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Where to Stay in Cinque Terre | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Cinque Terre | Best Areas & Hotels

Deciding where to stay in Cinque Terre essentially comes down to making a choice between the five little cities that stretch across the western shores of Italy: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, or Riomaggiore.

To make up your mind, direct your attention to the small yet significant differences that exist between them. This guide will help you compare the accommodations in these cities to see where your ideal lodging might be! 

Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

In the northwestern part of Italy, stretching across the coast of the Ligurian Sea, lie the five cities or villages of Cinque Terre. If you’re traveling from the north to the south, you’ll meet them in the following order: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

A strategic military location of the Genoa Republic throughout history, the area has been steadily growing in popularity since the 1970s.Today, it’s become a worldwide tourist attraction, as these tiny cities are on almost everybody’s bucket list and Instagram profile.

But why are these five cities, with a combined population of around 4000 people, so popular? And why are they such a magnet for tourists around the world? The answer is quite simple: They’re unforgettable and distinctively beautiful.

“The little path that winds down along the slope plunges through cane-tufts and opens suddenly into the orchard among the moss-green trunks of the lemon trees”

The Italian Nobel prize winner poet Eugenio Montale wrote these words fondly about the beauty of Cinque Terre.

Narrow stony streets, steep staircases, small churches, romantically ruined castles, vineyards, orchards, and distinctive pastel-colored houses — all of those things create the picture of the quintessential small Italian town.

There’s also the sea. Four of the five cities go out to sea, and all of them are full of beautiful beaches and marinas. That opens a myriad of ways and possibilities for fun: sunbathing, swimming, boating, kayaking, etc.

Finally — the food. Ligurian cuisine is a sub-branch of Italian cuisine, famous for combining herbs, meat, vegetables, and seafood, and the pesto, in particular.

The wine, too, is unforgettable, especially the white wine from Corniglia. All in all, it’s a place you have to visit. This guide is just here to help you choose the city where you’ll first make camp and decide where to stay in Cinque Terre. 

The 5 Best Parts of Cinque Terre

View of Monterosso al Mare village with greenery along the street showing places to stay in Cinque Terre

Monterosso al Mare view of the ancient touristic Cinque Terre village center in Liguria, Italy from October 25, 2021/Federica Ravettino/Shutterstock

  1. Monterosso al Mare. The largest, most versatile, and most practical town in the Cinque Terre, with the only sandy beach in the wider area.
  2. Vernazza. The most picturesque of all five towns and a paradise for photographers and lovers of pastel-colored houses, narrow streets, and beautiful vistas.
  3. Corniglia. Small, devoid of crowds, tourists, and noise, and the only city on this list that is not literally on the sea.  
  4. Manarola. The second smallest town in Cinque Terre (after Corniglia), which offers a fine balance between loud commerciality and distant forlornness.
  5. Riomaggiore. Full of young people, crowded beaches, bars, and cafes, it’s the best place in Cinque Terre if you’re looking for vibrant nightlife.

Cinque Terre’s Best Areas and Hotels

When looking at the big picture, accommodation in Cinque Terre is pretty homogenous, with no radical differences between the accommodation options in any of the five towns that make up the Cinque Terre.

Most of the apartments — Cinque Terre has a lot of single apartments or apartment complexes — are in the three-star area, but there’s also a fair number of four-star accommodations.

That’s pretty constant throughout the area. That being said, Vernazza and Corniglia offer slightly cheaper hotels and are particularly suitable for visitors on a budget. One last thing: Cinque Terre is packed with tourists.

It can be quite a challenge to find any accommodation if you haven’t planned your trip a few months ahead, so we advise that you look at the accomodation options and make your decision at least a couple of months in advance.

1. Monterosso al Mare

Monteroose Al Mare shown with colorful buildings by the sea in a piece on the best places to stay in Cinque Terre

Shoriful Chowdhury/Shutterstock

Monterosso al Mare is probably the most versatile and practical of all the Cinque Terre towns and villages. In comparison with the other coastline cities, it’s the most commercial, biggest, and most modernized.

