Are you considering a quick getaway to Cinque Terre, Italy? Or even a longer vacation? Check out this photo and city guide for insider tips to plan a unforgettable trip.
Cinque Terre is situated in the North of Italy at the Ligurian coast near La Spezia. Cinque Terre consists of 5 villages located the Cinque terre National Park. These enchanting towns are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are therefore one of the top rated tourist attractions in Italy.
To avoid mass tourism we decided to discover this gorgeous destination in February during the low season. We chose La Spezia as a base and stayed in the typical Italian setting of Hotel Firenze Continentale.
How to get there?
We flew from Belgium to Pisa, the closest airport to Cinque Terre. From there you can rent a car or go by train to Cinque Terre. But since you’re in Pisa, I would advise you to go check out the famous Leaning Tower and stay in Pisa for one day. It’s a great city to add to your Cinque Terre trip.
Cinque Terre is difficult to reach by car along the steep coast. From La Spezia you can best reach the villages of Cinque Terre by train.
In Cinque Terre national park there is a hiking trail that connects the five villages. From there you have the most magnificent views over the sea and the hills.
I advice you to buy a treno card in the train station of La Spezia. With this card you can travel unlimited from La Spezia to Levanto. You can buy the card for one – or several days. It also offers many advantages, such as access to hiking trails in the Cinque Terre National Park. Because for some trails you need to pay a fee. You can also get discounts when visiting certain monuments. So be sure to check out the all the benefits. You can find this on the back of the card or in this link.
1 – Monterosso al Mare
We visited the 5 towns starting at the farthest point Monterosso al Mare.
There you have a beautiful beach where you can enjoy hot summer days.
The city itself is super cozy with little streets and alleys, coloured houses in authentic Italian style which you can find in all five villages.
2 – Vernazza
We took the train back to Vernazza in my opinion one of the most beautiful villages together with Manarola. In Vernazza you have a little harbor with the cutest boats and on top of the nearest hills you can witness the most amazing views.
3 – Corniglia
Afterwards we visited Corniglia, which is more like a medieval pilgrimage town. We decided to hike the mountain path to the next village Manarola. Of course we were not prepared for this and I regreted myself several times for not bringing my active wear on this trip.
The route lasted about 2 hours and was very varied with beautiful views over the valley, coast line and Manarola. Afterwards I was very happy and satisfied that we decided to do this, even without active wear.
4 – Manarola
In Manarola you definitely have to take a picture at the most popular, photographed spot. You might have to wait a bit to have the frame all to yourself. But if you are patient, I’ll promise you that you will have the most gorgeous backdrop of the colored houses of Manarola.
A famous spot amongst many instagrammers is Nessun Dorma. Here you can have an aperitivo or dine on the terrace with the most beautiful view overlooking Manarola. Unfortunately this restaurant was closed when we were there.
For the most delicious Italian fish specialties you defenitely have to go to Trattoria La Scogliera. Here you can eat very tasty, local fish dishes at an affordable price in a typical Italian setting.
5 – Riomaggiore
The next day we visited the last village Riomaggiore. Also a typical Cinque Terre village with colored houses, narrow streets and alleys, a little harbor,… It is slightly larger than the other villages and you can wander around for hours and get surprised over and over again by gorgeous views overlooking the village and the ocean.
One disadvantage of visiting Cinque Terre in February is that many facilities are still closed or are being renovated. The season starts in April. On the other hand you can explore the towns without having to share these with too many other tourists. Naturally the weather in February may not be perfect for a beach vacation, but ideal to admire the beautiful views while hiking the trails from village to village.
If you loved Cinque Terre, then you should definitely visit the Amalfi coast.
Be Sure to check out the compilation video about our trip to Cinque Terre and our stay in hotel Firenze Continentale in La Spezia.
Is Cinque Terre on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below.
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