Top 3 Things to Do in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Upon stumbling on pictures of these bright towns, I decided I absolutely had to make a day trip out to see them for myself.  By train, I left Florence and went to Pisa (for a short trip and some super tourist pictures) and then headed to La Spezia Station which led me to Cinque Terre.  I could not decide on doing it myself or booking a tour, so I booked a tour from Florence to Cinque Terre but I regret doing so.  I would definitely recommend taking the trains and going by yourself, so you can truly explore and take your time with each town.  Looking back on my experience, here are three things that I could do again, and again, and again.

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The houses as seen from Manarola

1)Enjoy Your Seaside Views with a Glass of White Wine

Cinque Terre has clinging gardens, olive trees and vineyards along the cliff sides, and it’s best to take advantage of their white wine.  Bosco, Albarola, and Vermintino grapes make the Cinque Terre and the Sciachetrwines.  These wines are produced by the Cooperative Agricoltura di Cinque Terre. Even better than their white wine, is enjoying a glass while admiring the breathtaking scenery.  We stopped at Riomaggiore and climbed up the trail to a restaurant called La Conchiglia for the best views in the town!  We loved looking out at the ocean, and those colorful houses stacked along the cliffs.

Enjoying the fresh white wine in Riomaggiore

2)Gain Some Elevation for the Perfect Colorful View

These five villages which were once medieval fishing villages are set amid beautiful coastal scenery.  Supposedly, Italians are not allowed to have colored houses, it’s illegal.  But in Cinque Terre, the fisherman painted their houses bright colors so that they could see them while away on a fishing trip.  Cars were banned more than a decade ago, and hiking paths between each town carve through the cliff sides.  Jump on a trail and gain some elevation to take a good look at these bright houses.  We loved our view in Riomaggiore, but had the best picture perfect spot in Manarola.

As seen from the top of Manarola

3)Relax on the Beach

As these towns are located along the shore, there are plenty of beaches available.  In addition, all the beaches are free, but paid services such as a bar, restroom, umbrella rental, etc. can be found.  The biggest beach of the coast is located in Monterosso.  It is the most visited town, and the beach is available right off the train platform, offering the only sand-covered beach in Cinque Terre.  Another option is to visit Vernazza and pass through the caved passage to reach a hidden beach.  This beach offers great swimming, but is covered in rocks.  Another beach option with large rocks is found at Riomaggiore.  Regardless of where you decide to go, there are beaches everywhere!


Entering the cave to find Vernazza’s hidden beach

Cinque Terre is also known for focaccia, seafood, pesto and linoncello. So feel free to eat and drink your way through the towns, because you will burn the calories off when hiking around the different trails!

What was your favorite thing to do in Cinque Terre?  Did you hike the trails or take the trains?  What was your favorite town?


Looking to check out more of Italy?

Top 5 Things to Do in Rome

Top 5 Things to Do in Florence

Top 3 Things to Do in Venice


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