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Is Cinque Terre Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Tips

Is Cinque Terre Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Tips

Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s most famous tourist destinations thanks to its picturesque scenery. Every year, about 2.5 million people visit the area.

It’s actually a string of five fishing villages — Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore — perched on the cliffs of Liguria. The colorful villages are connected by a narrow mule path and train line.

The spectacular cliffside landscapes, picturesque painted villages, and delicious food are the main draw for visitors.

After seeing so many people posting beautiful photos from Cinque Terre, it’s tempting to book your trip here as well. However, before visiting any new place, it’s a good idea to research safety first.

But don’t worry — our travel experts have rounded up all you need to know to avoid getting caught unawares when you plan your trip; let us be your guide!

Is Cinque Terre Safe to Visit in 2023?

Two women walking along the street by a cafe in the small Italian town of Riomaggiore as an image for a guide to whether or not Cinque Terre is safe to visit

Riomaggiore, Italy – September 18 2018: Tourists enjoy a sunny day on the Ligurian coast with the sea, cafe and boats in Riomaggiore Italy, on the Cinque Terre of the Italian Riviera/Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock

Yes. Cinque Terre is one of the safest places to visit in Italy. Violent crime is practically nonexistent, and petty crime is manageable.

However, you should still be on the alert for potential pickpocketing as well as other run-of-the-mill problems such as high heats and big crowds.

To figure out the safety of a region such as Cinque Terre, it’s a good idea to look at the safety of the country it is in first. Italy is generally considered to be a safe country.

Travel advisories usually tell visitors they just need to exercise normal safety precautions, such as this official travel advisory from Canada.

Other countries advise their citizens to exercise some additional precautions in Italy, such as the United States. However, the main problems the U.S. State Department warns about in Italy, such as terrorism, are practically non-existent in Cinque Terre.

The small towns (which are downright sleepy in the off-season) are not politically or economically important to Italy, so not likely targets for terrorism or civil unrest.

Since the towns in Cinque Terre are small, close-knit communities (outside of peak tourist season), violent crime is much rarer than it is in Italy’s big cities.

However, petty crime does still happen. It especially increases during peak tourist season, when the massive crowds provide cover and opportunity for thieves.

Common crimes you might encounter include:

  • Pickpocketing
  • Theft of unattended items
  • Tourist scams

The rate of pickpocketing is far lower here than in other popular destinations in Italy. You don’t need to keep a constant hawk-like view on your bags, but some precautions are a good idea (you should be taking these precautions anywhere that you go).

Natural disasters sometimes happen in Cinque Terre. The rocky coastal area of Liguria can experience heavy rains in the winter.

These rains don’t only put a damper in travel plans, but they can also cause natural disasters such as flooding and landslides. In 2011, flooding heavily damaged the towns of Monterosso and Vernazza and killed at least six people.

Flooding is not a regular occurrence in Cinque Terre, and events such as the 2011 floods are freak disasters that only happen every few years.

However, it’s still a good idea to be prepared for this problem if you are visiting during the off-season. Make sure you follow the weather report carefully.

It’s also a good idea to read up on your destination before arriving to prevent small problems that can quickly ruin your vacation.

Cinque Terre is a region that is suffering from so much tourism some local political leaders have even asked the national authorities to impose limits on arrivals. Be prepared for large crowds, especially when cruise ships pull in.

The weather in Cinque Terre gets very hot in the summer, and the hills are steep. Take precautions to protect yourself from overheating, especially if you are sensitive to the heat.

Many tourists suffer from sun stroke each year. Although no major dangers await you when you travel to Cinque Terre, some basic precautions are always good to take.

Crime in Cinque Terre

People walking around an open-air market on a cloudy day in the seaside village of Vernazza

Cinque Terre, Italy – August 16, 2016 : Seaside village Vernazza street and tourist people/Sanga Park/Shutterstock

With rare natural disasters and little to no risk of terrorism and civil unrest, crime is the primary problem for most visitors. Although crime rates here are much lower than they are in most places in Italy, crime is still present in the area.

Finding crime statistics just for Cinque Terre is difficult because this small collection of villages does not make up a meaningful administrative unit which the Italian government uses to collect crime data.

During the off-season, the villages are so small that they don’t collect much crime data (at least, data that is available in English). Cinque Terre is located in the province of La Spezia.

La Spezia doesn’t even make the top 15 list of provinces in Italy with the most crime, which gives you an idea about its safety. If the entire province is safe, then a place such as Cinque Terre is probably safe too.

The region of La Spezia has a very low overall crime index score of 16.67 out of 100. The most common crimes that people worry about in the province are drug abuse and corruption, crimes that don’t often affect visitors. Violent crime levels are practically nonexistent.

The trends for the province overall are true according to anecdotal evidence. People don’t report many problems with crime. If they encountered crime at all, it was petty in nature such as a minor theft or a scam.

Violent crime in the villages that make up Cinque Terre is unheard of. There are a few reasons why crime is so low. One is the nature of these villages.

Before tourism, they were all sleepy fishing villages with just a few hundred people. The communities are small and close-knit, making it difficult for crime to flourish (or for anyone to get away with a misdeed).

Even now when Cinque Terre fills with tourists each year, the crime rate is far lower than in other places popular with tourists.

