The biggest and most visited of the five villages comprising Italy’s famed Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare draws sunseekers to its sandy beach and scenic seafront promenade. The town’s comparatively flat terrain makes its two halves—the historic Old Town and the modern center—easy to get around on foot, while the surrounding hills abound with dreamy lookouts and medieval monuments.
Monterosso al Mare makes a good base for sailing and boat tours along the Italian Riviera, as well as for hiking in Cinque Terre National Park, which encompasses all five Cinque Terre towns. Day tours to Monterosso al Mare run from La Spezia, Florence, and Milan, and typically include visits to the neighboring Cinque Terre villages of Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Manarola, plus a stop in nearby Portovenere.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Monterosso al Mare can get busy in peak summer season, so book tours and accommodations in advance.
- Bring comfortable, sturdy walking shoes, as roads in the other villages—and the trails between them—can be steep and uneven.
- Monterosso al Mare is the most wheelchair and stroller accessible of all the Cinque Terre villages, and is reached by a long seafront promenade.
How to Get There
Located at the northern edge of Cinque Terre National Park along the Italian Riviera, Monterosso al Mare is a 2.5-hour drive from Florence or a 50-minute drive from La Spezia. Monterosso is easily accessible by car, but it’s most convenient to arrive by train from La Spezia (a 30-minute ride). Alternatively, from mid-April through October, ferries connect Monterosso al Mare with La Spezia, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, and Manarola.
When to Get There
The Cinque Terre see the most visitors and the highest temperatures—upwards of 100°F (40°C)—in summer. Hikers should aim to visit in May or September to avoid the peak heat, while budget-minded travelers might want to skip August, when hotel prices rise. Visiting in winter is possible, but some hiking trails may be inaccessible in inclement weather. Year-round, overnight guests can enjoy relatively quiet evenings once the day-trippers have filed out.
Monterosso al Mare’s Landmarks and Monuments
Take a short break from the beach to explore Monterosso’s historic center, home to the 13th-century Church of San Giovanni Battista and the 16th-century Oratory of Confraternita dei Neri. Continue to the waterfront to take in the views from the medieval Aurora Tower, pose for photos by the 1910 Il Gigante (Giant) statue, then climb San Cristoforo hill to admire the historic and artistic Capuchin convent and the Church of San Francesco.