How to visit the Cinque Terre, Liguria


By now,  just about any traveler interested in Italy has heard about the  five villages of the Cinque Terre in the region of Liguria.

Liguria is situated northwest of Tuscany  and  the coastline wraps around the Mediterranean with Genova in the center,  and touches France in the western side. 


Why visit the Cinque Terre?

These five  simple colorful fishing villages located along nine miles of coastline  were and still are, not so easy to reach.  From south heading  north  one would pass Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and MonteRosso al mare. The villages were once soley connected to each other by boat or  by hiking dirt paths, but after the  unification of Italy, and once  a train line was constructed in the late 1800’s  it is easier to arrive there.   Today the towns are a magnet for young hipster hikers and offer a low cost modest tourism as a  contrast and alternative to the Italian riviera found further north on the coast. Cinque Terre no heels

 I was once escorting a group there many years ago, when a couple of Americans came up to me and asked . “ why are we here?What should we do now?” 

The focus  here is for many people is to do the walks /hikes between the villages, enjoy the beauty and slow down and enjoy life. Dolce far niente.  Leave your heels at home and just go.   With only  3600 inhabitants in these villages bear in mind it does not take much for a cruise ship shore excursion to make the area quite crowded.  In season timing is essential. 

The beauty of the area is stunning, with colorful narrow homes in the villages and  while hiking past kilometers of dry stack stone walls,  low trellised vines and olive trees, it surely will be a day to remember hiking here.  For those who are not hikers, then the boat excursions or trains allow you to see the villages as well with minimal effort. 



Allow  one day to see all five villages , it takes 6 hours to hike it non stop, and make sure to get on a boat for the coastal view.

  • Riomaggiore- nice port- no beach you can walk to Manarola  in 30 minutes on a flat trail through a tunnel. 
  • Manarola- decent port, no beach 
  •  In Manarola you can take the boat  but you will  skip Corniglia since there is no port , and go to Vernazza.  The walk  from Riomaggiore to to Corniglia is 45 min.  Modest difficulty  it does have a hill. 
  • Corniglia- top of a  hill no port.  200 steps uphill to see town- electric bus  provided. - No beach in town, but a beach below near train station.  -if you are low on  time, then skip this one. 
  • Vernazza- Most colorful and charming of all villages. – dramatic, difficult to walk tom  or from.  
  • No beach, dont miss it. 
  • Monterosso- the largest- and has two parts:old part which is very  charming, the new part where  train station and   parking is located, and  biggest beach is located.   largest. 



cinqueterrehikeAND WHILE YOU ARE IN LIGURIA VISIT: The Gold Coast of Italy


 Do not neglect touring the rest of Liguria, Portofino, Camogli, Chiavari, Rapallo. Santa Margherita Ligure all deserve your time.   If you are looking for the Italian Riviera this would present a good start.   The Italian gold coast, which includes Camogli to Chiavari   and also family friendly Sestri levante all have wonderful 4 and in some cases five star accommodations.  Palm tree lined pathways, and designer shops,  galor  and you can wear your best and bring your heels here. 

The food in Liguria is wonderful, as are the wines , with their regional varietals of  Pigato, Vermentino and famed SCIACCHETRÀ  dessert wine and  not to omit the olive oil  produced primarilywith Taggiasca olives is very delicate  to compliment the  fish based cuisine. 

You would not be disappointed to add this location to your travel itinerary, and since you are taking the time to go out of the way to get here,  then stay, 3-4 days for the Liguria Levante ( eastern) and 3 days for Liguria Ponente ( western).   It is a good area to combine with Piemonte s famous red wine based on Nebbiolo.  Ah but that is another story. 


  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, 15 June 2024



conde nast top travel Specialist 2008conde nast top travel Specialist 2009conde nast top travel Specialist 2010conde nast top travel Specialist 2011conde nast top travel Specialist 2012

Italian Wine Scholar Logo


a list 2009a list 2010a list 2011a List 2012a List 2013a List 2014a List 2015A List 2016 blueA List 2017 LogoA List 2018 smallTL ALIST LOGO 2019TL A List 2020T L 2022A List 2023 K