That is because local authorities have invested a lot of resources into keeping people safe and there is a sizable police presence in all of the towns. Plus, Cinque Terre is a bit of a pain to get to for non-residents, meaning that many criminals prefer to find other places for their misdeeds.

Petty Theft

As we mentioned above, crime is rare. If you do encounter a crime, it will most likely be petty theft. Petty theft crimes, such as pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft from unattended items, flourish in places such as Cinque Terre.

These are places that are crowded with people who are often too distracted by the beautiful views to pay close attention to their bags. Many thieves are not locals but actually among your fellow travelers that take advantage of other people’s distraction.

Although pickpocketing rates are not as high as in other parts of Italy, such as Naples, it is still a good idea to keep an eye on your valuables.

Places where you should take particular care include crowded town centers and the popular train that runs between the towns of Cinque Terre.

Make sure that you take the same basic precautions you would take anywhere else to protect your possessions. Never leave your things unattended.

Local beaches are often crowded, and you can’t see your things from the water if someone is rifling through them. Have someone sit with your bags while others swim or leave your valuables in your accommodation.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your valuables when you walk around. Put your phone, wallet, and ID in a place that is harder to access for pickpockets. Don’t put valuables in external backpack pockets, shoulder bags, or back pants pockets.

Tourist Scams

Some in Cinque Terre turn to other means of parting tourists from their money. As with any other place that attracts a lot of tourists, the area also plays host to scammers.

Many of the scams you might encounter are the same you would encounter anywhere else. Be careful of people trying to get your attention aggressively, such as by spilling something on you or pointing out that a bird pooped on you.

Often, these people are working with a partner who will rob you of your valuables while you are distracted. Accommodation scams are also common in tourist areas.

When booking ahead for anything, such as a tour or a hotel, be careful of someone insisting you wire money in an unconventional way in advance. Only pay in secure ways, such as PayPal or platforms such as

Research thoroughly before paying a deposit as you might show up in town with no promised hotel room. The prices in Cinque Terre may sometimes make you feel as if you are being scammed.

Many restaurant owners take advantage of the scenic views to charge extra prices for mediocre food. Venturing away from town centers is the best way to find slightly more affordable meals.

Always read the fine print on the menu to see if there are mandatory charges, as some restaurants have mandatory minimum pricing for all individuals (including children) in addition to the standard service fee most restaurants in Italy charge.

Another location where tourists get overcharged is the ATM.

Avoid EuroCash ATMs that are popular in tourist destinations such as Cinque Terre as they charge very high fees. It will probably cost you less money to withdraw money from a local Italian bank and pay those fees.

Avoiding Bad Areas

There are no bad areas in Cinque Terre. All the towns are so safe and so small that sketchy parts are non-existent. Just use basic precautions wherever you go, and you should be fine.

Things to Consider

Gravel walking path with a wooden guardrail on the left protecting the hiker from falling into the ocean pictured in Manarola, Cinque Terre

Gaspar Janos/Shutterstock

Here are a few additional tips when planning your trip to Cinque Terre:

  • Be prepared for hiking. The hike between the towns is popular, but not all tourists prepare the right way. Make sure you are wearing sturdy footwear as the path is rocky and steep (and you may get fined for hiking in flip flops). Bring plenty of water. Make sure that your physical fitness level is up to the standard as emergency care is hard to access on the steep trails.
  • Be careful when swimming. Most of the beaches are rocky, so bring water shoes if your feet are sensitive. Some areas, such as Vernazza Bay, are not the cleanest for swimming, so research ahead of time.
  • Be respectful of the locals. Many locals are frustrated with the crowds that take over their town in the summer. Try to be polite and understand that people are doing their best to do their jobs.
  • The towns are steep. They may be hard to walk for people who are elderly, have mobility issues, or are very small. Some of the towns are almost impossible to navigate with strollers or wheelchairs. Research accessibility ahead of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Scenic view of the cozy seaside Italian village in Cinque Terre named Monterosso al Mare

Uhryn Larysa/Shutterstock

Here are a few common questions people ask when visiting Cinque Terre:

Is Monterosso safe at night?

The town of Monterosso is safe at night for a stroll. In fact, all of the towns in Cinque Terre are safe to walk around at night.

How many days in Cinque Terre is enough?

A couple of days in Cinque Terre is usually enough. Two or three days give you enough time to explore several of the towns and relax on the beach without getting bored.

Is it difficult to walk along the Cinque Terre path?

The famous Cinque Terre path is not difficult to walk for people with some walking or hiking experience. However, some sections of the trail are steep and difficult. For beginners, the section between Riomaggiore and Manarola is easiest.

Which is better: Amalfi or Cinque Terre?

The landscapes of Cinque Terre are probably more spectacular and rugged than down south. While Amalfi is a more popular tourist destination, the crowds are not as noticeable because there is more infrastructure to support it, so it feels less cramped.

Is La Spezia safe at night?

Almost all parts of the province of La Spezia are safe at night. It is one of Italy’s safest provinces.

So, Should You Take a Trip to Cinque Terre?

As long as you take some precautions to protect your valuables, Cinque Terre is a safe place to visit. Just be prepared for some uncomfortable travel aspects, such as crowds, heat, and steep paths.

So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip to experience for yourself all that this picturesque coastal destination has to offer. Happy travels!