It’s definitely the best choice for first-time comers to this part of Italy. The first thing you should know is that Monterosso al Mare is divided between the new and the old part, connected by a tunnel beneath San Cristoforo.

You’ll find the charming, historic, and small-Italian-town vibe in the old part. The beaches, the train station, and the car parks are located in the new part. Both are worth visiting since they offer completely different things.

The main attractions in the old city are typical for a small Italian town. Small, brightly colored houses, narrow stone streets, and the steep staircases typical for the Cinque Terre towns.

Then come the churches and the castles! The 800-year-old Church of St John, the Capuchin Monastery, the Aurora Tower, and the ruins of the Fieschi Castle are stunning. Feel free to roam the city and discover other small marvels for yourself.

The new city is famous for its beaches — some of the most famous in the Cinque Terre Region. We are obviously talking about Spiaggia Fegina, the beautiful sandy beach (sandy beaches are an exception in Cinque Terre, rocks are the rule).

But the other three, namely, Spiaggia Il Gigante, Spiaggia Portiglione, and Spiaggia Tragagia are also great. Monterosso al Mare is full of great hotels and restaurants. The food, like in most of Italy, is unforgettable. There are myriads of both old and new restaurants serving all kinds of food.

The hotel situation is more complicated since there is no accommodation lower than three stars — literally all of them have either three or four stars. On the other hand, some of them are quite cheap and accessible.  

Things to Do

  • Stroll the narrow streets and the steep staircases of the old town, looking at the cutest colored houses you’ve ever seen in your life. The Garibaldi square is also nice, surrounded by a lot of great restaurants and cafes. Seize the chance and learn about its historical heritage by visiting its most important attractions: The Church of St John, the Capuchin Monastery, the Aurora Tower, and the ruins of the Fieschi Castle.
  • Take your sunscreen and go to the beaches in the new area of Monterosso al Mare. Here you’ll find some of the most famous beaches in all of Cinque Terre. First, the unforgettable sandy beach, a rarity in this area of Italy, called Spiaggia Fegina. But that’s not the only choice since Spiaggia Il Gigante, Spiaggia Portiglione, and Spiaggia Tragagia are also quite beautiful.
  • If you want to leave the busy beaches and the crowded streets of Monterosso al Mare for a moment, rent a boat. You can either drive it by yourself or join a tour. Rent a kayak, join a Sunset Boat Tour from Monteroso to Riomaggiore, or a whole ride along the coast of Cinque Terre.
  • The Monterosso al Mare old town is full of souvenir shops where you can buy some interesting and valuable memorabilia to bring home. The Fabbrica d’Arte Monterosso is one of those shops you can’t miss! There’s a smaller shop on Via Roma 9 and a bigger one on Via V Emanuele 27.

Where to Eat

  • Ristorante Miky is a family-owned restaurant, going strong since 1980. Located in Monterosso’s New new town, it’s a great place to grab a bite and watch as the day’s catch gets cleared out by tourists and locals alike. Everything on the menu is great, but you should definitely try the anchovy spaghetti and salt-baked whole fish.
  • Agriturismo Missanega is another family-owned traditional restaurant that shows the rustic side of Cinque Terre. Located just outside of the village, it looks like the garden of Eden and offers garden-to-table fare. Try the sausages, the gnocchetti with baccalà, and cherry tomato confit, but also make sure to buy a bottle of olive oil.
  • Causapersa – Officina Enogastronomica at the heart of Monterosso on the Piazza Garibaldi is a new restaurant that started working in 2020. It serves Italian classics, prepared with a distinctive local twist. The mussels alla pizzaiola are unforgettable, and so is the shrimp broth. Don’t forget to order a bottle of sunny white wine to wash them down with.

Monterosso al Mare Budget Hotels

  • La Rosa Dei Venti is a quite cheap three-star hotel — you won’t find any hotels lower than three stars in this area — with a decent location. The rooms are bright, offering free Wi-Fi, constant air-conditioning, and satellite TV. The hotel is also completely pet-friendly.
  • Villa Caribe affittacamere is a very cheap three-star hotel located 800 meters from Gigante Beach but surrounded by a beautiful hillside. You will be welcomed with a cup of coffee and offered a no-frills room featuring a flat-screen TV. The Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and parking are free.

