A few months ago, right before jumping on a plane to Indonesia, I quickly shared a picture of Manarola, one of the five villages of Cinque Terre, with my then 2400 Instagram followers. It was a 40-hour journey with a 12 hour wifi-less layover in China and by the time I arrived in my hotel I nearly fell asleep before even reaching my room. But I wouldn’t be a real travel blogger if I wasn’t obsessed with likes and follows, so I had to check how my post was doing before going to bed…

2700 likes, 50-something comments and 2 features, good for 4500 more likes…

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFih2wkq_aS/

A quick ‘can you check if something’s wrong on my screen‘ to one of my friends and a couple of ‘woohooooos‘ later I felt wide awake and if I wouldn’t have been able to touch the 4 walls of my room just spreading my arms and doing a spin around my own axis I’m pretty sure some kind of ridiculous looking dance around the bed would have followed. But I’m clumsy, so no dancing in tiny spaces for me!

But I was dancing in my head! I’d only just started focusing on photography and Cinque Terre was one of the first trips on which I’d used all my brand new gear and really invested time in getting those perfect shots. 

For my self confidence, the line I’m going with is “woow, I must have a real talent for photograpy!“. But to be honest, I think the place deserves a big part of the credit, too… 

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

CINQUE TERRE - AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FIVE LANDS OF LIGURIA

Cinque Terre is located along the Ligurian Coast, about halfway between Genoa and Pisa, and consists of 5 towns or ‘lands’: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The area is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it isn’t hard to understand why. With its colorful houses standing on the edge of the rocks, bright green gardens and farmlands and red and yellow boats adding a final touch to the already perfect water, Cinque Terre is one of those places that can only be described in cliché’s…

Most of the towns are busy during the day but once the sun starts to set, the day trippers go home and everybody else sits down for pizza and wine, you’ll get the feeling you’ve got the place all to yourself.

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

Monterosso

Monterosso is the village in the north, and the only one with an easily accessible beach. Probably the town with the most ‘touristy’ feel to it, in my opinion it lacks coziness and is therefor my least favorite of the five villages. But keep on reading, because as you head further south it keeps on getting better and better!

Want to spice up your stay in Monterosso?

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

Vernazza

Maybe the cutest of the five towns, Vernazza is the perfect place for a stroll, a glass of Spritz and a bit of dolce far niente. Coming out of the train station, the main road will lead you straight to the tiny harbor. It’s not far but with all the shops selling food, souvenirs and gelato it might take you a while to finally get there.

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

There’s a hiking path between Vernazza and Corniglia, leading you through an much quieter part of Vernazza and offering beautiful views of it. Head to the travel guide section of this post to read all about it.

GET YOUR GUIDEBOOK HERE

Italy, Edition - 13 by Lonely Planet
Experience Italy, Edition - 1 by Lonely Planet
Best of Italy, Edition - 2 by Lonely Planet
Italy Planning Map, Edition - 1 by Lonely Planet

Corniglia

To get to see the village in the middle you’ll have to do a bit of effort. Exactly 365 steps lead from the train station to the town’s center but the views make it worth each and every one of them. Corniglia’s very green and much calmer than the other villages – I guess not everybody has the courage to climb all those steps – so if you need a moment away from the crowds, get there pronto!

Go for a local experience! Hike through Cinque Terre and grab a bite with a local.

Manarola

Heading further south, it goes from colorful and cute to still colorful but somehow more and more impressive. The rocks rising out of the rough dark blue water and the houses balancing right on the edge of them are just stunning!

Like the other villages, Manarola’s busy during the day but there’s an easy way to get away from it. Getting out of the train station, don’t go straight to the left where everybody else goes and where you’ll get to see the views below. Of course they are the best part, but the other part of Manarola definitely deserves a visit, too. It’s not just beautiful but also super quiet. I walked around here in the middle of the day and saw almost nobody! Or do go left, walk passed the main area and climb the hill leading away from it for some spectacular views that you won’t need to share with hundreds of other people.

Need a drink? Join a winery tour in Manarola or Riomaggiore!

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

Riomaggiore

In a place like Cinque Terre, picking your favorite isn’t an easy task. But if I had to chose, I’d probably pick RiomaggioreI mean when you spend 2 hours just sitting on a rock watching the same view, it has to be pretty amazing, right?

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, ItalyCinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

The town’s center, with its restaurants, souvenir shops and steep tiny alleys is beyond cute, the path leading up to the highest point and down to the water unexpectedly quiet and the harbor… the harbor… well… you’ll have to look for yourself because I have no words for it… #WorstTravelBloggerInTheWorldHahaha

Check out more things to to in Cinque Terre for more ideas!

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

CINQUE TERRE - PRACTICAL TRAVEL GUIDE

When to go

Cinque Terre can be visited all year, although in winter you’ll have to keep your fingers crossed for good weather. This is however the time where almost nobody else visits, so if you’re lucky it might just be the perfect time. In summer it gets extremely crowded and there’s talk about limiting the number of visitors. I didn’t find any specific information about a date yet, but make sure to check before you go. I visited Cinque Terre at the start of April, when the tourist season was just starting, and think it’s a good time if you can handle some tourists (go on weekdays because it’s obviously busier in the weekends) but still want a good chance at nice weather.

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

How to get there and how to get around

The closest airports are Genova or Pisa, but Florence is also a possibility.

  • From Pisa: At the airport you can take a shuttle train to the central train station, from where trains go to La Spezia. In La Spezia, jump on the local train that connects the five villages and drives towards Sestri Levante.
  • From Genova: Take a bus from the airport to one of the two train stations and from there, take a train going towards La Spezia. Not all the trains stop in Cinque Terre and you might have to change trains somewhere along the way.
  • From Florence: Take the bus from the airport to Santa Maria Novella station, followed by a train to Pisa. From there, follow the instructions above.

GO ON, I’LL WAIT HERE WHILE YOU BOOK YOUR FLIGHT…

For information about trains, check Trenitalia‘s website. Don’t forget that in Italy, just buying a train ticket isn’t enough, you need to ‘activate’ it at one of the machines on the platform. Inspections on the trains are very regular and fines can be high.

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

Heading to Cinque Terre by car is also an option, although I’d only recommend this option if you’re doing a road trip through a larger part of the country, as parkings are expensive and always located outside of the town centers. I won’t go into details myself, as this website gives a very complete overview of all your options.

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

To get around Cinque Terre, take the local train that connects the five villages. Trains are regular in high season but a bit less frequent during off-season or at night and prices are around € 2 per ticket. If you’re in for a little hike and want to see more spectacular views (who wouldn’t?) you can also hike in between the villages. The trails between Riomaggiore and Manarola and between Manarola and Corniglia are closed due to accidents in the past but you can walk between Corniglia and Vernazza (medium hard, about 4 km, took me about 2,5 hours including lots of stopping to admire the views) and between Vernazza and Monterosso (I didn’t do this part but apparently it’s a bit more difficult than the part between Corniglia and Vernazza).

I absolutely recommend you walk at least 1 of both options
 because the views are nothing less than stunning! If you don’t like walking alone or want to get more information about the area, day hiking tours are also available.

The Cinque Terre Card covers the hiking trails and there’s also an option that includes unlimited train travel between the villages. Check the website for all the details.

Where to stay and what to eat

I’d recommend staying in Vernazza, seeing it’s the cutest and most accessible of the five towns. Accommodation isn’t cheap, there’s not really any budget options and double rooms start from around € 100 per night.

For food, anywhere’s good basically ’cause well, it’s Italy baby! 😉 For the best spots in Manarola, check out my friend Christina’s post about where to eat in Manarola.

Booking.com

READ MORE: THE PERFECT DAY TRIP FROM CINQUE TERRE

Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre photos - A practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy

This article contains affiliate links. Whenever you buy something through one of these, I get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. Thank you! 

112 thoughts on “25 AMAZING CINQUE TERRE PHOTOS – Practical guide to the five lands of Liguria, Italy”

  1. It’s beautiful, for sure. I’ve never heard of it before, but the area is just the type of place I’m interested in seeing. That ocean and rocks and colorful homes – it’s like a fairytale village!

    Thanks for the tips about “activating” tickets. I surely wouldn’t know otherwise!

    1. Yes, very important, and I’ve seen plenty of people actually getting fines! Usually if it’s tourists they get the ‘small fine’ but still, always better to spend that money on a glass of Spritz, right? 🙂

  2. My god. This is so beautiful. I can’t believe how gorgeous this all is, Cinque Terre seems like one of those places that it just seems it is so easy to capture its beauty. I’m soo jealous you were able to explore it so thoroughly, absolutely want to visit ASAP! – Sophia from http://sophiawithoutborders.com

  3. Hi! Cinque Terre is on my list for quite a time and your guide is much appreciated. About the photos let me tell you that no doubt the subject helps but you are talented 🙂 you have a great look at things.

  4. Pingback: Practical guide to Cinque Terre, Italy – The Travel Blogs

  5. Absolutely stunning photos. I’m hoping to go here next year, maybe in the Spring. I commented on one of your photos on Instagram about featuring (as I run some hubs), please let me know. 🙂

  6. Hello. First, your pictures are amazing!! Thank you for this. I’ll be there in June and am counting the days! I was wondering where the lock picture was taking towards the beginning of this? Thank you for your time. Gina

  7. Love Monterosso! Leaving in 2 week for our 6th time. We always stay in the old part of Monterosso. I love that’s there a beach private $ and public and a very cool vineyard within a 5 minute walk. The views are amazing of the vines on the hillside and sea!

  8. Ah! Amazing! Your photos are so beautiful! I’m traveling to the UK and Europe this January – my favorite time to travel. I’d been looking for a trip idea for next Winter, and had long been thinking about Italy. I’m convinced. LOL ! I’m off to see what the weather is like in January. =)

    1. Yaaay glad I convinced you My friend went in January once (or December or sth), the weather was dry, he said it was amazing, he had the place all to himself and his pictures are stunning!! I will keep my fingers crossed for dry weather!

  9. Super helpful blog thanks so much! We’re going to be road-tripping through Italy this winter in our vintage VW camper, and Cinque Terre is high up on the list of places I really want to go.

    Might try to find a camping spot within walking distance so that we can enjoy an evening there seeing as you said that feels the most authentic 🙂

  10. Cinque Terre is one of the most beautiful places in Italy. The lovely colorful houses on the coast give an authentic feeling. A real stunning scenery. Thank you for the wonderful pictures! Keep up the good work

  11. Wow no wonder your instagram photo blew up, these are beautiful! You’ve convinced me even more now that Cinque Terre is somewhere I have to visit someday. Italy is my favourite country in Europe, so no doubt I’ll be going back!

  12. Man… My sister just went through most of the destinations you’ve outlined. Her telling me about her adventures definitely pales in comparison to actually seeing your photography. Amazing!

  13. Wow! This is amazing! Guys, if you love to travel and hoping to save money on your next flight. Check this out!
    The Hidden Airline Loophole
    That Lets You Book $1,000
    Flights for $20 or Less
    http://bit.ly/2QijxeZ

  14. Awesome blog and pictures.
    Its very nice guide to travel in Italy.
    Travel all Italy with Eurocursions with your family and friends and get the best discount on you booking.
    To book your ticket visit our website Eurocursions.com

  15. The post is amazing and veey informative. As you mentioned above that the activation process at any machine for the train tickets. During inspections the fines is very important. The pictures that shared above is very good.
    Thanks for this post.

  16. Cinque Terre looks beautiful and I love the photography you have included in this post! It’s interesting to know that you can get there from Florence too – I’ll have to keen that in mind if I ever end up in Italy.

  17. Great blog. Italy has so many incredible places to see. Cinque Terre is definitely worth visiting. The pic of Manarola at night is stunning. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go there soon. Thanks for the train ticket info. It’s very helpful.

  18. Hi Lili, you should visit Kerala once in your lifetime. Especially the backwaters of Alleppey in Kerala. The Vembanad lake and its the life around it. You can try the seafood varieties, toddy shop food here in Alleppey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.