Where to stay to visit the Cinque Terre

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Valery Aloyants
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On the western coast of the Liguria, west of La Spezia, you will find a 130 km strip of bays, coves and historic villages perched on the cliffs: the Cinque Terre. If you are planning to visit them, the first question to ask yourself when preparing your trip is: where to stay in the Cinque Terre?

At first glance, the answer is not necessarily obvious because there are multiple accommodation options in the Cinque Terre depending on your wishes and your means of travel.



Is it better to stay in one of the Cinque Terre villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso) or rather look for accommodation in the nearby towns of Levanto or La Spezia? Below you will find some tips for choosing the right accommodation for you.

General information on the Cinque Terre

UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the Cinque Terre are a group of five centuries-old villages (Monterosso by the sea, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola e Riomaggiore) perched on a rugged and steep coast. They are very close to each other and connected by a railway line.

It is a fascinating and unique place. The choice between the five villages will be difficult. All of them have a spectacular view of the sea and the multicolored houses, so characteristic of the area. However, everyone has their own profile, their soul, their atmosphere ...

Countries are crowded at almost all times of the year and if you intend to stay in one of them, you should book well in advance.

All five villages can also be visited on foot but the best thing to do is to choose one as a base and visit the others by train so as not to carry your suitcases.



Where to stay to visit the Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre are declared a World Heritage Site, which forces the beautiful villages that make up the area to preserve their color and traditional architecture. Therefore, you will not find stately resorts or hotels here, but traditional and simple accommodation, which are what give the area its identity.

In general, sleeping in the Cinque Terre is not cheap, much less during the summer months. The five resorts are expensive and have a limited supply of accommodation limited to family hotels.

On the other hand, Levanto, La Spezia e Portovenere are excellent alternatives where to stay to visit the Cinque Terre. They are cheaper and have a much wider and more varied hotel offer than the cities that make up the Cinque Terre area.

La Spezia

La Spezia - Image from Pixabay

This welcoming city is located in the Gulf of Poets, facing the Ligurian Sea. Only 20 km away, it is the gateway to the Cinque Terre and, therefore, to the national park.

It has a monumental heritage of great value, the highest representatives of which are the castle of San Giorgio Cathedral of Christ the King or the church of Santa Maria Assunta, which is the oldest in the city.

To this is added his wide range of museums: the Castle Museum, the Sigilio Museum, the Amedeo Lia Civic Museum, the CAMeC or the Naval Technical Museum.


Its coast is full of beaches with crystal clear waters, protected by huge hills covered with greenery, cliffs and cliffs. Its seabed is characterized by rocky walls, ravines and cavities, ideal for diving or snorkeling.


La Spezia is very well connected to the Cinque Terre villages which can be reached by regional train, which runs along the coast, by boats or by car which allows you to discover the impressive landscapes that decorate this region.

THEoffer of accommodation is very diverse, it is very good value for money and you can find accommodation for all budgets. This makes La Spezia one of the best areas to stay for visiting the Cinque Terre. Furthermore, it is a good starting point for visiting the nearby areas and offers a lively nightlife.

Find a hotel in La Spezia

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore - Cinque Terre - Image from Pixabay

Riomaggiore is the southernmost town of the Cinque Terre, and is the first village you come across coming from La Spezia. It is organized around a main street adorned with colorful houses, cozy cafes and ice cream parlors.

The country is crowned by a charming medieval castle and opens onto a harbor decorated with a beautiful rocky beach.

From here the Blue Path, the most famous and most visited trail of all the Cinque Terre. This 12 km route, divided into four sections, which connects the five villages and runs through incredible landscapes is a must for trekking lovers.


As it is also unmissable to walk among the vineyards that surround Riomaggiore or visit the sanctuary of the Madonna di Montenero.

Riomaggiore is the perfect destination for younger kids. The wide range of clubs and pubs make the nightlife a little more lively.

The housing offer it is a bit more limited than in La Spezia and is made up of traditional and family accommodation. So, as you can imagine, the prices are generally high and increase during the high season, i.e. in the summer months.


