12 hours in Cinque Terre seems to be enough it you just want to get a taste of the beautiful villages and briefly experience all of them in one day. We stayed in the Cinque Terre park, but a few km outside Riomaggiore, so we could have a parking spot and a nice sea view. If I were to come back again, I would try to find accommodation way earlier than 4 months before, to be sure I secure a place with free parking included (Cinque Terre is a protected area and some villages are nor accessible by car) and in the middle of Riomaggiore or Manarola.
12 hours in Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a string of 5 beautiful villages along the Italian Riviera, full of colourful houses, cobbled streets and vineyards. You can get there by car (must be researched before hand) or by train(what we chose) from La Spezia. There’s a day ticket that allow you to use the train for 1 day in between the villages and costs around 16E per person. I have to tell you that visiting Cinque Terre in summer it very tiring – the sun, the walking around up and down the streets, the crowd, the not so punctual trains and so on. BUT it’s totally worth it! The views are amazing and not something you get to see every day. If you take your time, have a cold drink and dip your feet in the water from time to time, it will be better.
The first village is Riomaggiore! It was my second most favourite village out of the 5.
This can be a place if you are looking for a beach, but be warned that it’s a rocky beach and can get dangerous (at least that’s how I felt, wouldn’t go there). We walked a bit around in the hot sun and managed to snap some photos. This is also where I dipped my feet in the water to cool down and saw some people coming back from snorkelling! To refresh ourselves before heading to the next 4 villages, we went to a nice terrace that had a beautiful view of the sea and the cliffs (it was where the umbrella is on the right, in the landscape photo!).
Manarola is the second village and my personal favourite! Usually there’s Via dell’Amore (Lovers’ lane) that links Riomaggiore to Manarola but it has been closed for some time know and we coulnd’t access it. It was a shame, as the views would have been breathtaking.
The view is really postcard view and so worth the walk in the sun (yes, I was SUPER warm and I will keep saying this). This is where I took the photos wearing my boho blouse, right under the hot Italian sun. If I were to choose a location of my dream house it would be here, with this amazing view! We wanted to hike to the next village, Corniglia, but I did not have proper shoes (sandals are not meant for hiking in between villages on steep and narrow paths). Maybe next time we come here and hopefully it will be in cooler weather.
This was my least favourite village because (1) we had to go a million stairs up to the city from the train station (there was a bus, but it was super crowded) and (2) we did not manage to find a spot that would give us a nice view of the village. Still a lovely place!
If you are looking for sandier beaches, Vernazza is perfect! There were some severe floods a few years ago, but now the village has been reconstructed and looks good! Totally recommend it for the nice beaches!
Monterosso al Mare
As the name says, this is pretty obvious the best village for beaches. There is a long strip of beaches full of umbrellas and beach chairs, but I’m not sure if you have to pay or how much. Out of all the villages, this looked more like a seaside resort and it was also kinder with our legs (aka no stairs or streets on hills). To finish our day trip to this beautiful UNESCO Heritage Site, we had a delicious pasta dinner and then we headed back to La Spezia, and then our accommodation.
I regret a bit not taking accommodation in the heart of one of those villages, but the one I picked was almost in the middle of nowhere and it was very peaceful. I assume that the villages can be crowded also at night, not only during the day.
So here is one way you can spend 12 hours in Cinque Terre! Have you already been there? Which one is your favourite village?