This Italian Riviera gem is all you need this summer for a good tan.
Situated on the coast of the Italian Riveira, 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 blazes the coast and the colorful umbrellas flash along the vibrant beaches.
SEE ALSO: 18 Italian Must-Eat’s In Cinque Terre
While 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 wanderlust through hidden alleys. Presented from north to south, here’s a quick breakdown of every village and tips on where to tasty 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 tasty Italian meals, don’t miss Al Pozzo and Da Oscar restaurants featured in our other video “18 Italian Must-Eats.”
Taking the ferry, heading south along the coast from Monterosso is Vernazza. Since 1997, Cinque Terre has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and many travelers consider Vernazza as their favorite, especially with the breathtaking view 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, and munch on a slice of focaccia bread.
As the only village not directly adjacent to the sea, when you arrive in Corniglia, expect to hike up 100 meters high or zigzag of 33 flights of stairs. 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 used to retrieve water. Much quieter than the other villages, Corniglia’s houses are also different from other villages because they’re set lower, you’ll never see them as high as those in Manarola or Riomaggiore. A restaurant that you must try here is Cecio, and stock up on local souvenirs.
Of the five villages, Manarola is the oldest and the second smallest. The famously bright and colorful houses is what makes Manarola one of the most photographed village in the world. Yes, this is where you’ll find that postcard photo of Cinque Terre you’ve seen everywhere. Many travelers come here to hike the “Love’s Trail” connecting Manarola and another village called Riomaggiore. While you’re here, make sure to take 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 connect between Manarola and Riomaggiore. The main street here in Riomaggiore is filled with shops, restaurants and bars where I met amazing new friends to last a lifetime!
Photos: Wendy Hung
What’s your favorite Cinque Terre village? Let us know in the comments.