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Updated: Apr 23, 2023

Colourful houses, picturesque hikes, an aperitif with a view and an informative wine tour

What is Cinque Terre and which are the 5 towns?

Cinque Terre, meaning 5 lands, are 5 stunning seaside towns on the Italian Riviera coastline. The towns all have bright coloured houses, vineyards and fresh seafood. The coloured houses make this spot a photographers haven.

The Cinque Terre towns are:

  1. Riomaggiore

  2. Manarola

  3. Corniglia

  4. Vernazza

  5. Montorosso al Mare

Where to stay?

There are hotels and apartments in each of the Cinque Terre towns and the most popular is Vernazza. We chose to stay in La Spezia which is a larger town and just a short 7 minute train ride from the first of the Cinque Terre towns, Riomaggiore.

How to get around?

Many of the towns have no car access but there is a frequent train service which stops at each of the 5 towns. There is also a hiking trail from Riomaggiore all the way to Monterosso. The trail is 11km long and will take around 5 hours to hike. You can choose to mix hiking with catching the train for a more leisurely and enjoyable experience.

The lower hiking trail has been closed since 2012 following a landslide which injured some Australian tourists. The path has not been considered safe since and requires a considerable amount of reconstruction work before it will be opened to the public. It is suspected the path may reopen in Spring 2024/2025.

You will therefore need to follow the higher path which does involve some steeper hills but equally stunning views of the coastline below.

Cinque Terre card

You will require a Cinque Terre card to access the footpaths to hike from Riomaggiore to Monterosso. You can get a combined card which covers foot access and your train ticket for the full day. You can pick up your Cinque Terre card along the trail or at the train stations.

The prices are:

  • 7.50 for 1 day, 14.50 for 2 days - trekking

  • €18.20 for 1 day, €33 for 2 days and €47 for 3 days - trekking and train

Child, family and concession tickets are also available.


Day 1:

  • 9am - fly into Pisa and take a short stop at the famous leaning tower

  • 10:30am - take the train from Pisa to La Spezia and check into your hotel

  • 11am - pick up your Cinque Terre card from La Spezia station and hop on the train to Riomaggiore

  • 12pm - explore Riomaggiore and then take the train to Manarola

  • 1:30pm - have lunch at Trattoria dal Billy

  • 2:30pm - explore Manarola and enjoy an Aperol Spritz with a view at Nessun Dorma

  • 5pm - join a pie de Campu for an extremely informative wine experience. Take a walk through the vineyards of Manarola with your guide and then return back to the winery for tastings of their delicious white wines

Day 2:

  • 9am - catch the train from La Spezia to Riomaggiore and then start the 11km hike to Monterosso

  • 9:30am - begin your hike through Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and finally, Monterosso. Take some time in each town to explore and notice the differences between each one

  • 4pm - after hiking and taking time in each town to explore you will likely arrive in Monterosso around this time

  • 4:30pm - stop for a celebratory wine at Enoteca Internazionale

  • 5:30pm - catch the train back to La Spezia

  • 7pm - have dinner at Osteria all'inferno dal 1905 (book in advance)

Day 3:

  • 9am - catch the train from La Spezia to Portofino

  • 10:30am - spend the day exploring Portofino

  • 1pm - have lunch at Trattoria del Marinaio

  • 3pm - time to head home

Things to do in Portofino

  • Walk up to the lighthouse

  • Take a bike tour from Chiavari to Portofino

  • Kayak tour of the bay

  • Hike Portofino nature park

  • Climb to Church San Giorgio and onto Castello Brown

  • Have a drink on the terrace of Splendido Belmond Hotel


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