Cinque Terre Itinerary: a locals’ guide for an authentic experience

Grab your comfy shoes, pack your favorite beachwear, and get ready to explore our beloved Cinque Terre with us. We’re locals, we’ve got you covered! This Cinque Terre Itinerary will immerse you in the authentic local experience, allowing you to soak up the Italian vibes and create lasting memories.


Cinque Terre Itinerary: embrace the local charm and explore like a true insider

With its colorful houses, breathtaking views, and charming atmosphere, Cinque Terre has become a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Italian experience. In this blog post, we will guide you through an itinerary that will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of each village. Whether you have three days or five days to spend in Cinque Terre, this itinerary will help you make the most of your time in this area.


Vernazza from above, Cinque Terre

Day 1: Vernazza and Monterosso

A morning in Vernazza

On your first day in Cinque Terre, we recommend starting your adventure in Vernazza, our favorite village in the area. With its small harbor, colorful buildings, and vibrant piazza, Vernazza exudes an authentic Italian charm. Spend the early morning exploring the narrow streets, stopping by local shops, and soaking in the picturesque views of the sea.


Hiking from Vernazza to Monterosso: scenic trails and coastal panoramas

Afterward, lace up your hiking shoes and embark on a scenic hike from Vernazza to Monterosso. This trail is part of the famous Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) that connects all five villages of Cinque Terre. The hike takes approximately two hours and offers stunning coastal panoramas along the way. Some say it’s easier to hike from Vernazza to Monterosso, but please keep in mind that the stairs can be challenging, and the hiking paths in Cinque Terre require a moderate level of fitness. Oh, and a quick tip: make sure you’re wearing appropriate shoes, a sun hat, and sunscreen, and don’t forget to stay hydrated. Most importantly, enjoy the experience at your own pace, there’s no rush – take it all in at your own pace. Have a blast out there!


Couple in Vernazza, Cinque Terre


Monterosso: beach bliss

Once you reach Monterosso, take the opportunity to unwind and relax on one of its idyllic beaches and enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters.

After basking in the sun, head over to Torre Aurora, an ancient watchtower that once protected the area from pirates. Here, you can indulge in an aperitif with an unparalleled view. The vistas from this vantage point are simply awe-inspiring and will leave you in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds you.

When it comes to dinner options in Monterosso, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Here a few restaurant recommendations:

  1. Ristorante da Miky (Via Fegina, 104, 19016 Monterosso al Mare): If you’re in the mood for an extraordinary fine dining experience, Ristorante da Miky is a must-visit. This establishment offers a delightful fusion of traditional and contemporary flavors, expertly crafted into exquisite dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.
  2. Il Casello (Lungomare Ferrovia casello, 70, 19016 Monterosso al mare): Nestled by the sea, Il Casello is a charming restaurant that offers a cozy and romantic atmosphere. Here, you can savor delectable seafood specialties prepared with the freshest local ingredients while enjoying the serene coastal views.
  3. L’Osteria (via Vittorio Emanuele 5, 19016 Monterosso al Mare): Known for its cozy and rustic atmosphere, L’Osteria offers a warm and welcoming environment for guests to enjoy a delightful meal.


Day 2: Cinque Terre private boat tour and Manarola

Live Like a Local: Experience Cinque Terre’s Authenticity on a Private Boat Tour

For your second day, why not indulge in a truly authentic Cinque Terre experience by treating yourself to a private boat tour around these enchanting coastal villages? As locals, we are fortunate to have a deep connection with the sea, and many of us have our own boats, which allows us to fully embrace the beauty of this area. This experience will allow you to admire the villages from a different perspective and discover hidden coves and secluded beaches that are only accessible by boat.



Manarola: breathtaking sunset and aperitivo with panoramic views

As evening approaches, make your way to Manarola, known for its breathtaking sunsets. Head over to Nessun Dorma (Località Punta Bonfiglio), a popular bar perched on a cliffside terrace that offers panoramic views of the village and the sparkling sea below. It’s the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a refreshing aperitif while immersing yourself in the relaxed ambiance. This is how we locals love to embrace the beauty of Cinque Terre – sipping drinks, sharing stories, and taking in the stunning views.


Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy


By opting for a private boat tour and witnessing the magical sunset in Manarola, you’ll truly live like a local in Cinque Terre. This is how we appreciate the simple pleasures of our coastal paradise – exploring hidden corners, cruising along the coastline, and ending the day with an aperitivo.


Day 3: Corniglia, local wineries and Riomaggiore

Exploring Corniglia

On your third day, set out on an adventure to Corniglia, the only village in Cinque Terre that is not directly accessible by the sea. Getting to Corniglia is part of the fun, as it offers two distinct options that showcase the unique character of this village.

For those seeking a leisurely stroll and breathtaking views, embark on a scenic hiking path that leads you to Corniglia. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning vistas of the coastline and vineyards that cling to the terraced hillsides. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you make your way to this hidden gem.

Alternatively, if you prefer a quicker route, hop on a short train ride from any of the other villages. Upon arrival at the Corniglia train station, you’ll have two options to reach the village itself. The first is to take a shuttle bus that conveniently brings you up to the village center. The second option is to embrace a bit of adventure and tackle the famous “Lardarina” staircase – a series of steps that lead up to Corniglia. While it may require some effort, the climb is well worth it as it adds a touch of authenticity to your experience.

Once you arrive in Corniglia, take your time to explore its charming streets and immerse yourself in its laid-back atmosphere. Visit the historic church of San Pietro, a beautiful landmark that holds centuries of history within its walls. Admire the intricate details and soak in the serene ambiance.

After working up an appetite, indulge in some delicious local cuisine at one of the traditional trattorias and restaurants in Corniglia, like “La Posada” (via alla Stazione 11, 19018 Corniglia).


Cinque Terre vineyards and wineries

In the afternoon, don’t miss the chance to explore the enchanting vineyards and wineries that dot the landscape. No Cinque Terre adventure would be complete without immersing yourself in the region’s wine culture!

Picture this: rolling vineyards and wineries sprinkled across the landscape. You’ve got to make time to explore these gems. And guess what? They’re not just any wineries – they’re home to the legendary Sciacchetrà wine. This stuff is like a taste of Cinque Terre magic, with its unique flavors and all that jazz. Take a cool guided tour, learn the ins and outs of winemaking, all while soaking in killer views that have been inspiring these vineyards for ages.


Cinque Terre wines


Riomaggiore: colorful houses, stunning views, and culinary delights

In the evening, make your way to Riomaggiore, the southernmost village of Cinque Terre. Riomaggiore is an absolute gem with its colorful houses tumbling down the cliffs toward the sparkling sea. Get ready to capture some Instagram-worthy shots!

Take a relaxed stroll along the marina and soak in the vibrant atmosphere that fills the air. Let yourself get lost in the narrow streets and alleyways, where every turn reveals a new picture-perfect moment to capture.

Now, here’s a little secret that we locals love to share – make sure to visit Pie de Ma’ (Via dell’Amore, 55, 19017 Riomaggiore), a cozy wine bar that adds an extra touch of magic to your Riomaggiore experience the perfect Italian aperitif experience. The views here are simply breathtaking!


View of Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre


When it’s time for dinner, we have another fantastic recommendation for you – Rio Bistrot (Via San Giacomo 10, 19017 Riomaggiore). Trust us, this place knows how to satisfy your taste buds! Rio Bistrot brings the true flavors of Cinque Terre to your plate with their mouthwatering dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Whether you’re craving succulent seafood or indulgent pasta creations, you’ll find something to delight your palate here.

The atmosphere at Rio Bistrot is intimate and inviting, making it the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a great meal. The friendly staff will make you feel right at home!


Day 4: Hidden gems – Portovenere and Palmaria Island

On your fourth day, explore the nearby town of Portovenere. This hidden gem, often overlooked by tourists, is just a short and scenic boat ride away. Trust us, it’s well worth the visit!

