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11 Best Things to do in Cinque Terre National Park, Italy

11 Best Things to do in Cinque Terre National Park, Italy

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Cinque Terre, look no further. This list has everything from hiking to wine tasting, so you can make the most of your time in this beautiful corner of Italy. Check it out and start planning your trip today!

People who travel to Cinque Terre National Park should learn about the best things to do and do there. That’s because it will help them have a better time while they’re there. For example, they can hike and see some beautiful views, or taste some wine and learn about how it’s made.

This article will cover the best things to do in Cinque Terre National Park. It’s an area known for its natural beauty and wine production, so there’s plenty to see and do. What’s more, learning about the best things to do can help travelers make the most of their time in this picturesque corner of the world.

Visiting Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy - Top 5 Ways to Experience Italy's Beautiful Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, Italy

Among all of Italy’s attractions, the Cinque Terre is completely unique. It’s a group of five picture-perfect seaside villages located on the dramatic Ligurian coast. It’s also a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

And Cinque Terre has charms to satisfy even the most jaded international tourists.

Nestled among centuries-old terraced vineyards and olive groves are the five towns: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

Each village is perched along the region’s breathtaking cliffs, and each one offers an old-world ambiance that’s not easy to find in this fast-paced world. Let’s explain more about what each of the Cinque Terre villages has to offer.

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso from the sea
Monterosso | Photo: EpicV27

Monterosso al Mare is the northernmost and largest village in the Cinque Terre. Monterosso has a great sandy beach which is ideal for sunbathing and swimming. Monterosso is the only village with a large flat area, making it ideal for travelers who want to relax and enjoy the sun.

Monterosso al Mare is a great destination for travelers who want to experience the beauty of the Cinque Terre and its amazing beaches.

Vernazza

Vernazza is considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Cinque Terre villages. Nestled along a picturesque harbor and surrounded by rugged cliffs and verdant hillsides, Vernazza boasts a stunning array of pastel-colored buildings and winding streets.

Whether you’re an avid hiker looking for a challenge, or simply a traveler looking for some time in the sun, Vernazza has something to offer you. With its charming atmosphere and breathtaking scenery, Vernazza is truly an idyllic destination that you won’t want to miss.

Corniglia

Corniglia is the only village that’s not directly on the water. Instead, it’s built into a rocky cliff and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

Corniglia is a charming coastal village in the Italian province of Liguria. One of the most distinctive features of Corniglia is that it is not built directly on the water, like many other towns in the region. Instead, Corniglia is built into a rocky cliff, offering breathtaking views of the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. A

Although this lofty position may seem imposing at first glance, Corniglia has become a popular tourist destination due to its stunning natural setting and vibrant local culture.

Manarola

Manarola is a beautiful coastal village in Italy that is known for its charming old houses and stunning fishing port. Covered in vibrant hues of blue, red, yellow, and green, Manarola’s picturesque houses perfectly reflect the beauty of the seaside setting.

Whether you’re visiting Manarola for a relaxing day at the beach or browsing the delightful shops along the main square, this charming little village is sure to leave you with lasting memories.

And if you’re looking to fully explore Manarola’s cultural heritage, be sure to make time for some of the area’s popular festivals and annual events, like the Manarola Film Festival or Manarola’s Panevin celebration.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is one of the oldest, most scenic towns in Cinque Terre. Here, you’ll find winding streets lined with brightly colored houses that stretch up the rugged coastline. While Riomaggiore is a popular destination among tourists, it still retains much of its original charm.

Whether you’re taking in the stunning views from Riomaggiore’s many lookout points or exploring the small shops and restaurants along Via Colombo, this charming Cinque Terre village is sure to captivate your senses.

How to Get Around Cinque Terre, Italy

Cars have been banned from the Cinque Terre for over a decade, so traveling this fascinating region is done by train, local electric buses, or on foot.

If you plan to stay for a few days, consider buying the Cinque Terre Card, which gives you access to unlimited train travel, all the hiking paths, local buses, and a number of museums and cultural sites.

Once you’ve got your Cinque Terre Card — and your walking shoes — you’re ready to start exploring!

Best Things to do in Cinque Terre, Italy

Now that you know a little bit about each of the five villages, it’s time to start planning your trip. Here is what to do in Cinque Terre.

1. Hike the Trails

Cinque Terre is a hiker’s paradise, with plenty of trails to explore. The entire region is covered with twisting paths that take you from one village to the next, ascending the rocky cliffs and winding down along the water’s edge. This is really the best way to see the Cinque Terre; many people come here specifically for the hikes.

Distances are relatively short — in fact, you can walk through all five villages in one day — but the terrain can be demanding, and the scenery is spectacular, so take your time.

The most popular Cinque Terre hiking is on Trail #2, the Sentiero Azzurro, or Blue Trail. Start your hike in Riomaggiore, where the pathways are paved and easier going, and work your way north toward Monterosso and the more strenuous going.

