How To Spend 2 Days In Cinque Terre
April 8, 2024
By guy yefet

Are you looking for the perfect Cinque Terre itinerary? My Itinerary for 2 days in Cinque Terre will help you plan your trip to this beautiful part of Italy.

How to spend 2 days in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is one of the places I just knew I would get to in Italy, and now that I've visited there, I want to give my perspective on this beautiful place.

Cinque Terre is in the Liguria region, although it is relatively close to the big cities of Florence and Milan, it is different from them in so many ways.

It seems as if time has frozen there, and life there is much simpler, in the best sense of the word.

The views are rural, the food is less complex and there are no tourist attractions in the area that must suffice. The pace is slower, and it's just fun to walk around the villages and enjoy the moment.

The meaning of the name Cinque Terre is 'the five lands' and it includes five small and picturesque villages located on the coastline in northwestern Italy: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

cinque terre at sunset time

The five villages are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it is not difficult to understand why - colorful houses that stand on the edge of the cliffs, vineyards and green olive groves, small and colorful boats that anchor in the small ports, magnificent views of the ocean and breathtaking sunsets.

While most people come for a one-day trip to the Cinque Terre, we dedicated two full days touring the villages, which was undoubtedly the best decision we could have made.

The Cinque Terre is undoubtedly one of the most visited areas in Italy, but as soon as you ignore the crowds of tourists, discover the quiet corners of the villages, and focus on the beauty of the place - that's exactly where the magic begins.

How to get to Cinque Terre?

The villages themselves have no entrance with vehicles. You can park in paid parking lots (about 35 euros per day) above the villages and go down to them on foot.

It is important to note that parking space is limited and the chance of finding parking is not high, especially during the summer peak season.

Until 1960, it was possible to reach the Cinque Terre only by boat, or by footpaths, so the area was considered a secret gem.

We arrived with the car we rented in Milan to the parking lot outside Manarola, where we stayed for 2 nights.

You can also reach it by train from one of the big cities nearby - Florence, or Milan.

Trains depart from Milano Centrale station and arrive at La Spezia central train station, where you can transfer to a local train or bus to reach the villages. It is recommended to book train tickets in advance to save time and money.

view over town in cinque terre

How many days to spend in Cinque Terre?

Most tourists come to attack the five villages and do a one-day marathon on them.

To me, it sounds like a serious miss, in my eyes, two full days in the Cinque Terre is ideal for a visit.

If you don't have enough time, you can experience most of the places in the Cinque Terre in one day (from early morning until sunset). But if you want a slightly more relaxed trip and also have time to walk the paths between the villages, I would plan two days in the area.

Some tourists come for an even longer vacation of a few nights in the summer and relax on the beaches of Monterosso al Mare.

Vernazza port in cinque

How to get around Cinque Terre?

Train - is the most convenient way to travel in the five villages. It is advisable to buy a daily train ticket, which allows you (hop in, hop out) to get off at any village you choose and return, maps of the walking routes, and free entry to the paths for which there is a separate fee.

The ticket also includes shuttles, which proved to be essential to save climbing and climbing the stairs in Corniglia.

The cost of the daily ticket is about 18 euros, and for two days it is 33 euros.

From my experience, it doesn't pay to buy a ticket to a certain village for five euros every time.

The schedule is relaxed and available from five in the morning until midnight, just note that in the late hours, there are trains that do not reach the town of Levante or La Spezia, which are at the beginning of the route.

You can buy a ticket at any train station or order in advance on the website.

Link to the train schedule

Link for explanation and purchase of the daily ticket for treks and trains

Boat - to see the Cinque Terre by sea. This is a must-recommendation, if only for a unique photo angle, which you don't have from the villages.

You can sail on the ferry that connects all the villages, which is the cheapest option, or take a private boat cruise towards sunset, which is a preferred alternative, to avoid a human traffic jam at the height of the season.

You can go on a private excursion, with wine and tasting of typical foods, and go down for an hour's excursion in Vernazza. On such a cruise, you can coordinate with the captain, stop to swim in magical bays, snorkeling, and sunbathing on wild beaches.

link for the boat schedule

Walking - for trekking enthusiasts, there are about 80 km of trails in the Cinque Terre. Walking is the recommended way for those who have fitness and a desire for steep ascents and descents, alongside vineyard terraces, olive groves, and a mesmerizing landscape.

