What are the best things to see and do in Cinque Terre?

If you plan to stay more than a day in Cinque Terre, consider making Vernazza your hub. Arguably the most picturesque, the hamlet is home to a large population of artists and intellectuals, sprawling vineyards, a crumbling castle, two ancient towers, waterfalls and nude beaches. Though each traveler will explore at their own pace, here are five things Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest seeing and doing in Cinque Terre:
 
1. Warm up with a short trek to Santuario della Madonna di Montenero. Surrounded by colorful gardens, this 15-minute walk foreshadows what you can look forward to on your trip through the five villages. When you reach the 1,1000-foot pinnacle, stop and take in the vast vista that spans across all 11 miles of coastline.
 
2. Stroll along Riomaggiore Via dell’Amore. While it will be hard to tear yourself from the Riomaggiore’s main street, Via Colombo — it’s home to a handful of delicious Italian eateries — you won’t want to miss the romantic nooks and enchanting crannies along Via dell’Amore. 
 
3. Picnic on the beaches near Corniglia. Spend the day at Guvano, a clothing-optional beach and Cinque Terre’s best swimming hole. After lunch, climb the winding stairs past vineyards, citrus groves and lilies, knowing the area’s best wines wait for you at the top.
 
4. Sip sunset cocktails in Monterosso al Mare. Perhaps the most resort-like village in Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare is home to the most fashionable restaurants and the coast’s only sandy beach.
 
5. Hike the Blue Trail. From Vernazza, you can comb the Blue Trail (Sentiero Azzurro), which connects all of the villages from west to east. Walking along the trail cost 3 euros, unless you have a Cinque Terre card. It will take about five hours to travel from Monterosso to Riomaggiore.

  • On October 31, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What is the best way to see the Cinque Terre in a day?

    One of the main draws of this coastal destination is the path that links the five towns — "cinque terre" translates to "five lands." While it's not for those unwilling to walk, the views you'll get from your journey are second to none. On one side you have gardens and homes built into the steep coast, while on the other you have the sparkling Mediterranean stretching for as far as the eye can see. Stop off in one of the towns for a long lunch before continuing on the path.