Last update: September 2019.

Visiting the Cinque Terre 5 villages

The Cinque Terre is one of the prettiest parks in Italy. Five multi-coloured villages are located along the seacoast and are united by a network of hiking trails here. Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso... Each of the villages is dreamlike and dazzling in its own way! On the one hand, you can enjoy trail walking between the villages, paying only for the shortest and simplest ones (see “Hiking trails in the Cinque Terre”). On the other hand, you can reach each of the villages by either boat or train (you can find more detailed information about the transport system in the villages on the “How to find the way and get about” page).

It's difficult to visit all the five villages of the Cinque Terre within a day, yet possible. Ideally, you will need two-three days for visiting these picturesque lands.

1

Monterosso al Mare is Eugenio Montale's (an Italian writer who won the Nobel Prize in 1975) favourite place. He used to spend his summer here quite often.

He wrote about Monterosso al Mare like this: “a rocky strict village, shelter for fishermen and farmers...” This village went through a lot of battles. The witnesses were both the watchtower, which is now a Bell tower of the St. Giovanni Cathedral and Aurora tower, only one now existing tower out of thirteen, that guarded the village. You can have a lovely time in the old centre of the village and visit the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista or go to the beach located in the new area. What is important: in Monterosso there is the largest beach in the Cinque Terre!

The beach and the historic centre of the village, Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy
The beach and the historic centre of the village, Monterosso
The beach and the new part of the village, Monterosso, Cinque Terre, Italy
The beach and the new part of the village, Monterosso
2

Nowadays Vernazza is a calm seaside village, but far back in the past it was a harbour for ships that defended coasts from Saracen.

Unique atmosphere of the village won't leave you cold: mysterious lanes, a long train of red, yellow, pink houses… Vernazza with its harbour is one of the 100 most marvellous villages in Italy! If you'd like, you can reach this village by sea and find yourself at once in the loveliest harbour. Moreover, you can visit the Church of St. Margaret of Antioch and ancient fortress constructions: the Doria castle, Belforte tower and the Church of San Francesco. You can reach the remarkable sanctuary of our Lady of Soviore by green picturesque hiking trail. Such a stroll can make you feel physically tired, but it's worth it!

View from the Blue Trail, Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
View from the Blue Trail, Vernazza
Vernazza with the Belfort tower on the top, Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza with the Belfort tower on the top
3

Corniglia

Corniglia village is situated on the hilltop at 100m above sea level. It is impossible to reach it by sea.

To reach Corniglia you have to go up the steep steps “Lardarina” (382 steps, 20 minutes), or take a bus, which departs from the station. The name of the village is originated from farmer's name Corneliu, who was a well-known wine-maker. You can visit the Gothic Church of St. Peter, XVIII century square and the chapel of Saint Catherine in this wonderful village. Corniglia is a precious jewel, covered with a network of lanes and paved streets. What is more, a wild beach with crystal clear water stretches along the coast.

View from San Bernardino, Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italy
View from San Bernardino, Corniglia
Corniglia, Cinque Terre, Italy
Corniglia
4

Manarola itself is like a picture, full of colours and covered with olive tree plantations. The houses here duplicate the smooth curves of the hills. The name of the village originates from “Magna Rota”, that literally means “a big wheel” of a watermill. Indeed, there is an old mill and creamery in the lower part of Manarola.

There is the Gothic Church of San Lorenzo with three beautiful naves and a Baroque wonderful interior, raised in 1338 on the higher part of the village. Hike lovers can take a stroll in the neighbourhoods of Manarola and visit such small and pretty hamlets as Groppo and Volastra. If you're a sea lover, you won't be disappointed, for sure. You can find a lot of cosy corners on the waterfront that offers breath-taking views.

Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
Manarola
Grape Maiden Statue, Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy
Grape Maiden Statue, Manarola
5

Riomaggiore village is situated between two towering hills. It looks like a colourful wreath, made up of small multicoloured houses settled on the downhills. These breath-taking views encourage on taking a stroll along the lanes, where light and shade altogether create special effects.

Look closely at the houses. Since 1500 it was a common practice in Riomaggiore to build houses with two entrances that could cover both upper and lower parts of the street. Thus, the residents could have a possibility to make a safe getaway in case of Saracens attack.

The legendary Path of Love (Via dell’Amore), which starts here in Riomaggiore, is a “hewed out” trail by the rock, heading to Manarola. The Path is a pure delight for eyes and ears, as you can both contemplate nature and listen to the sound of heavy sea waves crashing into rocks. While traveling in Riomaggiore, do not forget to visit the local castle, descend to the waterfront, where you can take some lovely photos, and come to see the Church of Saint John the Baptist.

View from the area near the sanctuary of Montenero, Riomaggiore Ring, Cinque Terre, Italy
View from the area near the sanctuary of Montenero, Riomaggiore Ring
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Riomaggiore

More details about the Cinque Terre with the map and photos

If you are interested in more detailed information about these villages, please follow the links where you can find a description of the sights along with the map and photos:

Text printed from website www.cinqueterrehike.com

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