Parts of the Blue Trail in the Cinque Terre have been closed for a long time due to a rock slide, the authorities in Italy are renovating the hiking trails but it will probably take some more time.

In the meantime, you can check this website and be updated on the open walking paths.

*It is crucial to clarify that there were quite a few accidents, for various reasons. For example, people chose a route that did not suit their fitness level.

They walked outside the marked routes and did not check that the weather was good, i.e. without winds and rain that produced avalanches.

By car - it is not recommended and inaccessible to get here by car, and there are fines because the parking is intended for the residents of the villages.

*Parking in the villages is very problematic, the car is left in the lot at the entrance to the village, and from there, you have to walk with the belongings on a steep descent, which becomes a difficult climb when you leave.

cinque terre view

Where to stay in Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare are the more touristy and commercialized.

In Monterosso al Mare, there are organized bathing beaches, in the other villages you can bathe mainly in the local marina.

The hotels are mostly residential houses divided into rented rooms. There are almost no places with air conditioners (even in the residents' houses), but it is reasonable because there is good air from the sea even at the height of the heat. Each of the villages has wonderful restaurants, supermarkets and ATMs.

sunset time ciqnue terre

There is magic in sleeping right inside one of the Cinque Terre villages, getting up in the morning to the gorgeous view, and starting the day early before all the tourists wake up.

My recommendation is to arrive by train or a rented car to the village and take only a trolley with you (it is difficult to carry your luggage between the steep streets of the villages).

The 3 towns that I think are the best to spend the night in Cinque Terre:

Vernazza - the distilled essence of Cinque Terre

Vernazza has an impressive amount of accommodation, certainly relative to the size of the village. A large part of the accommodations are rooms for rent, similar to the concept of the Zimmers, which are also suitable for families for the night.

There are also more organized hotels, usually up the cliffs, with a lovely view of the Ligurian Sea. These hotels are reminiscent of the villa hotels of neighboring Tuscany.

Monterosso al Mare - the most beautiful beaches

The village is the largest of the Cinque Terre villages, mainly due to the resort function that exists there. The village's beaches are super popular and have plenty of hotels, guesthouses, and apartments for rent.

Even in the old part of the village, there are rooms for rent in guesthouses, usually in private houses.

Manarola - the most intimate experience of the Cinque Terre

The village I stayed in. There are not many places to stay because the village is small but in a significant part of the village houses you can find rooms for rent privately owned by local families.

The village is perhaps the most photogenic of the Cinque Terre villages and is a popular tourist destination!

Click here to check availability and prices through

*Please note that Cinque Terre and the surrounding area tend to be very busy during the peak tourist season, which occurs in the summer months (June-September), so I strongly recommend booking your accommodation in advance, whether it is in the inner villages of Cinque Terre or the towns surrounding the area.

Cinque Terre five towns overview


Vernazza is a small and beautiful village, rich in narrow, winding, and steep alleys that pass between the houses, and is famous for a fortress called Castello Doria, built in the 15th century to protect the villagers from pirate invasion. In Vernazza, you will find a lot of restaurants that sit near the small and picturesque port, they are packed with tourists but they emit aromas of pesto sauce and seafood.

If you want to enjoy the beautiful view even without eating a heavy meal, I recommend you buy an indulgent scoop of ice cream at the excellent Gelateria Vernazza. (you can also find another branch of the same ice cream shop in La Spezia!) or a panini sandwich at one of the leading shops from the train station to the port and have a relaxed picnic on the dock.

If you feel like making your way between the villages on foot, this is the place to do it. The path connecting Vernazza and Monterosso is considered one of the walking routes with the most beautiful view of the region!

Vernazza port cinque terre


The village of Manarola, my favorite of the five, is everything I imagined, and even more.

You can find restaurants and shops for souvenirs and decorative items in Manarola, but the charm of this village undoubtedly lies in the spectacular panoramic view of the city, which can be seen from the high observation point (but easy to reach) of the village.

manarola street cinque terre


The least touristic village of the five is the village of Corniglia, which is high on the edge of the cliff, and offers stunning views across the national park. Because its character is less touristy, you will find fewer shops and restaurants than the other villages. The peace and tranquility that characterize it with the green view of the vineyards and olive groves, make the tour a wonderful and particularly authentic experience.