As you arrive in Portovenere, prepare to be captivated by its beauty. Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets, lined with colorful buildings and charming shops. Admire the medieval architecture that whispers tales of the town’s rich history. Make sure to keep an eye out for the iconic Church of San Pietro, perched dramatically on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea. The church is a sight to behold and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline.


Photo of Portovenere, Italy


While in Portovenere, be sure not to miss the opportunity to visit Palmaria Island. Located just in front of Portovenere, this island is a true haven of peace and natural beauty. Hop on a short boat ride from Portovenere to reach Palmaria Island and prepare to be amazed.

Once on the island, immerse yourself in its unspoiled nature. Explore the beautiful hiking trails that wind through lush vegetation, offering panoramic views of the sea and coastline. As you hike, you’ll discover hidden coves and secluded beaches where you can unwind and enjoy the scenery. Take a moment to relax and dip your toes into the crystal-clear waters – it’s pure bliss!

Day 5: A day trip – Lerici and Tellaro


On your last day in Cinque Terre area pay a visit to the coastal towns of Lerici and Tellaro. These hidden gems offer a more laid-back atmosphere, allowing you to unwind and soak in the true essence of the Italian Riviera.

Start your day in Lerici, a town that effortlessly combines coastal charm with a relaxed vibe. Take a leisurely stroll along the stunning promenade that hugs the waterfront, treating yourself to mesmerizing views of the sparkling sea. Lerici’s picturesque beaches invite you to kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes, and simply enjoy the peacefulness of the moment.

Don’t miss the chance to explore Lerici’s castle, which sits proudly atop a hill. As you make your way up, prepare to be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Gulf of Poets. The vistas from this vantage point are truly awe-inspiring, offering a glimpse into the natural beauty that surrounds this enchanting region. Take your time to savor the magnificent scenery and appreciate the magical atmosphere that Lerici exudes.


Houses in Tellaro, near Cinque Terre


From Lerici, make your way to Tellaro, a hidden gem that will steal your heart. This small fishing village boasts charming narrow streets, colorful houses, and breathtaking coastal scenery that will transport you to another world. Lose yourself in the labyrinthine streets as you explore unique corners and immerse yourself in the authentic Italian ambiance.

Take a leisurely stroll along Tellaro’s coastline and let yourself be captivated by the stunning views of the sea and rugged cliffs. The peaceful atmosphere and untouched beauty make it an ideal spot to relax and immerse yourself in the laid-back vibes of this coastal haven.

Both Lerici and Tellaro offer an escape from the busy tourist spots, allowing you to embrace a slower pace of life.

Off-the-beaten-path spots around Cinque Terre

If you have more time to explore the area or want to venture off the beaten path, we recommend exploring some lesser-known spots in Cinque Terre.


Volastra, a small village perched on a hilltop between Manarola and Corniglia, offers stunning panoramic views of the coastline and is a great starting point for scenic hikes.

Nestled among vineyards and olive groves, Volastra offers a glimpse into traditional rural life in Cinque Terre. This small village provides an authentic experience away from the tourist crowds, allowing you to immerse yourself in local culture and traditions. Take a leisurely walk through its charming streets, visit the local church, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from Volastra’s hilltop location. This hidden gem captures the essence of Cinque Terre’s rural beauty.


Nestled right between Riomaggiore and Portovenere in the Cinque Terre National Park, you’ll stumble upon the charming ancient village of Monesteroli.

Now, here’s a fascinating nugget of history – to access this hidden gem, you’re in for a throwback adventure on a 1200-step sandstone staircase. Believe it or not, this staircase was carefully carved by grape-loving farmers centuries ago. Their ingenious purpose? Hauling those delicious grapes from the neighboring vineyards.

One of the most enchanting aspects of Monesteroli is its peaceful atmosphere. Far away from the tourist crowds, you’ll find a serene haven where you can escape the hustle and bustle.


