Cinque Terre has to be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. I wrote a blog post about my first time visiting Cinque Terre, and being back for a second time was just as magical. This time, I only had a day to explore the five towns, which surprisingly, can be done. However, I suggest spending a couple days if you’ve never been before.
Cinque Terre can easily be reached from Florence by train and takes about three hours. No matter where you are traveling from in Italy, most trains all stop at La Spezia. From here you can buy an all day train pass for the five towns. The pass is 16 euros and I highly recommended. Otherwise, each train ride between the towns (including from La Spezia) is 4 euros each. The towns are only a couple minutes a part so going between all the towns takes almost no time at all!
Cinque Terre Towns:
Riomaggiore is the first town from La Spezia. My favorite thing to do in this town is view the colorful homes and buildings from lookout near the water.
For the best photo: Go to the pier for the best view of the town. Although it’s often crowded, this would also be a great spot to bring a pizza, sit and watch the sunset from the rocks.
Manarola is typically the town most people think of when referring to Cinque Terre. Views of Manarola are as perfect as a postcard and definitely worth spending some time admiring.
For Food + a View: The only restaurant I suggest is Nessun Dorma. This fabulous restaurant overlooks the postcard view of Manarola. The restaurant itself is worth going to just for the view of Manarola but it’s even better because the food is delicious! They unfortunately do not take reservations, so be sure to arrive right when they open for lunch or be prepared to wait in the long line that always forms! I’ve gone for lunch and dinner, both experiences were very memorable.
A small and quiet town that’s up on a hilltop. From the train station, the walk is about 365 steps to the town or there’s a bus that takes you all the way up. It’s a unique town where you can see the vineyards and get an authentic taste of how the locals live in this part of Italy.
For the experience: take the bus from the train station up to town but than walk all the way back down. The steps are much nicer on the way down!
Vernazza is full of beautiful pastel buildings that instantly took me back to the summertime. The town is lively and full of great places to grab street food, sit near the bright blue water and enjoy the sunshine.
For the best view: head towards the hiking path to Monterroso. It’s one of the only hiking paths still open and in the off season doesn’t cost anything to walk the path. I was more interested in this path for a specific viewpoint over Vernazza. There’s a perfect spot about five minutes into the path. I packed a small picnic and enjoyed the view, it made for the perfect afternoon! This seems to be more of a secret experience as there were no other tourists, I had the entire spot to myself.
Monterroso Al Mare
Commonly known as the beach town and the largest out of the towns. In the summertime the beach is lined with bright colorful umbrellas and crowds of people. Be sure to check out the gelato place Gelateria Golosone Monterroso Al Mare, it was one of my favorite spots to have a sweet treat.
To Do: Monterroso has the most shops that sell fun souvenirs, beautiful clothes, and unique foods and wines known to Cinque Terre. Take time to wander the many streets full of inviting shops.