Villages in the Cinque Terre



Cinque Terre, Italy

The Cinque Terre (Five Lands) is a National Park that encompasses about 10 miles of the rocky coastline of northern Italy.  Within the park are five cliff hugging villages tucked away in small inlets.  These five villages, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore have stood still in time for hundreds of years.  Until the second part of last century they were not accessible by car or train, but only by boat or foot paths.  As a result the residents adapted to their natural surroundings.  Buildings start at the sea and climb the cliffs towards the sky, and terraced hills have been cultivated with vineyards and olive groves.  Today the Cinque Terre is a popular alternative to the big towns that dot the Italian and French Riviera.


National Park

The Cinque Terre is a national park, and there is an entry fee to help preserve the very fragile environment.  You must purchase a Cinque Terre card upon arrival, they are available for one, three or seven day visits.  It pays for upkeep on the terraced hillside, paths and rail lines.  With this card you get a map and are allowed unlimited use of rail lines between La Spezia and Levanto, as well as use of all hiking paths and small public buses operating in some towns.  You can purchase the card at the Tourist Offices or the train stations, and you may be asked to show your card or purchase one as you exit a train.  There are check points on the hiking trails where you are required to show your card, so buy's for a good cause. 


Cinque Terre Activities

Visiting the Cinque Terre is more about enjoying the unique environment and less about seeing a specific sight.  Each village has its own character even though they are only a few minutes apart by train.  Spend your time hiking, boating or taking the train from one village to the next.  The centuries old footpaths wind their way from sea level to nearly 1,000 feet above the sea leading through olive groves, vineyards and orchards.


As you discover each town, take time to walk its narrow streets and explore its shops.  When you've had enough walking, relax at the beach or one of the quaint harbors and enjoy a glass of the local wine (see food and wine below).


  Hiking the Cinque Terre

Five main foot paths link each of the towns of the Cinque Terre.  They vary in length and degree of physical effort, and are often uneven and include lots of stairs.  We've listed the approximate time required and level of difficulty for each.  Don't forget, you need to have a Cinque Terre Card to use the paths, and be prepared: wear comfortable walking / hiking shoes, bring water, and do not litter.


Riomaggiore to Manarola- 25 minutes - easy walk

Manarola to Corniglia- 1 hour and 10 minutes- easy to moderate 

Corniglia to Vernazza- 1 hour and 45 minutes - Strenuous hike

Vernazza to Monterosso- 2 hours and 15 minutes - Strenuous hike


  Food and Wine of the Cinque Terre

Vineyards and olive groves are everywhere on the hills, so wine and olive oil are a staple in the Cinque Terre.  Fish, particularly anchovies are also extremely popular here.  Here is a list of what you can expect:

  • White dry wine simply called Cinque Terre

  • Sciacchetrà, (pronounced "shock uh trey") is a strong sweet wine made from dried grapes.

  • Pesto sauce made with local olive oil

  • Salted anchovies in Monterosso olive oil

  • A large variety of fish specialties

  • Limoncino, a liqueur made from lemons 

Travels with Friends: Learn more about other European destinations and tips for traveling within Europe.

Private Guides: See Europe and learn about its history with your own private guide. 


  Top of Page

Our Free Newsletter

Europe travel news sent to you 15 times a year.  

Join Today

Best of Europe!

Top sights, hotel reviews, travel tips and more.

Best of Europe

Private Shore Trips

Private Tours in France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

Private Shore Trips

Small Group Vacations

Join one of our small group Europe tours. 

Small Group Tours

Other Europe Tours

Tours and day trips to help you explore Europe.

Europe Tours

Your Private Guide

Hire a professional from Private Guides in Europe.

Private Guides in Europe

Custom Trip Planning

Let us help personalize your European itinerary.

Travel Planning

Our Philosophy

Our thoughts on how to best travel in Europe.

Our Philosophy

Home and Contact

For more information or to send us an email.

Home Page     Contact

Car Rentals, Flights, Hotels, Rail Passes