How to make the most of Cinque Terre in 3 days

I am a beach girl at heart and always will be. When I saw picture of Cinque Terre in instagram, I knew I had to go there, stay few nights and experience the villages.

Cinque Terre used to be traditional fishing villages, hence why the houses were built so high. Eversince the boom of social media people started posting pictures of the villages of Cinque Terre the the massive of tourist flocked to Cinque Terre all year round especially summer. Many stay in La Spezia and day trip to the villages because the accommodation in Cinque Terre does get expensive. Simply because the villages are small and there are not many. If you are eyeing to stay in the villages, do book ahead. Cinque Terre consist of 5 Villlages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.

We stayed in Manarola for 3 days which I’d say the most picturesque but also the smallest and has the most obstacles with a lot of climbs and stairs (apart from Cornigilia which I skipped because I didn’t have much time and the village is too high above the water).

In the past there is a hiking track which connect the 5 villages but most tracks are closed due to landslides. Only Vernazza-Monterosso track is open and takes around 2 hours to complete.

You can swim in in the four villages during sunmer (Corniglia exception) eventhough only Monterosso has the proper long stretch of beach. The others (Riomaggiore and Vernazza) made do with the little beach they had and created swimming area separating the boats with ropes. While Manarola had a swimming hole in between rocks

I swam in Manarola swimming hole in the morning. The water feels refreshing and not too cold in end of Jun. there is a stair installed in the swimming area to make it easier for people to swim. DH and kids do not want to join me because the water is deep and they are not comfortable floating. In the afternoon you will see people jumping from the rock for adrenaline and pictures

We only got to explore 3 villages in one day and it is actually not enough and wish I had stay for another day

The villages are linked by Cinque Terre express train and sometimes regional train. So there is always a train every 15 – 30 minutes and then every hour after 7pm in summer. There is daily ticket for the train cost €16 which is a good option if you want to explore the villages in one day so you don’t have to buy ticket from the machine everytime. Each ticket within 5 villages between La Spezia and Levanto cost €4 each way.

Ticket is bought at the self service ticket machine available in the train station. There is almost always a queue during the day and there was a time where the machine broke down in Monterosso but we found another machine in the platform. If you want to hike you need to buy Cinque Terre card. More about it here: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Ecinque-terre-card.ph

Both cards can be bought in the tourist info center in the train station in 5 villages and La Spezia.

There is also boat service with daily ticket €30 but they stop operating after 7pm. Timetable here: https://www.cinqueterre.eu.com/images/stories/Cinque-Terre-timetable-boats.pdf

Riomaggiore

Is the biggest of the five and offer more acommodation. Airbnb are only available in this village. It even has a luggage service (there is car which go back and forth transporting people suitcases) and I see a shuttle which carries people to the top of the villages and see the church.

We stopped to enjoy seafood on the cone first.

We found a playground and left Achita and Fabio so we can go to the photospot to capture the best of Riomaggiore.

See the amount of stairs we have to climb coming back to the playground lol. There is easier way to reach the photo spot. Just turned right after coming out from the tunnel after the train station.

The best of Riomaggiore

This up and down hike require gelato to recover the sweat lol

I also come accross this. Sadly majority of the tourist seem to ignore this and walk around the villages in their swimsuit.

Now we are ready to move to Monterosso as Achita said she wanted to swim in the beach

Monterosso

Is probably the most touristy and the only village with a flat area. If you don’t want to deal with elevated road and stairs stay here.

We had lunch here as when we reached Monterosso Achita is asleep

Monterosso beach

DH and kids swimming. I feel such an idiot for being too lazy to bring my wet swimming suit and thought I was content for already had a morning swim. I also want to swim in the beach #sobbing

Achita had a blast seeing they have a slide in the water

You have to pay for the umbrella and sunloungers at the beach bar. And they can get fully booked in summer.

There is a changing room and cold shower as well. There is also paid hot shower. It is more convienient than I thought.

We spent too long in Monterosso so we had to hurry to Vernazza as DH wanted to take photos of Vernazza while there are still lights

Vernazza

I think this is the second most beautiful after Manarola. I am very subjective here. Staying in Vernazza is actually more convenient because (1) they have left luggage service (2) baggage service aka porter and (3) they have elevator in their train station OMG.

Vernazza has more flat area Vs Manarola and is actually more family friendly

We initially wanted to have dinner in Vernazza but we’re afraid we might miss the last train so we decided to go back to Manarola after taking pictures

So long Vernazza…. I wish we had more time together.