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
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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
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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
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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.