Why Cinque Terre Should be on Your Bucket List

Cinque Terre lies along a beautifully rugged stretch of coastline in the Italian Riviera, and looks like it’s ripped straight from a picture book. The five villages boast vibrant terraces overflowing with blooming bougainvillea, fishing boats painted in bright blues and reds, and steep cobblestone streets where the smell of pizza intermingles with the fresh Mediterranean air.

But seriously, it smells like how I imagine heaven to be. Strolling through the streets, enjoy the fusion of nature, sea, and Italian culture that you can only find in Cinque Terre. One of the best ways to see these villages is by hiking Cinque Terre (or at least parts of it!)

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My first glimpse of Cinque Terre. As soon as I laid eyes on the village, I knew I was in love (but really, if I could marry a place, Manarola would be near the top of my list.) The colorful buildings perched on the side of a cliff can only belong in a fairytale. If you need a break, hop on a wine tour of the Italian Riviera. You can meet the winemakers, plus sample some of their produce with snacks!

Hiking Cinque Terre - Manarola 1
Hiking Cinque Terre - Manarola
Hiking Cinque Terre - Manarola


To get to Corniglia, I climbed 382 verrrrryyyyyy steep stairs, and I definitely felt every one of them.  Hiking Cinque Terre is a bit of a sweat fest. It probably didn’t help that temps were over 90 degrees that day…(I threw on a baseball hat to try and pass myself of as slightly less of a hot mess.) In town, I rewarded myself with a lunch of fresh fish and pasta, completing negating any exercise points I gained from climbing the stairs. FYI—totally worth it. Every time you get a chance to eat in Italy, take it! (At least that was my motto, which may explain why those shorts felt a bit tighter by the end of the trip…)

Hiking Cinque Terre - Corniglia
Hiking Cinque Terre - Corniglia
Hiking Cinque Terre - from above


The hike from Corniglia to Vernazza took about 90 minutes and let me soak in the Italian sunshine and picturesque views. Approaching Vernazza from above, I got a bird’s eye view of the village, complete with a lively main square, quaint boutiques, and calm bay housing dozens of fishing boats.  This was probably my favorite town, and a great spot for photo ops!

Hiking Cinque Terre - Vernazza
Hiking Cinque Terre - Vernazza
Hiking Cinque Terre - Vernazza


Monterosso is one of the larger villages, and boasts a rocky beach along the shores of the town. This was not my cup of tea, but I’m also super spoiled by Florida’s white sand beaches. It has the most resort-like feel with a paid beach with rows of blue and white striped umbrellas.  If you’re really in the mood for the beach, keep walking toward town where you can enjoy the beach for free.

Hiking Cinque Terre - Monterosso
Hiking Cinque Terre - Monterosso
Hiking Cinque Terre - Monterrosso


I boarded a boat in Monterosso to take me back to Riomaggiore, the first village from La Spezia. I would definitely recommend taking a boat at least sometime during your visit, so you can enjoy the views approaching the town from the water. This was the part where I took approximately 20564574389 pictures… Riomaggiore is home to dozens of restaurants and gelaterias that radiate mouthwatering smells of pizza, garlic, and cheese.  I enjoyed a cup of dulce de leche, put my feet up, and soaked in the views of the Mediterranean. If you’re up for it, Riomaggiore also offers a food & wine tasting of the local delicacies.

Hiking Cinque Terre - Riomaggiore
Hiking Cinque Terre - Riomaggiore
Hiking Cinque Terre - Riomaggiore


Cheap flights: I’d recommend searching through eDreams.net. They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. You can easily reach Cinque Terre from Florence. The easiest way is probably via a guided tour from Florence. This one includes all transportation (even a boat ride!) plus lunch.

Hotel Deals: My top choice for hotel deals is Expedia. I’ve found some insanely cheap  and beautiful hotels on both sites. If you’re looking to avoid hotels and go the hostel route, I recommend Hostelworld . They have thousands of properties listed, as well as tons of ratings and reviews. Note that if you want to just to do a day trip to Cinque Terre, that’s totally doable. You can drive or take a tour from Florence and be back in the city that night!

Rental cars: Depending on where you’re going, definitely shop around. I usually check out Expedia and Sixt. Sixt offers some awesome deals on premium and luxury rentals!

Hiking Cinque Terre - Riomaggiore

There you have it—why hiking Cinque Terre should be on everyone’s bucket list (I’ll be back again someday). Enjoy your trip!

