Are you planning to visit the Cinque Terre in Italy? Excellent choice! The five colorful villages built on the steep hills dropping into the blue sea are beautiful. But how to choose where to stay in the Cinque Terre? Read on and find out the best places to stay in Cinque Terre, depending on what you’re looking for.
The Cinque Terre are famous worldwide. The picturesque towns dotting this stretch of the Italian coast are among the most photographed spots in Italy and are on many travelers’ wish lists. Useless to say that they’re often crowded, even overcrowded in the peak season. That’s why booking your accommodation in the Cinque Terre in advance is strongly recommended, especially if your want to spend your holiday in a place where you’ll wholly enjoy this stunning area.
Wherever you go, you can’t get it wrong. The five villages are beautiful and unique, each in its own way. Each of the Cinque Terre towns has different characteristics. There’s something for everyone and any travel style, and I’ll help you find the right place.
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Where to stay in the Cinque Terre: Overview and Map
Monterosso al Mare: best place to stay in Cinque Terre with kids
Vernazza: best Cinque Terre town for a romantic holiday
Corniglia: stay in the Cinque Terre on a budget
Manarola: best village in Cinque Terre to take pictures
Riomaggiore: best town in Cinque Terre for young people
The Cinque Terre, meaning “the five lands,” is made up of 5 villages on the coast: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
Although, as the crow flies, the towns are very close to one another, and there are steep hills in between. The rugged landscape makes this stretch of coastline so beautiful and the fishing villages so charming.
It’s possible to take a day trip to the Cinque Terre from Florence, Milan, and Pisa. However, if you decide to spend a few days in the Cinque Terre (which I strongly recommend), an excellent option is to choose one of the villages as a base. From there, you’ll be able to explore the area easily.
Cinque Terre towns map
Monterosso al Mare is the best place to stay in Cinque Terre if you want to chill out on the beach. Being the largest town, Monterosso offers a broader number of accommodations, ranging from luxury hotels to cheaper hotels and guesthouses.
Vernazza is arguably the Cinque Terre most beautiful village. At least, it’s my favorite, although I like them all. Vernazza is characteristic, beautiful, and wonderfully romantic, especially in the evening. There is something special about dining at one of the restaurants lining the small harbor at sunset when the day tourists are gone!
Pretty Manarola is very famous among photographers. It’s easy to understand why: this village offers the most stunning postcard views! Manarola is the best town in Cinque Terre for those who want panoramic views that do not require excursions.
Corniglia, the only one not located on the sea but perched high on the cliff, is a delightful, quiet town away from mass tourism. It’s the ideal location for those who want to escape the crowds and enjoy a very “local” atmosphere.
Riomaggiore is the liveliest village, popular with young people. The wide range of clubs and pubs that come alive in the evening provides some “nightlife.”
Let’s now dig deeper into what makes every one of the five villages unique and what they have to offer. That should help you find the perfect accommodation in the Cinque Terre.
1. Monterosso al Mare: Where to stay in the Cinque Terre with kids
Monterosso al Mare is the largest town and has the most options for hotels and things to do. Thanks to the wide range of accommodation prices, there are choices for any budget.
Monterosso is also the only town with beaches. It is thus particularly suitable for those who love sunbathing or swimming, and it’s the best place to stay in Cinque Terre with kids. The beach is either sandy (although, don’t expect the white powdery sand of the tropics) or pebbly, and the water is crystal clear.
Of the five 5 Terre towns, Monterosso is the only one not perched on a cliff. For that reason, it’s suitable for people with reduced mobility. And it’s the best option if you don’t feel like climbing up and down more often than not.
Monterosso is also the northwesternmost town of the Cinque Terre and the first one you come across when arriving from Genoa or Milan. Furthermore, it’s the best starting point for those who want to hike the Cinque Terre Blue Trail in just one day!
Staying in Monterosso, Cinque Terre
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- Wider choice
- Many things to do
- Best for families
- Great for people with reduced mobility
- Not as picturesque as the other towns of Cinque Terre
Where to stay in Monterosso
Marymar is a lovely guesthouse located only a few steps from Fegina beach and within walking distance to the train station and many restaurants. Rooms are simple but modern and tastefully decorated. Marymar is an excellent value-for-money place to stay in Monterosso in the low season.
Locanda A Cà Du Gigante is a pretty Bed & Breakfast located a stone’s throw from the beach “Il Gigante.” It’s ideally located to reach shops, restaurants, and the train station easily.
If you’re looking for a place with a character, check out Zia Letizia Bed And Wine. The rooms are tastefully decorated and provide a warm and cozy atmosphere. There’s also a charming terrace where you can chill out sipping a glass of good wine.