Find a hotel or B&B in Riomaggiore

Corniglia

Corniglia, Cinque Terre - Image from Pixabay

Corniglia is the smallest of all the villages and also the most unique, since it has no direct access to the sea, but stands on top of a cliff, 100 meters above it. It is 3 minutes by train from Manarola and 5 minutes from Riomaggiore.

Of the five villages, Corniglia is the smallest and even the least accessible. From the train station you have to walk a path of more than 300 steps (the Lardarina) to reach it, or take the shuttle that spares you such a climb.

Of course, it's worth it, because from above the view is priceless, allowing you to contemplate Vernazza, Manarola and the immensity of the coast.

These orographic characteristics indicate that it is one of the least popular, but also the most authentic and rural, whose essence and environment remain unchanged. The advantage is that once you get to the top it's relatively flat, so it's easy to walk around its streets.

Corniglia is articulated around Via Fieschi, marked by numerous colored houses, artisan shops, cafes and some restaurants; you will also find some architectural gems like the church of San Pietro,oratory of the Disciplinati di Santa Caterina or sanctuary of Our Lady of Grace.

The accommodation offer is quite limited and therefore expensive, but hotels in Corniglia are often more affordable compared to those in the other villages.

Find accommodation in Corniglia

Vernazza

Vernazza, Cinque Terre - Image from Pixabay

Vernazza is the most popular village of the Cinque Terre and probably what you have seen on the cover of most tourist guides and related articles. It is the fourth village, if you come from the south. It can be reached in 4 minutes by train from Corniglia, in 7 minutes from Manarola and 10 minutes from Riomaggiore.

This village of 945 inhabitants, the most picturesque of the Cinque Terre and one of the most beautiful in Italy, recalls the rich economic and cultural past of Liguria. Perched on a rocky spur east of Monterosso, it houses medieval remains, including the castle of the Doria family, a small port and the parish church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia, which overlooks the sea.

Vernazza is smaller than Riomaggiore and Manarola, but not as small as Corniglia. It's a very lively place which attracts numerous visitors every day. It is full of bars and restaurants, and is worth a visit both day and night to enjoy a magnificent sunset sitting on one of its terraces.

Vernazza is truly beautiful and one ideal base to stay for visiting the Cinque Terre if you don't mind the crowds of tourists that pour into its narrow streets.

Unfortunately, it has one restricted supply of accommodation, limited to small family-run hotels, guesthouses or some apartments. This means hotels sell out early and prices are more expensive than in other cities. For example, a decent 3-star accommodation costs no less than € 70 in the low season.

Find a hotel or B&B in Vernazza

Manarola

Manarola, Cinque Terre - Photo from Pixabay

È the most beautiful and well-known village of the Cinque Terre. It is located about 6 kilometers from Riomaggiore, sandwiched between two huge promontories. The interior is marked by sown terraces of vineyards.

Manarola develops around the main street. Its streets are adorned with a series of pastel-colored houses and charming buildings of sublime architectural beauty, which form one of the most idyllic postcards in Italy.

Among the most important monuments are the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, Bastion of Manarola or l 'Oratory of the Disciplinati.

In Marina of Manarola you will find its beach, protected by huge rocks and lapped by deep blue waters, ideal for lovers of maritime sports, sun and the beach.

The numerous cafes and restaurants, concentrated mainly along the Via di Mezzo (the main street), represent another of the attractions of this city.

It is important to know that access to the city by car is prohibited, even for residents. But there is a private parking at the entrance of Manarola which costs € 25 per day.

Although the accommodation offer is not very wide, it is one of the most magical areas to stay in to visit the Cinque Terre. As in the rest of the villages that make up the region, the prices are high, especially in the summer months, since there are many travelers who come to enjoy its beaches. The average price is between € 80 and € 100.

Find accommodation in Manarola

Monterosso by the sea

Monterosso al mare, Cinque Terre - Image from Pixabay

Monterosso is the westernmost town of the Cinque Terre. AND the largest village in the area, with 1521 inhabitants and, therefore, the most animated and the most visited. It consists of a labyrinth of narrow medieval streets, with houses and ancient defensive towers from the XNUMXth century (in particular the Aurora and San Giovanni tower).

