First things first, before your arrival you should know that Cinque Terre consists of 5 little towns connected to each other by either a walking trail that goes over the mountains or a railroad that goes right through them. There is Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monteresso al Mare.
How to get there?
When you book your ticket you have to select the exact train which you want to take and sometimes a train can even be sold out.
When travelling to Cinque Terre you can either stay in La Spezia or in one of the 5 little towns itself. The more budget friendly version is of course to stay in La Spezia but since I only had a couple of days I decided to look for a cute AirBnb in the middle of Riomaggiore.
How to get around?
The trains to the different towns run every 20 minutes and it takes around 2 minutes to go from one town to the next. Always make sure to validate your ticket before you get on. Do try to sit in the middle of the train because the platforms are pretty small (especially the one in Riomaggiore) and otherwise you might stop in the tunnel and have no idea you have to get of (yes, that did happen to us and we ended up back in La Spezia).
1. Watch the sunset at the top of Riomaggiore
2. Take a boat ride from Riomaggiore to Manarola
Price: 140 Euro (for 2 people for 1 hour).
3. Have breakfast with the best view in Cinque Terre
For this you will need to bring an extra bag and a blanket with you. Take the train to Vernazza and start walking towards Monterosso al Mare. To get to this viewpoint unfortunately you will have to take a day pass to be allowed to walk on the trail. It’s 7 Euro for a day ticket which also grants you access to the restrooms at all of the train stations.
4. Have lunch in Vernazza and relax by the sea
Take a seat underneath one of the many colourful umbrellas and enjoy an amazing lunch at Taverna del Capitano. Indulge in an Aperol Spritz and afterwards walk towards the water to watch the waves splash up against the rocks. There is also a small beach here but it tends to get very crowded.
5. Take in the third most spectacular view of Vernazza
6. Release your inner Pocahontas and go rockclimbing
7. Relax with a day at the beach in Monterosso al Mare
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8. Enjoy a sunset dinner at Nessun Dorma in Manarola
It’s one of the most visited restaurants in entire Cinque Terre and my guess is that the stunning view has something to do with it. Making a reservation from before isn’t possible but in the evening it’s way less busy than during the day for lunch. Make sure you arrive between 7 and 8 pm to enjoy some delicious Italian food while watching the already stunning Manarola turn into a true sunset spectacle. The waiting time is around 20 minutes but this was for an outer table, if you are fine with a table more inwards you can get seated even faster. The price range for a full dinner including wine is around 20 up to 40 Euro per person (depending on how much wine you will drink :p)
9. Visit Manarola early in the morning
Manarola is one of the busiest towns during the day but before 11 am it’s still very peaceful. And while you’re here anyway make sure to stop by Gelateria Cinque Terre in the beginning of the main street to enjoy some vegan and gluten free ice cream, pancakes or shakes.