There’s something special about the Cinque Terre. Maybe it’s the way the five towns seem to cling to the rocky coastline. Or maybe it’s because each town has its own unique Italian personality. Whatever the reason, this is a place that should be on everyone’s travel list. And while there are plenty of hotel options in each of the towns, we think there are some standouts worth mentioning. Here are our picks for the best places to stay in Cinque Terre.
If you are interested in a full guide about Cinque Terre, I have another post that I wrote.
How many villages are in the Cinque Terre?
The Cinque Terre is made up of five villages:
Each village has its own personality and charm, so it’s worth exploring them all while you’re there. With that said, here are our top picks for where to stay in Cinque Terre.
I have visited the Cinque Terre 3 times and stayed only in Manarola and Monterosso. I spent a lot of time exploring all the villages and discovering the beauty of each town. However, I do have my favorites for different reasons.
How to get to each village
The Cinque Terre is connected by train. It usually comes every 20 minutes, and you can buy tickets at the stations. There is also a ferry service connecting all five villages, but it’s only available during peak season. If you want to be very adventurous, they offer great hiking trails.
The best town to stay in Cinque Terre
I spent 7 nights in Manarola this past summer (2022) and I enjoyed every second of it. You have beautiful swim spots, amazing restaurants, and the best sunset! Manarola is an unforgettable sight in the Cinque Terre region of Italy. Not only is it a quaint and sleepy fishing village, but its harmonious blend of historic buildings, vivid colors, and stunning vistas draws visitors from all across the continent.
Perched atop its own rocky promontory is an enchanting medieval church with brightly colored homes climbing their way up to it. A stroll along the side of the mountain offers gorgeous views right over the water; a drive up those same winding roads will bring one to Manarola’s very own peak. It’s no wonder that Manarola’s beauty has become so renowned—it captures everything magical about this part of Italy in a single place.
Every day you wake up to the peaceful sound of the ocean, the birds chirping in the distance, and you can hear the church bells ring. We were lucky to stay in this stunning Airbnb with views of the hills, the village, and the sea.
Here are some pros and cons of staying here:
My second favorite town is Monterosso
Monterosso has a much different atmosphere than Manarola. It’s bigger and more tourist-friendly, with plenty of restaurants and cafes along the beachfront. The town also offers easy access to the other towns in Cinque Terre.
The beach is what makes Monterosso so special. With crystal clear turquoise waters and plenty of sunbeds, it’s worth a visit. There are also several great hikes nearby, as well as some beautiful views of the coastline from up high.
My third favorite is Vernazza
Vernazza is another beautiful village with a beautiful harbor and colorful houses. Vernazza is a village like no other – perched atop the rocky hills of Italy’s Cinque Terre, it truly is a sight to behold. But what sets this little gem apart, is its harbor; an enchanting confluence of bright blues, pastel yellows, and candy pinks that altogether transform into something postcard-worthy.
While the other three towns are just as gorgeous, they aren’t my top choice of where to relax and stay.
Without a doubt, Corniglia was one of my favorite villages to explore. This quaint town has many charming streets with extraordinary views from its peak. However, I disliked how many steps it took to reach the town. It is very inconvenient to reach the train station or the beach, the other towns are a lot easier. You have to walk approximately 12 minutes up and down a lot of steps to the town center, so it is not recommendable for travelers with limited mobility.
Lastly, Riomaggiore has great picture spots and street food, but I did not like the beach as much (it’s a lot wavier and there’s no sand (it is a rock beach). I also felt like it was very crowded and hard to walk through during the day. So many people are hopping on and off boats in the daytime and it can get a bit hectic especially since the streets are very narrow.
It does, however, have some great spots to explore including the dark and mysterious “Via Dell’Amore”.
In the end, each town has its own unique character and charm that makes me come back for more. From the amazing restaurants in Manarola to the breathtaking views of Corniglia to the incredible swim spots of Monterosso, Cinque Terre is an unforgettable destination. No matter which village you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
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