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Travel Guide: From Cinque Terre to the coast towns

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Cinque terre is one of the most suggestive places in Italy, worldwide known. It represents the Italian mediterranean life and slow lifestyle. Here is the ultimate Cinque Terre guide. It covers the best places to eat, move around and practical tips to experience the best of the Italian “Dolce Vita.

Start your Journey and let’s get going.

Here it is a guide to visit Cinque Terre: places to eat, how to move and some practical tips if you want to experience your best Italian “Dolce Vita”. Read on to start your journey and live this dream.

How to move around in Cinque Terre

In the different towns that compose Cinque Terre you won’t find a lot of cars or traffic, and that makes this place even more magical. You can easily move by train. There is a railway that runs along from Riomaggiore to Monterosso. An option is the “Trenitalia card“. This is for those who want to visit them all in few days.

Another way to move around is by boat. The boat season runs from the end of March till the beginning of November and connects Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso with each other. Corniglia is the only town that does not have a marina. The boats can leave from Portovenere, Levanto, La Spezia.

The towns of Cinque Terre. Our Favourites

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is the first village of Cinque Terre. The landscape develops vertically with a typical stepped structure and is characterized by rows of medieval houses. They are painted with the typical Ligurian colors and founded on the arches of the old wine warehouses. If you climb up to the castle it gives a great view of the marina. The clear sea of the Marine Reserve is suitable for diving excursions. Between Riomaggiore and Manarola extends the ‘Via dell’Amore’. This is an ideal path for romantic walks, carved and carved into the rock. It overlooks the sea: a natural window to enjoy unforgettable sunsets and starry skies.

To see:

– Church of San Giovanni Battista

– Riomaggiore Castle (1260)

– Via dell’Amore (from Riomaggiore to Manarola)

If you don’t have so much time to visit these different points… you can simply enjoy the beautiful clear Tyrrenian sea. Rrent a canoe and have a nice lunch with this beautiful and stunning view.

Manarola

Manarola is the second village of Cinque Terre. It is among others, a very picturesque village, made up of the characteristic perched and colorful tower-houses that overlook the alleys and the main street.

Manarola looks like a village in miniature. The town develops around the main road that retraces the course of the ‘Groppo stream’, which is now covered and no longer visible. Numerous alleyways and stone alleys branch off from the main street to reach the sides of the promontory and the houses higher up.

The main square of the village is curiously higher than the rest of the town. A white pyramid is visible between the houses and stands out at the top of the village. This pyramid historically served as a signal for ships.

Today this town is known not only for its beauty, but also for the wines that are produced in the surrounding area.

To see:

– Ruins of the fortress

– Via Belvedere

– Port of Manarola

It is a very small town (with between 300 and 400 inhabitants). However, this makes it a familiar borough, in which you can easily move and have long walks. There are different restaurants by the sea with great views. Although just like the other towns of Cinque Terre, it attracts many tourists, it still appears as a very authentic place.

Corniglia

Corniglia is the central town of the Cinque Terre. It is the only town not in contact with the sea. Rather, it rises on a rocky hill of about 100 meters above see level. The region is intensively cultivated with vineyards.

It can be reached via the long Lardarina staircase made up of 22 ramps and 377 steps or from the carriage road that leads from the railway station to the village.

If you arrive by train, from the station take the bus that will take you to the main square (or, if you prefer, have a walk through the steps).

From the village of Corniglia you can explore a territory surrounded by a magnificent network of paths between overhanging rocks and bizarre shapes. It is sealed by the clear sea … a true “balcony” on the Cinque Terre. There is also a pathway leading to Vernazza.

To do:

Numerous trekking routes wind and pass from the village, including the ‘Sentiero Azzurro‘, which connects Corniglia to Vernazza and Manarola. The latter currently closed (2022). However, Manarola can be reached with a wonderful route along path 587. Near Case Pianca take the 586 towards Volastra and then the 506 up to Manarola.

Vernazza

The town of Vernazza is one of the most beautiful villages in Cinque Terre, It is famous all over the world for its atmosphere and is considered a jewel between sea and rock. Among the Cinque Terre villages, Vernazza is the only one to be counted among the “most beautiful villages in Italy”.

Founded around the year 1000, it offers a unique landscape made of dry stone walls and fields. The view of the sea is the cherry on the pie.

