One Perfect Day in the Cinque Terre

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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one day cinque terre

Are you heading to the Cinque Terre just for one day?

Here are my best tips for your upcoming sprint.

Secretly, I do think the Cinque Terre warrants more time. But let’s just work with what you’ve got my friend.

What to do in the Cinque Terre for 1 DAY:

If it’s hot and sunny

  • For swimming: Jump in the water at my favorite swimming spots: a) the marina in Manarola b) the beach in Riomaggiore c) the beach in Bonassola (definitely go here if the water is rough at the other two places, or you prefer a sandy beach and more space). In Bonassola, I like to splurge 20 euros and rent a sun lounger and an umbrella. FYI: Italy has many private beaches so you can lounge in comfort with chairs, umbrellas, food, drink, and showers. It’s a VERY easy luxury to get used to. That is, after you get over resenting the fact that many of the prettiest Italian beaches are a pay-to-play situation.
  • For eating: See my recommended restaurants in my sister post, What to Do in the Cinque Terre.
  • For chilling out with a view: The outside bar Nessun Dorma at Punta Bonfiglio in Manarola is a heart-skipper.
  • For wandering: Just village hop. The trains frequently run all day, and no you can’t pick a “bad one” so just roll with it.

If it’s raining

  • For afternoon sipping: Discover grappa! It’s a spirit made from the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of grapes left over from the wine-making process. Grappa is for sipping slowly, like a good tequila (don’t drink it like a shooter). They have a massive grappa list at Enoteca da Elisio in Monterosso, which is super cozy in the rain.
  • For channeling your inner Italian Stallion: If you’re traveling with your love, when is the last time you booked a hotel … just for the day? Warning: Racy idea ahead that will impress (the pants off) your partner. Your action plan: Check in to a hotel (avoid the ones that are out of the way). Leave the hotel and go buy snacks, candles, and prosecco. Head back to the hotel. Open the wine, light the candles and see what happens. The snacks are if you decide you never want to leave.
  • For foodies: Book a cooking class. I love this place.
  • For artists/creatives/photographers/connectors: Visit the home of an amazing collector. It may be the most fascinating thing you’ll do in Italy. Email The Archivio della Memoria at collettivoparisse@gmail.com for private appointments by donation.
  • Get wet: You won’t melt. Just wander around any of the villages. Monterosso, Vernazza and Levanto have the most action.

If you’re there for the hiking

  • In 15 minutes: The famous Via dell’Amore is closed until further notice (current as of February 2018). An alternative small stroll is the promenade of Monterosso.
  • In 45 minutes: From Riomaggiore to a church (with an amazing view to all the five villages and the French coastline) and back down again. Follow the trail from the top of the village to the Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero.
  • In 1 hour: Hike the steep trail from Manarola to Volastra. If you want to keep going you can do the next section I chat about below, or take the bus back down to Manarola.
  • In 1.5 – 3 hours: Hike the high trail from Volastra to Corniglia. It will take you 1 -1.5 hours. You can keep going to Vernazza — it will take you about three hours in total to go from Volastra to Corniglia to Vernazza (including a visit to the village of Corniglia). This is my fave day hike, and since it’s harder to access than the lower trails, it’s less crowded (I might have ruined that now).
  • For 5+ hours: Riomaggiore to Portovenere on foot, and then ferry back (ferries run during peak season). This plan is for the adventurous soul. Bring a map. It’s gorg-e-ous!

If you’re traveling with kids

  • For playing: Head to the piazze or the parco giochi in each town (ask the locals). The parco giochi in Manarola has an incredible view.
  • For a beach day: Go to the sandy beach in Bonassola (which is just a half an hour train ride out of the Cinque Terre). This one has a playground for kids right on the sand.
  • For strollers: Monterosso (officially the “Cinque Terre”), Levanto (close) or Bonassola (close) are the most stroller friendly villages. I think Bonassola is the best kid-friendly spot and it’s popular with Italian vacationers (but totally under the radar to foreign travelers).

More tips

My other (sizzlin’) Cinque Terre advice is here (currently enjoyed by 20,000 peeps a month)

Your turn

Leave a comment: Have you been to the Cinque Terre for one day? What’s your favorite memory? Or leave a question and I’ll do my best to help.

