Cinque Terre Travel Guide

Italy  #4 in Best Places to Visit in Italy
Credit

Courtesy of d!g!tALE by Alessandro Ciabini/Getty Images

Cinque Terre Area Map

Neighborhoods

Cinque Terre is made up of five different towns, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza – each with their own personalities and own allures to travelers.

Nestled between two cliffs, Riomaggiore is a prime place for snorkeling and scuba diving. Try out 5Terre Diving for equipment and guides. The Church of San Giovanni Battista and the Castello of Riomaggiore might be worth a visit, too, if only for the views of the village and sea.

Wine aficionados will want to pass through this town, since it's famous for winemaking – especially a sweet wine called sciacchetra, and indeed, vineyards define the landscape of this Cinque Terre town. Within the town, you might want to squeeze in time to tour the 14th- century Church of San Lorenzo or the old Campanile Bianco watchtower.

The most remote of all of Cinque Terre's towns, Corniglia is bookended by beaches. You can reach it through a set of steps that leads from the train station and the secluded spot will be worth all your exertion. While here, check out its beach – Spiaggione– and its 18th-century main square called "Largo Taragio," upon which the Oratory of Santa Caterina overlooks.

Monterosso al Mare has the most hotels, restaurants and shops when compared with the other towns that make up Cinque Terre, so many travelers choose to base their trips here. It also claims a handful of gorgeous beaches. Travelers will find that Monterosso, both the oldest and largest of all of the towns in Cinque Terre, is segmented into two parts – an old town and a new town. The latter contains the train station and some of the newer resorts. While here, travelers should check out the Church of San Francesco, which offers stunning views of the coastline.

Vernazza is often credited as the most picture-perfect of all of Cinque Terre's towns, and it's the only one with a natural harbor. Restaurants and cafes line its narrow cobblestone streets, and many of them offer awe-inspiring sea views. Plus, there's a vibrant market on Tuesdays. During peak season, recent travelers say this little town is packed with tourists; they suggest visiting in the morning to avoid the thickest crowds. The Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia is worth a visit here, as are the ruins of the old fortress.

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