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Cinque Terre Overview

In the heart of the Italian Riviera, nestled into the cliffs along the Ligurian Sea, lie the Cinque Terre villages. Translating to 'five lands' in Italian, these five picturesque towns in northwestern Italy are gems of the region of Liguria. Each one of the villages has its own charm or character, setting it apart from the rest.

In addition to its colorful aesthetic, Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many tourists come here for the beaches, the beauty, and the hiking trails.

Whether it’s your first time visiting Cinque Terre or you’re headed back (I’ve been 4 times!), allow me to provide some important information that may help you on your trip or update you on what’s changed.

The Cinque Terre Villages

and what they're known for

Monterosso al Mare

  • The largest of the five towns, there is an “old town” and “new town” separated by a pedestrian tunnel
  • Large sandy beach
  • Lots of restaurants and hotels


  • Contains a harbor with small boats that match its colorful buildings
  • Beautiful spots for photos


  • The only village not built directly on the sea
  • The smallest of the towns with the least amount of tourists


  • Small harbor 
  • Great for cliff jumping


  • Natural harbor and colorful Ligurian houses (another great spot for photos) 
  • Romantic - walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola and you’ll walk on the Via Dell’Amore (if it’s not closed)

How to Get to Cinque Terre

Driving to Cinque Terre

It’s not impossible to drive to Cinque Terre, but it’s definitely more of a challenge because there are very limited parking options.

Monterosso has the most accessible parking from my experience. I drove there in March 2023 and was able to park at my Airbnb, which had a large driveway.  At the time, they were working on a parking lot along the beach.

You can find current information about parking here.

My suggestion: if you are definitely coming by car, reach out to your hotel or host of where you’re staying to inquire about parking. They will be able to give the best advice or may know someone with a parking area.

Trains to Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is not directly connected to most of the major cities in Italy that you may be coming from.

  • From Rome, Florence, and other cities south of Cinque Terre, you will most likely have to change trains in nearby La Spezia and get on the regional train. 
  • If you’re coming from Milan or other areas north of Cinque Terre, you may need to change trains in Genoa.

This information will vary depending on where exactly you’re coming from, so be sure to check the train schedules and look carefully for the connection location.

The Trainline App

I’ve been using  Trainline since 2021, and it has made navigating the Italian train system SO much easier. You can use their website or their app to book your tickets and I highly recommend using it on your trip.

I love that the search results show you the train times for all of the train companies.  I used to have to go to Italo’s site to view their schedules and then also to Trenitalia’s to view theirs and compare the prices. Trainline shows them all!

You can book tickets on the app and access them within the app (or save them to your digital wallet if you have an iPhone).

Not only will the Trainline app show you exactly where you are on your journey so you can follow along, but it will also alert you to any disruptions or if your train is late.  Tip:  look for the word “ritardo” in Italian, which means “delayed/late”.

Above, you can see screen shots of one of my debacles .  My train from Desenzano to Verona was late and I was going to miss my connection to Florence.  It was a pain, but I was able to see exactly what was happening on the app.

Trainline also has an entire page dedicated to the Cinque Terre and how to get there, including the ability to buy tickets and view schedules. 

Getting to and From the Cinque Terre Villages

Cinque Terre Cards

To get from town to town, you can either hike between them (which can take a few hours depending on the trail) or get on a train.  It only takes about 15 minutes from Monterosso (the northernmost village) to Riomaggiore (the southernmost village), so you can get from one to the next pretty quickly. 

You can either purchase a one-way ticket, a round-trip ticket, or get a Cinque Terre card for 1-3 days. 

There are two types of Cinque Terre cards you can purchase:

The Cinque Terre cards (valid for 1, 2, and 3 days) give you access to both hiking trails and trains, along with some extra perks, including admission into certain museums and guided tours. If you’re planning to be in Cinque Terre for a full day or a few days, this might be a great option for you.

Click on the two card types below to see the most current details of what's included in each ticket along with prices. 


Where to Stay

Monterosso al Mare is the largest of the Cinque Terre villages and also has the most options in terms of hotels and rental properties. That doesn't mean you have to stay there, though.

I would suggest reading more information about each of the towns and deciding which one fits your group the best. From there, you can look to see what properties are available. 

Hotels vs. Rental Properties

The Cinque Terre has a limited number of hotels, so many locals have turned their apartments into rental properties.

You can use the interactive map below to check out hotels through various booking sites along with rental properties that are listed on VRBO.  

The map shows options for VRBO, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, and Kayak.

Accommodations can be expensive, so I've included some helpful tips to get money or miles back from your bookings.  If you like learning how to save on travel, keep reading.  If not, click the button below to get to the next section.

