By Donna Wheeler
The colorful buildings on the steep ravine of Riomaggiore are one of the Cinque Terre’s most iconic sights.
The grapevines that surround Manarola produce the local wine, Sciacchetrà. The waterfront is lined with fishing boats and reminders of village life.
Sitting atop a rocky hill, Corniglia is the only village with no direct access to the sea. But, it has the only vantage point from where you can see all five villages at once.
The village’s trademark narrow lanes rise almost vertically from its harbour. Visitors will find a maze of stairs and terraces, with sea views at every turn.
Monterosso is the only village with a proper strip of beach. Known for its lemon trees and anchovies, it’s the furthest north of the villages.
While no longer isolated hamlets, these charming villages still present a few challenges for accessibility.
A train line that runs along Italy's west coast connects the villages with Genoa, Pisa and Rome. The closest airports are Genoa and Pisa.
The villages can be reached by car, but the roads are not for novices and parking is expensive.
From Easter to September, ferries run from Genoa, Portofino and Porto Venere.
Three to four days will give you time to visit all the villages and enjoy a couple of half-day hikes. If time is tight, try for a single overnight stay.
If you’ll be hiking and want to avoid the heat, come in May or September.
The Cinque Terre can get very overcrowded in summer. To escape the crowds, venture out to some of the less busy villages in the surrounding area.
To learn more about traveling to the Cinque Terre region, hit the button below.