15 Best Things To Do in Cinque Terre, Italy

by Ketki Hanamshet Updated on 16 Oct 2018

Cinque Terre consists of a designated national park and the UNESCO World Heritage site and territorial are of five century-old dazzling villages comprising of vibrantly colored houses and picturesque vineyards built on steep terraces.

Cinque Terre is a part of the stunning Italian Riviera and is much more than just a scenic location for snapping quintessential pictures for Instagram account, and offers set of exciting things to do. The 15 best places to visit in Cinque Terre have been explored below.

Here's the list of Cinque Terre points of interest and 15 best things to do in Cinque Terre:

1. Trail the Monterosso-Vernazza footpath / #2 Blue Path

Full stretch of beautiful beach, clear water, plentiful restaurants offering lip-smacking seafood and affordable hotels makes Monterosso the most accessible and resort- oriented settlement of the Cinque Terre. What makes it attract a number of tourists are the number of outdoor activities it offers to its visitors. The trail connecting Monterosso to Vernazza earns the top spot in the visitors’ to do bucket list. The trail though starts with a daunting number of stairs, but the scenic views of vineyards and citrus orchards make up for the climb. The mostly flat trail also offers the panoramic view of the Monterosso and Vernazza.

2. Enjoy the Cinque Terre Boat Tour

The centuries-old seaside village settlements of Cinque Terre undoubtedly offer the tourists with an ample number of seaside stretches and beaches. But an expedition to this quintessential site is incomplete without a Boat Tour headed by a local guide. There are a number of private agencies which offer waterway tour of the magnificent locations. What more? The captain entertains his passengers with the interesting history of the key sites and also takes them to the best spots for snorkeling and swimming. The sunset view of all the five towns from a different perspective from the sea makes it a memorable experience.

3. Visit the Church of San Francesco

Also known as the Convento dei Cappuccini e Chiesa di San Francesco and the Capuchin Friars Monastery, the Church of San Francesco was built in the 17th century and contains many astonishing works of art including marble triptych by Domenica Gare, two canvases by Flasella, and Crucifixion by the artist Anthony van Dyck. The visitors often vouch by the panorama offered by the church after a strenuous hike which should not be missed. The monastery ground offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere to the ones visiting it.

4. Explore the Parco Nizionale delle Cinque Terre

Covering only about 4,300 acres of land, the Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre is the smallest national park in Italy. The park, also called Park of Man is unique as the people cultivated the steep and sloping land, erected authentic traditional settlements and sketched hiking trails which provides the visitors with breath-taking scenery. In 1997, the wonder of man was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area inhabited by around 4000 people boasts of whopping 2.4 million visitors every year! Visitors to this Eco tourist national park are vowed by the atmosphere, the perfect harmony created between the humankind and nature, food, and the welcoming people.

5. Drop by Castello dei Doria

Locally known as Belforte, the origins of the castle are uncertain though the first historical reference to it was made for the 13th century. The castle is built on a steep outcrop and has an irregular shape. The impressive tower located in the center of the castle’s esplanade is said to be the oldest part of the architectural complex.

A steep climb towards the castle leads the tourists to great views of the bay and the sea. One can catch the spectacle of the Vernazza and glimpses of Corniglia and Monte Rosso. The sight of the changing color of the sea with the time of the day makes it an unforgettable experience.

6. Indulge in Scuba and Snorkelling

Scuba and Snorkelling in Cinque Terre - ImageImage Source: pixabay.com

The marine area around the Cinque Terre national park offers interesting rock formations, flora, and fauna both above and under the water. Any visit to the seaside is incomplete without indulging in a mesmerizing experience of scuba diving and snorkeling. The diving center of Riomaggiore offers the best underwater exploration experience to the scuba enthusiasts. The natural marine life in the area is completely enchanting.

For people who don’t dive, snorkeling is an excellent alternative to get a glimpse of the world below. One can also opt for sailing or kayaking to explore the picturesque beauty of the place. Paragliding offers an adrenaline rushing bird view of the string of villages.

7. Tease the taste buds at Liguria

The best thing about the seaside destinations is the freshness and deliciousness of the food available. A trip’s purpose is wasted if one has not gorged on the tasty seafood of the Cinque Terre. Perhaps it is the result of the rich algae that blooms in the Ligurian Sea that the food is especially delectable. Anchovies, the local staple are found in antipasti, as an appetizer, and even as pizza toppings.

The locally invented Fresh basil pesto is another local specialty which should not be left out. A light brown pasta, trofie is also a must-have.

