My Personal Favourite Place To Stay Near Cinque Terre: La Spezia
I know it might not make much sense, but in my opinion the best place to stay in Cinque Terre is actually outside Cinque Terre. Im also a bit biased because my dad is from La Spezia, but for me its the best spot for a local Cinque Terre holiday.
La Spezia is a city located just 15 minutes train journey away from Cinque Terre. It has a lively nightlife, lots of great restaurants and much more local feel than Cinque Terre.
While in Cinque Terre you will mostly meet tourists, La Spezia is relatively off the beaten track, and you can have a proper Italian experience. Most hotels and bnbs will also be considerably cheaper than in Cinque Terre.
Its the perfect place to stay if you want a cheaper and more local experience, and dont mind being a 15-minute train journey away from the action.
In busy season when Cinque Terre is swarmed by tourists, youll be glad to be a little outside it all!
While La Spezia itself is also a very pretty city and worthy of a visit, if youre only staying there to visit Cinque Terre I recommend finding a place to stay close to the train station.
Sunset in the harbour of La Spezia, Italy
I listed below some accommodation options in La Spezia for every budget.
Budget: Grand Hostel Manin This hostel has spacious dorms, a friendly atmosphere and is located in the heart of La Spezia. Its the perfect place to use as base to explore Cinque Terre on a budget!
View over La Spezia from La Foce, Italy
How Long Should I Spend There
If youre really tight on time you could do the Cinque Terre in one day by starting early and walking straight through from one end to the other. There are a lot of day tours* available or you can just take the train or boat from one village to the next with an hour in each.
But you wouldnt be really doing it justice, and youd be missing out on the best time of day. Between 10am and 4pm the villages are rammed with day-trippers the train platform in Monterosso at 4pm took me right back to commuting on the London Tube in rush hour. But come the evenings things calm down and theres much more of a relaxed feel.
Ideally youd want to spend three or four days visiting the Cinque Terre to do it justice. Thatd give you time to explore each village, do a couple of half-day walks and a boat trip along the coast. The villages have a different atmosphere at different times of day, so staying for a few days would give you time to decide on your favourite and go back for sunset or dinner.
And if youve got more time, there are plenty more walks you can do, or you could travel further afield and visit the neighbouring towns of Portovenere, Levanto or La Spezia.
Be Mindful Of The Train Schedule
Id also suggest picking up a printed train timetable from your home base train station when you arrive. A timetable is free and it cant hurt to have.
This can really come in handy when WiFi is being wonky and you need to figure out your train journey back after a hike, for example.
Its also better to have a general sense of when the trains are running. Otherwise, you can be standing on the platform for a good stretch of time .
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Decide What Major City Youll Travel In From
In addition to not being able to drive in the Cinque Terre, there are also no airports in the five villages, so you cant fly in directly.
Instead, the most convenient way to travel here is by train, which you can take from any of the major neighboring Italian cities.
The first part of your train journey will be from your starting city to La Spezia Centrale. From there, youll switch to a local train heading into whichever village you decide to stay in.
And, to help you take the guesswork out of where to stay, Ive covered the best Cinque Terre town to base yourself in depending on your travel style.
Heres a brief overview of train travel times from the closest major Italian cities:
- Genoa to Cinque Terre: Approx 1 hour
- Florence to Cinque Terre: Approx 2 hours
- Pisa to Cinque Terre: 45 min 90 min
- Milan to Cinque Terre: 3 3.5 hours
- Rome to Cinque Terre: 3 4 hours
Expect Each Of The Villages To Have A Different Personality
Just as people and puppies have different personalities, so do each of the five Cinque Terre villages!
While it may seem like seeing one town is like seeing them all, that couldnt actually be further from the truth.
Despite the pictures you may have seen circulating around on social media, the towns are not cookie-cutter. While there are definitely some similarities and common themes such as bustling harbors and colorful facades, thats basically where the similarities end.
Youll get a much better sense of the best Cinque Terre town for you and which village youd personally jive with the most in my accompanying guide.
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Get Insured Before Traveling To Cinque Terre
Make sure you purchase travel insurance before traveling to Cinque Terre. You never know what will happen and trust us, you dont wanna get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, If you cant afford travel insurance, you cant afford to travel. So dont leave home without it. We recommend World Nomads.
Even if you dont get travel insurance with World Nomads, please make sure to get travel insurance from somewhere.
So, there you have it our best travel tips for visiting Cinque Terre. Now that you know what to do in Cinque Terre you can experience all that this awe-inspiring place has to offer.
Manarola Best Town In Cinque Terre For A Romantic Stay
Manarola is one of the prettiest and most photographed of the Cinque Terre town and, for many, an absolute favorite.
