Cinque Terre – National Park and cozy villages in Italy.

Italy in a hat. Cinque Terre

We didn’t know until the last minute whether or not we would go to Cinque Terre.

Of course, we wanted to go to the seaside, but we doubted for a long time.

We even did not book accommodation in advance.

We had a great weather in the Dolomites, thanks to which for three days we saw everything we wanted.

Then we visited Lake Garda, where we had a rest and we were full of energy.

– Shall we go to the Ligurian coast?

– Let’s go! I want to go to the sea so much!

And we opened the book.


When the thrifty tourist really wants to visit Cinque Terre, he chooses not one of the villages of the Five Earths, but in the neighboring town, La Spezia.

So did we.

Apartment L’Etoile with a kitchen and a tiny balcony was booked for 2 nights at 50 euros.

Freshly renovated, free parking nearby, and most importantly, a good location: you can reach both the railway station and the coast in 15 minutes by slow walk.

I boldly recommend this option!

After checking in, we went for an evening walk around La Spezia.

Wikipedia tells us that La Spezia is one of Italy’s largest commercial and military harbors, as well as a center of military industry.

But for a tourist, as it seemed to us, the city is not of great interest: half an hour in the old town and the same in the port area, a few monuments and ancient churches, tall palm trees and pretty yachts. That’s it.

The streets, unfortunately, are dirty and untidy, at night and even filled with suspicious characters.

In reviews tourists, including on Tourist, highly recommended seafood restaurant “Dai Pescatori”, which we visited.

Of course, visually the institution was more like a canteen, and ordered dishes are not too impressed. The next day in Monterosso we dined on much tastier seafood.

But we’re on the coast of Italy, right? And, therefore, no reason to be sad.

A little later, we wanted to take pictures of the narrow streets of the old town, but we caught the gaze of a company of migrants. About five or seven young fellows were eyeing passers-by suspiciously.

Deciding not to take any chances, we stopped taking pictures and walked forward down the street. The company followed us.

I quickened my pace and looked back from time to time. The boys did not lag behind.

I suggested that Peter turn and stop. So we did.

Barely having seen the turn, we abruptly turned, and the guys walked forward. Whew!

Glad that our fears were in vain, we found a store, bought groceries for tomorrow and headed to a cozy rented apartment.

Pontus beech - an enigmatic tree in western France

Early in the morning, after having breakfast and studying the schedule of electric trains, we went to the train station.


Cinque Terre is a national park of Italy, listed as a World Heritage Site in 1997.

For those who can only count to three in Italian, here’s a hint: “cinque” translates to “five,” while “terre” means “land. Why this name? It’s simple: five villages (lands) are part of the national park: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.

Not only are the small towns incredibly bright and beautiful, but they are also connected by scenic trails. The most famous of these is the Road of Love, which will take you from Manarola to Riomaggiore.

But because of rockslides, some of them are closed, so before you go see the latest information.

Another nice bonus is the presence of beaches in Cinque Terre, albeit very small. The beach in Monterosso seems to be the largest and most comfortable for relaxing – clean sand and gentle waves.

Tip: To travel around Cinque Terre, I recommend buying the Cinque Terre Card. It gives you an unlimited number of rides (until the expiration of the Cinque Terre Card) from La Spezia (central station) to Levanto, in regional and intercity trains. It also includes the use of bus transportation. We bought the card at the box office at the train station in La Spezia. There is an option for 1 or 2 days.

After buying the card must be stamped.

You can get to the park by ferry or boat from the port of Genoa or La Spezia.

Leave your car in the parking lot in La Spezia.


I do not know if there is any trick to the order of visiting the villages of Cinque Terre, but we decided as follows: early in the morning we walk through Manarola and Vernazza, and spend the afternoon in Monterosso (setting aside a few hours on the beach). There were some doubts about Corniglia. We firstly thought about not visiting Riomaggiore, but we did see it :-)

So, first was Manarola.

Bright colored cottages hamlet sheltered on the green terraces among vineyards, and on the cliffs of the Ligurian coast.

In the early morning the town still seems quite deserted and sleepy. In an hour or an hour and a half tourists from all over the world will come here in droves, but so far this fresh air and stunning views belong only to us …

Manarola is the oldest of the five towns of Cinque Terre. The picture shows the church of San Lorenzo, which was built in 1338!

St. Peter's Cathedral in Cologne. Cologne. Germany

Cinque Terre is a national park and a scattering of idyllic Italian villages.

