Best Things to Do in Cinque Terre: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Saad Backup
Best Things to Do in Cinque Terre
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Are you planning to explore Cinque Terre soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Cinque Terre. These sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

There are plenty of things to do in Cinque Terre! This captivating expanse along the Italian Riviera presents a picturesque arrangement of five charming fishing villages, with each one surpassing the previous in enchantment. Imagine pastel-colored houses embracing rugged cliffs, azure waters caressing golden beaches, and vineyards. This offers a delightful sample of Italy’s finest wines. It’s a destination where the sensation of time halting is inherent, and the contemporary world appears to be a distant realm.

But Cinque Terre is more than just a postcard-perfect destination. It’s a testament to Italy’s rich history and resilient spirit. These villages, with their narrow lanes and terraced gardens, have withstood the test of time. This offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era. And while the region has become a hotspot for travelers, it retains its authentic charm, beckoning adventurers with its hiking trails, local delicacies, and panoramic views.

So, if you’re contemplating where to find the soul of Italy, look no further. Cinque Terre, with its blend of natural beauty and cultural treasures, is a journey waiting to be embarked upon. Ready to dive into this coastal wonderland? Let’s explore the best things to do in Cinque Terre and uncover its hidden gems. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Cinque Terre.

The best things to do in Cinque Terre right now
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Best Places to Visit in Cinque Terre

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Cinque Terre? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this enchanting vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Cinque Terre places to visit.

Are you looking to explore charming villages, hike scenic trails, and savor local cuisines? Or would you prefer indulging in beachside relaxation? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Cinque Terre can accommodate your needs. Here are all the best attractions in Cinque Terre that you should know about.

1. The Cinque Terre Trails

Envision the charm of winding paths that meander through lush terraces, providing sweeping vistas of the glistening Mediterranean beneath. This encapsulates the enchantment of the Cinque Terre Trails. One of the coolest things to do in Cinque Terre, hiking these trails is an experience that will leave you breathless, both from the exertion and the sheer beauty of the surroundings.

Starting from Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five villages, the trail takes you through terraced vineyards, olive groves, and wildflower meadows. As you ascend, the views become even more spectacular, with the azure sea stretching out as far as the eye can see. Each turn reveals a new vista, a fresh perspective on this stunning region.

The trails connect all villages, and while some sections are more challenging, there’s a path for every level of hiker. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming hamlets, historic churches, and locals who greet you with a smile. It’s a reminder that in Cinque Terre, the journey is just as important as the destination.

So, if you’re wondering what to do in Cinque Terre, lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails. It’s an adventure that promises memories to last a lifetime.

The breathtaking beauty of the Cinque Terre trails and experience the the best things to do in Cinque Terre
The breathtaking beauty of the Cinque Terre trails and experience the best things to do in Cinque Terre

2. Manarola’s Scenic Vineyards

There’s something undeniably enchanting about Manarola, one of the five picturesque villages that make up Cinque Terre. And if you’re a wine enthusiast, you’re in for a treat. Places in Cinque Terre are known for their scenic beauty, but Manarola takes it up a notch with its terraced vineyards that seem to cascade right into the sea.

As you stroll through these vineyards, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant green vines, contrasted against the deep blue of the Mediterranean. It’s a sight that’s as intoxicating as the wines they produce. Speaking of which, don’t miss out on tasting the local Sciacchetrà, a sweet wine that’s been a part of the region’s heritage for centuries.

Cinque Terre attractions are many, but the experience of sipping a glass of wine, with the sun setting over the sea and the village’s colorful houses in the background, is unparalleled. It’s a moment of pure bliss, a reminder of the simple joys of life.

For those curious where to go in Cinque Terre, Manarola’s vineyards are a must. It’s not just about the wine; it’s about the ambiance, the history, and the sheer beauty of it all.

"Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Manarola's scenic vineyards
“Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Manarola’s scenic vineyards

3. Vernazza’s Harbor

Visualize a serene harbor scene: tranquil azure waters cradling colorful boats, while historic buildings stand against the dramatic backdrop of rugged cliffs, forming a truly enchanting tableau. Welcome to Vernazza’s Harbor, one of the most iconic Cinque Terre attractions. This charming harbor is the very essence of the Mediterranean dream. Vernazza’s Harbor offers visitors a slice of Italian coastal life at its finest.

Best places to go in Cinque Terre? Vernazza’s Harbor is undoubtedly high on the list. As you wander along the harbor, you’ll find local fishermen mending their nets, artists capturing the beauty of the scene, and travelers like yourself, soaking in the serene ambiance. The gentle lapping of the waves, combined with the distant laughter from nearby cafes, creates a symphony of sounds that’s both calming and invigorating.

For those seeking an adventure, you can rent a boat and explore the coastline, discovering hidden coves and private beaches. Or simply find a cozy spot, order a gelato, and watch the world go by. Things to do in Cinque Terre are varied, but spending time at Vernazza’s Harbor is an experience that touches the soul, reminding us of the timeless beauty of the Italian Riviera.

Discover the charm of Vernazza's Harbor, a colorful paradise nestled along the Italian Riviera
Discover the charm of Vernazza’s Harbor, a colorful paradise nestled along the Italian Riviera

4. Monterosso’s Old Town

Stepping into Monterosso’s Old Town feels like being transported back in time. Narrow cobblestone streets wind their way through ancient buildings, each with its own story to tell. It’s one of those best places in Cinque Terre where history and modernity coexist in perfect harmony.

As you meander through the alleyways, you’ll come across charming boutiques, artisanal gelaterias, and family-run trattorias serving mouthwatering Ligurian cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to taste the region’s famous pesto, a green sauce made of basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. It’s a Cinque Terre must-see for foodies!

But it’s not all about food. Monterosso’s Old Town is also home to some of the region’s most significant historical landmarks. The Church of San Giovanni Battista, with its striking black and white striped façade, stands as a testament to the town’s rich past. Nearby, the Oratory of the Dead offers a glimpse into the local traditions and beliefs.

Cool destinations in Cinque Terre are many, but Monterosso’s Old Town holds a special place in the hearts of those who visit. It’s a place where every corner holds a secret, waiting to be discovered.

Ancient architecture and charming streets of Monterosso's Old Town
Ancient architecture and charming streets of Monterosso’s Old Town

5. Riomaggiore’s Marina

A setting where vibrant houses cling to steep cliffs, surveying a peaceful marina adorned with colorful boats that sway softly on the gentle waves. Welcome to Riomaggiore’s Marina! A visit to this place is one of the best things to do in Cinque Terre for a tranquil escape. The marina is the beating heart of Riomaggiore, one of the five villages that make up the famed Cinque Terre.

As the sun sets, the marina becomes a canvas of golden hues, reflecting off the water. This creates a very mesmerizing spectacle not to forget. It’s the perfect spot for photographers and romantics alike. The Cinque Terre attractions are numerous, yet the marina’s simple beauty stands out.

Local fishermen can be seen mending their nets or sharing tales of the sea, adding to the authentic charm of the place. If you’re lucky, you might even get to witness them hauling in their catch of the day! For those wondering what to do in Cinque Terre, a leisurely stroll along the marina, followed by a delicious seafood meal at one of the waterfront restaurants, is a must.

In Riomaggiore’s Marina, time seems to slow down, allowing visitors to soak in the magic of Cinque Terre in all its glory.

 view of Riomaggiore's marina with colorful boats docked in crystal-clear waters
view of Riomaggiore’s marina with colorful boats docked in crystal-clear waters

6. Corniglia’s Panoramic Views

Perched high on a cliff, Corniglia offers a vantage point like no other in Cinque Terre. Unlike its sister villages, Corniglia is not directly by the sea, but its elevated position provides breathtaking panoramic views. This makes it one of the unique places in Cinque Terre to truly appreciate the region’s beauty.

As you wander through the narrow streets, you’ll be greeted by the sweet scent of lemon trees and the distant sound of waves crashing below. Every corner turned reveals another postcard-worthy scene. And for those who are always on the lookout for the best places to go in Cinque Terre, the village’s main square, Piazza Taragio, is a delightful spot to relax and soak in the atmosphere.

