The famous 5 coastal villages that form the Cinque Terre are probably on everyone’s Travel Bucket list. And, let us tell you, rightfully so. They are unbelievably beautiful!
?? Pro tip:
It’s best to visit after the main season. We went there during a Mediterranean cruise in October and it was a perfect late summer day with not too many tourists.
How to get there
We started our journey at the harbour of La Spezia, where most of the Cruise ships stop for a day during a Mediterranean cruise. From here on you can either rent a car, book a day trip on a boat or visit the Cinque Terre via train. We decided for the train trip and were pleasantly surprised.
The schedules are easy to understand and surprisingly reliable! The trains go between the villages at least every 10 minutes. And now comes the biggest surprise: Of all things the day of our visit was the day of a general strike in Italy. We thought that would mean: not one train would go. Wrong! Maybe every third or fourth train was cancelled – but it was all clearly signed at the train stations and the alternative trains would leave only minutes later.
The first village we visited was Vernazza – we started in the North and then made our way down to the South.
This was our first view of Vernazza. We climbed up a hill for this!
The hills are lined with vineyards and you’ll get spectacular views if you keep walking uphill.
View of Vernazza from up in the hills!
After you made your way back down to the village you can take the main street. It leads from the train station directly to the harbour.
Make sure to sit down at Gianni Franzi and eat “Trofie con Pesto”, the local speciality. It’s a dish of small rolled noodles with a green pesto made of basil, oil and lots of garlic.
From Vernazza it’s only a couple of minutes by train to our second tour stop: Manarola. But if you have some more time: Consider to hike the path between the two villages. This will open up new amazing views of the Mediterranean, the cliffs and the small villages.
This is one of the nice views on Manarola’s harbour.
If you lean forward a bit, that’s the most famous view of Manarola. The village is nestled alongside the cliff in a spectacular way. You can really sense how the inhabitants fought off their houses inch by inch from the cliff.
Make sure to stop at “Nessun Dorma” for a drink under the white umbrellas with a one-of-a-kind view of the coastline and the village.
Our last stop brings us to Riomaggiore, that is famous for it’s sunsets. Well, we can never resist a good sunset viewpoint! And this one didn’t disappoint.
Walk down to the harbour and climb on the stones. Find yourself a comfortable place and stay until the sun sets.
?? Pro tip:
Bring a bottle of red wine, some bread, olives or grapes and prepare yourself a little picnic.
Even in October, some brave people still take a dip in the water.
But most visitors just climb around the rocks for the best sunset views.
When the sun sets the colors of the village shine even brighter than during the daylight.
After the sunset we catch a train back to La Spezia to board our cruise ship.
We definitely want to come back to see all five of the Cinque Terre and spend some more time in the villages. Early morning must be a perfect time to be there without too many visitors – what do you think?