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  1. I love this place more than anything! I spent a week over there, as my aunt lives there and trust me I had the best time of my life! lovely scenes from there! Out of the world. Cheers

  2. The only down side of Cinque Terre is that, being clung on a cliff, it’s a continuous up and down on steep streets or staircases! 😀
    But except for that they’re gorgeous, especially when the sun starts to shine and heat up the days.

  3. I live not that far from Italy but I have never been to the Cinque Terre. BUT… it is one of my numerous hiking goals ! I’ve always wanted to see those colored villages. The only thing is thta it is often packed, and I just can’t bear hiking with too many people !

  4. So colurful! I did not have much idea about it but after seeing the first photograph, it made it to my bucket list immediately.

  5. So colurful! I did not have much idea about it but after seeing the first photograph, it made it to my bucket list immediately.
    Like how they have thoughfully colored each building to create such patterns.

  6. You’re opening sentence really nailed my impression of Cinque Terre, that it seems as though it has been ripped out of a picture book. Every part of it is postcard ready as can be evidenced from your photographs. Got to agree with you though about hiking in the area being something of a sweat fest and I can only advise others intending on visiting to make sure you’ve got a good supply of water with you before attempting the trails

  7. The villages are so gorgeous! I absolutely love the colorful houses in contrast to the blue water. The fishing boats are so pretty too, this is definitely a place I’d like to visit. I can imagine the views of the villages and landscape from a boat ride are stunning too!

  8. Cinque Terre is just such a colorful and cute looking town. I love those flowery balconies and the whole row of colorful homes. I can picture myself walking through those lanes to discover more. Some day I shall be back to explore this part of the world.

  9. Beautiful photos! I have such great memories of my visit there in 2004. We had just gotten engaged in Paris and this was a pretty romantic place to spend a few days. Thanks for bringing it all back:)

  10. I visited back in 2015, stayed in Riomaggiore for 3 nights and FELL IN LOVE!!! I’d love to return and explore more of the little villages and of course hike!!

  11. The colourful houses and the beautiful sea near it gives the entire scene such a picturesque view. Cinque Terre is just so amazing and you showed the perfect testimonials to why one should hike. This picturesque town looks to have leapt out of the canvas of a painting.

  12. Those colorful buildings of Manarola. And the beautiful blooming bougainvillea that you see out of the window. Those could be reason enough for me to must visit cinque. I will definitely put it on my bucket list.

  13. The buildings are so colorful. Loved the pictures. Would surely visit Cinque Terre someday 🙂

  14. I’m totally obsessed with Italy and Cinque Terre is really high on my bucket list. I hope that I will visit it this year. It must be such a charming place.

  15. I missed visiting Cinque Terre and Amalfi coast when I was in Italy a few years ago. But seeing your pictures, I want to book a return trip soon. Hiking those many stairs would have been the death of me. In Italy, one’s got to eat.

  16. Such a colorful place! The facades do attract attention.
    I wish I had taken a detour to this place during my trip there.

  17. Italy and its countryside places simply charm me a lot. I have been fascinated by the colourful houses of Cinque Terre and I can’t wait to visit personally someday. Very informative post.

  18. You’re right, it does look right out of a picture book…unreal! Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places in Italy, maybe even in Europe. You captured it beautifully. I look forward to returning and doing some hiking! Thanks for sharing, happy travels 🙂

  19. Girl, I would totally marry Manarola too. Or maybe all of Cinque Terre?! Or is that too greedy? 😉 What a beautiful part of the world and your photos capture its beauty perfectly. Thanks for sharing and happy travels 🙂

  20. I completely ageee! These lovely villages are straight out of a fairly tale book or postcards. The saturated colours here are a delight to any photographer…

  21. I am a student studying abroad in Seville Spain this summer and I am trying to figure out the best way to make a weekend trip out of it if that is even possible! If anyone has recommendations please let me know (ie best place to fly in and easiest way to get there etc)

    1. The closest airports for traveling to Cinque Terre are Pisa, Florence and Genoa. From there, look for trains to La Spezia, which is the largest and closest city to Cinque Terre.

  22. Hello! Planning a trip for late June. How many days did you stay in Cinque Terre? Did you do all this in 1 day? Also, what type of camera do you use? The pictures are amazing! Thanks!!

    1. I did it all in one day, but if you have a couple days, I’d definitely recommend that! I use a Sony alpha 5100 (mirrorless) which is a pretty light travel camera 🙂 Hope you have an awesome trip!

  23. Melissa- did you do all of this in a day? Or what was your time frame? We only have a full day 🙁

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