Guide to Cinque Terre, Liguria | Quality Villas

guide to cinque terre, liguria

Cinque Terre is a beautiful coastal location along the Italian Riviera. It consists of five villages and a stunning National park, deeming it a UNESCO World Heritage site. The communities are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. All unique, discovering each one is equally as delightful as the next. Nestled on a steep cliffside, arrival to Cinque Terre is an exciting adventure by foot, boat or train. Using a car is out of the question here! Here at Quality Villas, we believe Cinque Terre’s particular location is just the beginning of its magic! It first featured in documents dating back to the 11th-century, making it a fascinating spot for charming buildings and atmosphere.

Tall Italian buildings, painted orange and pink with green windows.

Make the Most of the Stunning Trails

A paradise for anyone who loves exploring, let’s begin with the mesmerising trails you can hike. The Sentiero Azzurro also referred to as the Blue Trail, is 12km in length and initially an old mule track which connected all five villages of Cinque Terre. Situated on the cliffside, years of bad weather, and a few landslides, has destroyed part of the route. Today you can still access two paths. One from Monterosso to Vernazza, and the other from Vernazza to Corniglia. From Monterosso the trail is incredible. Due to the hilly environment, the path entails many remarkable tunnels. Be prepared, this hike isn’t necessarily leisurely and wearing suitable, and sturdy footwear is essential! A more intense trail for those who desire a challenge is the Red Trail. The route is around 35km in distance and will take an entire day to complete. This path takes you inland, around the villages.

Hop on a Train

If you would like to do all the towns in one day, you can partly walk as previously mentioned, and also catch a train. The journeys are rapid. From Corniglia to Manarola, it is only a three-minute voyage. You may also want to use the train between Manarola and Riomaggiore, which is also an extremely short stint. Trains run through all five villages if this is your preferred method of transportation.

Marvel at the Statue of Neptune in Monterosso

Usually the first stop on an expedition around Cinque Terre, Monterosso provides some fascinating sites to see. At the top of a cliff, you will find the enchanting Statue of Neptune. Created from concrete, it creates the beautiful illusion Neptune is emerging from the landscape. Monterosso is also home to the Church of Saint John the Baptist. This striking church originates from the 14th-century and displays an outstanding Gothic façade. The black and white marble striped exterior is mesmerising, and needs to be seen for its sheer boldness. You can also find a stunning sandy beach at Monterosso ideal for relaxing with a book. Other villages do not have sandy beaches, so make the most of the comfort!

Stroll the Pier in Vernazza

Hidden in a little cove, Vernazza has a reputation for being the most alluring village. The pier is naturally amphitheatre in shape, creating a perfect looking waterfront. The idyllic port is scattered with pleasant bars and restaurants, making it an attractive location for sunset. Head above the bay, to the Tower of the Doria Castle to explore the village more in-depth. From the 15th- century, the tower was constructed as a form of protection from pirates.


Overlook Cinque Terre in Corniglia

The only village without direct entry to the ocean, Corniglia is still a favoured village in Cinque Terre. The quiet, winding streets, and attractive buildings are especially picturesque in here. Surrounded by vast vineyards, the location of the town is exceptionally pleasant. Perched at the top of a hill, the gorgeous town beholds stunning views out to sea. Here, is a unique spot for gazing as you can see all five villages of Cinque Terre.


Dip in the Sea in Manarola

Just as you come out of the train station, you enter the centre of Manarola. The beach is situated close by and is an idyllic location for swimming. The pristine waters of the Riviera coast are captivating, and the tranquillity of the beach urge you to take a plunge. After some hiking, it is the ideal way to cool down. Manarola also has a little harbour and a path which leads to a stunning cliff. Here you will find some gorgeous Italian restaurants and the perfect place to see the best view of Manarola. Be sure to take a camera with you!

Manarola in sunset.

Enjoy the Colourful Houses in Riomaggiore

The charming village of Riomaggiore is home to a picture-perfect harbour. There is a stunning view on the route, which shows the little town in all its splendour. Colourful houses spill over the area, and the vibrancy of the town glows in the Italian sunshine. Be sure to buy a tasty gelato here. Then sit back, soak in the sun and enjoy the view!

If you feel motivated to take a break to the beautiful Cinque Terre, read our blog on Italian Customs and Traditions for further information about Italian culture. For inspiration on accommodation, our luxury holiday villas in Italy are set in the most stunning locations for your perfect getaway.

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