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Gelina
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Gelina

Ciao! I’m traveling to Italy in dec n specifically going to cinque terre for 1 night in dec. 5-6 dec. I’m concerned about the cold weather! Will the hike trails still be open? And what are down routes good to take in winter and shops / restaurants .. How many… Read more »

Dominic Thurlow-Wood
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Dominic Thurlow-Wood

I’m thinking of a spontaneous trip this weekend. I’d only be able to get there on Friday night and would have to leave on Sunday at 3pm but would love to see le Cinque Terre. Do you have any advice for hotels for this kind of trip? I’m also happy… Read more »

Liz
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Liz

My husband and I are traveling in to Cinque Terre this May and we will have a rental car. Which city will accommodate a car?

Gina Trejo
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Gina Trejo

Hi Bianca, Just found your site-love it. From Marseille to Rome we have 8 full days to spend in Italy. We’d rather do less and enjoy than be rushed, Ive always wanted to go to a quaint Tuscan Village, if time permits stop in Cinque Terre, Rome for a few… Read more »

Jitka
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Jitka

Hello Bianca, thank you for your great hints to Cinque Terre trip. We are planing to come with a car and I would like to ask you, how much accessible is the place with the car. My question is almost the same as from Cecilie Rudolph. Where we could stay… Read more »

rachel
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rachel

Hello Bianca.my friend and i want to travel in june to italy.i tried to find a day trip to Cinq Terre from Milan on friday but i cant find any .why that?we dont have time to go another day and its our first time in italy so a little bit… Read more »

Dexter
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Dexter

Buona Sera, Bianca My husband and I are traveling to Italy in the summer and are planning on taking a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre. We have no problem taking the early train, but were wondering if Sundays were a good day to go to the Cinque Terre?… Read more »

Beneè
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Beneè

I have poured over your recommendations for cinque terre, thank you for all the info! I feel more assured after reading your site.
I just have a question about withdrawing money via debit or credit cards in Italy…what are your recommendations! We don’t feel comfortable carrying lots of cash.

gina
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gina

I really love your site – simple, informative and passionate. We (two couples) are traveling by car to Cinque Terra Sept 12-14 coming from San Pelligrino and then heading to Venice. Is it smarter to get one night in two different places or two nights in one? Which village would… Read more »

Caroline Robey
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Caroline Robey

In this post you say the hike from the top of Riomaggiore to the Montenero Sanctuary is 45 minutes, but in another post, you say the hike is 75 minutes one way. Which one is more accurate? Thanks!

edna
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edna

Hello. I’m going on a cruise with my family and will stay one day in LA Spezia. Do u think we can visit Cinque terre alone without a guide with us? And is it far from the port? Do we need taxi or bus…..? Or just straight walking ? Thanks

Nejc
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Nejc

Hello! First of all, wonderful website, full of useful informations. What do you think? Group of four students are going on a roadtrip from Slovenia to Italy, starting in wednesday, 15. july. We are planning on arrival in the area of Cinque Terre around 1 p.m. We would like to… Read more »

Corey
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Corey

The home of an amazing collector, what is that? I can’t seem to find info online.

Usheen
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Usheen

Looking to come aug25 and26. Was looking at monterosa but hotels were limited. If I stay in rapallo how far are the towns of cinque Terre?

colonel lake
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colonel lake

Hi, I will do a small tour group from Florenze in set 2015. But since 2015-august-14, a travel tours advise travelers that the administration of the Cinque Terre toll then that vehicule are no longer able to park their vehicles and accompany guests or drive through the Cinque Terre, as… Read more »

Aaron and Sarah
Guest

My wife, sister-in-law and myself will be in Cinque Terra September 21st and 22nd. We will be staying in Riomaggiore. I understand that driving through Cinque Terra can be difficult but we will have a car. Are trains rides a better option? Do trains head up and down frequently or… Read more »

Elaine
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Elaine

We are planning an elopement ceremony near to Nessun Dorma in Manarola Big question How far is the walk up the hill from train station in Manarola as we will be carrying luggage is there a bus or taxi?

Thomas Porter
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Thomas Porter

My wife and I are staying in Monterosso in October. Is it possible to rent hiking or trekking poles for a couple of days, and if so, where?