8. Shop for near and dear ones at Riomaggiore

Tourist attractions in Cinque Terre Image Source: pixabay.com

Any trip is incomplete without buying a couple of souvenirs for the near and dear ones. Riomaggiore is considered as one of the best places to search for locally produced fresh items. A number of shops promote the Italian artisans and sell locally made ceramics, jewelry and much more which can serve as a perfect gift for family and friends.

There are also a number of shops which offer free cooking lessons to tourists for preparing local cuisines and dishes.

9. Discover history at Museo delle Cinque Terre Antiche

One visiting the beautiful Cinque Terre sure becomes curious about the origin and the history of the magnificent place. Museo delle Cinque Terre Antiche housed in an old restored wine cellar and located at the village of Riomaggiore is dedicated to exhibiting the excerpts and glimpses of the Cinque Terre. The history, the development, local traditions, everyday life of the locals and the reasons of the place being awarded the UNESCO world heritage site tag has been displayed here.

10. Climb up the Scalinata Lardarina

Tourists consider the most beautiful path to the small village of Corniglia is via Scalinata Lardarina. It is a stairway of 377 steps which connects the railway station to Corniglia. The climb takes around 15 minutes, but the panorama of the Corniglia station and the magnificent views of the Mediterranean is worth the tiring climb.

Alternatively, visitors can take the bus services which take them to the town which awaits them with cute boutique stores and restaurants offering lip-smacking delicacies.

11. Visit Torre Aurora

The Aurora tower or Dawn Tower was built by the Republic of Genoa in the 16th century to defend itself from the pirate raids of the Saracens. Located on the St. Christopher Hill, the tower separates the old part of Monterosso from the new part of Fegina. The most celebrated tower of the Monterosso offers tourists with a magnificent view from the top of it.

12. Appreciate the Monumento a San Francesco d’Assisi

The sculpture erected in 1962 depicts the story of St. Francis and the wolf which dates back to around 1220. The wolf terrorized the city of Gubbio and was finally tamed by St. Francis. Those familiar with the story would appreciate the bronze statue while those unfamiliar ones will still enjoy the breathtaking a bird-eye view of the harbor from the platform around the sculpture led by fully paved and wide path.

13. Sunbathe at Spiaggia di Fegina

Things to do in Cinque TerreImage Source: pixabay.com

Located at the far end of the crystal clear waters, Fegina is the biggest and the most comfortable beach. The only sandy beach in Cinque Terre, it was placed among top twenty- five sexiest beaches in the world by the “Forbes” magazine in 2007. One can find tourists sunbathing and young children enjoying a swim in the clean and clear water. There are a number of restaurants and bars located along it from where one can enjoy the glorious view of the rocks.

14. Relish at Borgo Antico

If one loves to stop, shop, eat and stroll on the beach stretches, this lovely and charming ancient part of Monterosso provides with just the thing. Adorned with narrow streets lined by lots of old shops offering local goods, bars, and small hotels, it offers everything within walking distance. The old town provides a quaint insight into the history and lifestyle of the small village. The plenty number of old alleyways leads to a number of beautiful churches and of course the souvenir shops.

15. Awaken inner sommelier

The terrace at Cinque Terre proudly exhibits its beautifully cultivated vineyards and is quite famous for its locally brewed wines. A visit to the vineyard is a must addition to the itinerary. The crisp white Cinque Terre wine is a must have to feel refreshed.

Spectacular ocean views, colorful and quaint villages, scrumptious food and drinks are what that define the Cinque Terre and to miss out anyone can defy the real spirit of the Italian Riviera.

Author: Ketki Hanamshet
Usually lost in a reverie, Ketki is someone who absolutely refuses to live in the practical world. While she has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, she should be honored mastery in procrastination. If you see her slouching on a couch, ask...

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Cinque Terre, Italy

Must see places in Cinque Terre ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of Cinque Terre tourist attractions & points of interest.

  1. # 1 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 1195 times in trip plans
    Footpath Monterosso

    Tags: Walking Area

    Address: 19018 Vernazza SP, Italy

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Walking is an essential and one of the best ways to explore Cinque Terra. The Footpath of Monterosso will offer you a different travel experience as you will get to cross some of the most splendid vie...Read more

  2. # 2 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 1928 times in trip plans
    Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre

    Tags: Nature, Vineyard

    Address: 19018 Riomaggiore Province of La Spezia, Italy

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    A part of the Unesco World Heritage, the National park of Cinque Terre will introduce you to lush green vegetation and other manifestations of nature. The various sections of this park will make you f...Read more

  3. # 3 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 562 times in trip plans
    Chiesa Di San Lorenzo

