Cinque Terre attracts all kinds of travelers—from those seeking Mediterranean luxury to sun-worshiping beachcombers and outdoor adventurers. The picturesque villages, rolling hillsides, coastal cliffs and easy hiking trails make this Italian jewel the perfect destination for visitors looking to escape. While it can take weeks to truly explore this five-city wonder, three days offers travelers just enough time to experience Cinque Terre’s natural beauty and captivating culture.
Day 1: Get on the Trails
Travelers agree the best way to experience the sights, sounds and epic views Cinque Terre is known for is on foot. So spend day one easing into the landscape on the mostly flat trail between Riomaggiore and Manorola. Sample some of the local Sciacchetra—a sweet dessert wine unique to Cinque Terre, or embark on a scenic trek to the towering cliffs that overlook crystal clear waters that are perfect for daredevil diving.
Day 2: Stairway to Heaven
After a day spent navigating the flats, endeavor to climb the 300-step staircase Corniglia is famous for. Check out what are arguably some of the best panoramic views from atop the highest village in Cinque Terre. It’s the only village where it’s possible to see each of the Cinque Terre towns from a single terrace.
Day 3: Visit Vernazza
Once you’ve explored by land it’s time to experience Cinque Terre’s most well-known seaside town. Spend a day in the official harbor of Vernazza. Hop aboard one of the local fishermen’s tiny vessels and cast a line into the sea. Afterwards, head back to the mainland for a truly religious experience. Visit the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia and wander the unique and memorable path to the Sanctuary of Madonna di Reggio, which is dotted with images from the Stations of the Cross.