Where to Stay In Cinque Terre took a lot of research before we settled on Riomaggiore.
We were not really sure where to stay in Cinque Terre, as we have never been to this area before. A lot of time went into determining the perfect place for us to stay. There are plenty of people who recommend staying in La Spezia, but we knew we wanted to stay in one of the five villages in Cinque Terre and avoid additional time on the crowded trains. I am so glad we did. We eliminated Corniglia immediately, as we did not want to walk up or down the hill or take the bus to reach the town every time we took the train somewhere. After hours of reading on-line about the different towns, we choose Riomaggiore. It turned out to be the perfect spot for us to spend three nights. I put together some pictures of the five villages in Cinque Terre to help you get a better understanding of what each one offers.
Riomaggiore is the most southern village in Cinque Terre. It is situated along the water, with its own beach. After arriving by train, to reach the town, we walked through the tunnel. You have two choices, take the stairs to the marina and beach, or walk up the hill to enjoy this beautiful town filled with restaurants and shops. It’s very busy during the day, but after the day trippers leave, you can really enjoy the quaint village. This village offered everything we were looking for. It is smaller than some of the other villages we visited. Since we were at the beginning of the train line, it was not as crowded allowing us to get seats. These trains get very busy during the day with standing room only. I really liked the overall vibe of this village especially after the day trippers left.
We tried to walk the trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola but it was closed. There was a gate that was locked to keep people from walking on the trail. We were very disappointed, that three of the five trails were closed when we were there. Below is a picture of the beginning of the trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola where you can see the entrance to the trail which was closed.
Since we could not walk the trail from Riomaggiore, we took the train to Manarola. After departing the train, we walked through a tunnel to reach the town. Just follow the crowd. When we came out of the tunnel we went to the left, and took the steps, which will land you on a platform. After taking pictures looking down the street towards the water, we went down the steps on the other side to go to the marina.
The view from the platform.
Walking down the street takes you directly to the marina. We followed the trail to the right, which gave us a view of the town, but we could only go so far as this trail was also closed. This town is smaller than Riomaggiore. We did not find this village offered as much as where we stayed.
When arriving by train, you have three options to get to the town of Corniglia. You can walk up the road, take the 382 steps to the town center or take the shuttle. We choose the shuttle. If you have the Cinque Terre pass (24 Euors for 2 people), the shuttle is free, or you can pay a fee to ride to the top if you do not have the pass. This shuttle is vey crowded, as most people coming off the train take it to the town center. Corniglia is the only village that is surrounded on three sides by vineyards and terraces located 100 meters above the sea.
The bus dropped us off at the main square. We wondered around Corniglia before making our way by train to the next village. The thought of having to walk the hill or wait for a shuttle every time I wanted to get to the train station eliminated staying in this village.
Vernazza is a small fishing village. The piazza is lined with numerous restaurants and bars. You could not tell that in October 2011, a freak rainstorm hit the towns of Vernazza and Monterosso in Cinque Terre. Vernazza was the hardest hit by the flood. Fast moving water from the rain, carried tons of mud and debris down the mountain, which destroyed homes and businesses. The landslide filled the streets with dirt, rocks and debris up to 12 feet deep. Today, everything has been cleaned up and the pictures posted on the town wall in Vernazza was a reminder of the devastation from the storm.
As we walked around Vernazza, we would have never know this town was devastated by the flood.
The waterfront in Vernazza. There was a great gelato shop located here.
We took the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia. Our last view of Vernazza before beginning our hike. We really enjoyed exploring Vernazza and would consider staying in this village if we ever returned.
Monterosso is the most unique village in Cinque Terre as the town is divided into two parts, the old town and the new town. Arriving by train, dropped us in the new town right along the waters edge. The beach runs along most of the coast line and is served by locals and tourists.
There are plenty of shops and resturants in the new town.
Looking back at the town of Monterosso at the beginning of the trail.
We walked around the old town before starting our hike to Vernazza. The old town section reminded me of the other villages in Cinque Terre. This town is largest village in Cinque Terre. We did not stay here because we were looking for a smaller town. This town would give you the chance to stay in the old village or new section, along with a very nice beach. I felt this town was the busiest of the five villages we visited.
Cinque Terre is linked by a network of paths that that allow you to truly enjoy the unique landscape. Check before you go to see if the paths are open. We were very disappointed we were not able to hike all five villages.
Cinque Terre was very crowded during the day but at night after the day trippers go home, is when you really get a feel for the villages. Deciding on the location on where to stay in Cinque Terre and planning ahead on what you want to do will help you enjoy your time.
All five villages are connected by local trains. The trains get VERY CROWDED during the day. Deciding on where to stay in Cinque Terre and spending several days exploring the region will allow you to have a trip that you will always remember.
Where do you like to stay in Cinque Terre?