Best Place To Stay in Cinque Terre – Tips and Advice
- Best time to visit Cinque Terre: Although the villages are great to visit any time of the year, it’s best to visit between Spring and Autumn and less desirable during the peak of summer because the villages experience sweltering heat and are usually packed with tourists.
- Ideal tour: A great way to start a tour of Cinque Terre is beginning in the southmost village, Riomaggiore, then hopping on a train to Manarola to experience its overawing headlands. The next stop would be Corniglia, a quiet and less bustling village with amazing views, afterward catching a morning visit to Monterosso will allow a calmer experience of the lively village that is almost always busy by lunchtime. Last on the itinerary could be a hike through Vernazza’s wondrous trails or a boat trip across its brilliant waters and ending with a pesto and pasta-making class.
- Exploring on a budget: Each village has hotels, hostels, and B & B’s, however, the accommodation in the neighboring towns of Levanto and La Spezia is more reasonably priced and there are excellent train routes to get to Cinque Terre. A good way to round up the traveling costs, especially train fare, is through getting a Cinque Terre card that provides unlimited train travel. If traveling through all five villages is a bit pricey or you don’t have much time to prepare for each village then tours are the best way to go. There are tours starting in either Florence or Pisa that offer day trips to Cinque Terre with great prices.
- Hiking in Cinque Terre: A visit to Cinque Terre is hardly complete without trekking through the trails of the jagged hills that make this place so special. Anyone who wants to hike will need a hiking ticket which is easily purchased at a train station or a tourist information center which has staff who are available to give guidance with regards to hiking. Hiking between the five villages used to be popular but recent landslides have resulted in many trails being closed and reopening dates are far from confirmed. The only open trail is the one between Monterosso, Vernazza, and Corniglia. the trek from Monterosso to Vernazza is one of the best, especially for amateur hikers; it takes two hours to complete and the sights are worth the journey.
- Tips to be a good tourist: Cinque Terre is generally a relaxed place, however trespassing or hopping fences doesn’t slide well. Of course, wanting to take pictures or experience the spectacular views is harmless, but if the property is private or blocked off for safety the good-tourist thing to do is to respect the limits!
On the coast of the region of Liguria are lush hills that overlook the warm waters of the Mediterranean. The sweeping elevations are covered with rustic buildings that echo the countryside charm of Cinque Terre.
This coastal town is located on the west of La Spezia Province and consists of five (Cinque) villages/lands (Terre) namely; Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Vernazza.
These villages are some of Italy’s prized regions for their captivating beauty and quality produce; best of all they have connective trails that allow for a wholesome experience of the Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre’s landscape is quite special and it appeals to 2.5 million tourists annually, that is why it’s no surprise that its villages and its National Park have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
The National park is a small 4,300 acres but it is incredibly dense; its close location to the residential areas of the Cinque Terre and surrounding communes is meant to symbolize the intricate relationship between man and nature.
It plays a significant role in environmental conservation and responsible tourism, to ensure that the wonder of the five villages lives on.
Cinque Terre Neighbourhood Guide
The 8 Best Areas To Stay In Cinque Terre
1. Deiva Marina
This meek commune on the east of Cinque Terre boasts beautiful beaches featuring expansive seashores that are almost always studded with umbrellas.
The village is divided into two; the old town that is distinguished by its narrow streets and pastoral architecture and the tourist section known as la Marina which features its lively beachfront and a variety of shops and restaurants.
Much like the rest of the region, fishing is pretty popular, and to make the most of the clear waters boat cruises, fishing, and whale watching are favored activities. Visitors also have the chance of exploring the surrounding hills on hiking trails that guarantee scenic views.
Deiva Marina has sights that share its intriguing history, starting with the 16th century Old Sight Towers that were formerly used for defense against pirate raids.
The Ruins of the Old Castle of De Passano were once home to the da Passano family who governed Bracco, Moneglia, and Vernazza until the 10th century. Built in 1730 is The Church of Sant’ Antonio Abate, whose design is inspired by the Baroque era which also houses antiquated paintings.