Get Cash Back or Earn Miles on Accommodations

*If you have the Google Chrome Extensions for Rakuten and/or your airline’s shopping program, you’ll get a pop-up letting you know how much cash back or miles/$ you can earn by booking through various sites.*

Rakuten Rewards

If you didn't know, there are 6 major US-based airlines that have shopping programs where you can earn BONUS frequent flier miles while shopping at your favorite stores.  This is just one of the ways that I earn Delta Skymiles.

  1. Download the Chrome extensions on your Google Chrome browser
  2. Use the map above to find a property that you like
  3. Depending on which site you book through, you’ll receive a pop-up letting you know how much cash back or miles/$ that site is offering (see an example on the image below)
  4. Click the pop-up to activate the offer (you can only activate one - you can’t double dip!  Trust me - I tried.)
  5. Book the property you like
  6. Wait to receive the miles or cash back
Get Cash Back - Rakuten

The following booking sites currently participate in Rakuten's cash back program.  

Get Miles - Airline Frequent Flyer Shopping Programs

The following airlines currently participate in a shopping rewards program where you can earn frequent flyer miles from participating stores.  


You can also use Airbnb to book a property. Both Delta Airlines and British Airways have a partnership that will get you 1 mile/$ and 3 avios per £1/€1/$1 respectively. Be sure to book it directly through their link in order for the miles to be linked to your account. If you don’t, you won’t get them.

Where I've Stayed

I have a very special place in my heart for Monterosso al Mare.  I've stayed there all four times that I've visited the area. In 2012, I fell in love with Monterosso on a quick 2 night visit with my mom (that turned into 4 nights because we loved it so much). I also now have a great Airbnb contact in town, Daniella, who manages some fantastic properties with jaw-dropping views.

Two of her properties are listed below and all four of her properties can be found on Airbnb here.

Are you on the hunt for a fantastic place to stay in the Cinque Terre with free parking, easy access to the train and a prime location? If so, you’ll love this cozy two bedroom apartment in Monterosso just steps away from the beach. It’s the perfect spot to make yourself at home and enjoy everything the Cinque Terre has to offer.

Beachside 2 Bedroom Apartment in Monterosso al Mare

If you’re planning to visit the Cinque Terre and are looking for a relaxing place that will make you feel like you’re right at home? Look no further. With views of all 5 towns from your private outdoor space, this 3 bedroom apartment in Monterosso is the perfect oasis for you.

Stunning 3 Bedroom Apartment in Monterosso al Mare

What to Do in the Cinque Terre Villages

During your trip to Cinque Terre, you can pack your days with hiking, experiences, sitting on a bench people-watching, or enjoying a relaxing day on the beach. No matter what you do, you can’t go wrong!


The Cinque Terre is famous for its hiking trails between each of the villages. I’ve done several of the hikes and some are much more challenging than others. To get more details about the hiking trails, click here.


I love booking experiences when I travel. On my most recent trip to Cinque Terre, I signed up for a pesto class in Riomaggiore. It was only 90 minutes long and I was able to meet new people, connect with and learn from a local, as well as experience creating a traditional Ligurian dish.

Are you looking for a Cinque Terre cooking class to add to your Italy itinerary? If you’re short on time but still want to connect with traditional Ligurian cuisine, I have the perfect experience for you: a Cinque Terre cooking class that is all about making pesto!

A Cinque Terre Cooking Class: The Great Pesto Experience

Do you want to capture beautiful memories on your upcoming visit to Italy? There’s no better way to do this than by hiring a professional photographer. Whether you’re planning to propose, visiting with family, or on a solo trip, I highly recommend that you book a destination photo shoot in Cinque Terre.

Book a Destination Photo Shoot in Cinque Terre

Tours & Experiences in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre has become much more popular over the last 10-15 years, but I still find it to be a magical and beautiful place.  If you don't love crowds, you can visit outside of peak season (April - Oct); just know that many businesses shut down during those times.

If you're headed to Cinque Terre or in the early stages of planning your trip, I hope you fall in love with it like I did.

If you're looking for some help with planning your trip, you can book a call with me and I can help you figure out your plans.



About the Author

Hi! My name is Terry and I'm a former elementary school teacher. After 13 years in the classroom, I decided to take my side hustle of creating educational resources full-time.

Now, I work remotely and have the time and flexibility to do what I've always wanted to do more of: TRAVELING. I've created an online space where I can share my adventures along with tips for anyone who has had the desire to seek adventure, but may have things holding them back. Whether it's financial reasons, or you simply don't have anyone to go with - I'm here to help you get inspired to just go for it and book the trip!

If you're looking for that push/motivation, follow along with me! Make sure you check me out on TikTok and Instagram, too!