If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, take the Sentiero Rosso (the Red Trail) instead. It’s a much longer hike, but very doable if you take it in small sequences. And remember, you can always hop on the train if you’re getting too tired!

A special note: In 2011 the Cinque Terre was deluged with flash floods and deadly mudslides in a torrential rainstorm. Several people were killed and the villages were terribly damaged. They’re still recovering from this disaster.

Some of the most famous hiking routes, including the Via dell’Amore (the Lover’s Path) from Riomaggiore to Manarola and the trail from Manarola to Corniglia were closed after the floods and remain closed as of this writing.

Alternate trails still provide spectacular views but may require a bit more stamina. Check with the Cinque Terre National Park Service for updates.

2. Visit the Vineyards

Cinque Terre is also famous for its wine, so be sure to visit some of the local vineyards. You can learn about the winemaking process and taste some of the delicious wines that are produced in the region.

Make certain to visit a local winery during your stay in the Cinque Terre. The terraced vineyards are gorgeous, as is the area’s local wine.

On a hot afternoon, the crisp white Cinque Terre wine is refreshing and intoxicating; for a sweet after-dinner drink, try Sciacchetra. It’s a late-harvest wine, made from dried grapes, with a rich golden color.

Cinque Terre
Manarola | Photo: Davin Sanchez

3. Learn the History and Culture

The history of the Cinque Terre is fascinating, and it’s on display for you at the Museo delle Cinque Terre Antiche in Riomaggiore. In this small museum, housed in an old restored wine cellar, you’ll learn about local traditions, regional agriculture, and the long history of this ancient region.

Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore | Photo: Riomaggiore

The oldest of the five villages, Monterosso, was founded back in 643 A.D. The others followed a few hundred years later, and most of what you see in Cinque Terre dates back to the High Middle Ages. Each town has its own historic architecture, with Benedictine monasteries, Roman villas, and old, old churches. The Church of San Lorenzo in Corniglia is especially worth a visit, as is the ancient castle in Riomaggiore.

4. Take a Boat Ride

Enjoy a whole different view of this gorgeous region and its lovely seaside towns from the deck of a boat. There’s the ferry that makes regular runs between four of the five villages, and also provides access to the nearby towns of La Spezia, Levanto, Portofino, and Portovenere, and the picturesque island of Palmaria.

Vernazza Italy
Vernazza Italy | Photo: chensiyuan

If you’re feeling a bit more daring, try renting a kayak. There are rental spots all along the coastline, and it’s just a 30-minute paddle between villages. You’re guaranteed an afternoon all to yourself in a kayak — and nothing beats a quick dip in the ocean after a day in the hot Italian sun.

5. Visit All of the Cinque Terre Villages

When visiting the Cinque Terre, it is a must to explore all five of the stunning villages that make up this part of Italy. Although they are all situated close to each other, each village has its own individual character. In Riomaggiore, be sure to take in the beautiful harbor. For a taste of traditional village life, pay a visit to Manarola.

If you’re looking for some unforgettable views, head to Corniglia. And don’t miss out on Vernazza, with its picturesque streets and charming churches. Of course, no trip to the Cinque Terre would be complete without sampling some of the delicious local cuisines. Each village has its own specialties, so be sure to try them all.

6. Go Fishing

If you’re a fan of seafood, then you’ll love the fresh fish that is caught in Cinque Terre. Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or just looking to try something new, fishing in Cinque Terre is a great way to experience local culture and savor some delicious seafood.

You can sign up for fishing trips with a local fisherman and explore the beautiful coastal waters around Cinque Terre. There are endless possibilities for fishing tours – you can go fishing for seabass, tuna, squid, and more, depending on the season and your preferences. Plus, fishing excursions are a great way to learn about the rich fishing traditions of this region.

After fishing in Cinque Terre, you can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many fantastic seafood restaurants in the area.

You can choose from traditional Italian dishes as well as fresh catches straight from local fishermen – it’s the perfect way to experience all that this beautiful region has to offer.

7. Ride the Train

The train is the best way to get around Cinque Terre. Not only is it convenient, but it’s also a great way to see the stunning scenery.

The Cinque Terre Express, which runs frequently and quickly between five of the villages, makes getting around easier. The railway connects the villages of La Spezia (Liguria), Levanto, Manarola, Riomaggiore, and Corniglia as well as Portovenere (Cinque Terre).

For all visitors, the train will continue to be a major mode of transportation between sites; however, for daytrippers or people who come for only ten days, this will be critical to your experience.

It can be cramped hot and unenviable at peak times but a pleasant and convenient means of traveling.

8. Enjoy the Local Cuisine of Liguria

The food in the Cinque Terre is simple, fresh, and delicious. Perhaps as a result of the rich algae that thrives in the Ligurian Sea, the seafood here is especially tasty. Anchovies are a local staple, and you’ll find them in antipasti, on top of pizzas, or fried up as an appetizer. Mussels, calamari, and prawns are all scrumptious grilled or served in a pasta dish.

