The coastal scenery of the Italian Riviera is some of the dreamiest we’ve ever laid eyes on (think heart eyes emoji x 1000)! This past spring, one of our IBT Girls, had a chance to visit the picturesque string of five villages that comprise Cinque Terre. She instantly fell in love with the quaint charm of the clusters of colorful houses tucked away from the modern world and knew she had to share everything about this incredible Mediterranean destination. Caution: This post is about to ignite some MAJOR wanderlust! Traveling all around Europe – check out our London guide as well!
How To Get There:
Fly into Pisa International Airport. From there, take the hour-long regional train from Pisa Central Station to La Spezia Centrale. At La Spezia Centrale, switch to the local train to take you to whichever of the five villages you will be staying at: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, or Monterosso Al Mare.
Pro Tips: 1. If possible, purchase tickets in advance on Trainline Europe to avoid long lines at the stations. 2. You must validate your tickets in the validation machines at the train stations or risk paying a hefty fine.
Where To Stay:
You cannot go wrong with which village you choose to stay in in Cinque Terre, as it only takes about three minutes by train to get from one village to another and they are all fairly similar. The most popular option of the five though is Vernazza, as it is one of the largest and most developed. Staying in an Airbnb is a great option here if you’re looking for space (I had the most wonderful stay at Manuela’s and highly recommend her lovely apartment)!
Where To Eat:
If you stay at Manuela’s apartment, then you’ll be just a staircase away from Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre! The restaurant is run by the sweetest twin brothers, Mossimo and Luca, and they will go above and beyond to take care of you. Stop in for coffee and delicious Sicilian pastries in the morning before you hit the trails.
Via Gavino, 36/38 | 19018 Vernazza
Ristorante Belforte is THE place to eat in Vernazza! The views are incomparable, the food is exquisite, and the staff is SO gracious. I’m still dreaming about eating their spaghetti al ragù di carne alla bolognese while watching the sunset over the Mediterranean!
Pro Tip: Make a reservation here and request a table on the patio. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Via Guidoni, 42 | 19018 Vernazza
What To Do:
Hike, hike, and hike! The lush coastal trails between each of the five villages are what attracts people from all over the world to Cinque Terre.
If you are staying in Vernazza, I recommend spending your first day hiking the trail from Vernazza to Monterosso Al Mare, as it is the steepest and most challenging trail. The trail starts up the driveway right outside Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre and from there, well placed signs along the trail will guide you to your destination. Be sure to bring a bathing suit to take a well deserved dip in the ocean once you reach Monterosso.
On your second day, head out in the other direction towards Riomaggiore, making your way through Corniglia and Manarola along the way. I fully advocate for gelato in each village 🙂 When you have completed the trail, hop on the local train back to Vernazza for a glass of local wine!
Pro Tip: Purchase the Two Day Cinque Terre Card-Adult for € 14.50 from one of the kiosques located at the entrance of each trail on your first day of hiking to grant you access to the trails during your stay
Trail Essentials: backpack, hiking boots or tennis shoes with good traction, hat and sunglasses,sunscreen, bathing suit, snacks, LOTS of water
Have you been to this incredible beach town? What were your favorite stops along the way?