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Ultimate Guide to Best Cinque Terre town Italy to stay in

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Best Cinque Terre town to stay in 

The Best Cinque Terre Town in Italy for Your Dream Vacation. We will focus on the best towns to stay in in Cinque Terre Italy, Italy.

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  • Vernazza is the most picturesque and popular town with colorful houses, a castle, a harbor, shops, and restaurants
  • Corniglia is best for avoiding crowds, with vineyards, local charm, and sweeping views
  • Manarola has vineyards, delicious dining, and a postcard-perfect setting
  • Riomaggiore is ideal for sunset views, swimming, hiking, and lively atmosphere
  • Monterosso al Mare has beaches, families, accessibility, and a relaxed vibe

Read on for more details on the highlights, charm, and ideal visitors for each iconic town!

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Best Cinque Terre town to stay in overview : 

  • Vernazza has old-world romance and by far the most amenities as the most touristic town
  • Corniglia feels the most rural and requires climbing nearly 400 steps from its train station
  • Manarola is best for vineyard strolls with delicious local dining options dotting the hills
  • Riomaggiore has budget lodgings and an easygoing vibe perfect for family travel
  • Monterosso al Mare is the only town with a proper beach for swimming and lounging seaside
TownHighlightsWho Should StayDistance from La SpeziaAccommodations
VernazzaHarbor, castle, shops, restaurantsCouples, photographers, families25 minutes Book Now
CornigliaVineyards, local charm, views, budgetAvoiding crowds, hikers35 minutesBook Now
ManarolaVineyards, dining, swimming accessCouples, foodies, photographers17 minutesBook Now
RiomaggioreSunsets, swimming, nightlife, budgetFamilies, friends, budget16 minutesBook Now
Monterosso al MareBeaches, shops, accessibilityFamilies with kids, limited mobility27 minutesBook Now

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Visiting Cinque Terre Villages a Unesco World Heritage site where to stay in Cinque Terre Italy 

Good Things to Know Before Visiting Cinque Terre

Before you embark on your Italian Riviera getaway, here are some key things to know about visiting Cinque Terre:

Location of Cinque Terre Italy

– The five villages stretch across 7 miles of rocky Italian Riviera coastline, northwest of La Spezia in northern Italy’s Liguria region.

How to Get To Cinque Terre: Getting There

There are several transportation options to reach Cinque Terre. Trains from nearby hubs like Genoa, Pisa, and La Spezia run regularly to the Cinque Terre stations. If driving, park in La Spezia or Levanto and take the train as cars aren’t allowed in the towns. Ferries also connect some towns in high season.

how to get around in Cinque Terre Italy

 Once there, walking and trains are your best bets. The trails between towns are fantastic but require good shoes, an appropriate fitness level, and buying a pass. Trains run regularly for 5-15 minutes between towns.

Getting Around by Train in Cinque Terre

The most convenient and scenic way to move between the five villages of Cinque Terre is by train. Here’s what you need to know:

Train Stations – Each village has its small train station right in the center, except Corniglia which requires climbing over 350 steps up from its station to town.

Train ScheduleTrains run about every 30 minutes at peak times, taking only 2-4 minutes to shuttle between each picturesque village. Know the last evening train schedule to avoid getting stranded!

Breathtaking seascape with amazing coastal village on cliff

Tickets – You have two main options for Cinque Terre train tickets:

  • Cinque Terre Trek Card – This pass includes unlimited use of the train between Cinque Terre villages as well as walking access to the trails. Cost is €7.50 per person per day.
  • Trenitalia Regional Train Tickets – You can buy one-way and return tickets from each train station if you won’t be hopping on and off frequently. Cost varies from €2-€5 per ride.

Purchase Options – You can purchase Cinque Terre Trek Card passes and train tickets at self-service kiosks in each station or ask at the ticket booths.

  • Keep cash handy as some self-service kiosks don’t accept cards. You can also book online in advance.

