoa starting in 1276. The medieval castle, Belforte, was built in the mid-1500’s to protect the village from pirates.  The tiny port is surrounded by pretty houses and the  piazza is lined with restaurants and bars. The village is surrounded by very steeply-terraced olive groves which are said to produce among the finest olive oil in the country.

Monterosso

Monterosso

Monterosso is the largest village on the Cinque Terre and the only one with a sand beach. The village is located on hills cultivated with vines and olives. The village is divided in two parts marked by the medieval tower of Aurora. The new part of town, Fegina is newer and catering to visitors with many hotels and restaurants give evidence. The old town of Monterosso is dominated by the ruins of the castle and characterized by typical narrow medieval streets and multi-coloured terraced houses.

Walking Trails of the Cinque Terre

The Sentiero Azzurro (The Blue Trail)

The Sentiero Azzurro or Blue trail hugs the coast and is by far the most popular hike on the Cinque Terre. The walk ranges from easy to average although you will need a moderate degree of fitness. Remember to wear walking shoes, a hat and take water with you.

RIOMAGGIORE – MANAROLA
Difficulty: easy
Length: 1,5 km
Duration: 30 minutes

MANAROLA – CORNIGLIA
Difficulty: easy
Length: 3 km
Duration: 1 h

CORNIGLIA – VERNAZZA
Difficulty: average
Length: 4 km
Duration: 1,5h – 2h

VERNAZZA – MONTEROSSO
Difficulty: average
Length: 3,5 km

Duration: 1,5 h

The Sentiero Rosso (The Red Trail)

The Sentiero Rosso or Red trail hugs takes the hiker inland and is much less popular, you can walk a long way without encountering anohtre person. The walk ranges from easy to average to extremely challenging an requires a good degree of fitness. Remember to wear walking shoes, a hat and take water with you.

RIOMAGGIORE – PORTOVENERE (Riomaggiore – Telegrafo – Campiglia – Portovenere)
Length: 22 Km
Duration: 6h
Difficulty: Challenging

LEVANTO – MONTEROSSO
Length: 8 Km
Duration: 3h
Difficulty: average

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