Places to Stay:
- ($$$) • Residence Hotel Kriss • Piazza Doria, 19013 Deiva Marina, Italy
- ($$) • Hotel Clelia • Corso Italia 23, 19013 Deiva Marina, Italy
- ($) • Albergo La Lampara • Lungomare Corso Colombo 17, 19013 Deiva Marina, Italy
A great starting point for a tour of Cinque Terre is Levanto, which is a popular seaside commune. The village features a windy seashore populated with shops and restaurants right by the waters. Artisanal boats decorate the shores with their bright colors with the backdrop of pine forests, vineyards, and houses dating back to the medieval era.
There’s always something happening in Levanto, whether it be hosted walks through its valleys, festivals, or shopping, there’s always something for visitors to take part in. Food and wine trail walks through the valley are popular at the start of summer and throughout summer there are a number of open beach parties and carnivals.
Shops in Levanto are open from 9 am till 1 pm and reopen from 4:30 pm until 7:30 pm. The markets sell a variety of goods, from fresh produce and fish to clothing and garden plants, visitors can also enjoy all kinds of freshly made pasta and pesto which is a regional specialty.
Levanto has a number of prehistoric churches and castles, many of which are used to this day. Popular churches and chaplets include Oratorio di San Giacomo, the Church of San Rocco, and the Sant’ Andrea Church.
Places to Stay:
- ($$$) • Hotel Palazzo Vannoni • Via Marconi 4, 19015 Levanto, Italy
- ($$) • Hotel Abetaia • Località Pian Del Momo, 19015 Levanto, Italy
- ($) • Primavera • Via Cairoli 5, 19015 Levanto, Italy
- ($$$) • Affittacamere Monica • Via Canzio 18, Levanto, Cinque Terre, Italy
- ($$) • Hostel Ospitalia del Mare • Via San Nicolò 1, Levanto, Cinque Terre, Italy
3. Porto Venere
South of Cinque Terre is Porto Venere, a fishing commune dating back to the medieval era. Its harbor is hemmed with brightly colored buildings that ascend with the hills. There are narrow streets fringed with shops that extend from the ancient gate to the castle to the top of the hills.
Lined along the narrow streets are small shops selling an assortment of things, one shop, in particular, a Bajeicò, sells freshly made basil pesto served with fresh pasta such as ravioli.
Visitors can catch a ferry along the coast to absorb the wonder of the landscape and also have the chance to visit the neighboring islands of Palmaria, Tinetto, and Tino.
The hills of Porto Venere reach spectacular heights which host picturesque monuments and enhance the visitors’ experience. Such is the case of the Church of San Pietro; built in 1277 according to the Genovese Gothic Style, the church sits on a jagged elevation looking on to the sea.
The Doria Castle, which features the ancient city gate, boasts its Genoan military architecture that has left impressions on visitors since 1161. Lastly is Grotta di Byron or Byron’s Cave which was named after the poet Byron who famously swam through the gulf to meet his friends on the other side.
Places to Stay:
- ($$$) • Grand Hotel Portovenere • Via Garibaldi 5, 19025 Portovenere, Italy
- ($$$) • Ostello di Porto Venere • Via del Comune n. 1 – 19025, Portovenere, Cinque Terre, Italy
Sometime around the 8th century, the inhabitants of Vara Valley were searching for a new place to grow their olive trees and grapevines that were safe from pirate raids.
They then moved closer to the coast and resided in what is presently known as Riomaggiore, the most southern village of Cinque Terre. The jagged hills of the village descend into the waters and bright buildings stand on the edges of the ridges.
This quaint village is at the southernmost point of Cinque Terre and it starts a famous walking path named Via dell’Amore translated as “Lovers Lane”. This path is for all the romantics, a railed walk on the side of the hills with a full view of the ocean and waves as they crash against the rocks below.
Amazingly, it takes a twenty-minute stroll down Lover’s Lane to get to the next village; Manarola. This is what makes Cinque Terre so fascinating; visitors can use a series of paths and adore all five villages hassle-free!
Establishing Riomaggiore in the 8th century gave settlers time to construct monuments that have stood the test of time and are still in use. The Church of San Lorenzo was built in 1338 and is noted for its ornate rose window above its entrance door.
The Church of San Giovanni Battista was built in 1340 and models a Gothic design. The Castle of Riomaggiore was built in 1260 and stands backed by a guard of trees. Lastly, the Sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero allows visitors a panoramic view of Cinque Terre’s coastline that is truly unforgettable.
