Without further ado here is our Cinque Terre guide! Hope you find it useful & don’t forget to check the rest of posts to see tons of pictures of this gorgeous lands:
If you are planning a visit and have any question, do not hesitate to ask, we love travel talking, let me assure you!
How to get there
- Fly to Milan or Pisa. We chose Pisa airport, from there you can take the Pisa Mover, the bus shuttle, to Pisa Central Station.
- You can buy the train tickets + Pisa mover from the same airport.
- Take a train from Pisa Central Station to Monterosso. You can either travel to La Spezia with a local train & then take another local train to your town of choice (Monterosso is the most convenient!), or – the best option – take an Intercity train directly from Pisa Central Station to Monterosso. The Intercity train is quite a cutie and you will enjoy sea views! Check the train schedule at the Trenitalia website.
- Make sure to validate your train ticket on the platform, since the tickets are valid for all day you could incur in a fee otherwise.
- Pisa airport is quite small, but there are a couple of shops & eating options there, the train station is much smaller and you can only eat at a McDonald’s or a take-away fast-food pizza place.
Where to stay
- There are accommodation options on all towns, but we surely would recommend Monterosso for its variety and transportation convenience. Plus the town has more eating options and great uncrowded large beaches and it is equally gorgeous.
- The towns are a little on the expensive side accommodation-wise and you may be tempted to stay at La Spezia, our recommendation is don’t miss the charming sunsets & atmosphere once the day-trippers are gone, it is unforgettable.
- We stayed at the B&B Le Giare, which we can’t praise enough. Surely it is uphill but the place, the lovely & closeness of the service and the yummy breakfast makes up for it. Oh! The Tripadvisor pictures don’t do the place justice enough, it is very beautiful, cozy and comfy. There are also other options on the old town that you may wish to consider and a fancy hotel next to the Vernazza trail with a swimming pool with views.
What to visit in 3 days
- Good news: you will be able to visit and thoroughly enjoy the 5 towns in 3 days :)
- You can spend half a day in every town and you will pretty much get a good grip of them, but also decide which is your thing: the beach, the hikes, the views, the food, the old town charm or maybe sailing and experience them in a different way.
- At least do one of the hikes & walk from Monterosso to Vernazza. It’s not a bed of roses I won’t lie, specially with warm weather, but perfectly doable for non-trained people (like us) and you will not only have views but have an unforgettable experience. Bring water and take a rest, there is no hurry, enjoy each step! You don’t need super hiking clothes, my Van’s worked perfectly fine for the trail.
- You can pay the Cinque Terre trails admission fee at the checking point or at the Information office. You can choose between buying the hiking-only ticket, around 7€ or a multi-ticket that includes all train rides for the day. Don’t choose the multi-ticket unless you are taking more than 2 trains that same day. Only the Azzurro trails have a fee, but there are plenty others to explore. Check the Cinque Terre website for the latest updates on the state of the trails (tip: there is more info for each trail in Italian than in the English version of the website, use google translate).
- Consider taking a ferry at the sunset, avoid peek hours.
- We loved Monterosso and Manarola beaches, they are completely different but equally beautiful.
- Be prepared to climb the steps to Corniglia or maybe better, take the bus to the town.
- Don’t miss the hike to Monterosso’s monastery & cemetery, you just need to have those views I know you do ;)
Eating & shopping
- Our favorite restaurant was in Monterosso “Da Eraldo”, the quality is incredible & the price is equally good. We ate a pesto lasagna (a must) & a tuna carpaccio. The antipasto and the misto tables looked great.
- The Gambero Rosso is a nice choice at Vernazza.
- Ristorantes don’t serve pizza, pizzerias serve pizza. In some restaurants they may feel a little uneasy if you insist on asking if they have pizza – we witnessed it with a group of people next to our table, one of them had his mind set on a pizza for dinner.
- We had a fun time at pizzeria La Smorfia. Lots of local people where there and it was super cheap. Pizzas in Italy are just perfect and cheap. The most ordered pizza was “patatine” a regular margarita with french fries.
- The most famous restaurant at Monterosso is Miky, there’s always a line in front of it, but be prepared for slightly higher prices than the rest of restaurants, we finally visited Cantina di Miky from the same family.
- Take every opportunity to drink a granite di limone (lemon slushie) or an spremuta di limone (lemon juice). Our favorite slushie was at Corniglia but we also loved the one in Vernazza (can’t remember the name but it has a small balcony).
- Drink Limoncino at an Enoteca and maybe bring to the mix a bruschetta, which is a slice of toasted bread with diced tomato, basil and olive oil, it’s a perfect snack.
- Our favorite souvenirs are food, here you can buy typical Ligure pesto sauce, sardines in a jar and trofie, a typical Ligure pasta that looks like little twisted bits and of course Limoncino (lemon liquor). We bought everything at Monterosso that has some lovely gourmet food shops. There is also a beautiful ceramic place, an art shop with surprisingly modern illustrations (we bought one in postcard size) and Brothers a t-shirt place where Dani got his Monterosso souvenir, a t-shirt with a bearded sailor on it. You will certainly find everything easily as they are all in the same street.
We still have one surprise left for all Cinque Terre lovers, be prepared to see the pictures moving!