Monterosso is composed of two distinct parts, the Old Town and Fegina, the New Town, connected to each other by a tunnel that can be covered on foot. Here you will find the largest beach in the Cinque Terre and majestic views of the rugged coastline and four other villages.

Among the various attractions of the village we can name the Giant statue, which pays homage to the god of the seas, Neptune, the Aurora tower or the Church of St. John the Baptist. Its historic center is crossed by narrow medieval streets whose path is a real journey into the Italian past.

As it is one of the main cities and the one that receives the largest number of visitors, it has all the necessary services, in addition to a good supply of accommodation, mainly hostels, B & Bs and guesthouses. The prices, as we have said, are high. The average is around € 100.

È ideal for families with children and people with reduced mobility since it is the flattest of all. Walking through its streets is easy and you won't find the steep slopes and stairs of other cities.

Monterosso is a great option to stay for visiting the Cinque Terre. And also the city that has the widest and most varied offer of accommodation in the Cinque Terre.

Find a hotel in Monterosso al Mare

Levanto

Levanto, Cinque Terre – Photo by Pixabay

This town is located less than 13 kilometers from Monterosso al Mare. Like La Spezia, it is not part of the Cinque Terre, but it can be considered another of the beautiful gates of the area.

Even if its main attraction is yours great sandy beaches, it also has some points of interest such as the castle or the Piazza del Popolo.

Do not miss suggestive cycle path of about 5 km that passes from the old railway viaduct and connects the villages of Levanto, Bonassola and Framura.

There are many travelers who choose this location to stay and, from here, move to the rest of the surrounding cities. The reason is that, in addition to having a good number of services, it's a lot well connected by the regional train, which makes the coastal route stopping at the sites declared World Heritage Sites.

Levanto is one of the recommended areas to sleep in the Cinque Terre, as it offers a wide range of accommodations, from Bed & Breakfasts to 3 and 4 star hotels. THE prices are lower and diversified than those offered by the Cinque Terre villages.

Find a hotel in Levanto

Portovenere

Portovenere, Liguria -

This city is located right where the Gulf of La Spezia ends and the Gulf of Genoa begins. It stands out for its beautiful historic center, embraced by the ancient walls, within which the gothic church of San Pietro or Romanesque sanctuary of the White Madonna.

It is presided over by the remains of the legendary Doria castle and from its tower, erected to defend itself from the attacks of the Saracens.

It is an excellent area to stay for visiting the Cinque Terre, as it has a good range of hotels. Furthermore, prices are very varied, suitable for all travelers' budgets.

Find a hotel in Portovenere

Where to stay in the Cinque Terre if you arrive by car

If you arrive in the Cinque Terre by car and want to sleep in one of its villages, know that it will be impossible to reach the accommodation by car. To the Cinque Terre you do not move by car.

The accommodations in the heart of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso do not have private parking. You should leave your car in one of the outdoor parking lots, which are expensive and quickly sold out.

The best choice is to sleep in Levanto or La Spezia where you can easily park your car and visit the villages by train.

Or the other solution is to leave the car in a parking lot in Levanto or La Spezia and then take the train to reach your accommodation in one of the Cinque Terre villages.

How to get around in the Cinque Terre

There are three options for moving between the Cinque Terre villages:

  • Through the paths of the National Park that connect the villages - this solution is ideal for those staying in the Cinque Terre or for hiking lovers.
  • By boat - there are boats departing from Spezia, Lerici or Portovenere every morning or from Levanto, Bonassola, Deiva Marina, Moneglia and Portofino. The day ticket costs € 25 per person for adults and € 15 per person for children aged 6 to 11 and allows you to disembark and embark at will between the five villages.
  • By train - it is the most comfortable and economical way to visit the Cinque Terre. Trains stop at village stations every 20 minutes. Monterosso and Levanto in addition to regional trains are also served by interregional trains and are an excellent base where to stay for visiting the Cinque Terre.

 

Cinque Terre - Image from Pixabay
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