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CINQUE TERRE | City Guide - 2 days in Cinque Terre 🇮🇹

2 days in Cinque Terre is part of an 8 days trip through northern Italy!


If you want to know more about the complete trip, click here.

The2Planners in Manarola, Cinque Terre, La Spezia ItalyCITYGUIDE cinque terre, la spezia - Italy the2planners

Cinque Terre, meaning five towns, is a string of five fishing villages perched high on the Italian Riviera.

Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola & Riomaggiore.

Once isolated because of the geographic disposition, the villages were shaped by their profound isolation, which makes them a contemporary paradise filled with the feeling of authenticity, few roads, perfectly preserved architecture and a network of stunning coastal and mountain trails. 

Visitors can buy an inexpensive pass to hike the scenic trail that laces together the unique communities, as all the five villages are connected by an ancient system of footpaths. However, the easiest way to reach and travel between the villages is by train, as some oh the hiking trails are closed or under renovation. You can buy the train pass (Cinque Terre Train Card), which also gives you access to all the hiking trails, in several points, or online. If you’re traveling by car, leaving it in nearby La Spezia is a smart move.

This is the place to take a sightseeing breather, and inhale slower-paced Italian culture in its purest form.

Where to go? What to see? What to eat? In this city guide, we present you the route we did in the Summer of 2019, a trip we absolutely loved and think its a must for young couples.

cityguide cinqueterre itlay the2planners

Cinque terre map - five towns circuit in two days, Italy - The2planners

Before we start, here are the tips that should guide your visit, so you get the best experience possible:

Tip 1: If you are traveling with your suitcases, don't you even try to walk with them throw the paradisic but narrow hiking trails. You can leave your luggage in a luggage storage at the Monterosso, in a laundry (yes, you heard it right!) not far from the station:

          📍Lavarapido laundry
               Address: Via Molinelli, 17
               €: 5 euro/24 h

Tip 2:  You should buy the Cinque Terre Train Card, the train pass, as it allows you to move between all the villages in the quickest way, all the times you want, with the bonus that gives you access to the hiking trails; This way, you will definitely save some money.

The exciting things Cinque Terre gives you are not the opportunity to visit a monument, but the chance to walk through the streets, colored with beautiful buildings surrounding it, and feel like you have been transported to the past. I think this is what you will remember for the rest of your life.


Day 1 - Vernazza & Monterosso

1. Start your day in Vernazza, as it is smaller and can be crowded in the afternoon. If you're carrying luggage, see tip 1;
2. Explore Monterosso in the afternoon;
3. When the sun is setting down, take the train and come back to Vernazza to watch the sunset.


ponto.png 1. Vernazza

            Time: morning & lunch
            Plus: Come back to watch the sunset

Vernazza, cinque terre, Italy - the2plannersVernazza, cinque terre, Italy - the2planners

Things to visit:
• The Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia, built on the rocks overlooking the sea (free);
The Tower of the Doria Castle (or Vernazza Tower), located above the bay and the small port of Vernazza (paid entrance);
• The Castello Doria (paid entrance);
• Enjoy the rest of your time to search through the local stores and restaurants.

The2Planners in Vernazza, CinqueTerre Italy

The2Planners in Vernazza, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Vernazza, CinqueTerre Italy

Vernazza doesn't have great beaches. However, the crystalline waters of the marina, in front of the Church, are the perfect setting for a quick refreshing swim before continuing the visit of the village and of the surrounding places.

The2Planners in Vernazza, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Vernazza, CinqueTerre Italy


ponto.png 2. Monterosso

            Time: Afternoon

The2Planners in Monterosso, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Monterosso, CinqueTerre Italy

Monterosso is perhaps the most touristic place between the five villages of the Cinque Terre. The village is divided into two parts, marked by the medieval tower of Aurora: Fegina and The old town. 

It is impossible not to stop at the Fegina beach, at least to enjoy an Italian ice cream freshly made. Take your time and have a healthy and well-deserved relaxing moment.

The2Planners in Monterosso, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Monterosso, CinqueTerre Italy

Things to visit:
• The Church of San Giovanni Battista, located in the main square of the old town;
• The San Francesco Church;
The concrete statue of the Giant, Il Gigante, near the beach of Fegina;
• The statue of San Benedetto d' Assisi, located on the old town side;
• The Soviore Sanctuary, high up at 400 meters above sea level.

The2Planners in Monterosso, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Monterosso, CinqueTerre Italy

Although Fegina is one of the most popular beaches in the whole area, set right in front of the train station, the beaches located in the old town are worth a visit and make a perfect oasis for a quick refreshing swim between photographs and climbing stairs.