Monterosso al Mare Mid-Range Hotels

  • La Casa del Gigante Luxury Collection is located 300 meters from Fegina Beach and one kilometer from Monterosso Old Town. The apartment offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a kitchen, dining, and sitting area, and free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning. There’s also a beautiful terrace and a garden.
  • Locanda A Cà Du Gigante is a family-friendly, three-star hotel located near Il Gigante beach. Each room has free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, satellite TV, and a private bathroom. There’s also a bar on the premises, and every morning you can enjoy your breakfast while gazing at the Ligurian sea.

Monterosso al Mare Luxury Hotels

  • LE CINQUE VELE Cinque Terre is a beautiful four-star apartment located 200m from Monterosso Old Town Beach. It consists of two bedrooms, one bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, and a dining area. The Wi-Fi and the air-conditioning are free, and so is the parking, and there’s also a terrace, a patio, and a lush garden around the apartment.  
  • Appartamento Principe is another four-star apartment located even closer to Monterosso Old Town Beach. It’s luxuriously furnished, featuring one bathroom, a kitchen and dining area, and a sitting area. The parking, air-conditioning, and parking are free, and there’s also a sun terrace, a barbeque, and a lively garden on the premises.

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2. Vernazza

Seaside Vernazza at sunset shows ideas for where to stay in Cinque Terre

Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock

Vernazza is one of the more popular towns in Cinque Terre. Either the second town coming from the north or the fourth town coming from the south, it’s firmly located between Monterosso al Mare to the north and Corniglia to the south.

It’s a truly archetypal Cinque Terre town, consisting of houses in pastel colors, narrow picturesque streets, sunny beaches, and breathtaking mountains, not to mention that it boasts such a rich historical heritage.

Most of the photographs you probably looked at while pining after Cinque Terre were taken in Vernaza. They were likely either photos of the beautiful port (the only natural port in the area), the city’s two beaches, or the beautiful carless streets made for romantic strolls.

The ultimate Cinque Terre experience is waiting for you in Vernaza. Make sure you visit at least the most important historical building in the city since it’s one of the oldest in the area.

Doria Castle towers over the city that it once stood in defense of, the view from the top is simply unforgettable. The Church of Santa Margherita D’antiochia is as beautiful as it is old, and the Sanctuary of our Lady of Regio is a calm retreat surrounded by lush oaks, cedars, and chestnuts.

The Sentiero Azzurro or the Blue Trail is probably the biggest attraction in Vernazza. A famous coastline trail, it originally connected all five Cinque Terre towns. Today, for safety reasons, the trail between Monterosso and Vernazza is the only one available.

Walk the trail and discover the true beauties of Liguria: The coast, the blue sea, the unbelievable nature, the stony paths, the steep staircases. You can later relax on one of Vernazza’s beaches and go for a swim.

The hotel situation in Vernazza is quite specific. On one hand, the city offers a variety of great accommodations, and almost all of them have either a view of the sea or a view of the city center or its attractions.

There are plenty of budget options too, which are quite cheap. Vernazza is very popular among tourists. That means that almost all accommodations are booked upfront. If you want to find a place to stay, you should plan your trip really carefully and well in advance.