    Tags: Church, Religious Site

    Address: Via Rocca, 17, 19017 Manarola, Riomaggiore SP, Italy

    You will find a number of medieval churches in Cinque Terra. However, if you wish to visit one which is the most popular, you should visit Chiesa di San Lorenzo, a quaint yet historically important ch...Read more

  4. # 4 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 277 times in trip plans
    Scalinata Lardarina

    Tags: View Point, Nature

    Address: SP, Riomaggiore, Italy

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Time for some exercise with admiring beauty! Climb up and down the brick stairs of Scalinata Lardarina and soak in some of the most beautiful views of Cinque Terra during your activity. There are atle...Read more

  5. # 5 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 28 times in trip plans
    Church Of San Giovanni Battista

    Tags: Church, Religious Site, Landmark

    Address: 19017 Riomaggiore Province of La Spezia, Italy

    One of the oldest churches of Cinque Terre region, the church of San Giovanni Battisa inspires your imagination with its art and architecture. Built in 1340 by Antonio Fieschi, bishop of Luni, this ch...Read more

  6. # 6 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 27 times in trip plans
    Church Of Saint Peter

    Tags: Church, Religious Site

    Address: Lungo Calata Doria, 19025 Portovenere SP, Italy

    There are many churches that grace the landscape of Cinque Terre, however, some stand out. One such church is San Pietro that look beautiful nestled in the upper part of Corniglia. Built in the mediev...Read more

  7. # 7 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 22 times in trip plans
    Castello Di Riomaggiore

    Tags: Landmark, Castle, Historical Site, Architecture

    Address: 19017 Riomaggiore Province of La Spezia, Italy

    Built in 13th century, Castello di Riomaggiore dominates the topography of Cinque Terre with its presence. The castle looks obviously historic and evokes a quaint charm in its setting. It was built on...Read more

  8. # 8 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 4 times in trip plans
    Torre Aurora

    Tags: Castle, Historical Site

    Address: Italia, Strada Provinciale 38, 28, 19016 Monterosso al Mare SP, Italy

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    As you make a visit to the old part of Monterosso in Cinque Terre, you will come across a huge medieval structure overlooking the great Mediterranean Sea. Known as the Dawn tower, this is actually a m...Read more

  9. # 9 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 13 times in trip plans
    Via Dell' Amore

    Tags: Outdoors, Nature

    Address: Via dell' Amore, 19017 Riomaggiore SP, Italy

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Even the streets of Cinque Terre offer views that are unmatched anywhere else in this world. Via dell’Amore is one of the main streets that links the picturesque villages of Riomaggiore and Mana...Read more

  10. # 10 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 6 times in trip plans
    Monumento A Giuseppe Garibaldi

    Tags: Landmark, Monument

    Address: Piazza Municipio, Monterosso al Mare, Italy

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    Standing high in the centre of Piazza Garibaldi, is this huge monument of Giuseppe Garibaldi that strikes everyone who crosses it. The square has been named after him only and you will find a number o...Read more

  11. # 11 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 8 times in trip plans
    Oratorio San Rocco

    Tags: Church, Religious Site

    Address: Small Plaza off via de Gasperi, 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy

    You never know you might just come across some great attraction in the quaintest of the corners. The same holds true for Oratorio di San Rocco in Cinque Terre. The church might be small but is nice an...Read more

  12. # 12 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 1 time in trip plans
    Terrazza Di Santa Maria

    Tags: View Point

    Address: Via Fieschi, 19018 Vernazza, Italy

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    One of the most picturesque locations in Cinque Terre, Terrazza di Santa Maria will offer you exquisite views of the sea and the clear blue sky of Italy. Visiting this place is the best way to spend s...Read more

  13. # 13 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 1 time in trip plans
    Oratorio Di Santa Maria Assunta

    Tags: Church, Religious Site

    Address: 19017 Riomaggiore, Italy

    Located in one of the quiet corners of Cinque Terre, the L 'Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta is a place of devotion offering an insight into the spiritual scene of Italy. The church is lo...Read more

  14. # 14 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre | Added 1 time in trip plans
    Cantina 5 Terre

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery

    Address: Localita' Groppo, 19017 Riomaggiore SP, Italy

    Timings: 08:00 am - 07:00 pm Details

    A visit to Cinque Terre cannot be complete without having its famous white wine. Locally produced, the white wine of Cinque Terre holds a lot of value to the world of its connoisseurs. Make a visit to...Read more

  15. # 15 of 16 Things To Do in Cinque Terre
    Hostel Cinque Terre Image

    Address: Via Riccobaldi, 21, 19017 Manarola, Riomaggiore SP, Italy

    Google Reviews
    Carrieann Asani

    Great location and friendly managers! This was a nice home base to experience this beautiful place! So convenient!

    Read more