But the true gem of Corniglia lies in its viewpoint. A short climb up the Lardarina, a long brick flight of steps, rewards you with an unparalleled view of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding villages. It’s a sight that evokes pure wanderlust.

For travelers seeking a quieter experience away from the bustling crowds, Corniglia offers a serene escape, reminding visitors of the coolest things to do in Cinque Terre.

Elevate your senses with Corniglia's breathtaking panoramic views
Elevate your senses with Corniglia’s breathtaking panoramic views

7. Via dell’Amore

One of the coolest activities in Cinque Terre is taking a stroll along the Via dell’Amore, also known as the Pathway of Love. This romantic trail connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola. Via dell’A offers visitors a unique opportunity to walk hand in hand with their loved ones, surrounded by the sheer beauty of the Ligurian coastline.

The path is adorned with love locks, symbols of undying affection left by couples from all over the world. As you walk, the gentle sea breeze and the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs create a serene ambiance, perfect for those looking for unique things to do in Cinque Terre.

Benches along the way offer spots to sit, relax, and take in the mesmerizing views of the azure waters below. And if you’re wondering where to visit in Cinque Terre for that perfect sunset, the Via dell’Amore is the place to be. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky paints a canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples. This makes it a moment to cherish forever in Italy.

For those seeking romance or simply a peaceful walk amidst nature, the Via dell’Amore is a must-see in Cinque Terre.

Lost in love's embrace on Via dell'Amore, where every step is a journey of affection and breathtaking views
Lost in love’s embrace on Via dell’Amore, where every step is a journey of affection and breathtaking views

8. Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero

High above Riomaggiore, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero beckons travelers seeking a blend of spiritual solace and breathtaking views. As one of the best places to go in Cinque Terre, this sanctuary offers a serene escape from the bustling villages below.

The journey to the sanctuary itself is a rewarding experience. As you ascend the winding paths, olive groves and vineyards accompany you, painting a picture of traditional Italian countryside life. Once you reach the top, the panoramic vistas of the Ligurian Sea and the five villages of Cinque Terre unfold before your eyes. This makes it one of the coolest things to do in Cinque Terre.

Inside the sanctuary, the aura of devotion is palpable. The walls are adorned with ex-votos, tokens of gratitude from pilgrims who’ve felt the divine intervention of Our Lady of Montenero in their lives. It’s a testament to the deep-rooted faith and the sanctuary’s significance in the region.

For those seeking a blend of spirituality, history, and nature, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero is a Cinque Terre attraction not to be missed.

Discover serenity at the breathtaking Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero
Discover serenity at the breathtaking Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenegro

9. Guvano Beach

Tucked away between Corniglia and Vernazza, Guvano Beach is one of the best places in Cinque Terre that remains relatively untouched by the throngs of tourists. It’s a secluded pebble beach, accessible only by a tunnel or by boat. This makes it a tranquil escape for those in the know.

As you step onto the beach, the azure waters of the Ligurian Sea greet you, shimmering under the Mediterranean sun. It’s the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, or simply relaxing with a good book. The surrounding cliffs provide a dramatic backdrop, adding to the beach’s allure.

For those who love to snorkel, the clear waters offer a glimpse into the vibrant marine life of the region. From colorful fish to intricate corals, there’s a whole underwater world waiting to be explored. It’s no wonder that many consider a visit to Guvano Beach as one of the coolest activities in Cinque Terre.

If you’re yearning for a serene beach experience away from the usual hustle and bustle, Guvano Beach should definitely be on your list of Cinque Terre things to do.

Capture moments of pure joy with loved ones at Guvano Beach
Capture moments of pure joy with loved ones at Guvano Beach

10. Doria Castle in Vernazza

Situated atop the azure waters of the Ligurian Sea, the Doria Castle stands as a testament to Vernazza’s rich history. This ancient fortress, with its robust stone walls and imposing watchtower, has been guarding the village for centuries. It’s one of those must-see in Cinque Terre locations that combines panoramic views with a deep sense of history.