It is one of the most famous villages among the five, and you can quickly understand why. The center of the village is full of small restaurants, souvenir shops, and picturesque alleys, and the port area is simply breathtaking.

It is especially fun to arrive at the port before sunset, equipped with beer or prosecco {which you can buy in one of the containers in the village}, take a sit on the pier or on the rocks that surround the port, and watch the sun set behind the colorful buildings.

I have no words to describe the atmosphere that prevails in the place.

I guess you have to be there to understand.

Riomaggiore cinque terre town

Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare has a different style than the other villages. Because it is the only village with a sandy beach, it has the atmosphere of a classic beach town with a distinct vintage flavor.

It's fun to walk along the boardwalk, with the beautiful view of the beach and the colorful umbrellas on one side and the colorful houses on the other.

Monterosso al Mare cinque terre

Two days in Cinque Terre Itinerary

*The order of visiting the villages is not crucial. I arranged the itinerary because that's how I spent 2 days in Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre Itinerary: Day 1


Start the day with a stroll in Manarola. Get lost in the small alleys of the village. There are a lot of stairs! I saw many people with walking sticks because there are a lot of ups and downs in general in the Cinque Terre and this village in particular. But it's worth it!

I stayed in Manarola so I could enjoy the village early in the morning before all the tourists, especially the organized tours arrived.

street in cinque terre town

Check the viewpoint from the top of the hill in the village of Manarola - this is probably the most famous and most beautiful observation point.

If you google Cinque Terre, this is probably the image that will repeat itself the most. To get there, go down to the port, and climb up the path on the cliff to the observation point.

If you continue up the path, on the other side, you will see an equally beautiful view of the cliffs and the village of Corniglia.

manorala view point


Visit Corniglia.

Corniglia is surrounded by vineyards and a huge view from its surroundings since it is located at a height of about one hundred meters above sea level.

Unlike the four similar towns in the region, Cornelia's borders do not touch the sea. Instead, to reach the town, travelers must climb steep stone steps (there are 377 steps).

At the end of the ascent, you will discover the picturesque view of the town. Although Corniglia can also be reached by shuttle from the train station, we can agree that climbing the stairs to the town is a different experience.

I recommend a wine bar called Terza Terra, which has a small courtyard, and a varied menu with dishes costing between 6-14 euros.

The place is a coffee bar with an observation deck and a bar. Offers food at a reasonable price, and a view of Manarola is on the horizon.

bar cafe at chinque terre italy

The town is very small, so one or two hours will be enough for you before moving on to the next town which in my case was Riomaggiore.


From Corniglia, we took a train to Riomaggiore.

What not to miss in Riomaggiore?

  • A viewpoint on the village from the harbor and a jump to swim in the water! When leaving the train station, follow the sign - going down towards the port. When you get there, you'll recognize the place from the dozens of Instagram photos you've probably seen (yes, of course, I took some photos there too, it's a great spot).  From there, go down to the sea for a short dip. Like most of the beaches in the Cinque Terre (apart from the beaches in Monterosso) it is not a sandy beach but a beach with stones.

  • Renting a boat or kayak - in the port, you will find rental companies for boats (self-rental or with a skipper), kayaks, and tours between the villages. If you're into diving, you'll be surprised to find out that Riomaggiore has a diving center (the only one among the Cinque Terre villages). It is right next to the harbor and you can even get a diving license there.

  • The Church of San Giovanni Battista - a Gothic-style church, built in 1340 and inside some beautiful paintings. From the square next to the church, there is a view of the city and the surrounding green hills. To reach it, go up the main street, Via Colombo, until you reach a small flight of stairs on your left. Go up to Via Pecunia and continue until you reach the church. Right after it was a cute cafe, where we bought coffee and pastries.

  • Visit the castle Castello di Riomaggiore - the castle was built in 1260 to protect the city from invaders and pirates. Today, it is a historical site, offering one of the best views in the village. The castle is located at the top of the village and is open to the public. From the church continue along the street until you reach the castle and you will have an open view of the sea.

