There is a lot of information about Cinque Terre on the Internet and I suppose you already know a lot of things about this region. Especially if you plan to visit it. But something new is always welcome so I will write down what I consider to be some significant fact about Cinque Terre. Some of them I knew before starting my Cinque Terre holiday while others I found during my trip there.
1. Hike at least one trail. You will have to put in a little bit of effort but the views from above are really spectacular.
If you only want to choose one of them you should prefer those from the ends of the entire trail: Riomaggiore-Manarola or Vernazza-Monterosso (this one is the most difficult), depending also on the availability of the trail when you are there. You will be impressed when the villages will start showing in front of your eyes, you won’t stop admiring them and taking pictures.
Even if they are not very hard trails they are still not easy (of course this is related to your physical condition) and they require a little effort from your side. Put on the appropriate shoes (you don’t need boots, some sneakers are enough) and take some water with you. And of course stop from time to time to enjoy the view.
If you really do not consider hiking you should at least walk on the trails to a higher point from where you can see the villages. Trust me! It’s really worth it! The view is incredible.
2. If you plan to stay on the beach in Cinque Terre my recommendation would be to choose Monterosso. This is the only village with a real beach.
It is not very long or wide but it’s enough. It looks very good and the water here has an incredible blue color.
Except Corniglia, which is not situated near the sea but somewhere higher on the hills, you can sunbathe in all the rest of the villages but on the rocks or asphalt or on a very little beach which doesn’t have sunbathing as its main purpose.
If you want some extreme sport (or at least this is how I consider it) and you would like to jump in the water from the rocks, Manarola is the right place for you.
3. Besides the train another public transportation option in the area is the boat, which links all the villages with La Spezia but with Portovenere also.
If you really want to experiment a boat trip you should choose this option but besides this I would not recommend the boat just for transportation purpose.
- it is more expensive than train
- much less frequently than train
- the last boat its around 6 pm, while the train can be used even after 8 pm from hour to hour (and it’s very possible for you to be willing to stay in one of the villages for dinner or for some night pictures)
- it is very crowded so there is a big chance you will have to travel inside the boat (what’s the point? you can stay inside also in the train)
- the queues for waiting the boat are formed early in tight spaces with plenty of sunshine, the train station is a more comfortable place to wait
- there are a lot of tourist groups travelling with the boat
- they are slower than the train
- Maybe you are dreaming to take the perfect shot from the sea while the boat is entering the port but you will be disappointed. The boat will sit on a side of the village where the view is average; the only place where you are able to take a pretty good picture is in Riomaggiore
4. If you have enough time visit also Portovenere
It is nice and stylish and less crowded. You can enjoy some relaxation minutes here. Besides the boat which gets to Portovenere (I really do not remember if you can buy just a simple ticket for Portovenere) there is also the bus option.
5. Do not hesitate to visit Corniglia even if it is not situated near the sea and many do not really consider it.
Because of this, it is less crowded, and it has some great terraces with sea view. Another nice thing is that the entire village is surrounded by an unreal green color.
6. Don’t miss Nessun Dorma restaurant situated in Manarola.
There are not plenty of food options in the menu, but the bruschetta or the cheese or ham and cheese platters, are incredibly photogenic and if we add the beauty of the view seen from the terrace (situated up on the hill) it is for sure a place not to be missed.
Don’t be scared if there is a queue at the entrance, everything moves fast and in short time you will get a table.
7. Eat ice-cream!
I wouldn’t be able to recommend a place because everywhere I ate, the ice-cream was big and delicious. And in the entire area there are dozens of gelaterias.
8. Spend at least two days visiting the villages.
Even if at first glance all the villages can be visited in one day, it’s a pity to see them on the run and not enjoy the time spent there (from my point of view , 2-3 days is the perfect time for Cinque-Terre).
9. Discover the less touristy places
Each one of the five villages has some famous spots, those places where everyone wants to take pictures or take pictures with, pictures that you’ll find in social media at a first simple search. Of course it’s beautiful there, of course you will want to take your pictures there, but try not to limit yourself only to these places. Take your time, move a little bit farther from those spots, go deeper in each village and discover the less popular streets. A roof, a window, a little yard or a colorful bush of flowers can offer you beautiful frames and new perspectives. Especially if you did some research before being there and you feel like you already know every place.
10. Charge your batteries and be happy that you have the opportunity to be in one of the most beautiful places in Europe 🙂 and you can admire those unique landscapes.
For more photos, stories and recommendations you can find me also on Instagram: @gabyandtheworld