The town has delightful colorful houses, scenic and rocky access to the sea and a plethora of small alleyways climbing up from the sea up to the tallest part of of town, at the top of the cliff.
Manarola is smaller than Riomaggiore and has a different vibe.
There is less going on here at night, which means Manarola is a good place to stay if you want more relaxing evenings.
The small streets and sea views make it perfect especially for couple looking for a romantic place to stay and for photographer.
Manarola is also the most ancient of all Cinque Terre towns: It has been inhabited since the middle Ages and has an interesting tradition of wine production.
Manarola is also a good place for hiking: Sentiero Azzurro and Sentiero dellAmore are both easily accessible form here however, they are often closed for safety reasons so access cannot be guaranteed. Ask local authorities on the day of your visit.
Manarola is the best town to stay in Cinque Terre for: couples, photographers, hikers.
Need to know: Manarola is has steep roads and it is not a good place if you have very small kids or have mobility issues.
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Corniglia: The Quietest Village In The Cinque Terre
While parts of the Cinque Terre can be overwhelming, Corniglia is like a little oasis of calm. Set back from the sea, it occupies an elevated location which means it gets stunning panoramic views.
The maze-like streets are lined with beautiful and historic buildings, while the calm atmosphere allows its authenticity to shine through. Perhaps best of all? Youll only share it with a few other tourists.
Whats the catch, you may ask? Well, Corniglias peacefulness requires some sacrifice. You see, from the train station its found at the top of 350 steps not an easy climb, but oh so worth it if you can do it. The lactic acid is nothing compared to enjoying the beauty of this rustic and authentic village, and getting a taste for what traditional life is like along the Cinque Terre.
Dont Forget To The Try The Regional Wine Too
Cinque Terre is known for its white wine. This variety can best be described as dry and aromatic with green apple notes.
If youd like to learn more about the regional wine, visit the best vineyards, and sample some different varieties, I recommend doing a wine tour.
The tour Ive shared below, in particular, also includes a tour of the villages, so you can get a full overview of the region.
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Wild And Active Vacation Vernazza
The second village youll encounter on the Blue Trail. It is surrounded by vineyards and just above the town, you can see the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio . Vernazza is renowned for its vineyards, its lemons, and olive oil production.
Pros: many trekking trails and a beautiful rural landscape.Cons: tiny beaches.Beaches: a tiny beach is located less than 200 m from the train station, so its really easy to reach. Close to the main square, youll find another small beach, but you can only reach it by going through a natural cave.Trekking: Vernazza Monterosso Trail steep but beautiful, it takes 1h45. Vernazza Corniglia Trail average hard, it takes 1h30. Sanctuary Trail easy and partially paved, it takes less than 30 minutes.Sport: trekking and swimming.Culture/Art: Sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio and Santa Maria di Antiochia Church.Is it for you? You are young and you love outdoor activities and trekking. You dont care about comfort.How to get there: By train from Genova or La Spezia or by boat from La Spezia or another Cinque Terre village. The main beach is just in front of the train station.
Where to Stay in Vernazza
Where To Stay In The Cinque Terre For The Beach: Monterosso
Monterosso is the biggest village of Cinque Terre. Its surrounded by the romantic atmosphere of the sea side, come enjoy its sounds or its smells or both, you know its good.
Its not shy of inspiring places, but you can also find classic resorts to your convenience. Large groups or family will love this place as it allows more movement.
Some places have really well furnished gardens, and pools that will let you enjoy some days where you do not leave the hotel. Indeed, its mandatory for some as running around all the time can be exhausting.
The sand beach is huge and beautiful, and might sparks a little remembrance of the Spanish Costa Dorada, except here it stops dramatically to let nature get its territory back. But not without having given you a nice space for your crew.
Being so big, this is where you have the best chance if you are booking really late in high season. Its also the best village to stay if youre visiting from Milan to Cinque Terre.
Pros & Cons of Staying in Monterosso
Best Budget Hotel: Albergo al Carugio
The Albergo al Carugio, a one star hotel has all its chips on the charm of the place. And its a success!
Only the price and the size of the room are economic. Service is very good, and that makes it the best option for small budgets.
Looking for more hotels in Monterosso, one of the top Cinque Terre best places to stay? Check out this Monterosso hotels guide.
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Riomaggiore Is The Best Place To Stay In Cinque Terre For Nightlife Lovers
If you want nightlife, Riomaggiore, the southernmost town of the Cinque Terre, and the first town the train will stop at if you are heading in from La Spezia is the town for you!
I was blown away when I stepped off the train and saw the Mediterranean Sea crashing against the rugged cliffs of Riomaggiore.
Riomaggiore is also home to the easiest of the Cinque Terre hiking trails, the Via dellAmore, or the walkway of love. The Via dellAmore connects Riomaggiore to Manarola and is an easy, flat stroll along the turquoise Mediterranean.
