Cinque Terre picture
ThierryHennet/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Hiking, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
More than Full Day Time to Spend
4.3

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Cinque Terre is a group of cinque (five) villages — Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Corniglia — strung along cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea. Since it became both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park in the past couple of decades, the area has been saved from the commercialism that pervades most European cities today.

Visitors like to hike Cinque Terre's leafy crags; Via dell'Amour is a popular (and well-paved!) walk that connects Manarola with Riomaggiore. The trail with the best ocean views is from Vernazza to Monterosso. Unfortunately, this hike is also the most challenging and isn't for the faint of heart, as the trail (or lack thereof) is unpaved and involves lots of climbing under and over various terrain. To avoid the crowds and the heat, recent travelers recommend hiking in the morning. And if you're not up for hiking from town to town, you can always catch the train that runs along the coast and stops at each town. 

Cinque Terre also has gorgeous beaches where you can catch some rays, just be sure to bring shoes as they are rock beaches sans sand. Or opt for a hired boat tour that will take you around all five islands. You can also rent kayaks, paddleboards and paddle boats along the beaches. And the tiny villages provide tourists with quaint lodging and delicious Italian dining. Be sure to try the focaccia pesto — it's a Ligurian staple. But keep in mind that during the low tourism season (November to March), many of these accommodations and eateries close. For more information, check out Cinque Terre travel guide.

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More Best Things To Do in Tuscany, Italy

Florence1 of 9
Siena2 of 9
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Florence

Firenze, Tuscany's capital city, is known for its Renaissance art and architecture. You can climb to the top of the Duomo, gaze at Botticellis at the Uffizi Gallery, tour the Galleria dell'Accademia and stroll through the Boboli Gardens for a taste of the 13th through 16th centuries.

But this city isn't just for art and architecture connoisseurs: There are quaint shops, delicious restaurants and decadent hotels. And with its red roofs, cobble stone streets and narrow alleys, it's also a very picturesque place to spend a few days. Be sure to hike to the top of the Piazza Michaelangelo, located across the Ponte Vecchio, for incredible city views and live music. Bring a bottle wine and watch the sunset — you won't want to miss it. For more information on this city, visit our Florence travel guide

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