Divided into an old and "new" section, the westernmost Monterosso is the largest of Cinque Terre's five coastal villages. Complete with a large sweeping beach, Monterosso is the least quintessential of the quintet but charming to visit none the less.
Don’t pass up the chance to hike up along the rugged cliffs for a panoramic view over the town, spend time on the beach, explore its small, crooked lanes in the old town and visit one of its historic churches.
The picturesque cliff-clustered town of Vernazza is one of the most popular villages in Cinque Terre. Without any car traffic, this little town is characterized by pastel-coloured fisherfolk homes that look out towards the water.
Most of the action takes place at the harbor, where you'll find numerous outdoor cafes and restaurants, gelateria's, a small piazza and an old watch tower that was once used to spot pirates!
Located between Vernazza and Manarola, Corniglia is the only village in Cinque Terre with no direct sea access. Sat atop a 100m-high rocky promontory surrounded by vineyards, Corniglia is the least visited town but a favourite with those looking to get away from the crowds.
With fewer tourists, exploring its narrow alleys, piazzas and lookout points over the beautiful coastline is a delight, but be prepared to take the 382-step staircase to get to the village or wait for the shuttle bus to drive you to the top.
Manarola is the most photographed town and the iconic image of Cinque Terre. The colorful buildings and houses that slide down the high rocky bluff and the rugged coast of Manarola make it hard to imagine that this town was (and still is) famous for its wine production.
The streets that are crammed between the rail line and the harbor make this town often unnervingly congested, but walk just a few steps uphill to admire the view and the trip to Manarola will be 100% worth it.
There are some people who arrive in Riomaggiore and are severely underwhelmed by its appearance from the train station. But for those who venture through the tunnel, a colorful surprise awaits.
Explore the town’s two 14th-century churches, along with the crag-perched Castle of Riomaggiore for a breathtaking view across the water. Alternatively, wander up the town's main drag and enjoy lunch or dinner in one of the many restaurants. For the ultimate romantic experience, book a table on the harbor front for a sunset dinner you will never forget.