Visiting the quaint villages in the Cinque Terre National Park has become a must on many Italy itineraries. The villages are charming, with spectacular views and spending a day (or more) wandering between them is a wonderful experience for any holiday.
Once deciding to visit the Cinque Terre, many travellers find themselves wandering where to stay during their visit. While you can do a day trip to the national park from Florence, you'll enjoy our visit more if you have the time to soak up your surroundings in beautiful Liguria.
Whether you decide to stay within the Cinque Terre National Park or to use another town nearby as a base (my personal preference), you'll find enough to do and see nearby to keep you busy for at least a few days. Here are some of our favourite places to stay in the Cinque Terre.
If you want to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Cinque Terre, you can stay in one of the five villages. This way you won't have to travel in each day and you can enjoy the villages in the evenings, when they are relatively quiet. As the villages are close together, you only really need one base for your trip - it's not worth trying to split your time between a couple of the villages.
However, the five villages are extremely popular and can be very crowded in the peak season. Prices are also very high, due to their popularity, with accommodation and food more expensive than elsewhere in the region. Many of the villages are also set on the hillside and streets can be quite steep. For these reasons, many travellers choose to stay outside of the Cinque Terre and visit the villages during the day.
If you want to stay in one of the Cinque Terre, Monterosso and Riomaggiore are your best bet. They are the largest of the villages and have the best accommodation and food options. Saying that, there are some good places to stay in the other villages as well, and it can be nice experiencing them at night, when they are a bit quieter.
Riomaggiore is introduction to the Cinque Terre for many visitors as it's the closest to La Spezia, the nearest city to the national park. As well as being the southernmost village, it's also one of the largest. Colourful houses are set around colourful houses set around the harbour and there's a reasonable selection of food and accommodation options. The town is situated on the hillside, so be prepared to walk up and down sloping streets while you're here.
The most famous Cinque Terre trail, Via dell' Amore (Lovers’ lane), connects Riomaggiore with Manarola. It's a romantic walk along the coast and is only 1km long. Just keep in mind that the trail is closed due to landslips until July 2024.
Riamaggiore is a picturesque place to base yourself for a few days with a few hotels and guest houses to choose from. Just keep in mind it can get busy in the mornings, especially in summer. As a result, it can be quieter later in the day, once visitors have continued on to the other towns.
Scorci Di Mare, a small hotel in a 14th Century building
Alla Marina Affittacamere with comfortable rooms with sweeping sea views
Crêuza de Mä situated near a rocky beach and offering a large terrace, hot tubs and lots of greenery, along with lovely views of the water
Tucked into the vineyards high above the sea, Manarola is one of the Cinque Terre that frequently appear on postcards and in paintings. The colourful buildings and narrow streets are very picturesque and the views from above of spectacular.
The second smallest of the Cinque Terre, Manarola has a permanent population of less than 400 people. The town is pleasant to explore with a pretty town square, cobblestoned streets and opportunities for snorkelling and boating activities from the dock.
The town is also situated on the hillside, so once again, be prepared to navigate steep roads and stairs. There are some beautiful walks in this area of the national park and it's also possible to visit the nearby vineyards. While beautiful, Manarola can also get quite busy during the day, so enjoy the quieter evenings.
Affittacamere San Giorgio in a pretty guesthouse with views of the sea
La Torretta Lodge situated in a converted medieval tower
Aria di Mare, Manarola - Appartamento The View for a self-contained, two-bedroom apartment with stunning views
Corniglia is the central village and the least accessible as there's a steep flight of stairs to the village from the train station. Due to this, it's probably the quietest of the five, with lovely views of the coast. An ancient Roman village, it's surrounded by old terraced vineyards and has the feel of an agricultural village rather than a seaside town.
Being in the middle of the five towns, it makes a great place for exploring the Cinque Terre. While it does get busy in the afternoons, the hustle and bustle is minimal compared to the other four, and its quite tranquil in the evenings.
Down by the water, there is a rocky cove, the perfect place for an afternoon dip and to escape the post-hike rush. You can also take the beautiful hike through the vineyards to the villages of Volastra and Manarola. It's a bit more challenging than the Blue Trail, but the views are astounding and it was the hightlight of our trip to the Cinque Terre.
While there aren't any hotels in the village, there are a number of good guesthouses, many with spectacular views. It's also a good place to stay if you have a car, as many guesthouses offer parking.
