Things to Do in Cinque Terre, Italy– a Complete Guide

by Jane Sophia
Things to do in Cinque Terre- The statue of Monterosso

Cinque Terre, one of the most visited Italian tourist spots attracts not only the Italians but also holidaymakers from all over Europe. Of late, I read even the Americans from as far as Montana have started showing interest in choosing Cinque Terre for their short holiday. Here are the best things to do in Cinque Terre Italy.

7 best things to do in Cinque Terre, Italy:

Location of Cinque Terre

At the outset, let me tell you where Cinque Terre is located.

Cinque Terre comprises of five small villages is located on the west coast of Italy facing the Ligurian Sea. Only because of these 5 small towns, the area got its name ‘Cinque Terre’ meaning ‘five lands. You have to plan to spend at least two days to do the things here.

Cinque Terre’s five villages are:

  • Monterosso
  • Vernazza,
  • Corniglia
  • Manarola
  • Riomaggiore

How to go to Cinque Terre?

First, see the location of Cinque Terre, Italy in the map below.


All the five villages of Cinque Terre are interconnected by rail network. Additionally, you can reach Cinque Terre by train from all the major cities of Italy including:

  • Rome
  • Genoa

Cinque Terre MapThe nearest big city to Cinque Terre is Genoa that is located at about 90 km. Rome is too far off at 450 km.and Portovenere. Levanto and Portovenere are the must visit places here.

Therefore, you reach Genoa first by flight from wherever you start.

What is the Best of Cinque Terre

What is Cinque Terre famous for? In other words, what are best things to do in Cinque Terre such as places to see in Cinque Terre, etc?

Cinque Terre’s most striking feature is the residential buildings that are built on the rocky cliffs overlooking the sea.

Things to Do in Cinque Terre, Italy

This is the most published identity of Cinque Terre. These are the houses of local residents of Cinque Terre villages.

The brightly painted houses seem to be clinging desperately on the cliff and on to one another, gasping for the best view of the Ligurian Sea, far below.

Hiking on the several trails with breathtaking views is the best pastime for the tourists.

Eating comes the third (though I would put it on the first) the best thing to do when you are touring Cinque Terre, Italy.

Especially, the very fresh fish goes well with the famous Italian pasta. Furthermore, the celebrated Italian wine tastes divine when you sip a glass of it, chilled during your lunchtime.

Cinque Terre is famous for its fresh seafood. The towns are, after all, fishing villages! Some of the staples the residents of Cinque Terre eat are:

  • Focaccia bread

Focaccia breadThis is a typical Italian bread. It’s a staple eaten in many ways.

  • Anchovies-a species of fish found in abundant quantities in Ligurian Sea. The locals like it so much that they assume everyone will like its salty taste. In fact they are selling the fish in cans. The bad smell will make you repulse instantly.

The top 7 things to do in Cinque Terre, Italy.

  1. Things to do in Cinque Terre: Train Ride in Cinque Terre

Look at that small railway station sitting just at the edge of the blue and the calm Ligurian Sea! I would like to spend the rest of my life sitting at the railway station and gazing at the beautiful sea.

As a rule, tourists to Cinque Terre are expected to enjoy a short train ride covering all the five villages. The total train ride starting from La Spezia would last less than 30 minutes.

  1. Walking on the trails in Cinque Terre

If the train ride takes less than half an hour from start to end going through all the five villages of Cinque Terre, you can definitely walk the whole distance off in about 5 to 6 hours! After all, the entire stretch comprises just 11 km!

The most trodden hiking trail is the Sentiero Azzuro. This covers all the five villages of Cinque Terre, going through the rugged rocky landscape. Generally, the scene below is absolutely picturesque!

Look at the video below and see how the walking experience will be on the Sentiero Azzuro trail.

Don’t you think you will enjoy every moment of your hiking? The picturesque backdrop, the gorge touching the Ligurian Sea, snacks and coffee in the cafeterias in the laid back fishing towns can be most awesome.

Shorter hiking trails in Cinque Terre.

If walking for 5 hours and more is not your cup of tea, then, how about choosing various shorter trails?

Here are some of the hiking trails with a short distance between the two points.

  • Corniglia to Manarola- 5 km
  • Levanto to Monterosso al Marre -6.5 km
  • Monterosso al Marre to Vernazza -4.1 km
  1. Best Things to do in Cinque Terre: Visit Manarola

The next best thing to do in Cinque Terre is to visit Manarola, one of the five villages in the region. From what I found out, you get to eat in some of the best restaurants in Cinque Terre in Manarola. The food is said to be simply out of the world and so do the wines.

Things to Do in Cinque Terre, Italy Manarola

Ask around for Nessun Dorma when you are in Manarola, Cinque Terre. It is the most talked-about Italian bistro.

  1. Swimming in the Ligurian Sea

There is no escape even for the trepid tourists because just about everyone would enjoy a session of flashing around the clear sea. You would develop a healthy appetite after your swimming time. You can eat heartily, taste at least 5 dishes on the menu card.

  1. Sunset watching

Remember, Cinque Terre is on Italy’s west coast. Therefore, there will be ample spots to watch the sun dipping beyond the horizon. It will be a sight of your life especially if you watch the sunset from a cliff. You won’t get another such chance, buddy.

The statue of Monterosso is a vantage spot to watch the sunset in Cinque Terre.

statue of Monterosso

Can you name a better spot to watch the sunset in Cinque Terre than this?

  1. Top things to do in Cinque Terre, Italy: Boat ride in the Ligurian Sea

For a change, leave the mainland of Cinque Terre and get on board a boat. Enjoy seeing Cinque Terre offshore. You will simply love the sight of leaving the crowded beaches and foray into the lonely sea.

The cool sea breeze will make you feel light and relaxed as you ride on the boat.

  1. Via Fegina Beach

Things to Do in Cinque Terre Via Fegina BeachVia Fegina Beach is rated as the most beautiful beach in all of Italy. Spend at least two hours here with a bottle of wine.

Best time to visit Cinque Terre, Italy.

No, don’t plan to go to Cinque Terre during any weekend. Midweek is the best to go to Cinque Terre. I think even the fish and crabs of the Ligurian Sea take time off during midweek. The Climate of Cinque Terre is mild with little variation in night time temperature. The Mountain ranges blocks the very cold northern winds and Mediterranean Sea helps to keep the temperature to moderate. September to October is the best time to visit Cinque Terre.


Holidaying in Cinque Terre is a dream for every traveler. Once you see the painted Cinque Terre, you will realize it is not a mere hype about all its beauty in the travel blogs. Don’t forget to do the 7 things to do in Cinque Terre during your next visit.

Enjoy the views of the sea from cliffs, inhale the fresh sea breeze with the small of the marine creatures, eat to your heart’s content and come back fully satisfied.

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1 comment

Abhijit Bangal February 22, 2020 - 5:35 am

LOL… I really don’t know if I will really ever visit Italy. But you know, the way you put up your post and the details… well, anyone would like to change their decision. And another reason why I read this post from start to end is that I saw the “Complete Guide” mentioned in the title. And didn’t disappoint me at all. Most things are as I expected a guide to have. Nice job!


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