  • Miniature restaurant and wine bar in Riomaggiore- abutting the fishing boat anchorage, the A pie de ma restaurant, where people wait next to it to grab a table. A selection of 20 types of wine, local beers, coffee, desserts and delicious bruschetta.

We came back to Manarola to end our day in a beautiful restaurant.

Don't miss a meal at the 'Nessun Dorma' restaurant, which is located at the highest point in the village and offers the best view of Manarola.

Although it only serves cold cuisine {bruscattas, salads, sandwiches, platters of cheeses and sausages, etc.}, it is a great Italian restaurant that also serves excellent cocktails and a variety of local wines.

If you want to have dinner there and watch the sunset {and believe me - you want to!}, arrive about an hour before sunset, because the queue for the restaurant is relatively long, and the tables close to the edge of the cliff are, of course, the most sought-after.

manarola at night

Cinque Terre Itinerary: Day 2


Spend time at the harbor in Vernazza.

Vernazza is the only natural harbor of the Cinque Terre, and next to it is a small strip of sand. It's fun to sit on the deck, or in one of the restaurants next to it (specializing in seafood).

There is another stretch of beach, which is on the other side of Vernazza (towards Corniglia) - on this beach, you won't find sunbeds or umbrellas for rent, so don't forget to bring a towel. Access to the beach is through a tunnel, which exits from the main street in the village.

There is something so beautiful about sitting on the picturesque pier with ice cream and just looking at the people passing by. I sat there for 20 minutes and felt like I was in another world that time stood still. Lovely place!

From the port, departs one of the famous hikes in Cinque Terre, the blue trail connecting Vernazza and Monterosso.

*You must have a Cinque Terre Hiking card or the combined train card.

The hiking trail between Verenza and Monterosso.

After visiting Verenza, we walked the blue trail to Monterosso.

The stunning route goes through vineyards and trees on the mountain. The trail is not easy because it contains a lot of climbs and stairs, but the view is spectacular and contains a view of the sea and the towns with beautiful photo spots.

boat at cinque terre

The walk is about an hour and a half to two hours - bring lots of water. Don't forget to buy the daily free train ticket + entry to all routes (18 euros).


We arrived on the beautiful path to Monterosso al Mare to enjoy the sandy beach after the walk - Monterosso is the only village in the Cinque Terre with a long, sandy beach!

Due to its developed coastal strip, Monterosso is the village that attracts the most tourists and, accordingly, it is also the most developed touristically (in terms of places to stay, restaurants, shops, etc.).

Unlike the other villages, Monterosso has an 'old' area and a 'new' area. The areas are divided by one tunnel, which was dug under the cliff of San Cristoforo and is intended for the passage of pedestrians and the few cars that are allowed to enter the borders of the village.

What not to miss in Monterosso al Mare?

  • Spend time in the "old" area of Monterosso. You will find colorful houses, winding streets, steep staircases, art shops, souvenirs, and even clothes. The train station is in the "new" area, turn left at the exit, under the train tracks, to go to the "old" area of the village.

  • Be impressed by the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista church, located in the old part of the village - this church was built between 1244 and 1307 in the Ligurian Gothic style. The exterior is covered in white and green marble with a beautiful rose-shaped window above the entrance.

  • Torre Aurora Tower - The Aurora Tower is one of the most popular attractions in Monterosso. The tower was built in the 16th century to protect the village from pirates. It is located in the middle of the village on the border between the old part and the new quarter of Monterosso. At the foot of the tower is a nice restaurant, where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks and a view of the sea.

  • Panoramic view from the statue of San Francesco d'Assisi - at the lookout there is a beautiful statue with a great view of Monterosso al Mare and the sea. To visit the place you will have to climb up the hill, but it is worth the effort, as the view from the top is great.

Monterosso al Mare  beach


We went back to Manarola to check out the restaurant that is rated as a must and number one in the Cinque Terre by all the major dining sites.

"Trattoria dal Billy” - The 14-year-old Trattoria da Billy turned out to be a masterpiece.

This trattoria embodies simplicity, authenticity, and freshness, at jaw-dropping prices of desserts for less than ten euros. The fresh fish, antipasti with 12 flavors, handmade pasta, the desserts with family recipes are wow and the portions are generous.