As you make your way up the winding path to the castle, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled vistas of the village below, the surrounding terraced vineyards, and the vast expanse of the shimmering sea. It’s a Cinque Terre attraction that offers both a visual and historical feast.

Inside the castle, you can explore various chambers and walkways, each echoing tales of battles, pirates, and the indomitable spirit of the Vernazza people. The castle also hosts occasional cultural events, adding a touch of modernity to its ancient ambiance.

Places in Cinque Terre often leave an indelible mark on travelers, and Doria Castle is no exception. As you stand atop its battlements, with the sea breeze ruffling your hair, you’ll feel a deep connection to this land and its storied past.

Discover the timeless allure of Doria Castle in Vernazza, where history and beauty unite in perfect harmony
Discover the timeless allure of Doria Castle in Vernazza, where history and beauty unite in perfect harmony

11. Fossola Beach in Riomaggiore

Tucked away from the bustling tourist spots, Fossola Beach in Riomaggiore offers a serene escape for those seeking a more tranquil experience. It’s one of those unique places in Cinque Terre where the rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the pebbled shore becomes a soothing lullaby.

Reaching Fossola Beach might require a bit of a trek, but the journey is part of the charm. As you descend the stone steps, the panoramic views of the rugged coastline and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea unfold. This makes every step worth the effort. An escape to the beach is one of the coolest things to do in Cinque Terre that’s slightly off the beaten path, ensuring a more intimate experience.

The beach itself, with its mix of pebbles and rocks, is perfect for sunbathing, reading a book, or simply soaking in the beauty of nature. The clear waters beckon for a refreshing swim, especially during the warm summer months.

For those wondering what to do in Cinque Terre that offers both relaxation and a touch of adventure, Fossola Beach is a delightful answer. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the best destinations are the ones less traveled.

Aerial view of Fossola Beach with clear blue waters and people relaxing on the sandy shore
Aerial view of Fossola Beach with clear blue waters and people relaxing on the sandy shore

12. Sciacchetrà Wine Tasting

If you’re pondering what to do in Cinque Terre that tantalizes your taste buds, look no further than indulging in a glass of Sciacchetrà. This sweet, amber-hued wine is a local treasure, and tasting it is among the coolest activities in Cinque Terre for wine enthusiasts.

Originating from the steep terraced vineyards of the region, Sciacchetrà is a result of meticulous grape drying and aging processes. The wine boasts a rich bouquet of flavors, from honeyed apricot to aromatic spices. It’s a Cinque Terre attraction in its own right, especially when paired with local desserts or cheeses.

Several wineries and tasting rooms in the villages offer guided tastings, where you not only savor the wine but also learn about its storied history and the labor of love that goes into every bottle. It’s a delightful way to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.

For those who believe that travel memories are best created through flavors, a Sciacchetrà wine tasting is one of the most unique things to do in Cinque Terre. It’s a sip of the region’s soul, encapsulated in a glass.

Join us for an exquisite Sciacchetrà wine tasting experience that's sure to delight your senses
Join us for an exquisite Sciacchetrà wine tasting experience that’s sure to delight your senses

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Cinque Terre

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Cinque Terre? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Cinque Terre:

When is the best time to visit Cinque Terre?

The ideal times are during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). The weather is pleasant, and the crowds are thinner compared to the summer months.

Which is better Amalfi coast or Cinque Terre?

Choosing between the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre is challenging, as both destinations offer breathtaking coastal views, rich histories, and distinct cultural experiences. The better choice will depend on your personal preferences. Here’s a comparison to help you decide:

1. Location and Accessibility:

  • Amalfi Coast: Located in southern Italy, it’s closer to cities like Naples and Salerno. The nearest major airport is in Naples.
  • Cinque Terre: Located in the Liguria region in northern Italy, it’s closer to cities like Genoa and Pisa. The nearest major airports are in Genoa and Pisa.