Hotel Marina features delightful décor and is ideally located to enjoy the beach. Breakfast is served in the lemon garden, giving a unique taste to your Cinque Terre holidays.
2. Vernazza: Best place to stay in the Cinque Terre for couples
Are you looking for a romantic holiday in a breathtaking setting? Then I suggest Vernazza, the best place to stay in Cinque Terre for couples searching for romance.
Vernazza is also the most famous town. When it comes to the Cinque Terre, who does not think of the pastel-colored houses framing the charming little harbor and perched on the cliff? Vernazza is picturesque and has an all-Italian charm.
The downside of Vernazza is that since it’s so famous, it’s also the Cinque Terre village, where accommodations are the most expensive. During the day, thousands of tourists pour into the narrow alleys: in high season, you’ll hardly find a place to stay in solitude, but that changes as soon as the evening falls, and in other seasons of the year, such as autumn, in my opinion, the best time to visit the Cinque Terre even if the weather might be more unstable.
One of the most beautiful features of Vernazza, speaking of hotels and accommodations, is that many of them overlook the sea. If you decide to stay here, make sure you search and book the hotel as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk missing out on the best options.
Staying in Vernazza, Cinque Terre
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- Quaint town
- Fantastic atmosphere
- Great for couples who want to enjoy an exclusive and romantic weekend
- Hotels with sea views abound
- Highly crowded with tourists by day
- Hotels sell out quickly and are more expensive.
- If you have a car, you’ll have to park outside the town, and parking spaces are very limited
Where to stay in Vernazza
Casa Catò features bright modern rooms with fantastic sea views, some of them with a small balcony. The guesthouse is ideally located near the small beach, the train station, and only a stone’s throw from the hiking trail.
MADA Charm Apartments distinguishes itself for its modern-style studio apartments, which are tastefully decorated. It is located near the small beach and a few steps from the charming little harbor and offers many facilities. The main feature is the breathtaking sea view from the balcony.
Santa Marta Rooms is a beautiful place to stay in Vernazza, close to the beach, the railway station, and many restaurants and cafes. The rooms are cozy and tastefully decorated, and some come with a balcony. The guesthouse features two locations: Santa Marta Rooms 23 and Santa Marta Rooms 25, and generally has a 3 nights minimum stay.
3. Corniglia: where to stay in the Cinque Terre on a budget
Between the towns of Cinque Terre, Corniglia is the best place to stay to beat the crowds. Since it’s the only cliff-top village, it’s rare for people to choose Corniglia when deciding where to stay in the Cinque Terre. Furthermore, Hotels in Corniglia are often cheaper than in the other towns, making it the best choice to visit the Cinque Terre on a budget.
Corniglia is the only village that is not on the water. Its privileged location makes it a great spot to admire sunsets and offers breathtaking views of the sea and the jagged coastline. You have to walk over 350 steps to get there from the train station, which gives Corniglia a unique charm. And another reason why it’s less crowded.
In short, if you’re looking for a place that is a little more rural and genuine and without tourists, Corniglia is the best village to stay in Cinque Terre. Last but not least, the town is an excellent base if you love trekking and excursions.
Staying in Corniglia, Cinque Terre
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- More “local” experience
- Fantastic views
- Cheaper accommodations prices
- Great if you like hiking and calm
- Not on the water like other villages
Where to stay in Corniglia
Daa Maduneta features simple but tastefully decorated rooms, most of which have beautiful sea views. Check out the Deluxe Double Room with Terrace and Sea View for a memorable stay with your better half. The guesthouse also has a lovely garden attached, where you can relax with a good book.
Arbanella is a charming, fully renovated property famous for its spectacular views. It overlooks vineyards and green hills that plunge directly into the sea. The rooms are simple but tastefully decorated and hold a unique charm. Some of them feature a balcony and gorgeous sea views.
Punto Zero is a guesthouse to look at for a couple of reasons. Thanks to its moderate prices, it’s one of the best places to stay in Cinque Terre on a budget. Furthermore, Punto Zero organizes tours for guests, so if you’re looking for a local experience, this is the place!
Are you traveling to the Cinque Terre with kids? An apartment might be a good solution. If you like the idea, look at NEW 2022 Hanging Garden, where you can stay in a lovely 2 bedrooms apartment with a terrace and a patio.
4. Manarola: where to stay in the Cinque Terre for photographers
With Vernazza, Manarola is the “beautiful among the beautiful” and one of the most famous Cinque Terre villages.
