What is The Cinque Terre, Italy

A breakdown of the five cities in The Cinque Terre, Italy.

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With so many cities to choose from how do you split your time wisely? Wanna know which city is right for you? Here’s your travel guide. Read on to find out what each city is like to best plan your stay in the Cinque Terre, Italy. If you would like to read more about how to plan your trip to The Cinque Terre, read the Planning Guide post.

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Monterosso al Mare is known for its amazing beach scene. Don’t be fooled by the black sand (it may be shocking at first), it’s a clean and fun place to be!It also has some of the most beautiful buildings.

Monterosso al Mare is the largest and northernmost of the five villages and many people love to stay here and spend some time relaxing by the beach, canoeing on a sunny day or strolling on the seaside promenade.

The land is much flatter; less hills and stairs. 

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The highlight of Vernazza is the lookout tower (Doria Castle). You can get the best panoramic views of the village from the top! Vernazza is the most photogenic village.

It is a one-street town with a church built on the water.

It has remains of the old wall that protected against pirates, a gorgeous waterfront piazza, and a harbor with a spit of sand for beach bathing.

Lots of expensive restaurants around this area, but keep a look out for a the basil gelato at Gelateria Stalin and margarita pizza from Pizzeria da Ercole, which is about a minute’s walk toward the water from the trains.

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Corniglia sits nearly 100 metres above sea level and is only accessible by climbing 382 steps. They are not steep and still safe in the rain. Keep an eye peeled for for basil-flavoured gelato here too! It is a very small, but a great place to get away from it all.

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Manarola is know as the best place to swim and cliff dive. Make sure to look out for lemon-based goods from lemon soaps to lemon-patterned cutlery. You will see lemon things everywhere, this is because the Cinque Terre is famous for their many lemon trees.

It is also a one-street town with a small harbor where you can swim. It has an incredible spit of land where the most famous Cinque Terre photos are taken from. It is very similar to Riomaggiore, but has a more grown-up, chill vibe.

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Riomaggiore is one of the smaller villages, but that does not mean there is less to do. It also happens to be Shane & my favorite of the five.

You can rent kyaks, go swimming, or start the hike across the five terres from here.

Riomaggiore has one main street, a harbor, a rocky beach, a castle, a church, a pharmacy, and a dozen restaurants.

Our favorite restaurant was Veciu Muin where we enjoyed the seafood pasta more than one night.

The Vertical Lounge Bar across the street is a lively night activity. It also has good train connections and is the closest to the city of La Spezia.