Riomaggiore offers visitors many dining options as well as a little taste of nightlife.
Because of this, some people find Riomaggiore to be a little too loud for them. That combined with the fact that Riomaggiore is built into the hillside can deter some people from wanting to stay here.
Therefore, Riomaggiore is the best place to stay in Cinque Terre if you want nightlife.
Riomaggiore attractions include the Castello di Riomaggiore, a neat castle with demanding views of the Meditteranean. Visitors will also enjoy checking out the beautiful Church of San Giovanni Battista.
Why It Is A Good Idea To Stay In Sestri Levante And La Spezia
The geographical position of Sestri Levante is suitable for anyone who wants to do numerous day trips to the Ligurian towns, and to Tuscany and Romagna. It is located between Genoa , the Cinque Terre , Portofino and other places.
In the port city of La Spezia, numerous railway lines intersect and it is a good choice for this very reason. You can easily reach any town or city in Liguria from here, as well as Parma, Pisa and Florence. It is very close to the Cinque Terre . Whats more, hotel prices in La Spezia are still very affordable and there is a wide choice. But look for a hotel near the train station or one that offers a shuttle service to the train station.
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Best Towns To Stay In Cinque Terre At A Glance
Monterosso al Mare Home to the biggest beaches in Cinque Terre, not as hilly as other towns, perfect for beach goers and families.
VernazzaCan get very busy, many boat tours set off from here, lots of delicious food options and many gorgeous viewpoints.
Corniglia Less busy than other towns, more affordable, epic views and an off the beaten track feel.
Manarola Extremely scenic, very romantic location, perfect for couples.
RiomaggioreOne of the bigger towns, has a lively feeling, one of the best sunset spots and views, perfect for young people.
Hiking along the Sentiero Azzurro in Cinque Terre
La Spezia More a city than a town, just a 15-minute train away from Cinque Terre, offers a more local vibe and cheaper prices.
Porto Venere Known as the Sixth Land, this gorgeous seaside town is overlooked by many tourists, and is perfect for an off the beaten track stay.
I have included also La Spezia and Porto Venere, which although arent technically part of Cinque Terre, are close enough and are actually where, as a local, I would recommend staying.
Read on to discover more information on each town, as well as some awesome hotel and apartment suggestions for each of the Five Lands.
Beautiful corners and windows in Porto Venere
Where To Stay In Portovenere
Grand Hotel Portovenere Luxurious and full of elegant Italian chic, this seafront hotel has a terrace that looks out across the port and Palmyra Island. The building itself is a showstopper Grand Hotel Portovenere is set in a former 17th century monastery and comes packed with original features like soaring archways, twisting staircases and gorgeous high ceilings for an extra spacious feeling. Everything is decorated with modern touches but giving a nod to the details of the past. Staff offer an outstanding service, so you can just sit back and enjoy the spectacular views.
Residence Le Terrazze A 15-minute stroll from the beach, this apart-hotel has everything you could need to make your stay convenient and budget-friendly. You can make yourself feel at home at Residence Le Terrazze, thanks to self-catering facilities, lounge areas and accommodating staff wholl help you with anything you might want. Enjoy your breakfast on your own terrace overlooking the sea, then work it all off with a leisurely stroll to the beach. This accommodation also comes with its own pool, for extra relaxation.
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Exactly Where To Stay In Cinque Terre By Village
If you are looking for where to stay in Cinque Terre, you have come to the right place. Cinque Terre, located on Italys Ligurian Coast, looks like it is straight out of a postcard.
There are so many options for Cinque Terre hotels, so planning can get overwhelming, but we are here to make the process easy for you. This is one of the most beautiful parts of Italy and the perfect place to visit all year round.
Below, we will break down the best places to stay in Cinque Terre by village, price, and feel of the town. We will tell you the pros and cons of each village and layout the best places to stay. We want you to get an understanding of the unique feel and vibe each Cinque Terre Village has to offer so you can make a decision that is best for your interests.
There is something for everyone and we know there will be something for you too! This breakdown will help you get a feeling for which Cinque Terre Bed And Breakfast, hotel, and village is best for you and your trip!
Vernazza Best Place To Stay In Cinque Terre The First Time
Vernazza is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. Perched atop a rugged coast, this colourful town pops against Cinque Terres harsh landscape. Its a small village bursting with history and culture, and traditional Italian charm and appeal. This is why Vernazza is our pick for where to stay in Cinque Terre if youre visiting for the first time.
Theres plenty of things to see and do in Vernazza, including meandering alongside thousand-year-old buildings, lounging at the beach and dining on fresh seafood. Whether youre a history buff, a culture vulture or a fearless foodie, youll love spending time exploring Vernazza. Lets run over the best places to stay in Vernazza shall we?
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