K Tag
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K Tag

Hi there! My husband and myself are in Rome currently and have three days starting Sept 30 to visit somewhere in Italy before we head to Zurich! Cinque Terra really stuck out to us when researching places to go, but considering we are booking everything last minute-do you think this… Read more »

Kwongsters
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Kwongsters

Hi, my husband and I will be stopping at the La Spezia port in mid October for 12 hours. We’ve been to Florence so would like to visit Cinque Terre. We’re not big on hiking, but I read that’s the best way to see the villages. I also saw there’s… Read more »

Shawn Siew
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Shawn Siew

Hi Bianca. I’m traveling to Italy in Nov n specifically going to cinque terre for 1 night in Nov 4-5th. Reaching around 9am and staying in Riomaggiore. Was wondering what should i do there, i have 3 ladies following me and thought wandering around. Do you have any specific things… Read more »

Ivan
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Ivan

Hi, Thanks for the useful info but would need some advice on these two items: 1) Travelling from Milan to Cinque Terre on 5 Dec and plan to spend a night at Riomaggiore. Plan to hike from Monterosso to Riomaggiore in one day, but have no idea how to deal… Read more »

Kathy
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Kathy

my husband and I are in florence from november 10 thru the 15th and wanted to see Cinque Terra and Rome…is that even doable? is it too much to try to get to both???
Please advise.
Thanks!
Kathy

Donal McCarthy
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Donal McCarthy

Hi, great website and insight to Cinque erre. Glad I came across it. A couple of questions for you if I may? There is a group of us 6, maybe 7 adults planning a trip to cinque terre in March 2016 (19-22 – arrive 19th depart 22nd) flying into Pisa.… Read more »

Esther A.
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Esther A.

I love your blog info! Very helpful. I will be in Manarola for two nights in April and I believe one of those days is a National Holiday – April 25th. Do you have any tips on what to do or can you recommend a day tour/hike for that day?… Read more »

Liz Z.
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Liz Z.

Hello Bianca! I LOVE your blog, it makes me so excited!!! My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy early August 2016. We plan to visit Cinque Terra for max 2 days. What we want from this trip is a beautiful white sand beach (swimming is a must!),… Read more »

Kim | The Wanderlist
Guest

Hi! We’re doing a mini North Italy roadtrip in August. We’re flying into Pisa before heading to La Spazia where we’ll probably get a hotel for one or two nights. We’ll only have ONE full day to explore the five villages by train – is getting along the Cinque Terre… Read more »

Michelle S
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Michelle S

Hi, We are planning to go to Cinque Terre in April. Our plan is to go there from Pisa (we will be visiting the leaning tower first) then go to the villages in Cinque Terre. Our plan is to go round trip and exit/go back to Milan. Is it possible… Read more »

Pezman
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Pezman

Hi Bianca, Thanks for sharing information here. I will be staying in Volastra for a night and I am planning to walk from Volastra to Corniglia and then to Vernazza. I know that I have to take the trail 586 and 587 to get to Corniglia. But, I have no… Read more »

Megan
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Megan

Hi there! I just found this blog and wanted to get your opinion – a friend and I will be traveling around Italy at the end of March and we are planning a day trip to Cinque Terre on the 27th.. (I know, totally bummed that we don’t have more… Read more »

F
Guest
F

Hi Gina,

I’m not the most in shape – is it possible to get those beautiful views without the hikes and by simply riding the train from town to town and walking through them?

-Fran

litea
Guest
litea

Hello there, My husband and I are traveling to Cinque Terre at the end of April. We have only one day to do this trip then we are hoping to head to Venice. Are there any cheap accommodation options around this area? Also, what would be your suggestion for getting… Read more »

Catherine
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Catherine

Hi Bianca! Thanks for all of this info! It is super helpful! I am plannign on coming to Cinque Terre for one day/night in June and wondered what village would be the best to try to stay in over night. We are looking to do one medium hike (possibl y… Read more »

michelle
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michelle

Ciao! We are planning a day trip from Florence in mid-April and would appreciate your advice. Will more shops be open on Sunday than Monday? I’ve read that many places are closed on Mondays throughout Italy.
Thanks so much for helping us decide the best day to go!

