Cinque Terre Insider Tips

Accommodation, how to move, what to eat and drink

Travel Tips and Inside Information about the Cinque Terre Vacation

As lovers of the Cinque Terre, we are often in this region and walk the hiking trails. There is always something new to watch. We are happy to give you our tips for your trip to this extraordinarily beautiful and unique landscape. They should help you when planning your vacation in the Cinque Terre, to choose the trip that suits you best according to your own requirements.

Even without knowledge of Italian, it is quite easy to put together an individual holiday on the Ligurian coast and the Gulf of Poets. We will show you what unique beauty nature has created in this area. On our hiking tours you will find tips on how to put together the most beautiful hikes in order to enjoy the landscape best.

Travel time

Midsummer is quite warm on the Mediterranean and perfect for a beach holiday. The most beautiful beaches for families with children are in Monterosso al Mare, Levanto, Bonassola and Moneglia. Vernazza has a small beach at the harbor, at Corniglia there is the stone beach Guvano and in Riomaggiore the cliffs are used for sunbathing and the boat access is used as a swimming area. You can swim from mid-May to early November. The winter months have a special charm in the Cinque Terre. There are many sunny days and during the day you can often sit on the terrace or in the bar outside at lunchtime. There are practically no tourists on weekdays and the places can be experienced in their originality.

Arrival and means of transport

The journey to the Cinque Terre can be done by car or quite cheap and relaxed by train. Arriving by train is more convenient for day visitors. The train runs at regular intervals between the five locations of the Cinque Terre. This is the shortest and fastest connection since the train travels through tunnels under the cliffs. Even more attractive is a day ticket for the boat trip from Levanto or from La Spezia via Portovenere to the Cinque Terre, with which you can get on and off at different locations. The direct connections from Milan and Genoa can be found under Trenitalia.

You can travel with your own vehicle either via the A12 motorway from Genoa via Levanto or via the A 15 motorway, exit La Spezia. In any case, narrow serpentine roads lead to the five small towns on the coast.

Parking spaces are located above and therefore somewhat outside the villages of the Cinque Terre. So you have to walk a few steps or use a shuttle service. The number of parking spaces above the locations is limited and chargeable.

There is no petrol station in the Cinque Terre! The nearest petrol station is in Levanto or in La Spezia. It is therefore very important to arrive with a full tank.

The narrow and steep serpentine roads are not suitable for campers or teams. There is no way to turn and in oncoming traffic you can often not avoid and one has to reverse a bit.

Before arrival or after departure, don’t miss the opportunity to take a day or two off in Milan and Genoa. It is also a good idea to spend a few days in the neighboring Tuscany.

The narrow and steep switchbacks are also a challenge for motorcyclists. Motorcycles must also be parked in the paid parking spaces above the locations.

Sporadic cyclists can be seen. Here is the request: correctly assess your condition. A steep climb over 400 to 500 meters in height is not suitable for everyone. And with the e-bike, the auxiliary motor should be designed accordingly.

The ideal hiking months go from March to June and mid-September to November. In June and September you can also find refreshment on the high-altitude hiking trails at 700 m. On the long hikes you can soak up the beauty of nature and get a great distance from the problems of everyday life.

The most beautiful is undoubtedly the Sentiero Azzurro Cinque Terre hiking trail. You walk halfway up the cliff between the five villages from place to place.

Many tour operators describe the trails as easy hiking trails. The level of difficulty for inexperienced hikers should not be underestimated. Between the places there are about 200-400 meters of uphill and downhill over hill and dale.

Although the routes are easy to manage even in comfortable sports shoes, hiking shoes give better grip. Hiking sticks are also useful, especially downhill. Our travel tip: Practice climbing stairs before going on a hiking holiday to the Cinque Terre so that your knees don’t hurt.

If you just want to go for a walk, the best way to do this is in Manarola or Monterosso. There are sections of the route that are less steep.

Those who love long hikes can go the Cinque Terre high-altitude hiking trail AV5T. It runs above the cliffs and on long stretches through the forest. You should have enough water with you on these routes.

There are traces of wild boar in the forest and in autumn it can happen that the animals even look for mushrooms and chestnuts on the roadside. Wild boar salami (cinghiale) is a delicacy. On sunny sections, which are less frequented, one also encounters a snake.

A flashlight is very useful for hiking in the dark season.

We recommend following these simple rules to hike safely on the trails in the Cinque Terre.

  1. Inform yourself beforehand about the accessibility of the paths, their height differences and distances and choose the suitable paths according to your physical abilities.
  2. Important: the right footwear: closed shoes with a shaped and non-slip sole are mandatory on the paths. Wearing flip-flops and sandals with smooth soles is prohibited and can be punished.
  3. Only go on marked trails and not alone and take a first aid kit with you.
  4. There is a weather alarm in the locations. With ORANGE and RED the ways are blocked, with YELLOW the ticket sale can be suspended.
  5. Please respect nature and traditions and take any rubbish with you and don’t leave anything behind on the trails.
  6. In an emergency, call the European emergency number 112 (fire, accident, first aid, police).