Cinque Terre is a rugged coastline on the Italian Riviera. In addition to magnificent Mediterranean scenery and stunning natural landscapes, you’ll experience five amazing hillside villages here.

Cinque Terre Italy

Rocky cliffs, terraced hillsides and toy-like villages. You’ll find all this on the Cinque Terre coast in Italy.

These five settlements are connected by a rather long walkway. It is commonly referred to as the Sentiero Azzurro (Azure Path).

Where is it

The Parco Cinque Terre is in an area between the famous cities of Pisa and Genoa. It stretches about 20 km along the coast of north-west Italy in the region of Liguria.

The nearest large town is La Spezia about 10 km to the east.

Walking along the coast of Italy

The Azure Trail connects five of the most interesting villages on the Italian coast. Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore (in order from north to south).

It is worth noting that there are more settlements in Cinque Terre. However, the above-mentioned villages are the most interesting.

It is theoretically possible to walk the Azure Trail. But you should take into account that the path stretches for more than 20 kilometers. Travel time is not less than 5 hours. And this if you walk without looking around and at a constant speed. Although in reality it would take much longer. Obstacles on the way can be quite difficult areas and dangerous landslides.

Azure Path

Agree to go 20 kilometers on such a path will be difficult. But the views of the Mediterranean Sea are stunning.

In general, this idea is not the most successful. Therefore, tourists tend to spend a few days traveling around Cinque Terre. It is quite understandable, because it will take a lot of time to explore this beautiful region.

In addition to hiking trails, there are, of course, rail and sea connections between the towns. All five villages are connected by a modern railroad. And trains from Genoa and La Spezia run here quite frequently.

Villages of Cinque Terre

The area of Cinque Terre is famous for its beauty. For centuries, people have carefully built terraces to grow grapes and olives on the rugged, steep landscape all the way down to the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Breathtaking views of the welcoming coastal harbors, as well as medieval fortresses, abundant vines and vivid colors will make your trip unforgettable.

Cinque Terre was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Today it is a National Park and a marine protected area.

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Description, photos.

Let us visit with you a chain of five fascinating fishing villages.

Monterosso al Mare

This is the largest settlement, practically a city. Many hotels are located in its new part, the Fejina. In the old town you will find seafood restaurants and good stores.

In Monterosso al Mare you will find the only long sandy beach in the area. Here you can rent a kayak, and explore the many coves off the coast.

Monterosso al Mare beach

A sandy beach in Monterosso al-Mare is quite rare in these parts

The village sits on hills planted with lemons, vineyards and olives.

Monterosso Cinque Terre

Its beaches, beautiful reefs and crystal clear waters make it one of the most hospitable villages on the Ligurian Riviera.

The village is divided into two parts. The new part, Fedgina, is full of life. The rapid development of tourism has made this area rich. This is evidenced by the large number and excellent quality of hotels and restaurants.

The famous statue of Neptune, god of the sea, towers over Fejina. It was created in the early twentieth century. Now it is a symbol of Monterosso al Mare.

Statue of Neptune in Cinque Terre

If you were expecting a classic Neptune with a crown on his head and a trident in his hands, alas, the local Neptune is very different.

In the old town you’ll see castle ruins and characteristic narrow medieval carrouge streets with colorful houses.

Sights of Monterosso al Mare

The Church of San Giovanni Battista, located in the main square of the old town. This church was built in the 1200s in the Gothic-Genoese style. Inside is a fresco depicting the baptism of Christ.

Church of San Giovanni Battista

The striped church of San Giovanni Battista

Church of San Francesco, which houses major works of art, such as the Crucifixion by Antonis van Dyck.

At 400 meters above sea level is the sanctuary of Soviore. It dates from the 17th century.


  • Sagra de Limoni – Feast of Lemons, 3rd Saturday in May. The village is decorated with lemons and you can taste limoncino, lemon cream, lemon marmalade and a special lemon cake.
  • Corpus Domini, in June. The narrow streets of the historic center are richly decorated with patterns created from colorful petals.
  • Sagra dell’acciuga fritta, 3rd Saturday in June. You can taste the famous anchovies of Monterosso.
  • Festa della Madonna Assunta, August 14. An evening fireworks display over the sea.
  • Bandistico Festival, 1st Saturday in September. A music festival featuring bands from all over Italy.
  • Sagra dell’acciuga salata e dell’olio d’oliva, 3rd Saturday in September. Once again, Monterosso anchovies and locally produced extra virgin olive oil are offered.
  • Festa del vino, 4th Saturday in September. You can taste Cinque Terre DOC wines and a dessert version called Sciacchetra.
Piazza San Marco in Venice. Italy


Vernazza has a natural sea pier in the shape of an amphitheater. This makes it perhaps the most photographed village of Cinque Terre. There are only a few hotels here.


