Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy

If you are someone who dreams of touring the great nation of Italy, you will have read our previous articles about Rome and about Florence, which are truly magical, beautiful and inspiring cities. Now, let us explore the grand finale of our virtual tour around Italy. In this article we will give you the Best Cinque Terre Itinerary giving you the Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy This charming, rugged coastal area is situated on the Italian Riviera and is called Cinque Terre, meaning “Five Lands.”

You have probably seen stunning photos of the place for years on social media platforms since it is a popular location to photograph. I know that I had been dreaming of visiting! Together, we will explore the top five cities to visit here so that you can plan your own dream vacation to Cinque Terre.

Map of Cinque Terre Italy

Map of Cinque Terre Italy Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
Map of Cinque Terre Italy

Before we get going to far, I want to give you a map of the region so that you can put the whole area into perspective.  This is especially important if you are traveling to and from other places in Italy.  This particular region is not very large and it is pretty easy to get around so have fun exploring.  

You can find a live link to our Google Maps – Cinque Terre Italy Map Here.

1) Monterosso Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
Monterosso Cinque Terre

The first place you must visit while in the Cinque Terre region is, of course, Monterosso. You may even want to consider booking your hotel here like we did.

Accommodations in Monterosso

As with any overseas excursion, you will want to begin your plans by choosing the type of lodging you’d like. We stayed in Monterosso at the Hotel Margarita which is a fantastic choice for a few reasons. It is a lovely, comfortable hotel and they serve a wonderful breakfast. Breakfast is a must-have while you’re touring Italy. The location of the hotel was also convenient. The train station is in the newer side of Monterosso while this hotel is in the old town. To get to the old town, it is normally a five minute stroll past a few hotels, a sheer cliff and then into a tunnel. What a fun walk!

Getting Around in Monterosso

However, due to heavy rains, the trail from the train station to the hotel is frequently closed to caution against injuries from rockslides. This is good information to be aware of before you go so you can properly prepare for an alternative route. When the trail is closed, you have two options to get to old town: you can wait for the small bus and push your way in for a seat (which we did once–that makes for an entirely different story), or you can hire a taxi. I recommend the taxi option. We got seven people to fit comfortably into a taxi with no wait at a cost of 2.50 euro. It did take 30 minutes for the trip though, which is a little crazy. As with your tour of Rome and Florence, you must exercise patience here in Cinque Terre as well.

Charming Monterosso Cinque Terre - Cinque Terre Itinerary
Charming Monterosso Cinque Terre – Cinque Terre Itinerary

One other thing you should know about choosing a taxi for your transportation needs is that the price tends to fluctuate. Sunday morning when we needed to leave early that same taxi ended up costing 30 euro.

Charming Monterosso Cinque Terre - Cinque Terre Itinerary
Bikes Everywhere! Charming Monterosso Cinque Terre – Cinque Terre Itinerary

As mentioned, there are occasional bouts of heavy rains here. When we visited, the hiking trails around Monterosso were closed due to recent heavy rains. I was pretty depressed about this since I assumed we wouldn’t be able to see much of any of the cities.

Charming Monterosso Cinque Terre - Cinque Terre Itinerary
Monterosso Cinque Terre What a Lovely Landscape

I am happy to report that I was wrong, so don’t be discouraged if you encounter downpours during your own getaway. You will still be able to explore the city to your heart’s content.

2) Manarola Cinque Terre

Manarola Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
The Iconically Beautiful Manarola Cinque Terre Italy

You will also want to place Manarola on your must-see list while in Cinque Terre. We took the train to Manarola for a hike and an attempt to capture some sunset images. Manarola has a tiny harbor with a boat ramp, picturesque multi-colored houses facing the sea and a small pizza with seafood restaurants. While here, you will marvel at the way those colorful little houses are perched on the steep hillside. In Manarola starts the famous path Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Lane) which is a very scenic path that leads you to Riomaggiore in only 20 minutes. It ends up being a lovely little walk with plenty of scenery. After this quick tour, we took the train back to Monterosso and found a place for dinner. We ate at Ristorante Il Moretto. Dine here and make sure to order the gnocchi; and the sauce was to die for. And, of course, you will love the wine here.

