25 Aug Guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cars are useful and convenient, but they also cause pollution, noise and alter the structure of cities. Imagine a world without cars. There’s nothing like gearing up for an incredible vacation full of promise – of pampering, relaxation, and blissful days free from vehicles.
If you’re not in the mood for a hopping, urban city, here’s part 1 of pedestrian-friendly destinations where you won’t spot a car – the Cinque Terre, Italy.
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre is a magical world. It is a string of 5 fishing villages that hug the Italian Riviera, where a hiking trail gives pedestrians easy access to all 5 towns. These car-free towns are: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. You’ll spend most of your day splashing in the sea and sitting at cafes.
Getting to and around
By train is the easiest way to get to the Cinque Terre. From Genova, take the local train towards La Spezia and get off at any of the 5 towns that you like. It is possible to approach Cinque Terre by car, but it is not recommended, as there is no use for a car once you get there.
Each of the 5 villages has a small train station. Riding these trains between towns is the easiest and most efficient way of getting from town to town. A single ride ticket is between €1.50 – 3. If you’d like to save your money, the hiking trail connects the 5 villages of Cinque Terre. Within each village, you’ll have to get around by foot.
What to Do
Cinque Terre Trails
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could hike on the Cinque Terre Trails. The Cinque Terre trails are many trails around the 5 villages that are linked to one complete trail
Be warned – the trails are very steep and hard, so bring proper walking shoes and lots of water. Here are the popular trails in the Cinque Terre:
The Blue Path (#2)
The Blue Path is the most famous one and is visited by 95% of tourists. It is regularly maintained and improved, so expect to pay an entrance fee of €7.50.
The Riomaggiore Ting
Almost vertical in parts, this trek is not for the faint-hearted. However, with many water breaks and rests, it is achievable. The views are indescribable and are worth the effort needed to climb. If you can, wear hiking/walking boots as the descent is quite tricky in parts. A gelato at the end of the trek by the Manarola harbour will soon make the muscle strain a distant memory.
Town of Vernazza
If you don’t have the luxury to visit all 5 towns, Vernazza should be your first choice. Vernazza is Cinque Terre’s Jewel – a beach, a hiking trail, churches, castles, shrines, and it is full of colour. Whether it is for the appreciation of culture, or just a time to relax, you may choose the way you wish to spend your time to your preference.
(Manarola) Cliff Jumping at Manarola Beach
At Manarola, you can cliff jump. If you keep walking north along the walking path jutting out to the point, you’ll be rewarded with village views fit for a postcard. There’s also a playground if you’re traveling with children.
(Riomaggiore) Morning swim at Riomaggiore beach
Riomaggiore has a beach with big rocks and pebbles. You can find it if you follow the path to the left from the little fishing harbour. It’s in a beautiful natural environment, just rocks and sea.
What and Where to Eat
Local specialties of the Cinque Terre are focaccia, seafood and wine.
Foccacia originated from the region where Cinque Terre villages are located and is pretty delicious. They can be found in bakeries.
The Cinque Terre is located on the sea, so it should come as no surprise that seafood is a local specialty. Anchovies are famous throughout the Cinque Terre. Lastly, dry white wine is famous in the Cinque Terre. The grapes used to make the local wine are harvested from the vineyards clinging to the cliffs the Cinque Terre.
Address: Via Guidoni, 42 | La Spezia, 19018 Vernazza, Italy
Open: 12pm – 3pm, 7pm – 930pm
Italian, Mediterranean and Seafood
Belforte is run by local families and has been known for its incredible location overlooking the sea. Known for its easy cooking, its dishes come from local products and the famous ligurian recipes.
(Manarola) Nessun Dorma Cinque Terre
Address: Localita Punta Bonfiglio, 19017 Manarola, Italy
Open: 12pm – 9pm
Italian, Mediterranean, Wine bar
A new cafe carved into the cliff rocks of Manarola that serves light drinks and sandwiches.
(Monterosso al Mare) Da eraldo
Address: Piazza Matteotti, 19016 Monterosso al Mare, Italy
Open: 12pm – 10pm
This tiny restaurant is host to some of the best plates in all of Cinque Terre. We suggest Da Eraldo’s infamous antipasto, thick pasta Bolognese, swordfish with vegetables and the Cinque Terre Ventua wine.
(Riomaggoire) Il Pescato Cucinato
Address: Via Colombo, 199, Riomaggiore SP, Italy
Open: 1130am – 830pm
Italian, Seafood, Fast food, and Mediterranean
Three words: fried fish cones. Whether it’s calamari, clams, cod, or anchovies, there’s only one method of cooking, and that’s frying—but in a light batter that gives a nice crisp coat to the fish.
Where to Stay
(Vernazza) Camere Giuliano
Address: Localita Chiappa 1, 19018 Vernazza, Italy
Nestled on a hillside in the Cinque Terre, this is a rustic, stone-built B&B.
(Monterosso al Mare) Hotel Pasquale
Address: Via Fegina 4, 19016 Monterosso al Mare, Italy
Hotel Pasquale is a small, family-run hotel on the main street of Monterosso al Mare, in the very heart of the ancient village, right in front of the fishermen’s beach.
Address: Piazza Marconi, 15, 19018 Vernazza, Italy
Located in Vernazza, one of the villages of the famed Cinque Terra overlooking the Mediterranean, La Mala is an antique Ligurian house converted into a small hotel.