Riding along the stunning coastline between villages aboard the efficient little Cinque Terre trains is part of the quintessential experience. Follow these tips to seamlessly plan your train transportation.

best time to visiting Cinque Terre Italy 

When to Visit Cinque Terre- April/May and September/October are the best times with nice weather and fewer crowds. Summer sees peak tourists, prices, heat, and congestion on trails.

I visited in May both times I was there and the weather was nice and sunny with some rain the second time I visited. 

Best town to stay in Cinque Terre & hotel options 

Lodging options in Cinque Terre include B&Bs, resorts, holiday rentals, and Airbnbs. Book well in advance for peak season!

The best town to stay in depends on, read on below for more details.

best Tours of Cinque Terre

– If you prefer having transportation logistics handled for you, small group Cinque Terre tours can be great options offering guides and hassle-free experiences of the sights.

Vernazza- best village cinque terre has one of the best places stay cique terre 

With its natural harbor, castle-topped cliffs, and winding medieval lanes, Vernazza takes the cake as the most perfect place quintessentially Cinque Terre town.

As the most popular stop, be prepared for throngs of fellow travelers. I stayed here on my first visit and adored the romantic charm while base here to hike the stunning coastal trails.

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Vernazza has the most amenities of Cinque Terre’s five towns, with shops, restaurants, and lodging options dotting the hilly inland streets that weave behind the town square.

The local train station sits seaside just a couple minutes’ walk from cafes ringing the picturesque harbor. From La Spezia Centrale station, it’s about a 25 minute ride with stops in Riomaggiore and Manarola first.

While crowded, Vernazza captures old-world romance and claims the top spot for quintessential Cinque Terre.

Vernazza – The Most Quintessential town in Cinque Terre Town

Varnezza is the best to wn to stay in Cinque Terre. With its colorful clustered houses, medieval castle, quaint harbor, and winding lanes lined with cafés, Vernazza takes the cake as the most quintessentially Cinque Terre town. This is the most popular and photographed of the five towns.

Key Highlights of varnezza cinque terre 

  • Doria Castle – Climb the tower for gorgeous panoramic views
  • Santa Margherita Church – Charming waterside medieval church
  • Caruggi – Wander the narrow winding lanes and passages
  • Harbor – Stroll the breakwater and enjoy the only sandy beach in Cinque Terre
  • Shops and restaurants – Browse souvenirs, enjoy seafood and regional delicacies

Who Should Stay in Varnezza Cinque Terre: best places to stay in cinque terre overall

Vernazza appeals especially to:

  • Couples – With its romance and beauty, it’s perfect for a couples retreat
  • Photographers – The colors and landscapes beg to be photographed
  • Those unfazed by crowds – As the most popular town, it draws tourist throngs
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Where to Stay in Vernazza accommodations:

Some of the top hotels in Vernazza include:

Tips: Get lost wandering the caruggi (narrow alleyways), watch the sunset with a spritz in the main square, feast on anchovies and seafood by the harbor, and don’t miss Santa Margherita Church, the iconic seaside medieval chapel.

With its postcard-worthy scenery, history, harbor, and amenities, Vernazza takes the top spot for the best town to experience Cinque Terre.

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Corniglia: best village in Cinque Terre for hikers and a peaceful experience

Perched on a bluff 100 meters above sea level, reached by 377 steps from its hillside train station, Corniglia offers refuge to those looking to avoid the tourist hordes. Most tours skip this less accessible fifth Cinque Terre town, making its cafes and shops favored by locals.

The rural inland feel here contrasts with its coastal counterparts. The terraces encircling Corniglia are dotted with vineyards rather than lemons and olives but still yield coveted Cinque Terre wine.

Corniglia From La Spezia station it’s about a 35-minute train ride to Corniglia station, with stops in all the coastal towns first given its more inland location. The extra journey is worth it for travelers prioritizing peace and quiet in the popular Italian Riviera destination.

Corniglia – The Best place to stay in Cinque Terreor Avoiding Crowds

Perched on a cliff 100 meters above the sea, reached by 377 steps, the isolated hilltop location of Corniglia keeps it blissfully crowd-free. This makes it the best Cinque Terre town for a peaceful, local vibe.

Key Highlights Best Cinque Terre towns 

  • Incredible views – Vineyard vistas and sea panoramas from the cliffs
  • Ancient churches – Like the Gothic San Pietro Church from 1300
  • Local charm – Quiet cafes, shops, and eateries give an insider feel
  • Hiking access – Great base for Cinque Terre trails
  • Affordability – More budget-friendly than the other towns
Breathtaking seascape with amazing coastal village on cliff

Who Should Stay Here? where to stay in Cinque Terre on a budget 

Corniglia appeals most to those who:

  • Want an escape from crowds
  • Are avid hikers
  • Seek authentic local immersion
  • Are on a budget

Where to Stay in Corniglia accommodations:

  • Check into Cá Pá Cinghiale B&B located right off the main square, with bright, modern rooms for just €80 per night.
  • Agriturismo Il Carugio overlooks the sea on the outskirts of town, with charming country-style rooms starting at €100.

Tips: Have a coffee overlooking the vineyards at Caffè Matteo, sample wines at Cantina Del Cinque, watch the sunset from the Santa Maria Belvedere, and take the train one stop to hike the stunning Vernazza to Corniglia trail.

With its hilltop remoteness, vineyards, and village charm, Corniglia takes the title for the best Cinque Terre town to avoid tourist crowds.

Manarola – best town to stay in Cinque Terre for photographers

On my second visit to Cinque Terre, I stayed in lovely Manarola. It instantly enchanted me with its steep vine-laden slopes and craggy coastline dotted with a rainbow of houses. Local restaurants overlooking the vineyards and sea serve delightful Ligurian cuisine.

The hiking trails around Manarola are more limited since the famous Lover’s Lane path crumbles into the sea. But walking the vineyards above town rewards with splendid views.

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Manarola makes accessing the rest of Cinque Terre easy given its central location. Its small but centrally located train station sits just minutes from shops and restaurants that cascade down the ravine.

From La Spezia it’s under a 20-minute ride.

Manarola the Most Picturesque Cinque Terra town with Vineyards and Dining

Manarola charms visitors with its pastel houses flanking steep vineyards, dotted with the dark leaves of wine grapes. Local eateries with views over the terraces serve up Ligurian specialties.

Key Highlights

  • Vineyard trails – Walk through the vineyards surrounding the town
  • Postcard views – Gorgeous outlooks over the town and sea
  • Notable dining – Eateries like Trattoria dal Billy and Nessun Dorma Bar
  • Water access – Swim or sunbathe by the marina

Who Should Stay in Manarola?

Manarola is a delight for:

  • Photographers
  • Foodies
  • Wine lovers
  • Active travelers
  • Couples and friends

Where to Stay in Manarola Accommodations:

One of the most photographed Cinque Terre towns, Manarola enchants with its craggy coastline blanketed in vineyards. Stay central to enjoy its charm to the fullest.

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Tips: Snap the classic shot from the Via Dell’Amore viewpoint, feast on fresh seafood at Trattoria Dal Billy, watch the sunset with a negroni at Nessun Dorma Bar, and walk the Vineyard Trail above town for sublime panoramas of the sea and slopes.

With its splendid vineyard landscape and dining, Manarola claims the title of the best town in Cinque Terre for scenery and gastronomy.

Riomaggiore Cinque Terre best town to stay for water for water activities

The easternmost Cinque Terre town, Riomaggiore greets visitors with its colorful stacked houses overlooking a tiny harbor. An easygoing, convivial vibe makes it a great choice for family travelers and friend groups.

As one of the larger Cinque Terre towns, Riomaggiore has lots of budget lodging options. Takeout seafood shops cater to backpackers while still retaining quintessential Italian Riviera charm.

