The five gem-like villages of the Cinque Terre are one of the most popular destinations in Italy, which means they are invaded by thousands of visitors each day. By staying overnight, you can enjoy the quiet that descends on this stretch of coast after most tourists leave. Here’s how to make the most of two days in the Cinque Terre.
Day 1: The Cinque Terre by Land
Morning: Beat the crowds of day trippers, and set off early on the footpaths that have connected the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore for centuries. Alternatively, join a tour that moves from village to village via the scenic local train.
Afternoon: By midday, the trains and footpaths are often clogged with tour groups, so this is the perfect time to retreat to a village center for a food and wine tour or to a local kitchen for a cooking class. Not a foodie? Take to the skies with a paragliding experience, or to the water with a beach break.
Night: The evening hours are the most magical in the Cinque Terre; the coast empties out, and a sleepy, authentic atmosphere returns to the villages. Relax over a quiet dinner in a traditional restaurant overlooking the sea, or enjoy a home-cooked meal of classic Ligurian dishes by dining in a local home.
Day 2: The Cinque Terre by Sea
Morning: Though the footpaths and villages of the Cinque Terre are lovely to explore by land, this stretch of coast is particularly spectacular when seen from the water. Set sail in the morning on a full-day boat tour along the coast to access amazing views, stop at hidden beaches, and take a break from the crowds.
Afternoon: If you’d rather not spend your entire day on the water, opt for an afternoon boat tour that offers the same views, swimming breaks, and respite from the chaos on land. Alternatively, choose a kayaking trip along the coastline.
Night: Sunset is one of the best times of day to admire the pastel-hued villages of the Cinque Terre, which take on a golden glow as the sun dips into the Mediterranean. Enjoy this spectacular sight with a sunset sail down the coast, and toast your final evening with an aperitivo on board.