Places to Stay:
- ($$) • La Dolce Vita • Via Colombo 167, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy
- ($$) • Hotel Del Sole • Via Del Santuario 114, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy
- ($) • Il Borgo Di Campi • Strada Litoranea Per Riomaggiore Km 9.4, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy
- ($$$) • Ca Da Iride • Via del Santuario, 162b, Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
- ($$) • Mar-Mar • via Malborghetto, 4, Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
- ($$$) • Private room in rental unit • Riomaggiore, Liguria, Italy
- ($$) • Entire rental unit • Riomaggiore, Liguria, Italy
- ($) • Private room in residential home • Riomaggiore, SP, Italy
5. Monterosso al Mare
On to the largest village of Cinque Terre which has been noted as one of the most welcoming communes in all of Liguria. Monterosso al Mare also referred to as Monterosso, is located on hills populated with olive trees, grapevines, and lemons with crystalline waters and colorful reefs below.
The village consists of two parts which are separated by the medieval tower of Aurora. The first area is the old town of Monterosso which is mostly scattered with medieval castle ruins and narrow streets with bright-colored terraced buildings. The second area is Fegina, a new and vibrant part of Monterosso with quality shops and restaurants aplenty.
Summers in Monterosso is packed with events, most of them celebrating their produce with food tasting gatherings.
In May, Sagra dei limoni (The Lemon Festival) is celebrated and the locals decorate the village with lemons and enjoy an assortment of lemon-flavored treats like limoncino, lemon marmalade, and a special torta al Limone.
June features Corpus Domini celebrations and Sagra dell’acciuga fritta, a chance to taste Monterosso’s famous anchovies. In late September, bands from all over Italy perform in Monterosso’s Festival bandistico, not long after that is Festa del vino where visitors can have a taste of Cinque Terre’s wines; Sciacchetra and the eponymous DOC Cinque Terre.
Both the old and new parts of Monterosso have outstanding landmarks that mark the village’s history and point out how far it has come. In the older part of town stands The Church of San Giovanni Battista that was built in the 1200s.
The Gothic-Genovese design makes it stand out in the main square and inside it encases a glorious fresco illustrating the baptism of Christ. Still on the older part of town is the statue of San Benedetto d’ Assisi petting a dog that faces the sea and rolling hills.
In newer Fegina is the statue of the Giant, II Gigante, which is a concrete figurine of Neptune the god of the sea that is placed on the terrace of a villa near the beach.
Places to Stay:
- ($$$) • Hotel La Colonnina • Via Zuecca 6, 19016 Monterosso al Mare, Italy
- ($$) • Albergo Al Carugio • Via Roma 100, 19016 Monterosso al Mare, Italy
- ($) • Hotel Il colle di Monterosso • Hotel Il colle di Monterosso
- ($$$) • Private room in guesthouse • Monterosso al Mare, Liguria, Italy
- ($$) • Entire guest suite • Monterosso Al Mare, La Spezia, Italy
- ($) • Private room • Monterosso al Mare, Liguria, Italy
Right in the center of Cinque Terre is Corniglia, it is the only village without access to the sea and is subsequently not as visited as its coastal neighbors due to its remote location. Elevated 100 meters above the sea, the small village is connected to the train station through a footpath of 377 stairs.
This footpath is one of many footpaths that keep Cinque Terre’s villages connected. Unlike the other villages which were established in the medieval period, Corniglia dates back to ancient Rome and its agricultural traditions bear all the influence with terraces and vineyards surrounding the village.
Corniglia has events such as The San Pietro and Paolo Feast in which a traditional cake or “Torta dei Fieschi” is offered.
A must-see in the village is its square largo Tarago that has the Oratory of Santa Caterina which was built in the 18th century. Another landmark is the Parish of San Pietro, built in 1334, which adorns a gothic-Ligurian design. The parish is furnished with works from the 12th century and statues of bishops and altarpieces.
Places to Stay:
- ($$$) • AMARE IL MARE Affittacamere • 5 Via Fieschi piano 2, 19018 Corniglia, Italy
- ($$$) • Ostello Corniglia • Via Alla Stazione 3, Cinque Terre, Italy
- ($$$) • Private room • Corniglia, Liguria, Italy
- ($$) • Private room in a residential home • Corniglia, Liguria, Italy
- ($) • Room in a bed and breakfast • Corniglia, Liguria, Italy
Manarola was founded 70 meters above sea level and is distinguished for its terraced buildings that look on to the sea. The harbor village has a boat ramp and a mini marketplace packed with seafood restaurants serving the freshest catches.