*You must book a table in advance. I recommend it to you on the upper terrace which is adjacent to the restaurant inside.

Best beaches in the Cinque Terre

As I already mentioned, the sandy and accessible beaches are in Monterosso al Mare.

Spiaggia Fegina - This is the largest and nicest stretch of sandy beach in the Cinque Terre, located directly in front of the train station, in the new part of Monterosso.

The beach has a small free section where you can lay your towel (but it fills up quickly and gets crowded), or you can sit in one of the beach clubs and rent beach chairs and umbrellas (costing 25-30 euros).

Spiaggia Il Gigante - turn right from the train station, walk a few minutes, as you pass various restaurants, the parking lot, and the small Football field on your left, and you will reach the beach.

This beach is smaller and only has two beach clubs. At the end of the beach, you can see the "giant" - a 14-meter-high statue of Neptune, built as a decoration for the elegant Villa Pristine, and since then it has been the symbol of the village.

During World War II, Villa Pristine was destroyed by bombing, but most parts of the statue remained intact. Before the house was bombed, Neptune was holding a huge shell in his hands, which unfortunately was also destroyed in the bombings.

Spiaggia Portiglione - 10 minutes' walk from the station, about five minutes after you pass Il Gigante, you will reach the beach, which is less crowded with tourists.

beach at cinque terre

Cinque Terre Tips

// The entry of private vehicles is prohibited (only residents are allowed to enter with their vehicle).

I recommend leaving it in the southernmost village - Riomaggiore, or in the northernmost village - Monterosso, and moving between the villages on the railway that crosses the mountains and stops in each village. Another excellent option is to travel between the villages using rented boats which can be found in every town.

// During the summer months, with the peak period of tourism, the prices skyrocket, and the few transportation options (ferry or train) become crowded and uncomfortable, as well as the itineraries and small alleys of the villages.

If you can - the ultimate time to visit the Cinque Terre is in April, May, and October, when the weather is pleasant and not so rainy, and fewer tourists. I visited Cinque Terre in October.

// The local cuisine is a reflection of the region's history, with dishes influenced by both land and sea. Whether you're a history buff or a foodie, there's plenty to discover in the Cinque Terre.

// As with any popular tourist destination, keep an eye on your belongings. Pickpocketing and petty theft can happen, especially in crowded areas and you will likely feel the crowd in Cinque Terre, so keep your valuables close and be aware of your surroundings.

// Respect the environment: The Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a protected area, so it's essential to respect the environment and follow local rules and regulations.

Stay on designated hiking trails, and try to use eco-friendly products wherever possible.

What if I only have one day in Cinque Terre?

If you are short on time, you can cram everything into one busy day because the villages are very close to each other.

If you are interested in an organized trip, there are recommended day trips to the Cinque Terre that depart from Florence and Milan.

Final thoughts

Cinque Terre is a destination that will leave a lasting impression on visitors. From the beautiful coastline to the charming villages, there is something for everyone in this beautiful area.

In conclusion, Cinque Terre is a magical destination that offers a unique combination of natural beauty, rich history, and charming local culture.

The rugged coastline, clear waters, and verdant hills combine to create a truly awe-inspiring landscape. Whether you're hiking along the blue trail, relaxing on the beach, or exploring the villages, you'll be surrounded by breathtaking scenery that will stay with you long after you've returned home.

cinque terre italy

When I looked at the construction of the colorful villages, I wondered how they managed to build them this way on the cliffs. Their different colors add another touch to the awesomeness of the place. By the way, they say that the color of the houses is meant to help fishermen identify their houses when they are at sea.

In Cinque Terre, you must savor the region's famous pistachio-flavored gelato, and local wine, taste at least once the bruschetta with anchovies, or with tomatoes with local olive oil, drink an Aperol that is reflected in an Instagrammable sunset or rest on a bench in a secret and empty place.

Thanks for reading!

My Travel Resources

Here are some websites I use whenever preparing for my next journey anywhere around the world.

  • Book affordable flights on Expedia, a great website that show the best routes and flight deals to your destination.

  • Find a budget-friendly deal on all sorts of accommodation types on

  • Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance at SafteyWing.

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