Our travel tips: The Cinque Terre Card
Some accommodations may offer the Cinque Terre Card at a reduced price.

There are regular boat connections so that you can get to La Spezia, Portovenere and the offshore islands (Isola Palmaria, Isola del Tino and Isola del Tinetto) as well as four of the 5 villages, namely Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterossa al Mare) and Levanto reached. If you want to spend the whole day with it, we recommend the day ticket, which you can use to travel back and forth by boat.

Accommodation in the Cinque Terre

Our recommendations for choosing the perfect holiday accommodation. There are hardly any hotels in the villages of the Cinque Terre, but private landlords of bed and breakfast and holiday apartments provide accommodation. Trains run through the middle of the towns and in the narrow streets there is lively life in the summer months until late at night. Accommodation in a small village is perfectly suitable for a short stay.

Most of the apartments are simple and practical, you shouldn’t count on dishwashers. You immerse yourself in the typical life of the population, which takes place without hectic pace.
We recommend the following locations for a hiking holiday:
Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola as well as the bed and breakfasts that lie between the places along the hiking trails (Muro, San Bernardino, Fornacchi, Foce Drigana, Volastra, Case Piancha, Campiglia,). However, the latter locations are difficult to reach without your own vehicle.
A special kick is an overnight stay in the monastery of Soviore, which is located above Monterosso. From all these places the views over the sea are fantastic.

Of course you can also plan a vacation for relaxation and romantic hours to stroll and look. A beautiful room with a terrace and sea view is suitable for this. If you want restaurants and bars within walking distance, we recommend accommodation in the middle of the towns or in La Spezia and Levanto. If you like it a bit more lively and want to enjoy the evening life, a larger place is an advantage.

La Spezia is the first choice. In La Spezia you are accommodated in the city with port, cultural and shopping opportunities. The favorable transport connections by train, bus and boat from la Spezia allow trips to nearby Tuscany and the five places of the Cinque Terre can be reached by train in a few minutes. La Spezia is part of the Cinque Terre Card. In La Spezia there are many hotels in all facilities as well as bed and breakfast and holiday apartments for every requirement.

When planning your holiday, you have to consider that the Cinque Terre are on the cliffs and the terraces are narrow and steep. There are no playgrounds or amusements for children. The steep hiking trails over hill and dale are only of limited use for children. Those who prefer beautiful sandy beaches and promenades are in good hands in the towns north of the Cinque Terre. Levanto, Monterosso as Mare and the towns of Deiva Marina, Moneglia and Sestri Levante have pretty town centers and sandy beaches for a vacation with children.

Products and Restaurants

The sunsets over the sea are particularly beautiful, which can be enjoyed in a romantic atmosphere in one of the typical Ristoranti with a sea view. Especially recommended are the antipasti di mare, prepared from mussels and fish delicacies with the typical spices.

The typical products of the region are offered in the small shops, including: the particularly mild Cinque Terre wine, the dessert wine Sciacchetrà, Ligurian pesto and anchovies.

Since the origin of the first settlements was in the mountains and not by the sea, the typical dishes are not the seafood dishes as one might expect, but rather strong rice cakes, baked from rice, cheese and eggs. This traditional dish is also served with patron saints’ feasts.

Mesciua: The soup is cooked from a mixture of wheat and various legumes. The simple “poor people’s meal” was already known in Roman times.

In addition, typical Ligurian dishes such as trofie with pesto alla Genovese, dishes made from chestnut flour, focaccia, as well as seafood and fish, have a firm place in the menu of Mediterranean cuisine. Specialty are the starters made from various seafood, such as fried anchovies, stuffed mussels and stockfish.

For a good meal or as an aperitivo in between, the white Cinque Terre DOC wine is a really good drop. The steep terraced vineyards are managed using traditional methods. Hardly any technology can be used on the steep slopes. The grape harvest is an event worth seeing, the specially constructed “Trenini” are used for this. Grape harvest in the Cinque Terre After dinner, you can also have a glass of sweet Sciacchetrà dessert wine.

The best restaurants are, as is usually the case, away from the most beautiful places. While most visitors frolic in the five villages window-shopping and populate the beautifully located restaurants at the harbor with a sea view, the smaller trattorie, a little out of the way or hidden in the alleys, often offer friendly service and good cuisine, specialty seafood.

Cinque Terre Map

The Cinque Terre villages are along the southern coastline of Liguria. Please follow the links below to learn about each of the 5 Terre listed here from north to south.

Map of the Cinque Terre, Italy
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