The steep terrain, seaside location, and colorful houses make Cinque Terre, Italy one of the world’s premier visual destinations. If you are considering discovering these cities in one day, commence your tour in the city of La Spezia. Secure a day pass at the train station which permits you to hop-on and hop-off the train throughout the day. Click here for pass information and access to other paid amenities, like footpaths connecting the towns.
Starting from La Spezia, the towns are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. The majority of travelers explore Cinque Terre in sequential order; however I recommend taking the train all the way to Monterosso and working your way back. This strategy, which goes against the masses, provides a more intimate view of Cinque Terre. More importantly you will negotiate the larger, more scenic, towns first which will set the tone for the day. Once you realize how much time Monterosso requires you will be able to manage your time more effectively.
Below is a brief summary of each town;
Monterosso – the largest and touristy of the five also features the most amenities. This is the only town with a significant sandy beach.
Vernazza – considered the most beautiful and scenic. The intimate port enclosed by a rock pier and surrounded by colorful houses offers picturesque photo opportunities.
Corniglia – the smallest of the five towns and the only village not directly on the sea. At 300 feet (100m) above sea level it is considered the most genuine and least visited.
Manarola – although there is no beach to speak of, you can still enjoy a deep water swim. Colorful houses dot the landscape as you relish the small port, intimate streets, and seafood restaurants. A scenic 20min walk along the famous Via dell’Amore (Lovers Lane) pathway will lead you to Riomaggiore.
Riomaggiore – southernmost village built on steep ridges overlooking picturesque houses and a small port.
Although most tourists visit Cinque Terre by train, footpaths as well as boat routes also connect the towns.
For pictures of our travels through Cinque Terre click here.