The main street Via Colombo runs downhill through the middle of town just a few blocks inland from Riomaggiore’s petite pebbly beach. The train station is just at the top of this main thoroughfare, with regular ~15-minute rides from La Spezia Centrale.

Riomaggiore’s laidback ambiance, budget stays and accessibility checks all the boxes for an affordable, quintessential Cinque Terre base.

Riomaggiore – Best towns in Cinque Terre for Lively Atmosphere and Sunset Views

As the easternmost Cinque Terre town, Riomaggiore dazzles visitors with its colorful stacked houses overlooking a charming harbor with sunset views. Lively cafes and takeaway seafood shops add to the ambiance.

Key Highlights

  • Epic sunsets over the sea
  • Castello di Riomaggiore for panoramas
  • Cafes, shops, fried seafood spots
  • Beach near the marina
  • Access point for hiking trails

Who Should Stay Here?

Riomaggiore is perfect for:

  • Sunset lovers
  • Night owls
  • Budget travelers
  • Hikers
  • Beachgoers
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Where to Stay in Riomaggiore accommodations:

  • Il BoMa is a comfortable boutique B&B perched on the cliffs above town with sublime sea views, offering rooms from €120.
  • La Luna Sul Mare has chic, nautical-themed rooms starting at €90 per night.

Tips: Take the little ferry boat tour along the coastline, watch the sunset from the rocks of the natural pool south of the harbor, grab fried seafood cones from Tutti Fritti, wander the narrow carrugi, and hike the famous Rio Finale trail with views across the craggy cliffs.

With epic sunsets, buzzing energy, amenities, and access to trails, Riomaggiore takes first place as the best town in Cinque Terre for soaking up the atmosphere.

Monterosso Al Mare best villages in cinque terre for beach lovers and shopping

The northernmost Cinque Terre town, Monterosso Al Mare claims the best beaches in the area, making it ideal for families. bakeries and restaurants dot the new town while quaint stone towers line the old town’s hilly, pedestrian-only lanes.

Plentiful shops and eateries provide more modern conveniences than in Cinque Terre’s other villages. Between the new and old towns, beautiful swept beaches offer both public access areas and private beach clubs for lounging seaside in the Mediterranean sun.

Its coastal location means the local train station sits just steps from the beach, with regular rides to La Spezia Centrale station taking around 25 minutes including all the towns in between.

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Monterosso Al Mare best Cinque Terre town for families that have Beaches

As the only Cinque Terre town boasting beaches, Monterosso al Mare is the best pick for families. Its flat seaside locale also makes it the most wheelchair accessible.

Key Highlights

  • Sweeping beaches – Both free and paid options like Fegina Beach
  • New town conveniences – Shops, restaurants, gelato
  • Scenic old town – Charming stone towers and alleys
  • Family-friendly vibe – Most accommodating town for those with kids

Who Should Stay Here?

Monterosso al Mare is ideal for:

  • Families, especially those with small children
  • Anyone with limited mobility
  • Beachgoers
  • Those seeking modern conveniences

Where to Stay in Monterosso Al Mare accommodations:

The largest Cinque Terre town, Monterosso al Mare boasts beautiful sweeping beaches and a relaxed vibe. Its seaside locale also makes it the most wheelchair accessible.

Monterosso has lots of lodging options as the most developed town. For charming digs

Tips: Rent a lounge chair at La Spiaggia Fegina beach club, grab artisanal gelato from Gelateria Artigianale, explore the Ruin of Aurora Tower and carrugi of old town, hike the verdant Monterosso Valley trail to glimpse village life, and feast on fresh seafood along the new town harborfront promenade.

best beaches in cinque terre italy The beach and the blue water are surrounded by trees Monterosso

With its beaches, amenities, and accessibility, Monterosso al Mare is the clear choice for the best town in Cinque Terre if you’re vacationing with family or craving some beach time.

So whether you’re looking for beaches and accessibility, wine country charm, or old-world romance, you will find your ideal home base among Cinque Terre’s five cities by the sea.

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