This Italian Riviera gem is all you need for a good tan and a full tummy.
Situated on the coast of the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is one of the most beloved destinations in the world. Made up of five fisherman villages, this charming region has become a tourist hotspot especially during summertime when the sun heats up the coast while colorful umbrellas flash along the busy beaches.
Even if trains and ferries can transport travelers to all five villages, there’s nothing more lovely than losing yourself in one of the hiking trails or aimlessly wander through hidden alleys. Presented from north to south, here’s a quick breakdown of every village and hot tips on where to devour delicious Italian meals.
MONTEROSSO AL MARE
Monterosso al Mare is the largest and the most commercial village. A popular site is the church of St. John the baptist which features beautiful black and white marble columns and a fresco showing the baptism of Christ. For a fab lunch or dinner feasting on fresh seafood, don’t miss Al Pozzo and Da Oscar featured in our other video “18 Italian Must-Eats.”
Taking the ferry, heading south along the coast from Monterosso and you’ll encounter Vernazza. Cinque Terre has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, somehow many travelers pin Vernazza as their favorite village, much has to do with a breathtaking view upon entering the village by water. Don’t miss Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia which features a unique octagonal bell tower rising from the top of the church. Make sure to climb all the way to the top of the hill and treat yourself with an amazing cannoli at the Pirate Cafe, then munch on a slice of focaccia bread.
As the only village NOT directly adjacent to the sea, expect to hike up 100 meters high or zigzag of 33 flights of stairs as soon as you arrive in Corniglia. The village is wrapped around by vineyards, terraces and the Mediterranean Sea. The main square, Largo Taragio is where you can see the Church of San Pietro, the Sanctuary of our Lady of Graces, Oratory of Santa Caterina and a well where locals retrieve water. Much quieter than the other four villages, Corniglia’s houses are also different since they’re set lower, hence you’ll never see them as high as those in Manarola or Riomaggiore. A must-try restaurant is Cecio where you can also stock up on local souvenirs.
Out of the five villages, Manarola is the oldest and the second smallest. The famously bright and colorful houses sitting on a cliff is an iconic scenary, making Manarola one of the most photographed villages in the world. Snap your very own postcard moment along the railings. Many travelers come here to hike the “Love’s Trail” connecting Manarola and Riomaggiore. While you’re here, make sure to indulge in a meal at Billy’s, such an amazing restaurant.
As the most southern village of the five, Riomaggiore is also the first Cinque Terre village that travelers see when they come from La Spezia. There’s a Love Trail where hikers can traverse between Manarola and Riomaggiore. The main street in Riomaggiore is filled with shops, restaurants and bars where I met amazing new friends to last a lifetime!