The name may not ring a bell, but you have most likely seen photographs of this charming town in some magazine or around the web. Vernazza is particularly photogenic for the colorful houses giving the impression of “slipping” down from the cliff that embraces a pretty cove on the sea.
Manarola is ideal for couples looking for a romantic place in the Cinque Terre. The town is less touristy than Vernazza and quieter than Riomaggiore, often chosen by younger people (along with Monterosso). Manarola is also one of the best places to stay in the Cinque Terre for photographers and nature lovers, thanks to its proximity to picture-postcard views.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable stay in Cinque Terre, choosing a hotel in Manarola is one of the best options.
Staying in Manarola, Cinque Terre
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- Suitable for romantic couples and photographers
- Quiet and very picturesque
- Like Vernazza, hotel prices in Manarola are a bit higher
- Hotels book quickly, so you need to book well in advance
Where to stay in Manarola
Olimpo Affittacamere is a lovely mid-range guesthouse in Manarola with beautiful views of the sea and the village. It features rooms furnished with modern fixtures, some of which boast a balcony. The highlight is the terrace with tables and deck chairs, offering breathtaking coast sights.
L’Emporio Rooms doesn’t have sea views but is in the heart of Manarola, close to restaurants and cafes. The rooms are modern, cozy, and beautifully decorated. This guesthouse is an excellent option if you wish to be near everything without having to climb up and downhill.
Just because Manarola’s Dream is a luxury guesthouse doesn’t mean you’ll have to take a mortgage to spend a night or two there. The First offers only three private apartments overlooking Manarola. You’ll have your own terrace and deck chairs, and the decor is modern and very tasteful! The price actually depends on when you visit the Cinque Terre, and off-season, it’s affordable.
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel in the Cinque Terre, La Torretta Lodge might be the perfect option. The beautiful rooms feature stylish, modern decor with a Mediterranean touch. Especially the suites have a balcony with delightful views of the sea and the steep hills. La Torretta Lodge is an incredible option for a Cinque Terre honeymoon or a romantic stay.
5. Riomaggiore: best place to stay in the Cinque Terre for young people
Riomaggiore is the second largest town. The pastel-colored buildings and picturesque views make this village a popular choice. Like Monterosso, it’s a perfect starting point for exploring the Cinque Terre on foot, especially for hiking the Blue Trail. If you’re interested in Scuba Diving, 5 Terre Diving is one of the few centers authorized in the Cinque Terre National Park.
Riomaggiore is not only lively during the day but also at night, given the abundant presence of restaurants and bars. Luckily, the many bars, restaurants, and trattorias don’t spoil the typical atmosphere. The buzzing vibe makes Riomaggiore the best place to stay in the Cinque Terre for young people and everyone looking for some nightlife.
Make sure you’re in good physical shape if you stay in Riomaggiore. Many accommodations are uphill, and you’ll have to drag your luggage up a nice climb!
Staying in Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre
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- One of the largest villages in the Cinque Terre.
- First stop on the train from La Spezia and the first village you meet from Portovenere.
- Lots of shops and restaurants and a vibrant nightlife.
- Good base for trekking.
- Nightlife can make it louder at night.
- The steep hills and stairs make getting around difficult for some.
Where to stay in Riomaggiore
Affittacamere Le Giare is a lovely guesthouse a 10-minute walk from the beach and not far from Riomaggiore train station. The rooms are spacious and spotless. All have air conditioning, and some have a balcony.
Miramare Love Nest is a super cozy apartment featuring modern decor in marine style. The views are a plus, and the sea’s sound is a plus. Excellent location, in the old town but just minutes from the small beach and the train station.
Crêuza de mä is a luxury lover’s dream with its whirlpools and the best views of the Cinque Terre. This place is perfect if you’re looking for a luxury stay in the Cinque Terre! The rooms are modern, and the hotel offers four terraces, a solarium, two gardens, and other amenities.
Cinque Terre Tips
What’s the best way to visit the Cinque Terre?
If you’re a passionate hiker, you may want to walk the Blue Trail, connecting the five towns from Monterosso to Riomaggiore. Alternatively, you may also hike only one or two legs.
Don’t worry, though, if hiking is not your thing. There are other easy ways to move around. The regional railway line “5 Terre Express”, considered by The Guardian one of the best train journeys in Italy, connects the five towns. If you wish, the train allows you to go as far as Levanto (north) and La Spezia (south, from where you can reach the delightful town of Portovenere). Don’t be fooled by the “Express” label. The train is anything but fast, as it should be in an area asking to be explored at a slow pace and gradually savored.
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