There isn’t a beach edging the village, but there are terrific depths of water off the jagged hills for swimming. Manarola is popularly explored through strolls down its steep and narrow alleys that lead to the sea. At the highest point of the village is the church that was formerly used as a watchtower to spot pirates.
The previously mentioned Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Lane) connects Manarola to Riomaggiore, so visitors can enjoy a picturesque trek across the carved path.
From the 8th of December to the end of January the hills are brightly lit with light emitted by 200 figurines and 12,000 lamps making the scene one of the biggest nativity scenes in the world.
The Church of San Lorenzo that overlooks the village onto the sea was built in 1338 and acted as a defence tower against pirate raids. The church models a Gothic Ligurian design and is still used for services and community gatherings, such as the San Lorenzo Feast held in August.
Places to Stay:
- ($$$) • Ca’ D’Andrean • Via Discovolo 101, 19017 Manarola, Italy
- ($$) • Ca’ de Baran • Via Birolli 50, Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
- ($$$) • Private room in residential home • Manarola, Liguria, Italy
- ($$) • Room in boutique hotel • Manarola, Liguria, Italy
- ($) • Private room in residential home • Manarola, Liguria, Italy
Vernazza has been deemed the most beautiful village of Cinque Terre and one of the top villages in Italy. The village was formally recognized in 1080 and acted as a maritime base to Italian nobility and was used as a point of departure by naval forces in defense of pirates.
By 1276, Vernazza was ruled by the Republic of Genoa after centuries of village locals providing a fleet, a port, and soldiers to Genova. In the 15th century, Vernazza was plagued with pirate raids and turned to heavier defense by putting up a wall.
After the attacks subsided the village focused on its produce as the land had great agricultural potential that flourishes to this day. Even though the National Park of the Cinque Terre is a recent tourist hotspot, Vernazza retains equal relevance by sticking to its century-old traditions.
An attraction that is definitely a sight for sore eyes is the extensive port that descends from the hills. This port is covered in terraced buildings which stand out for their elegant design; the buildings once belonged to Vernazza’s ancient elites.
Entering the village from the port is a popular way of absorbing the architecture and pastel waters as they lap onto the village’s shoreline. Vernazza also features a local trail that connects the five villages that is useful for visitors.
The Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia is estimated to have been built in 1318 and pays homage to the village’s Patron saint. The church has an east-facing path of entry which makes it unique to the area.
An octagonal bell tower rises from the apse of the church which stands boldly in the village’s main piazza Marconi.
A steep walk above the village leads to the Sanctuary of Madonna di Reggio, a sanctum shaded by trees and accentuated by the Stations of the Cross. The Sanctuary also offers spectacular views of the hillside and coast.
Places to Stay:
- ($$$) • PORTOROSSO Rooms • Via Agostino del Santo, 20/C Vernazza, 19018 Vernazza, Italy
- ($$) • Enrica barrani room • via san francesco 5, 19018 Vernazza, Italy
- ($) • Pensione Sorriso • Via Gavino 4, 19018 Vernazza, Italy
- ($$$) • Lemon Suite • Vernazza, Liguria, Italy
- ($$) • Entire rental unit • Vernazza, Liguria, Italy
- ($) • Entire condominium (condo) • Vernazza, Liguria, Italy
Cinque Terre is a natural beauty that continues to thrive by remaining true to itself. Overflowing with culture, hospitality, and captivating aspects, will it be your next stay?
Following are hotels that accommodate specific tastes and needs, and are the best in their category.
- Best Luxury Hotel in Cinque Terre – Hotel Al Terra Di Mare • Loc. Gallona, 19015 Levanto, Italy
- Best Boutique Hotel in Cinque Terre – Hotel la Colonnina • Via Zuecca 6, 19016 Monterosso al Mare, Italy
- Best Cheap Hotels in Cinque Terre – Luna Blu • 127 Via Fontevivo 127/A, 19125 La Spezia, Italy
- Best Family Hotel in Cinque Terre – Resident Hotel Kriss • Piazza Doria, 19013 Deiva Marina, Italy
- Best Romantic Hotel in Cinque Terre – Locanda Ca Da iride • Via del Santuario 162, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy