Cinque Terres was for a long time in our plans, but we confess that it was our second choice when in our initial route, we couldn’t pass there.
I insisted soo bad with Filipe, that he gave up, and now, we bring you our tour and what you need to know about Cinque Terre.
We visited it in one day, so we were running all the time.
We came from Pisa to Cinque Terre. We knew that there were not many cars in the village so we took the train. The journey lasts one hour and fifteen minutes to La Spezia. From there, until the last stop, Monterroso is 29 minutes with some stops (it’s only 15 minutes with no stops).
The ticket from Pisa to La Spezia costs 7,80€ per person (for free to Gui), and you can buy a “Cinque Terre Card Train” from La Spezia to Cinque Terre for 10€. The card is hop-on-hop-off, so you can go in and out between villages as much as you like. With the same card, you can also take the bus from the train station to the center of Corniglia. If you want to stay hosted in Cinque Terre, the card costs 5€ and works similarly, but without the La Spezia or Levanto route. You can buy this card online or directly inside the train station.
So, in the end, what is Cinque Terre?
Naively we thought that was just a small, colorful village, but, and as the name says, it’s not one, it’s five, and starting from La Spezia, they appear in this order: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterroso.
We went straight to Monterroso to avoid confusion because people tend to start in the first village and finish in Monterroso but, if you want to finish at the beach, we recommend starting in Riomaggiore onwards.
Riomaggiore: an authentic fishing village with small boats at the seashore. It was out last stop and, because we were tired, we only enjoyed the beach and a part of the village.
The beach as a lot of rocks, like, really big rocks! The seawater is crystal clear and delicious, but t is quite a challenge getting out because, big rocks and waves, it’s not a good combination.
Manarola: We ate lunch here, and the village is, probably, the most recognized from the photos. It has everything. Landscapes, places where you can dive, cliffs to jump off. We rather play it safe, so we stayed with the ice cream, fish, seafood, and prosecco. Manarola is the typical picture of Cinque Terre that you see everywhere, and the one that you think it’s the five villages together. It is beautiful and the sunset is worth it.
Corniglia: Located on top of the hill, and we super recommend the walk, Corniglia-Manarola-Riomaggiore, through the Via dell’ Amore. We didn’t do it because we had a lot of things to carry (trolley, backpacks, cameras, and so on), but we were in a part of Via dell’ Amore and, it is beautiful. So well, Corniglia stays on top of the hill, and you can take a bus right outside of the train station. You won’t find a beach here, and, of the five villages, Manarola is the less photographed.
Vernazza: Filipe said it would be his favorite one and let me tell you, it is charming. It was hard for us to climb all the stairs to see all the carved houses right on the seaside, but after, it was worth every step. The village is small, but it is so nice to go up and down the small streets which are full of handcraft and lemon soap stores. Vernazza has a black sand beach.
Monterroso: Was the first one, and when we got to the end of the day, we were so sad that we didn’t spend more time there. The beach as small rocks, not big ones compared with Riomaggiore. Quiet, with few people, that was how we found it, but we knew that close to midday it would be full of people like the other villages. Take a walk on the seawall, don’t miss it.
An alternative is to do Cinque Terre by boat. You can watch dolphins and it is only Corniglia that’s not part of the tour. On the next trip, with more time, we want to spend the night and do that boat tour.
Cinque Terre is a wonderful place that you shouldn’t miss. You are going to feel you needed more time to see and appreciate all of it.