This national park and protected marine area covers 18kms of crenellated cliffs between La Spezia and Levanto. Included within its boundaries are five gorgeous villages, cut off by olive grove cloaked mountains and dry, stoney vineyards. Many of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre can be found in one of these stunning spots. Our pick of recommendations is a range of hotels and B&Bs with something for everyone. But if you'd prefer a self catering option, then check out our online partner, Booking.com.
It may sound like a bare place, but these colourful villages, built upwards on the precarious cliffs, are wonderful higgledy-piggledy things. The ocean is spectacular shades of blue and green. There's plenty of sun. And the landscape, while sounding barren, is actually more dramatically beautiful than desolate.
Because of its National Park status, cars and motorbikes aren't allowed in the villages, and you're spared too many tacky souvenir stalls and fast food outlets.
The villages are connected by train. But many people actually come here to walk between them. It takes around six hours if you rush, but most people take two days. For more information on the routes, check out Walkopedia.
National Park status has also helped local producers, whose farms are now protected. So the food is all local and fresh.
Riomaggiore is one of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre if you're going to explore the region on foot. From here a popular stroll will take you to Manorola, then it's two days (or a few hours if you're feeling energetic and it's not too hot) to Monterosso.
Riomaggiore, like its neighbours, is small and steep, with a charming main street and a pretty marina. If you walk past the edge of the marina you'll have some brilliant views.
If you like peace and quiet then Manarola is the village for you. Most people just walk through, so in the evenings you'll have the place largely to yourself.
This is also one of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre if you enjoy painting. The locals are big on art, and there's a wonderful art gallery featuring paintings of mainly the five towns of the Cinque Terre.
Corniglia is the highest of the villages, with two pristine beaches beneath it, glittering in rocky coves on either side of its promontory.
Vernazza is, for many, the most picturesque of the five towns, and one of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre if you're a photographer! It's the only one with a proper harbour, so has been a working fishing village for around a thousand years.
There's an ancient castle overlooking the colourful houses clinging to the rocks. And there's an impressive church overlooking the cove and harbour.
The town has grown wealthy from fishing and olive growing, and you can see the wealth in the elegance of the houses.
Vernazza is also probably the best place to stay in the Cinque Terre for foodies. Theirs is, apparently, some of the world's best olive oil.
Last of the Cinque Terre towns, Monterosso is the only one with a proper beach and large, fancier hotels. So this is easily one of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre for a resort style holiday.
Still not sure? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Cinque Terre, or call, or email, one of our gurus for advice. Alternatively widen the net and check out all our recommendations in Liguria.
A traditional hotel overlooking the Ligurian sea. Charming, light-filled rooms with views and all the modcons. Lemon trees in the garden terrace add to the tranquil atmosphere. An ideal spot to explore the Cinque Terre villages and enjoy the scenery. Basic, but excellently positioned.
A charming hotel overlooking Ligurian sea. Rooms are delightfully simple, some with balconies, all with new bathrooms and brightly painted walls. Stunning views across the bay. Private beach, gardens and sun terrace to enjoy. A perfect choice for a beach break.
A contemporary chic hotel with bags of style in Cinque Terre. Rooms are modern with exposed bricks, white lines and all the mod cons. Excellent Liguirian cuisine in the seafood restaurant and stunning sea views. Beaches and other villages walking distance away. Perfect for a beach holiday.
Levanto, Cinque Terre
B&B villa. Rooms have rustic furnishings with wrought iron beds, terracotta tiled floors and pretty fabrics. Apartments are in separate farmhouse, very secluded. Breakfast is served in charming dining room or sunny terrace. Children's playground, making a wonderful choice for young families.
Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre
Charming old fashioned hotel in the Cinque Terre. Stunning views from every bedroom most with a large balcony. Relax on a lounger by the pool and pretend you're part of the Portofino set.
Nestled in the Levanto Valley, La Sosta offers traditional & contemporary rooms with exposed wooden beams and stonework alongside incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. Soak up the local history and sights or simply relax on the terrace and enjoy the culinary excellence of Luca Palmero Scatena.