3) Riomaggiore Cinque Terre


Riomaggiore Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
The Spectacular Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

The enchanting town of Riomaggiore is a wonderfully picturesque gem of a town located in a valley. This particular town was formed somewhere during the early 1200s and it happens to be quite well-known for the wine it produces. This is the right place for you if you are an aspiring wine connoisseur, or even someone who simply appreciates the beauty of a nice glass of red or white wine. Take your time sipping and savoring the wine from Riomaggiore which is an exquisite experience and a nice break from the walking you’ll be doing on your visit.

4) Corniglia Cinque Terre

Corniglia Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
Corniglia Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy

Your next mission is to explore Corniglia. Corniglia is considered a sleepy little town perched high up on a hill way above the water. Yes, the hike up this hill is a bit rigorous, but it is worth it. Once you arrive at a higher vantage point, you will have the privilege of looking at beauty all around you. There are vineyards and of course, you will see the sea on one side. This view just may take your breath away, both literally and figuratively!

5) Vernazza Cinque Terre

Vernazza Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
Vernazza Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy

Now, on to Vernazza. Vernazza is considered by many to be the gem of Cinque Terre. I, for one, would have to agree and I think that as you visit this splendid location you will feel the same way. The blue of the sea and the sky contrasted with the colorful buildings is strikingly majestic. As you explore the area a bit more, you may even find a few unexpected pops of color hiding in plain sight, such as the red boat you see here. These little surprises add even more charm to the place, don’t they?

Vernazza Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
The Gem Vernazza Cinque Terre

While you are here, take some time to hike around city. It will be worth your while because Vernazza will reward you richly with stunning vistas to photograph or simply to savor for a quiet moment or two. Speaking of savoring the scenery, note that you will find many more great images of Vernazza at our Amazing Italy Gallery. I hope this takes the pressure off of you to capture that perfect photo to enjoy upon your return home and instead allows you to just enjoy the views in the moment. Vernazza is going to be your favorite area if you are a people watcher. There is no better place to enjoy a wonderful Italian seafood lunch and observe the locals. Take your pick of one of the many restaurants offering freshly caught seafood, then sit back and enjoy the vibrant local scene.

Vernazza Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
Enjoy With the Locals Vernazza Cinque Terre

Local Weather

When you are ready to leave Vernazza and head back to Monterosso, pay attention to the weather. As you will know well by this point in your trip, the weather does have a tendency to impact your transportation plans. The hiking trail to Monterosso was closed when we visited due to the recent rains and rockslide danger, but my son decided to hike back anyway. I decided to take the train back, which I recommend you do as well in the event that the trail is closed during your time here. Taking the train is a little less risky and it will give you a bit more time to explore Monterosso even more thoroughly. What a wonderful bonus!

Hike Where You Can Vernazza Cinque Terre Itinerary Top 5 Places to Visit in Cinque Terre Italy
Hike Where You Can Vernazza Cinque Terre

A Note About Dinner with New Friends in Monterosso

For fellow travelers that enjoy getting to know the locals, allow me to share one of the most interesting experiences on our trip to this point. We ate dinner in Monterosso with an Austrian couple that we had met the day before. We were talking about everything from art and philosophy to travel, food, politics and religion. It was amazingly interesting. The gentleman then said he remembered the day J.F. Kennedy was shot and his mother cried, “hope is dead.” We are so very connected in this world! Get to know some of the locals while you are out and about on your Cinque Terre travels. You just never know where the conversation will lead, and what connections you will discover that you have in common.

How Do You Make This A Reality?

This trip is absolutely amazing. It is also amazingly complex to set up and make sure all of the details work. When you decide to make this trip a reality for your own travels, contact the best: Carrousel Travel Minneapolis. They will help you plan the perfect trip that is right for your budget. You will be so glad you worked with them!


Whether this is your first trip abroad or your one hundredth trip, it will be a trip of a lifetime. You will learn, enjoy and be changed all at the same time. You might even wish you had done it years ago. But no matter what, you will be very glad that you ventured out into Italy to explore Rome, Florence and Cinque Terre. And until next time, get out and capture the adventure!   Co Author: Brittany VanDerBill –  

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