2. Landscape and Villages:

  • Amalfi Coast: Characterized by dramatic cliffs, azure seas, and luxurious resorts. Towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello are larger than the villages in Cinque Terre and often more upscale.
  • Cinque Terre: Consists of five small, picturesque villages set on rugged cliffs. The area is more rustic and compact compared to the Amalfi Coast.

3. Accessibility Between Towns:

  • Amalfi Coast: Towns are connected by winding, often narrow roads that can be congested in peak season.
  • Cinque Terre: Villages are connected by train, which is the most convenient mode of transport. There are also hiking paths between the villages.

4. Activities:

  • Amalfi Coast: Offers a mix of beach activities, luxury shopping, historical sites, and gourmet dining. There are also many hiking trails.
  • Cinque Terre: Popular for its hiking trails that offer stunning views. The villages have a more laid-back vibe.

5. Budget:

  • Amalfi Coast: Generally more upscale, with a range of luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants, which can make it pricier.
  • Cinque Terre: Can be more budget-friendly, especially in terms of accommodation and dining.

6. Popularity and Crowds:

Both destinations are popular and can get crowded, especially during the summer months. However, the Amalfi Coast’s towns can absorb the crowds better due to their larger size, whereas Cinque Terre villages can feel more congested.

How do I travel between the villages?

The easiest way is by train. There’s a regular service connecting all five villages. Alternatively, you can hike, boat, or even take a local bus.

Is Cinque Terre suitable for families?

Absolutely! While some hiking trails might be challenging for young kids, the villages themselves are family-friendly with plenty of activities for children.

Discover the vibrant hues of Cinque Terre, where colorful houses meet the crystal-clear waters of the Ligurian Sea
Discover the vibrant hues of Cinque Terre, where colorful houses meet the crystal-clear waters of the Ligurian Sea

Can I drive to Cinque Terre?

It’s not recommended to drive on your own in Cinque Terre. The villages are car-free zones, and parking is limited. Public transport is the way to go.

What’s the local cuisine like?

Expect a lot of fresh seafood, pasta, and local wines. Don’t miss trying the trofie pasta with pesto or the anchovies prepared in various ways.

Is Cinque Terre still worth visiting?

Absolutely! Cinque Terre, with its timeless charm, vibrant villages, and breathtaking coastal views, remains a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique Italian experience. Its blend of natural beauty and rich history ensures it retains its allure year after year.

How many days do you need in Cinque Terre?

Ideally, spending 3 to 4 days in Cinque Terre allows visitors to fully explore each village and enjoy some leisurely hikes. However, if you’re short on time, a 2-day trip can still offer a memorable experience, covering the main attractions. Here’s a general guide:

  • One Day: It’s possible to see the essence of Cinque Terre in a day, especially if you use the train that connects the villages. Start early, hop from one village to the next, take short walks, and enjoy the views. However, this would be a whirlwind visit, and you won’t have much time for leisurely exploration or hikes.
  • Two Days: Two days allow you to explore all five villages at a more relaxed pace. You can take a hike between a couple of the villages, spend more time in each location, relax at the beaches in Monterosso, and enjoy the local cuisine without feeling rushed.
  • Three Days or More: With three days, you can dive deeper into the local culture, undertake multiple hiking trails, enjoy the sea, and maybe even take a cooking class or wine tasting tour. This duration also offers flexibility in case of unpredictable weather.

For those keen on hiking and experiencing local life, three or more days is ideal. If you’re on a tighter schedule and just want a taste of the region’s beauty, one to two days can be sufficient.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Cinque Terre

Ah, Cinque Terre! A mosaic of colors, flavors, and sounds that seem to have sprung straight out of a dream. From the azure waves kissing golden shores to the melodious chatter in bustling piazzas, every moment here is a serenade to the senses. As you wander through its winding alleys and taste the salt in the air, you’ll realize that Cinque Terre isn’t just a destination—it’s an emotion. So, pack those bags, lace up your walking shoes, and set out for an Italian escapade that’ll etch itself onto your heart. Cinque Terre awaits, and trust us, it’s every bit as magical as you’ve imagined.

The best things to do in Cinque Terre for all types of travelers
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