Located in the northwest coast of Italy, Cinque Terre is made up of five villages, and they all offer different reasons to fall in love with all of them.
Before you start planning your perfect getaway to Italy, there are essential things to keep in mind. Cinque Terre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so there is no car access once you are inside the five villages. Don’t be alarmed, there is a local train called The Cinque Terre Express, that runs from La Spezia through the coast and the boarding pass is only a few Euros. The five villages are also connected by numerous hiking trails, and this allows for easy travel between all of Cinque Terre. Just be sure to pack comfortable shoes, and a light backpack for the scenic walks in each village.
The southernmost village, Riomaggiore, has rocky beaches, lively nightlife, and delicious fried seafood cones. The Castle of Riomaggiore, is open to the public and behind it is an amazing view of the Azure trail and the seaside. The Sanctuary of Montenero is an absolute must see when in this amazing town. It is located at the top of a hill and gives you a bird’s eye view of the iconic coast. When the sun sets, make sure to appreciate the tranquility of the picture perfect seaport with pastel colored houses, and bright blue waters in this Italian village.
In Manarola, diving off the cliffs provides the perfect thrill seeking adventure, but you can always leisure on the rocks of the harbor with the locals. The memorable baroque architecture of Chiesa di San Lorenzo is always a good place to visit. Located on the upper part of Manarola is Trattoria dal Billy, the perfect restaurant to enjoy fresh seafood, and authentic pasta with the picturesque view of the Mediterranean sea.
The largest village of Cinque Terre, is divided by the tower of Aurora and the ruins of the Monterosso Castle into Old and New Town. In the Old Town is the church of San Giovanni Battista, and the statue of San Benedetto d’ Assisi. The New Town, called Fegina, is more touristy and has a variety of restaurants to choose from. Fegina is marked by the statue of the Giant, an architect and a sculptor created it to represent Neptune, the god of the sea. Monterosso is known for anchovies, so step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the local cuisine during your stay there.
The smallest of the towns and the least touristy of all of Cinque Terre. In order to get to town you have to climb 377 steps, but once you get to the top of the cliff you can photograph all of the other four towns at the same time. Once in Corniglia, the best places to visit are the Oratory of Santa Caterina and the Parish of San Pietro. There is no access to the beach since the town is so high up on the cliff, but walking through the small streets and enjoying some gelato gives you the classic Italian village experience.
Once the most prosperous of the villages, Vernazza is one of the most beautiful and picturesque Italian villages. The Dorian Castle and its bastion were built for protection, knowing the importance of Vernazza, now it still stands on top of the cliff overlooking the village. On the coast is the church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia built on top of rocks and on the main square of the town.
Taking a boat ride in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, lounging in the lovely Italian sun, walking the romantic views that Italy has to offer, or delighting in the local restaurants or cafes are just a few ways to explore Italy’s collection of Cinque Terre. Whatever you choose to do, the best way to visit Cinque Terre is by taking things slow and value every second of this once in a lifetime experience.