Jas103
Guest
Jas103

Hi Kiiri, I am amazed by the valuable information you’ve put with Bianca to this blog, thanks for it! We are coming by car from a long way, taking the road:Milan- Genova- CT. We’ll be staying 3 night in CT and would like to park our car somewhere safe and… Read more »

Yvonne
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Yvonne

Ciao Bianca, such a lovely & interesting website 🙂 We, David & Yvonne, want to spent our short honeymoon in Italy. Just 6 days end of may. Last year we already visited Florence & Rom. Now we are thinking about: Option 1: Flight to Pisa – Lucca/Sienna – Cinque Terre… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Hi Bianca, Thank you for your site. My boyfriend and I are planning our first trip to Europe from 9/2-9/10-his first trip out of the country-and are flying into Paris where we are planning on staying the first two days. We have to fly out of Paris as well, so… Read more »

Sohini bhattacharya
Guest
Sohini bhattacharya

Dear Bianca, We are a family of 3 (11 year old daughter) attending a family wedding in Tuscany this June and spending about 10 days in the region. We will be staying in a house in Lucca throughout. We wanted to make Cinque Terre a part of that – do… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Hi, I’m bringing the family to Genoa for a couple of days before getting on our first cruise (yikes!)….but what to do….we will have 1 whole spare day – do we do the Portofino peninsula or the Cinque Terre…. Is it better to do by Train or by Boat or… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Hi Bianca, My friend and I are doing a 3 week European tour, unfortunately we will only be subscribing to the one-day in the Cinque Terre itinerary. We won’t be able to leave Milan until around 5pm getting us into the region no earlier than 8. From everything I’ve read… Read more »

Tania
Guest
Tania

Hi Bianca We will be in the port of Genoa on the 2 June 2016 which I believe is a public holiday. We are a group of 4 wanting to see cinque terra. Can you tell me the best way to see it all in a day. I believe you… Read more »

Hannah
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Hannah

Hello, I am excited to be traveling by train to Italy with my 2 daughters (6 & 3) this summer. We will stay in Genoa for the night (they are pesto nuts!) and then I would like to show them the Cinque Terre. I thought the best way to do… Read more »

Rajini
Guest
Rajini

Hi Bianco, Love your blog. My partner and I are planning to visit Cinque Terre mid Sept for 1.5 days (training it from Pisa). What village would you recommend? I’d def like to do the trek that give us the view of the sea and colourful buildings. So gorge! Any… Read more »

yaerim
Guest
yaerim

Dear Bianco, Ciao!! I was googling about Cinque terre and found your beautiful and informative your blog. I really love it!! I just bought flight ticket yesterday to go to Italy. So excited to go there. It will be my very first time to go there. I will be landed… Read more »

Lora
Guest
Lora

Thanks so much for this article!
My trip plan has me staying in La Spezia for 2 nights in
September and now I know exactly what I want to do! I love hiking, and now I plan to spend my one full day hiking between the villages!

Lena Loizides
Guest
Lena Loizides

First of all your blog is beuatiful and informative!! We will be staying for 4 nights in Milan and we would love to scehdule a day trip to Chinque Terre and Portofino. We will travel by train to La Spezia or St Margherita Ligure depending on the intenary we will… Read more »

lena
Guest
lena

First of all your blog is beuatiful and informative!! We will be staying for 4 nights in Milan and we would love to scehdule a day trip to Chinque Terre and Portofino. We will travel by train to La Spezia or St Margherita Ligure depending on the intenary we will… Read more »

Sofia
Guest
Sofia

My friends and I are planning to visit Cinque Terre for one night in the third week of October. We will be taking the train from Milan. We will probably have big luggages since we will be visiting other countries in Europe. Please advise on an accommodation that has a… Read more »

Sasha
Guest
Sasha

I am planning to visit Cinque Terre for one night in the third week of October. Should I be concerned about the weather? If we are looking to enjoy the beach at Monterroso, what hostel do you suggest we stay in?

Neekan A
Guest
Neekan A

Ciao! My family and I unfortunately have not been able to reserve a tour since we arrive in Cinque Terre at noon and staying for only one night. We are staying in Monterroso and would like to see Manarola, Vernazza and Riomaggiore. Do you think it’s possible to see all… Read more »

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