Cross the town throughh steep and narrow streets that descend towards the main road and end in a small square in front of the marina.

Inside the town, listed as one of the most beautiful Ligurian villages in Italy, you can admire valuable architectural elements such as loggias, arcades and portals.

What to see in Vernazza:

– The Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia (overlooking the marina)

– The Doria castle (symbol of the village’s economic importance in ancient times)

– Former convent of the Friars (today seat of the municipal town hall)

Monterosso

Monterosso al Mare is the largest and most populated town in Cinque Terre. The first historical signs date back to 1200. It is the only one of the five villages to have a wide sandy beach and a long promenade. Here you find several pubs, ice cream shops, and restaurants.

The town is divided into two parts by a promontory with a tunnel of about a hundred meters. On one side the area of Fegina (residential area and railway station), on the other the old port (historic center).

In the Fegina area there are many residential tourist structures. This includes a long beach and an original 14 meter high statue called ‘Il Gigante‘, depicting the god Neptune.

The historic center formed by the typical “caruggi”, characteristic narrow Ligurian alleys. It consists of restaurants, souvenir shops, ceramics and handicrafts. It is maybe the most touristic of Cinque Terre villages.

To see:

– Church of San Giovanni Battista

– The Giant Statue

– Traffic light of Punta Mesco

– The Castle and Torre Aurora

– Convent of the Capuchin friars

– Sanctuary of Our Lady of Soviore

– Villa Montale

La Spezia

La Spezia is located in the extreme east of Liguria, a few kilometers from the border with Tuscany. The city is located in the center of a natural gulf, very deep and with a rare beauty

The gulf is also known as the “Gulf of Poets”. In fact, in the nineteenth century its shores were the destination of poets and romantic novelists from Northern Europe, from Shelley to Byron.
In 1853, Wagner arrived in La Spezia and here he found inspiration for the prelude to the Gold of the Rhine and the entire Tetralogy.

During the summer, boats leave from the Morin promenade quay for Lerici, Portovenere, the Cinque Terre, Palmaria, Portofino and Genoa. La Spezia is also the docking port for cruises.

Portovenere

Lying on the edge of the Gulf of Poets, in Liguria, Porto Venere is a fishing village. It will enchant you with its colors, its position and its architecture.

According to what is said, the name derives from a temple dedicated to the goddess Venus Ericina, which was located exactly in the place where the church of San Pietro stands today. The goddess, according to tradition, was born from the foam of the sea right under the promontory.

What to see in one day:

– Church of san pietro

– Church of san lorenzo

– Via capellini

– Old town

– Doria Castle

– Byron cave

Lerici

Although it is one of the most developed centers of the Riviera di Levante, very rich in tourist services, it is unfair to think of Lerici only as a ‘seaside resort’.

What makes it a real pearl are enchanting views and postcard images. In the nineteenth century it subjugated and inspired poets and writers of English Romanticism including Lord Byron and the Shelleys. Centuries before them, Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio were the illustrious guests passing through Lerici and after them Giosuè Carducci and Gabriele d’Annunzio stood out.

What to see in one day:

– Lerici Castle

– Walk from Castle to Castle

– Villa Marigola

The walk & hiking itineraries in Cinque Terre

For centuries the paths of the Cinque Terre have been the only link between one village and another and between them and the hinterland.Today the network that extends for over 120 kilometers allows you to appreciate and visit the whole territory, through paths of different types.

Wine terraces in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre were born and developed thanks to wine and the work of farmers, who over the centuries have terraced thousands of hectares of land and transformed the landscape, thus making the fortune of these small 5 villages. Today we can savor the fruit of that hard work, comfortably seated at a table overlooking the sea. It is nice to be able to keep in mind, at the first sip, the commitment of those who work the land and thus give us this experience.

What do you think?

Written by Claudia Spinato

Claudia, from Venice.
I've always been a passionate writer, the thing that makes me happiest in life is traveling. I started to share this passion writing some guides, to promote a conscious and sustainable way of travel. I promote a mediterranean and sustainable way of life on social media and writing articles, because I think that the most important thing is not only care about this thing, but also to share it with people. My motto is: "Experiences mean nothing if you don't have the words, or the ways to express them". Travel in a different way, making it conscious

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