Cinque Terre Travel Guide

One of my favorite places in the world lies about 3.5 hours south of Milan on the Ligurian coast. Cinque Terre in English translates to “five lands”. This part of Italy contains some of the most breathtaking coastlines and is an adventurer’s paradise! 

Cinque Terre Travel Guide

The Five Lands

Cinque Terre is a stretch of coastline and its five lands are five little fishing villages that each have their own unique personalities. These towns are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. There is a local train that runs very frequently throughout Cinque Terre so that you can easily visit each village. There is also a hiking trail that takes you between the towns. There was a mudslide a few years ago that severely damaged certain portions of the trail, but it looks like most of the trails are open and operating again!

Cinque Terre is known for pesto, white wine, anchovies, and lemons. Be sure to try everything, and order Trofie al Pesto whenever you can.

Cinque Terre - Vernazza

Getting To Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is easiest to get to if you’re in or near Milan and Florence. It’s also very accessible from Genoa, Pisa, and Parma, if you plan to be in any of those spots. Cinque Terre is about a 3.5 hour train ride from Milan and about a 3 hour train ride from Florence. You can also visit Cinque Terre by car from anywhere in Italy. 

Travel within Cinque Terre

Once you’re in Cinque Terre, you’ll want to spend some time in all five villages. Whether you’re planning to hike, take the trains or a combination of both, you will need to purchase a Cinque Terre travel card. You can purchase this outside of any of the train stations (very close to each town center) and it gives you unlimited access to the trails and trains for the entire day. Be sure to get this before starting any hikes to avoid any fines! 

Hiking Trail in Cinque Terre
Hiking Trail in Cinque Terre
Traveling by Train in Cinque Terre
Me! Traveling by Train in Cinque Terre 

Monterosso al Mare is typically the first stop when arriving in Cinque Terre. This is the northernmost town of the five villages and is the biggest town. If you’ve seen the photos of the long, curved beach with the green and orange umbrellas, that’s Monterosso al Mare! Some of our new Bum Bag colors were inspired by the colors of this town.

Monterosso al Mare Beach
Monterosso al Mare Beach

If you’re looking for a quick bite after arriving in Cinque Terre, stop at Ristorante Ciglioni. They have great salads that you can enjoy while overlooking the iconic beach.

Monterosso al Mare has the best beach of all of the five villages. The other villages have jagged, rocky coastlines for the most part, so if you’re hoping to have a beach day you should plan to spend some time here.

Lunch in Monterosso al Mare
Ristorante Ciglioni


From Monterosso al Mare, you can either train or hike to Vernazza which is the next town as you head south. Vernazza is one of the most recognizable towns in Cinque Terre. 


The hike from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza is absolutely breathtaking. As you wind through the trail, you’ll be next to lemon trees and wineries. Breathe in the aromas of fresh fruit and white wine while overlooking some of the most beautiful coastlines that Italy has to offer.

Vernazza hiking Trail
Hiking Trail

As you approach the town, you’ll see the bright buildings lining the iconic port and the Doria castle towering over the village. You will enter the town through the back side underneath the train station. Head towards the water and make your way down the main street in the village. As with all of the villages, there are countless shops to explore with kitchenware, jewelry, clothing, and local food. Grab a gelato and walk along the shoreline while the water laps onto the rocks. 


I highly recommend popping your head into the Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church when in Vernazza. This church is right along the water in the main square of the port and dates back to before the 1300s. 

Pro tip! There’s a little street off of the main street called Via Mazzini that takes you through a little cove that opens up to Vernazza beach . If you don’t know about it you might miss it! I’ve spent so many afternoons here reading and people watching. It’s paradise. 

Ristorante La Torre

This restaurant in Vernazza deserves its own section! Ristorante La Torre has some of my favorite views in all of Italy. You actually have to begin the hike from Vernazza to Corniglia to get to this restaurant. It’s not in the town and can be easily missed. 

Ristorante La Torre
Ristorante La Torre in the Cliffside

Everything on the menu is delicious and local. Order the local white wine and some pasta and soak up the views, smells, and sounds. Everyone that works at this restaurant is so friendly and fun! I always make a new friend at La Torre. 


After lunch at La Torre, continue your hike to the next town, Corniglia! Corniglia is the only village of the five without direct access to the water. It’s perched high on a cliff overlooking the sea. The views here are unmatched. A lot of travelers think that the hike from Vernazza to Corniglia is the most beautiful of them all, and I have to agree. 

About halfway from Vernazza to Corniglia, you’ll run into Bar il Gabbanio. This lemonade stand is the perfect place to grab a refreshing local lemonade or orange juice and soak up the views. There is a window directly in the back of the bar that has one of the best views of Corniglia. 

Bar il Gabbanio

Corniglia is a unique town and doesn’t resemble the other four villages as much. There are old churches and town squares with unbelievable views. Enjoy the shopping here and spend time at one of the many cliffside restaurants before heading to Manarola. 

Views from Corniglia
Views from Corniglia


When I last visited Cinque Terre, the trail from Corniglia to Manarola was closed due to a mudslide, but it looks like it’s open now! Check for trail updates on this website before your visit. 

Manarola, Italy
From my Trip to Manarola During the Beginning Stages of Vogelle. 

Manarola is the most photographed and most recognizable of the five villages. I absolutely love Manarola. A few years ago, I stayed in Manarola and enjoyed many early mornings and late evenings in this town. I would wake up early and grab coffee at Da Aristide and watch the sun come up over the sea. 

Some of the best restaurants in Manarola include La Scogliera , Trattoria dal Billy , and Il Porticciolo . I highly recommend making a reservation if you plan on visiting Trattoria dal Billy. The other two restaurants usually can accommodate walk-ins. 

The other restaurant that you will probably recognize from Instagram is Nessun Dorma . The views here are unbelievable, but it’s very hard to get a table here during the busy season. It’s one of those places that you visit for the experience, but you only really need to do it once. You can get this view from the walking path below the restaurant if you can’t get a spot!

Nessun Dorma


Last but not least, Riomaggiore! This is the southernmost village of the five, and it is also the smallest. I have stayed in this town as well and absolutely loved it. It’s very quaint here and has a little bit of a different feel than the other towns. They have some lovely bars, restaurants, and shops here and I love popping my head into the local grocer, Dellara Franca, to see what local snacks they have in stock. 


The restaurants in Riomaggiore don’t have the same panoramic views because of how narrow the town is, but the views from the port are stunning. Dau Cila in Riomaggiore has one of the best views of the water and has some amazing pasta dishes. Try this restaurant for lunch or dinner if you’re in this village. 

Dau Cila

Visit Cinque Terre

If you’re headed to Italy this summer, add Cinque Terre to your itinerary! This region is best during the shoulder months from March-May and September-October, but it’s an amazing place to visit even during the peak summer months.

Bring your Vogelle bag to carry all of your necessities and be hands-free. Our new Bum Bag collection is inspired by the colors of this stunning landscape. 

Our Bum Bags make great hiking bags...! :)

Until next time. 

- Laura

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