Day 2 - Corniglia, Riomagiore & Manarola

1. Start your day in Corniglia so you can take the hiking trail connecting Vernazza. This way it is easier to climb all the numerous stairs connecting both villages. If you decide to walk along this trail, a picturesque view is guaranteed! You will pass the olive trees, vineyards, and Mediterranean bushes. A hike you will never forget, challenging but worth it!
2. Take the train to visit Riomaggiore;
3. Go to Manarola. Here, you have two options: you can take the hiking trail, called Via dell’amore, the most famous and romantic stretch of the Cinque Terre coastline, as it is excavated through hard rock and is winding along the rock-face overhanging the sea, providing a magical atmosphere; however, Via dell’amore is closed, under renovation, so the only option you have is to  take the train and go from one place to another in 10 minutes;
4. Contemplate the sunset in Manarola.

Tip 1: Always check with the Cinque Terre National Park office before you set out, regarding schedules and price actualizations. 


ponto.png 3.Corniglia

            Time: morning

The2Planners in Corniglia, CinqueTerre Italy

It is the only village which is not built directly on the sea but on a cliff 100 meters above sea level. It's a tranquil village, with tangled streets that lead to a broad and breezy sea-facing terrace, the only vantage point from where you can clock (and photograph) all five villages at once.

The2Planners in Corniglia, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Corniglia, CinqueTerre Italy

If you are attempting trail connecting Corniglia to Vernazza, do make sure you have loads of water and a good pair of hiking shoes. The beginning of the trail is tough thanks to a steep path of ascending steps, and it is this very part of the hike that has it famed for being relatively difficult. Hikers on this route are handsomely rewarded with a spectacular variety of vegetation along the way and a breathtaking panoramic view of the sea and some villages.

The2Planners in Corniglia, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Corniglia, CinqueTerre Italy


ponto.png 4.Riomaggiore

            Time: morning & afternoon

The2Planners in Riomaggiore, CinqueTerre Italy

Known for its colorful stone houses that seem stacked on top of one another, and its harbor filled with traditional fishing boats, Riomaggiore is a fascinating tangle of pastel homes that lean on each other like drunken sailors. 

Stroll along the main street of the village that leads down to the sea, where a small marina framed by lovely pastel houses is filled with brightly hued fishing boats. It is a wonderful place to enjoy fabulous landscapes and slowing down to the pace of Italian village life. 

The beach at Riomaggiore is located east of the village. The beach is quite extensive and very impressive, making it perfect for a good and photogenic dive.

The2Planners in Riomaggiore, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Riomaggiore, CinqueTerre Italy

Things to visit:
• The Church of San Giovanni Battista (gothic style);
• The Church of San Lorenzo;
• The Castle of Riomaggiore, where you can enjoy a wonderful sight over the sea;
• The Sanctuary of Madonna di Montenero, with a breathtaking panoramic view of the whole coastal line of the Cinque Terre.


ponto.png 5.Manarola

          Time: afternoon & evening

The2Planners in Manarola, CinqueTerre Italy

 If we had to choose a village that best represents this splendid Italian ancient treasure, it would certainly be Manarola, the oldest and most charming village of the Cinque Terre. The tiny harbor features a boat ramp, picturesque multicolored houses facing the sea, and a tiny piazza with seafood restaurants.

Things to visit:
• The Church of San Lorenzo and the defense tower.

The2Planners in Manarola, CinqueTerre Italy

Although there are no sandy beaches in Manarola, it was here we had the best time reuniting with the sun and salt and deep waters.

This village is the one that offers the best view of the sunset, an absolutely magical moment to experience when in Cinque Terre. To experience a sunset in Manarola is to admire a live painting of changing colors before your eyes!

The2Planners in Manarola, CinqueTerre ItalyThe2Planners in Manarola, CinqueTerre Italy


Where to Sleep? 

Accommodation in the Cinque Terre is expensive, oversubscribed and often unremarkable, so it pays to seek out something special and book well in advance. If you're on a budget, great options include staying in La Spezia. We stayed in the Aurora Hotel, right in front of the train station, but we don't recommend it at all! It was like sleeping in a horror movie hotel, we only got through those two nights because we were on a budget! But it's a life experience to really really check the reviews of the hotels we book. But from La Spezia, you can easily visit all 5 villages, as the train zips from village to village daily, with the advantage of a colorful and exciting nightlife and marvelous restaurants that elevate your stay.

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If you want to know more about the complete trip, click here.


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