Looking for a spot where you can truly escape the tourist hustle and bustle? Bonassola is just a short train ride away from Cinque Terre and offers a laid-back atmosphere and stunning beaches. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll along the promenade or basking in the sun, you’ll find yourself in a peaceful oasis away from the crowds. Bonassola is the perfect place to unwind, relax, and enjoy the serene beauty of the Ligurian coast.

Feeling a bit more adventurous? Grab a bike in Levanto and pedal your way through Bonassola to Framura. You’ll follow a scenic coastal bike trail, complete with tunnels that add a dash of excitement to your ride. It’s an amazing way to complement the peaceful atmosphere of the area and create lasting memories of your Cinque Terre adventure.


Cinque Terre from above

Cinque Terre Travel Tips: Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Many Days Should You Spend in Cinque Terre?

We believe that 3 to 5 days is the ideal duration to fully experience Cinque Terre and its surrounding areas. While it is possible to visit in one day, staying for a longer period allows you to truly soak in all the local culture and explore nearby hidden gems.


  • How do I reach Cinque Terre?

The easiest way to reach Cinque Terre is by train. There are regular train connections from major cities in Italy, such as Rome, Florence, Genoa and Milan. Once you arrive at La Spezia or one of the other nearby train stations, you can easily transfer to a local train that will take you directly to each village of Cinque Terre.


  • Can I reach Cinque Terre by car?

Yes, you can reach Cinque Terre by car, but it’s not the best option and the five villages themselves are mostly car-free zones and not easily accessible by car. The roads leading into the villages are narrow, winding, and often challenging for drivers, making it a less practical option. Additionally, parking within the villages can be limited and expensive.

If you’re planning to explore the Cinque Terre by car, it’s recommended to park in one of the larger towns nearby, such as La Spezia or Levanto, and then use public transportation like trains to access the villages.


  • How do I get around Cinque Terre?

Cinque Terre is well connected by train. Train is super easy and you can buy a pass (Cinque Terre Card) that allows you to use the trains all day, as well as the buses within the National Park, the shuttle bus in Corniglia, and the hiking trails. You can buy the pass online or at any of the five villages’ train stations, as well as at Levanto and La Spezia stations.

You can also take a ferry between the villages except Corniglia. Taking a ferry allows you to enjoy scenic views of the coastline while hopping from one village to another. It’s a great alternative to hiking or taking the train if you prefer a different experience.


  • When is the best time to visit Cinque Terre?

The best time to visit Cinque Terre is during the shoulder seasons of spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October). During these months, you can enjoy pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices compared to the peak summer season.

  • What local food should I try in Cinque Terre?

Oh, where do we start? Focaccia, Trofie al pesto, fried anchovies and any fresh seafood dish are a must-try!


  • Where can I see the best sunset in Cinque Terre?

For stunning sunset views in Cinque Terre, head to Riomaggiore, Manarola, or take a boat tour along the coast. These locations offer breathtaking panoramas as the sun dips below the horizon, casting golden hues over the sea.


Couple kissing at sunset on a private boat tour in Cinque Terre


Savoring the authentic charm of Cinque Terre: unwind and soak it all in

In conclusion, exploring Cinque Terre and its surrounding areas is an experience that should not be rushed. By following this Cinque Terre itinerary, you can fully immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of each village while discovering hidden gems along the way. Whether you choose to hike between villages, sail along the coast, or simply relax on the beach, Cinque Terre offers an authentic taste of Italy that will leave you longing for more.

So slow down, embrace the local culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this enchanting destination on the Italian Riviera.


Looking to capture and preserve your unforgettable moments in Cinque Terre area? We’ve got you covered!

Get in touch with us today for a fun and stress-free photo session that will be the highlight of your Cinque Terre adventure.

Let’s start the conversation and ensure that your Cinque Terre vacation is captured in stunning photographs, creating cherished memories for a lifetime.

Teenagers having fun in Cinque Terre during a family photoshoot

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