Have you heard about the Cinque Terre? They are 5 beautiful small towns (Monterosso Al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) located in the Liguria coast in Italy. Going to there requires some planning in advance, but worry not, I'll give you all the tips and tricks.
How to get there
There are 3 ways to visit them: by walking on the trails, by train, or by boat (except for Corniglia, which cannot be visited by boat).
The easiest way to visit them is possibly by train, but if you are like me and like to have the option to walk Via del Amore (between Manarola and Riomaggiore), you can buy the Cinque Terre pass, which includes unlimited train rides for the day and access to the trails.
Other towns worth visiting, besides the Cinque Terre
There are 2 towns very close to the Cinque Terre that you may never have heard about it, and that's a good thing!
Portovenere and Levanto are just next to the 5 beautiful towns, but they have a really good advantage: they are not so touristy and they are just as beautiful!
Portovenere is a walk-friendly town, where no cars are allowed inside. With its own castle and walls, it make it the most medieval of them all.
See below for yourself!
Levanto is what I like to call the "sixth Cinque Terre". It is absolutely stunning, with a beautiful and long beach, many restaurants and is not crowded with tourists!
Where to stay
I wouldn't recommend staying at one of the Cinque Terre as they are not very friendly if you're carrying your luggage.
The Cinque Terre pass includes the train route Levanto - Monterosso Al Mare - Vernazza - Corniglia - Manarola - Riomaggiore - La Spezia, making it ideal to stay either in Levanto or La Spezia.
La Spezia is a port city, making it very industrialized and in my personal opinion, not the best option to stay.
Levanto as I mentioned before, is not only one of the best palces to visit when visit the Cinque Terre, but it's also in my opinion, where you should stay.
We decided to stay near Levanto at Costa di Faraggiana (just less than 10 minutes away from Levanto - it has a free shuttle to Levanto whenever you want). It was just the most perfect stay we could ask for, as it allowed us to visit the Cinque Terre and at the same time, have a relaxed and peaceful time.
Check them out here.
Although going by train is the easiest way to visit the Cinque Terre, nothing beats the views you'll get if you go by boat.
We were lucky enough to have the option to go on a private boat tour with Costa di Faraggiana. They usually make their tours during the sunset and give you a tour of the nearby caves. It's truly an experience I recommend!
Best Cinque Terre Beach
Without a doubt, the best Cinque Terre to go for a swim is Monterosso Al Mare. It has 2 different beaches and they are absolutely breathtaking.
Corniglia, the different Cinque Terre
All the Cinque Terre are accessible by boat, with the exception of Corniglia. This town is located on the top of a promontory, which makes her unique. Its narrow streets filled with stores selling souvenirs, flowers, fruit and crockery make visiting this town an unforgettable experience!
My personal favorite
All the 5 towns are absolutely beautiful, which makes it very difficult to pick the one I enjoyed the most. My favorite Cinque Terre is Vernazza, as I found its waterfront just stunning. Monterosso Al Mare is a close second, due to the amazing beach it has.