On our tour around Italy last month, we spent two days in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site of Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is situated in Liguria, a region in the north west of Italy. The Cinque Terre national park consists of 5 beautiful terraced villages right by the coastline and the surrounding hills. It’s easy to visit these villages by train or boat, however I wouldn’t advise visiting by car.
We were staying in a stunning agriturismo in the hills of Levanto, and explored 4 villages from there. After an already hectic itinerary before arriving in Liguria, we wished we could have stayed an extra day to relax in these hills. It’s the perfect place to unwind and a perfect location if you’re into photography. Unfortunately, the seas were rough when we were there, so I wasn’t able to take photos from the sea, but while hiking from village to village you can capture some great photos of the villages.
Levanto is in the north of the Cinque Terre national park and a perfect base to explore the region. It’s very popular with surfers and beach lovers as it has an actual beach (Out of the 5 Cinque Terre villages, only Monterosso has a beach). It doesn’t have the cosy streets and character of the other villages, but it’s lively in the evenings and has plenty of dining options. We were staying in the hills, only a 5 minute drive from the beach.
Monterosso is one of the 5 Cinque Terre villages. We reached the village by train from Levanto. You can purchase a day ticket that can take you all the way to La Spezia, while stopping at each village on the way. If you like to spend time on the beach, Monterosso is the place to go as it has the only beach in the Cinque Terre national park.
Hiking Monterosso to Vernazza
Hiking is a great way to move from village to village and seeing another side of the beautiful coastline. We hiked from Monterosso to Vernazza and were treated on some amazing views of both villages as well as the coastline. The hike is not too hard and took us around 1,5h. You’ll need to pay to access the hiking trails. We bought the Cinque Terre card, which allowed us to use the train, shuttle buses and the hiking trails.
It was a pretty spectacular sight when we approached Vernazza from the hiking trail. It’s one of the reasons why I would suggest hiking at least one trail. The colourful houses and the picturesque bay are perfect photography subjects. The village was incredibly busy, and quite a few people were swimming in the bay. The sea was pretty rough and quite often, the breaking waves would splash everyone who were standing on the pier (a welcoming treat in the Italian heat).
Riomaggiore is one of the more well known villages. We only spent half an hour here, as we found it a bit too touristy. We tried to capture the village, rushing up the streets to a higher vantage point, but I failed to be able to get the photo I wanted. I think you would be able to get some amazing photos from the sea.
Manarola was my favourite Cinque Terre village. Cosy and beautiful from every side. We spent some time here waiting for the sun to set before heading back to Levanto.
Our stay in Levanto
We stayed in the beautiful Agriturismo Costa di Faraggiano in the Levanto hills. Apart from the character bedrooms, it boasts a stunning swimming pool and Jacuzzi, overlooking the hills. It was the perfect place to unwind and relax, and I regret not booking an extra day in Cinque Terre.