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Cinque Terre

Photo of Cinque Terre

About Cinque Terre

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.

It may sound like a bare place but these colourful villages, built upwards on the precarious cliffs, are wonderfuly higgledy-piggledy. 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, 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. Walking past the edge of the marina will afford 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 if you enjoy painting. The locals are big on art, and there's a wonderful art gallery featuring paintings mainly of the five towns of the Cinque Terre.

Corniglia is the highest of the villages, with two pristine beaches below glittering in rocky coves on either side of the promontory.

Vernazza is, for many, the most picturesque of the five towns and one of the best places to stay if you're a photographer! It's the only one with a proper harbour and 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 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 for foodies. Apparently some of the world's best olive oil is produced here.

Last of the Cinque Terre towns, Monterosso is the only one with a proper beach and large, fancier hotels so is more suited for a resort style holiday.

What not to miss

  • Take the challenge and eschew the train in place of walking between the villages.
  • Wander through the colourful alleys of Riomaggiore village.
  • Visit the gothic church of San Lorenzo located at the top of Manarola.
  • Unwind on the beautiful beach of “Spiaggione” in the ancient Roman village of Corniglia.
  • Be sure to visit the remains of the ancient fortress: the towers of the XI century and the Doria’s castle, the Monastery’s tower of Padri Riformati di San Francesco and the tower Belforte in beautiful Vernazza.

With so much on offer it shouldn't be too difficult for you to choose from our list of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre.

For a beach break

  • If you like old fashioned charm, the Hotel Porto Roca is one of the most charming .As well as lovely interiors, this hotel has location, location and location and is situated right on the cliffs above the vineyards of Monterosso looking out onto the bay from the large balconies and huge sun terrace.

For families

  • Agriturismo Villanova is a great option for families. This rustic B&B offers a children's playground, tennis court and is just a short hop to the beach. Plus there's self catering apartments for those who want a bit more independence.

For the views

  • Hotel Marina Piccola is definitely one of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre if you're here for the views. It has an excellent restaurant and is just a short stroll to the beach.
  • Hotel Suisse Bellevue has stunning views over the Ligurian Sea. It offers simple but comfortable rooms, many with balconies, a private beach and sun terrace.
  • Nestled in the Levanto Valley, La Sosta do Ottone III offers traditional & contemporary rooms with exposed wooden beams and stonework alongside incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea.

For great value

  • Ca' D'Andrean is a traditional property offering basic accommodation in the centre of Manarola. As well as being great value (rooms start from only €90 per night), the views are fab and there are lots of great seafood restaurants within walking distance.

For an apartment or villa

    • If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner Booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.

    Travel information

    • Arriving from abroad, the closest large airport is Pisa International Airport.
    • By train is the best way to reach the area, there’s a local train, the Cinque Terre Express, which runs along the coast between the stations of La Spezia Centrale and Levanto. It stops at all five towns (Monterosso, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore).
    • Best time to visit - plan your trip between the months of May - October when the days are long and warm (21°C - 28°C). September and October are particularly nice as most of the tourists have left.
    • If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars for the best prices.

          Still not sure?

            Best Hotels in Cinque Terre

            • Hotel Porto Roca 40 rooms from £158

              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.

              Views  -  Stunning views over the bay of Monterosso
              Swimming Pool  -  Lovely Outdoor Pool
              Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
              Traditional
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            • Hotel Suisse Bellevue 30 rooms from £75

              Cinque Terre

              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.

              Hideaway  -  Outstanding views over the Cinque Terre, plenty of beaches and surf spots to explore, walking paths and fresh seafood
              Sights nearby  -  Fegina Beach, Monterosso Beach, and Vernazza Beach, Bonassola Beach and Porticciolo Di Framura.
              Views  -  Wonderful views over the Ligurian Sea
              Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
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            • La Sosta di Ottone III 6 rooms from £202

              Cinque Terre

              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.

              Good wine list  -  Chef and Sommelier Luca Palmero Scatena joined in 2013
              Cooking classes  -  Luca Palmero Scatena offers 'jam sessions'; personalised cooking classes to guests based on their interests and experience
              Sights nearby  -  The perfect base for exploring the villages that make up the Cinque Terre
              Views  -  Stunning views over the Levanto Valley towards the Med
              Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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            • Hotel Marina Piccola 13 rooms from £75

              Cinque Terre

              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.

              Beach Life  -  Beaches, coastal walks with aloe and prickly pear plants. Fresh seafood throughout the 5 villages and stunning views
              Sights nearby  -  From Manarola, head to Punto Bonfiglio. Find a pretty park with a summer bar and children's play area
              Great walks  -  The coastal path which links all five villages is a wonderful route
              Views  -  Great views from hotel
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            • Ca'D'Andrean 10 rooms from £48

              Cinque Terre

              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.

              Hideaway  -  Quiet location, views over the sea from the lemon tree garden, walkable seafood restaurants and the other Cinque Terre villages
              Great walks  -  Walks between the Cinque Terre villages; path between Corniglia and Vernazza has olive groves, rosemary and vines
              Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
              Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
              Recommended by  -  Fodors
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            • Agriturismo Villanova 9 rooms from £79

              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.

              Families  -  Lovely place for children with a play area, tennis courts and gardens, and with the coast just a short drive away
              Cooking classes  -  Villanova offers 1 day cooking classes in traditional Ligurian cuisine
              Great walks  -  Wide choice of paths that lead from Levanto to Cinque Terre
              Surfing  -  Great surf beaches and rental in Levanto
              Recommended by  -  Sawdays
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