Daa Maduneta with views, a garden and free parking
Arbanella for comfortable rooms with sea views
Locanda il Carugio for modern rooms, free parking and breakfast available on-site
Renowned for being one of Italy's prettiest villages, Vernazza the jewel of the Cinque Terre. As well as the obligatory pretty harbour and colourful houses, Vernazza has a fortified town and a beautiful bell tower which adds to its charm.
Along with the lovely piazza, the 12th Century Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia (home to the bell tower) is well worth visiting. St. Marguerite is the patron saint of the town, and legend tells of a treasure chest containing the bones of her hand beached on the shore of Vernazza - the church on the spot where the bones were found. Visit for the Feast of Santa Margherita on 20 July and join in as the town celebrates with a festival and fireworks.
There are two small beaches in Vernazza, one near the harbour and the other accessible through the town square. It's a small town and it does get very busy, as people tend to linger over photos, food and visiting some of the artsy shops. There are also a number of easy hiking trails to Corniglia, Monterosso and Foce Drignana accessible from the town.
Lassu Apartment for a spacious self-contained, two-bedroom apartment with views of the harbour and bell tower.
Albergo Barbara for clean, simple rooms on the town square
With a permanent population of around 1,500 people, Monterosso al Mare is the largest of the Cinque Terre. It's also the furthest north so many visitors end their walk through the Cinque Terre here. Essentially a resort town, Monterosso is the easiest of the villages to access - you can drive there and there's parking near the town. In short, it's the perfect place to stay if you want to add a beach holiday onto your Cinque Terre trip.
Monterosso is the liveliest of the towns, with a wide range of restaurants, bars and hotels to choose from. It's also the only one of the villages which has a long, sandy beach with a couple of beach clubs, so you can book a lounger and umbrella and just relax. The hills which surround the town are known for their lemons, so taste the local limoncello while you're here.
Parts of the town date from 11th Century and exploring the old streets and historic buildings is a fun way to wile away an afternoon. You can also visit the Capuchin Covent and climb up to the Cemetery and old town walls, which offer panoramic views and a glimpse of the orginal, 7th Century settlement.
Locanda A Cà Du Gigante, a pretty guesthouse with an on-site restaurant just a minute's walk from the beach
Bellambra located in a historic building in the centre of town overlooking the beach
Antica Ancora with beautifully-decorated rooms, some suitable for families
Il Balconcino sul carugio for a spacious, two-bedroom apartment in the middle of town
For a completely different experience, you can stay in the tiny village of Volastra above Manarola. While this isn't one of the five villages, it's still situated in the Cinque Terre National Park. Volastra makes the perfect spot if you want to explore some of the trails at your leisure, soak in the beautiful views and escape from the world. You can get a bus from Manarola to Volastra.
Luna di Marzo in a small hotel with incredible views
The Garden, a beautiful guesthouse with lovely gardens and a wonderful outlook
Staying outside of the Cinque Terre is also a good option as long as you pick somewhere on the train line - in fact, I prefer it as I find the villages a bit busy and touristy.
If you plan to visit the Cinque Terre for at least a couple of days during your stay, Levanto and La Spezia are good options. La Spezia is convenient but is essentially a city and doesn't have the charm of the smaller resort town. Levanto, however, is a small town on the coast, very close to the Cinque Terre towns but with more affordable food and accommodation and a more local feel.
If you don't mind being a bit further from the Cinque Terre, the seaside towns of Deiva Marina, Moneglia and Sestri Levante also make great bases for exploring the region and are my preferred places to stay.
We stayed in Deiva Marina on our first visit to the Cinque Terre and found it a very convenient and comfortable place to stay. It's the least charming of the three towns mentioned above, but is close enough to the Cinque Terre that you could visit the national park multiple times during your visit. Sestri Levante and Moneglia (pictured above) are situated further north, but are lovely resort towns in their own right.
All three towns have beaches and colourful buildings and are on the main train line. They are also well positioned for day trips up the coast to Santa Margherita, Portofino and Genoa.
Hotel Eva La Romantica, a beachside hotel in Moneglia surrounded by lemon and olive groves
Albergo la Marina for comfortable, clean rooms near the beach and train station in Deiva Marina
1919, a self-contained, 2-bedroom apartment near the beach in Sestri Levante
Grand Hotel dei Castelli for a beachfront hotel near Sestri Levante, best for travellers with a car
Thinking of visiting the Cinque Terre yourself? Read our guide to the Cinque Terre National Park.
Last Updated 14 June 2022