Overlooking the waters of the Ligurian Sea, the Cinque Terre has quickly moved to one of the top of Italy’s must see attractions list. Cinque Terre are five villages that fall within the boundaries of Cinque Terre National Park. The area is beautiful, and the views even more. This was one of the main reasons why we had to include this spot in our 3 Week to Europe.
A few years ago the villages were relative unknown, but through the past few years, the word has been out and now everyone is trying to get their little slice of this paradise.
We visited the Cinque Terre as a day trip from La Spezia. Many people do this as a day trip from Pisa, but while doing our research, we found that it was more convenient for us to stay a night in La Spezia, which is known to be the starting point to get to the Cinque Terre. Plus, La Spezia is a pretty nice quite town, where you can find great stores and restaurants. There are also other towns where you can stay, that are not far from the Cinque Terre. It’s is just a matter of finding what works best for you when it comes to your stay.
One Day Itinerary
We arrived at night to La Spezia from Pisa, which allowed us to enjoy a quick stroll through the town and had a quick dinner.
The next morning, we purchased a day pass that granted us unlimited access to the trains linking the five towns. There is a train every hour leaving each town, so you are able to visit all and spend some time at each one.
We started our trip at Monterosso al Mar, the northernmost town along the coast. It is known to be the largest and most accessible town out of all five. During the summer you will find lines of rentable beach umbrellas and inviting waters. We visited during November, so the water was a bit cold, but we were still able to enjoy the beautiful views.
We were hoping to hike the trails to go from one town to another, however they were all closed. We weren’t able to find out if they were temporarily closed, or permanently. What we do know is that they were closed due to a landslide. You could only partially go on the path, enough to see great views. Before your visit, you can research if they have reopened the paths.
After walking around the town for a little while, we hopped back on the train and made our way to the second town, Vernazza. Vernazza is perhaps the most photographed town in the Cinque Terre. A few years ago, the town was buried in layers of mud, nearly destroying the town. But today the city has rebounded and, if it wasn’t for the informational posters once you arrive there, you wouldn’t even know about it.
The town is now perfectly clean and you’re able to enjoy its beautiful painted houses around the harbor and its crumbling castle that overlooks the town.
Once again, we hopped back on the train and headed to the next stop, Corniglia. Due to a miscalculation of time, we didn’t actually have time to see anything more than the Corniglia train station. We did not count the amount of time it would take to get to the actual town. From what we found, it was about an hour walk from the train stop. If you are planning on staying for longer than a day, or if you go during the summer when the days are longer, then you can definitely take the walk to enjoy the town.
Our next stop was Manarola. This town has a secluded area for swimmers, perfect for sunbathing and diving into the water. Manarola is one of the smaller villages. It also offers one of the best picture perfect view of Cinque Terre.
After enjoying its beautiful views, we headed to our last stop, Riomaggiore, where we were able to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to La Spezia, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner and then it was time for bed. From here, we were taking an early train to Nice, France the next morning.
Although we only spent a day here, we enjoyed all 5 towns and did not feel rushed. But if you have some extra time, or visit for more than one day, definitely take your time walking around the towns. Also, if you’re visiting during warmer days, don’t forget to strip down to your swimsuit, jump into the water and let yourself be enveloped by the cool and refreshing sea.
Watch this video to see more of our trip to the Cinque Terre.
Things to know about your trip to the Cinque Terre:
Tip # 1: Visit during slow season. We visited in November, so we were able to see a lot because the crowd wasn’t too busy. However, if you visit during peak season, you will find a bigger crowd. The only downside of visiting during slow season is that you won’t be able to jump in the water.
Tip # 2: Get your day pass for the train, and don’t forget to validate them. This is the biggest piece of advice I can give you. Avoid a nervous drive between the towns!
Tip # 3: Make sure you start your day trip bright and early, that is why I would recommend to stay at La Spezia since it’s only a few minutes to the first stop.
Tip # 4: we brought some snacks and our own lunch to be able to enjoy all 5 towns, but if you have more time, you can get something to eat at one of the amazing restaurants.
Tip # 5: Although it wasn’t such a big problem here, be aware of pickpockets, or people asking you to sign anything, to look at something. Keep your bags tight while walking or taking the train.
Tip # 6: The TripAdvisor app was a big help before and during our trip. In finding where to stay, where to eat, and even the places to visit. Also, we purchased a lot of the things we needed for our trip, like our Travel Power Adapter, through Amazon.
Similar to the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre is quickly becoming a tourists favorite because of its beautiful coastal scenery. I hope that this day itinerary in the Cinque Terre helps you during your next visit. Cinque Terre did not disappoint. Take your time to enjoy your walk, find a comfy spot to sit, relax and just enjoy the views at each one of these amazing towns.
To be honest, the Cinque Terre is an area that deserves more than a day to explore, but even in just this one day, it is enough to make you fall in love with it.
I hope that this itinerary helped you get an idea of things that you can do during your visit to the Cinque Terre. And if you do follow it, or take any tips from here, please write me. I want to know how it went for you. Don’t forget to read my Europe Trip post to read more about my whole trip and the other places we visited in Europe. Who knows, maybe you follow our same 3 week route.
All in all. Cinque Terre was more that what I imagined it to be. I had a fantastic day exploring them. Would I return? Are the views worth it? My answer is a simple, HECK YES!! It is just too beautiful not to. Photos cannot do Cinque Terre justice. It is a truly magical hidden gem!
Here are the recommended Itineraries for my trip: