Cinque Terre in Italy: Places to visit
Pronounced "cheen-kweh teh-rreh" in Italian, Les Cinque Terre is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful corners of Italy. It is located in the province of La Spezia, in Liguria in the northwest of Italy. It is a group of five very picturesque towns built on the side of high cliffs. The area is set on steep hills overlooking the Mediterranean. Prepare your visit to Cinque Terre easily with the presentation of the region and the activities to be carried out during your stay. Discover also through this guide, the different villages of the Cinque Terre.
1. Discovering the Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a group of five municipalities located on the coast of the Levantine Riviera. The name translates into French as "les 5 terres". It includes the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
The largest of the five villages is Monterosso al Mare. It is the only one with a fine sand beach. The villages the oldest are Vernazza and Manarola. They are also the most typical. Corniglia and Riomaggiore are the opposite of each other. Indeed, the first is the most peaceful while the second is the most animated.
Despite the rocky and rugged landscape, the roads are now well developed for tourists. You can organise your stay in Cinque Terre with an expert agency that will book the routes, hotels and/or guides for you.
2. How and when to go to Cinque Terre?
Before you go to Cinque Terre, you can consult the map of the area to get a clearer idea. You will see, for example, that the National Park Cinque Terre is located on a part of the Riviera del Levant. It is located in the province of La Spezia in Liguria. It is close to the city of Genoa that are next to the 5 Terre.
When you go to discover the Cinque Terre Park, your excursion starts in La Spezia, which is the gateway to the region. Here you can find accommodation and visit the 5 villages during the day. There are several means of transport to get there.
If you are travelling by aircraftFrom the airport of Genoa, Pisa or Florence, your departure point will be the airport of Genoa, Pisa or Florence. For the first two, allow 1.5 hours for the journey, and 2 hours for the third. The excursions in the Cinque Terre start in Spezia or in Levanto where many buses are waiting for you.
If you are travelling by car, the departure points are Pisa or Genoa, which are about 1.5 hours from the Cinque Terre Park. In order to avoid parking congestion, an anti-car policy has been instituted in the National Park. Therefore, avoid going to small villages with your vehicle. You can leave your car in a car park in La Spezia or Levanto.
If you prefer the train, there are 23 trains a day, between 5am and 11pm from Genoa. They stop at Cinque Terre where a regional train runs about every 30 minutes.
You can choose to make a hiking once in La Spezia or Levanto through well-marked paths. Or take a path that is accessible to bicycles.
Once you have reached La Spezia or Levanto, you can continue your visit by boat or by kayak. You can also use a local agency.
It is best to visit Cinque Terre between May and October, as temperatures generally exceed 20° during the day. This way you can enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate. However, the landscapes are more beautiful in July and August.
However, if you want more peace and quiet, go in spring (May and June), late summer (September) or early autumn (October).
3. The villages of the 5 Lands: where to stay?
For your accommodation in the 5 Lands, you can choose between the cities of La Spezia and Levanto. Or stay in one of the 5 small villages (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola or Riomaggiore).
La Spezia is the largest town near the Cinque Terre. It is not part of the 5 Terre but serves as a gateway to the national park. It is a large, pleasant and lively city, particularly popular with tourists, with a wide range of accommodation.
Riomaggiore is an ancient fishing village nicknamed "the little capital of the Cinque Terre". Of the five villagesIt is the closest to La Spezia and can be reached in only 8 minutes by train.
Manarola is an old winegrowing village and the oldest of the villages of the 5 lands as well as the most authentic and romantic. It is the most photographed place. Certainly because it is also the most photogenic of the Cinque Terre. Not least because of the beauty of its landscape and buildings.
Corniglia is in the centre of the 5 Terre road but does not have direct access to the sea like all the others. The number of inhabitants is 250.
Vernazza is among the villages the most picturesque of the 5 Lands. For this reason it is not easily accessible by road. You can reach it by train or by steep coastal paths.
Monterosso al Mare means "the red mountain on the sea" in French. This village is the largest of the Cinque Terre. It is not the most aesthetic, but its beach is ideal for swimming. Of all the villagesIt has the most infrastructure.
As a result, it has more entertainment than the neighbouring villages. It has 1500 inhabitants and is divided into two districts, a medieval and a modern one.
Levanto is the second city in the vicinity, along with La Spezia. It is an ideal place to spend the night before your departure. Provided your itinerary is from north to south. It is quiet and much less crowded than La Spezia and has a very welcoming atmosphere. It has 5300 inhabitants and also has shops and a nice beach.
You can contact an expert agency in order to carry out this trip in 7 days at your own pace, from village to village. They will take care of the bookings for you and give you all the information. You can enjoy a pleasant stay with nothing to think about, nothing to prepare, except your bag! Enjoy a very comfortable solution in total freedom.