Fresh basil pesto is another local specialty — in fact, it was invented here in Liguria. And of course, the olives (and olive oil) are everywhere. For a really special treat, try trofie, a light brown pasta made from wheat or chestnut flour, with a fresh pesto Genovese.

And if you happen to find yourself hungry in Corniglia, make a beeline for the Miele di Corniglia — a delicious creamy gelato made with local honey.

Corniglia
Corniglia | Photo: EpicV27

9. Go Shopping

Whether you’re looking for a few simple souvenirs to take home, or you want something more exotic and unique, Cinque Terre is the perfect place to do your shopping.

With its diverse selection of shops and markets, this charming Italian coastal town has everything you could possibly need. Whether you’re looking for local wine, olive oil, artisanal crafts, or handicrafts from around the world, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gifts in Cinque Terre.

And if you can’t decide on just one item to buy, there’s always the option of buying a bottle of local olive oil or a cute ceramic figurine so you can remember your trip well after your return home!

So don’t miss out on all the shopping opportunities when you explore Cinque Terre – with its friendly atmosphere and breathtaking views, it’s truly a shopping destination like no other.

10. Relax in the Sun

If you’re planning a trip to Cinque Terre, you’re in for a real treat. With its relaxing coastal vibe and beautiful Mediterranean climate, this is the perfect place to kick back and unwind.

Whether you’re relaxing on one of the gorgeous beaches or exploring the charming seaside villages, there’s no shortage of ways to soak up some sunshine and recharge your batteries. So why not make relaxing in the sun one of your top priorities during your visit?

Whether it’s laying out on a beach towel or heading to an outdoor café for a glass of wine, there are countless opportunities to relax and recharge in this beautiful region. And with its temperate climate, lush scenery, and beautiful sandy beaches, there’s really no better place to do so than Cinque Terre. So rest easy, kick off your shoes, get your feet in the sand, and enjoy all that this stunning area has to offer.

11. Take a Boat Tour

If you’re looking for an unforgettable vacation experience, a boat tour of Cinque Terre is a perfect choice. This stunning stretch of coastline is renowned for its dramatic cliffs and craggy sea caves.

As you take in all the breathtaking views from the water, you’ll also be rewarded with refreshing sea breezes and wonderful glimpses of local wildlife. Whether you take a big cruise tour or take a smaller, private excursion, your time on the water will be filled with memorable moments. So if you’re ready for an adventure on the seas, book a boat tour in Cinque Terre today.

When is the best time to visit Cinque Terre?

Its peak season ranges from Easter to November, and it is never totally quiet. Avoid summer and August to avoid being crushed by the throngs. In the summer, reservations are accepted very early, and the weather is hot and dry, with a temperature of 29°C/84°F on average.

Summers are the preferred season to visit Cinque Terre since temperatures are more pleasant and there are fewer people than during peak summer months. Spring is mild and dry. October through December are the wettest seasons, and landslides may be expected due to significant rains.

How hard are the Cinque Terre hikes?

The ground has been the only way to travel between these Cinque Terre towns throughout history, and it is still the most convenient method of transportation. There are a number of beach or trip alternatives.

The coastal pathways are no longer pleasant strolls along the beach, at least not the section that is open. Following damage from a landslide in 2011, a single-level coast walk between Corniglia and Riomaggiore will be closed permanently. There are several steps and rises on this route. There’s some pretty steep ground with some huge drops.

Final Thoughts

Spectacular ocean views, quaint villages, and great food and drink make the Cinque Terre one of the world’s finest destinations. There’s really no way to convey the beauty and charm of this place in words. It’s quite simply one of the loveliest spots on earth — a timeless place that enchants and delights everyone lucky enough to experience it.

The best things to do in Cinque Terre all share one common trait: they’re all perfect for enjoying the incredible scenery and natural beauty of this area. Whether you’re hiking along the coast, exploring a medieval village, or simply relaxing on the beach, you’re sure to love your time in Cinque Terre.

Looking to explore more of Italy’s beautiful regions? Be sure to subscribe to our free travel newsletter for tips on the best things to do in Cinque Terre, Italy, and beyond.

FAQs

What are the best things to do in Cinque Terre?

There are a number of great things to do in Cinque Terre. Here are some of our favorites: take a hike through one of the many picturesque trails, enjoy the fresh seafood, and relax on one of the beautiful beaches

How can I get around Cinque Terre?

The best way to get around Cinque Terre is by foot or by train. There is a local train that runs between all of the villages and there are also several scenic hiking trails that connect them.

Where should I stay in Cinque Terre?

There are a number of great places to stay in Cinque Terre. We recommend staying in one of the villages so that you can easily walk to all of the attractions.

What is the best time of year to visit Cinque Terre?

The best time of year to visit Cinque Terre is between April and October. This is when the weather is usually the most pleasant and there are fewer crowds.

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