Vernazza is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. In addition it is said to produce here one of the best olive oils in the country.

Vernazza was founded around 1000 AD. In 1276 it was under the rule of the Republic of Genoa.

Here you will see the medieval castle of Belforte. It was built in the mid 1500s to protect the village from pirates.

Attractions of Vernazzi

The church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia, built on a rock overlooking the sea.

The tower of Doria Castle, built in the 15th century. It is located above the bay and a small port.

Doria Castle Tower

Tourists usually try to climb the tower to see the surroundings in all its glory. Of course it can get pretty crowded.


Corniglia is in the center of Cinque Terre on a rock 100 meters above sea level.


The village has almost no access to the sea

The village is connected to its railway station by a winding staircase known as Lardarina (it has 377 steps).

Corniglia is an ancient Roman village with a long and rich agricultural tradition. It is surrounded on three sides by vineyards.

In this village you can visit the eighteenth century Largo Taraggio square and the Santa Caterina oratory.

A charming theater scene is located here between the houses and the parish of San Pietro, which is an excellent example of the Gothic Ligurian style. It is, by the way, one of the most interesting monuments of the whole coast. This building was built in 1334. In the interior, the most interesting works of art are the baptismal font of the XII century and the statues of the Evangelists.


June 29: The Feast of San Petro and Paolo for which the traditional cake “Torta dei Fieschi” is prepared.

September 8: Feast of Thanksgiving in the Church of San Bernardino.


Manarola has a tiny harbor surrounded by picturesque colorful houses overlooking the sea and a small square with restaurants.


Note, such interesting colored houses you can see in other regions of Italy. For example in the town of Atrani on the Amalfi coast.

The famous Via dell’Amore begins from Manarola. It is also called the Trail of lovers. It is a very picturesque path that takes you to the next village of Riomaggiore in just 20 minutes.

Corfu Island sights. Greece. Description, Photos.

Lovers' Lane

It is a very picturesque path that will take you to the next village of Riomaggiore in just 20 minutes.

Manarola, built 70 meters above sea level, is one of the most charming and romantic villages of Cinque Terre.

Along the main road, boats here are pulled onto land when there is a storm at sea. There’s no full beach here, but there are some of the best places for deep-sea diving.

The village is all up and down, with steep, narrow lanes leading to the sea. If you want to climb to the top of Manarola, be sure to check out the church of San Lorenzo. It was built in 1338 in the Gothic Ligurian style. In ancient times it served as an observation post for pirates. Today it is a place of religious and social gatherings.


August 10, the feast of San Lorenzo.

From December 8 to the end of January, more than 200 figures and 12,000 lamps illuminate the hills.


And here it is considered one of the most peaceful and quiet places in Cinque Terre. Riomaggiore is basically a cascade of colorful, Ligurian-style houses. They are clustered tightly around a small natural harbor between the cliffs.


As you noticed, the architecture of all the villages of Cinque Terre is exactly the same.

Riomaggiore is the southernmost village of Cinque Terre. It is only a few minutes by train from La Spezia.

The history of the village goes back to the 8th century. Back then, people from the Vara valley came here in search of a milder climate to grow grapes and olives.

The town rises up through the mountain ranges overlooking the sea. Its houses are classic stone buildings with colored facades and slate roofs.

Riomaggiore and Manarola are connected by the Via del Amore. The same Lovers’ Trail that we told you about a little bit above. This wonderful trail is known for its romantic atmosphere and amazing scenery.

Attractions of Riomaggiore

The Church of San Giovanni Battista, built in 1340 in the Gothic style.

The castle of Riomaggiore (built in 1260) from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the sea.

The Castle of Riomaggiore

The Castle of Riomaggiore

About 350 meters from the sea, along the coastal road that connects Cinque Terre to La Spezia, you will find the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero (Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero).

View from Riomaggiore to Cinque Terre

From here you will have a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire Cinque Terre coastline.

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