Things to Do

  • If you’re a fan of photography, Vernazza is the perfect place for you. You basically don’t have to know anything about composition or lightning to take a great photo in this town since everything is scenic or picturesque in some way. Vernazza is the best spot in Cinque Terre for making great memories.
  • Stroll the town and learn about its historical landmarks: Vernazza is one of the oldest cities in the area, and that reflects on the number of monuments worth visiting. Start with the Doria Castle, which historically served to defend the city from conqueror, and then continue to Vernazza’s two most important Christian buildings: The Church of Santa Margherita D’antiochia devoted to the saint-protector of the city and the Sanctuary of our Lady of Regio with its calm tree-laden atmosphere.
  • Cinque Terre, in general, is a paradise for hikers. The Blue Trail, the famous coastline trail that perfectly connects the five cities is something you shouldn’t miss. You can walk the path that connects Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare and enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds you from all sides.
  • Vernazza offers some of the best gelato in the whole of Italy. There are a lot of places with rich traditions that make the best artisan gelato which has attracted tourists from all around the world. First try the three Travelers’ Choices in Vernazza: Gelateria Vernazza, Gelateria Il Porticciolo, and Alberto Gelateria. Also visit Gelateria Artigianala Un Mare di Yogurt and Gelateria Stalin — both are quite good.

Where to Eat

  • Pippo a Vernazza – Tradizione & Street Food is a 2022 Travelers’ Choice street-food restaurant located in the beautiful Cinque Terre park. It offers Italian and Ligurian traditional food, seafood, and also vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. They also have an efficient takeaway service.
  • Gelateria Vernazza is more than just a place where you can try the famous Italian gelato. It’s an artisan gelato, made from an old, traditional recipe. But there are also plenty other options: cakes, sweets, muffins, and all sorts of baked goods guaranteed to get your sugar level up after a long day in the sun.
  • Ristorante La Torre is another 2022 Travelers’ Choice that got its name from the famous Vernazza Tower, which is right by the restaurant. It offers traditional Italian and Ligurian dishes made with a lot of care and gusto. The food is both tasty and healthy, with a lot of seafood, vegan, and vegetarian options.

Vernazza Budget Hotels

  • Albergo Barbara is a respectable, cheap one-star hotel which is located in the center of Vernazza, but also only a few meters from the city’s beach. Its two main strengths are the free Wi-Fi and the location on the beachfront. Some of the rooms have private bathrooms, guests from other rooms have to share a common bathroom; also, some of the rooms offer a view of the sea and others, of the mountains.
  • Hotel Gianni Franzi is a significantly better but also cheap two-star hotel option, and the stars don’t do it justice. It’s close both to the city’s main square and Doria Castle, and the rooms offer views either to the Ligurian sea or the center of the village. Finally, the hotel has a restaurant, a bar, and a terrace.

Vernazza Mid-Range Hotels

  • Rina Rooms is a three-star hotel 150 meters from Vernazza Train Station and five minutes from a small beach. It offers decently furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and coffee/tea makers. It’s great for couples since the street overlooking the apartment is really quiet.
  • LA CASETTA DI AGNESE is another mid-range three-star apartment with a view of the city center and a beautiful location only two minutes from Vernazza beach. There’s one bathroom, one bedroom, a kitchenette, and a sitting area with satellite TV and air conditioning. There’s also free parking near the apartment.    

Vernazza Luxury Hotels

  • MADA Charm Apartments Jacuzzi is a four-star hotel located on the Vernazza beachfront, offering a beautiful view of the beach and the sea. The rooms feature flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, free Wi-Fi, and a terrace. The luxurious apartments are particularly suitable for couples.
  • La Malà – camere di charme is another four-star complex of luxurious apartments located very close to Vernazza beach. The apartments are especially suitable for couples, offering free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and private bathrooms. The establishment also offers nice a la carte breakfast options.

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3. Corniglia

Narrow street in Corniglia, one of the best places to stay in Cinque Terre with lots of shopping and amenities

A narrow alley with shops in the Cinque Terre village of Corniglia in the province of La Spezia on November 14th, 2017/CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock

Corniglia is the odd one on the list of Cinque Terre towns and definitely the smallest. Located on top of a hill, so nowhere near the water’s edge, it has no boat access, and consequently, it isn’t as crowded as Vernazza, for example.

There are also fewer restaurants and fewer accommodation options. But that’s a plus and a minus at the same time. The other Cinque Terre towns can become unbearably crowded with tourists, and that won’t happen with Corniglia.

Here you can have your Italian vacation from the travelogue, with peace and quiet to supplement your daydreaming. As we already said, Corniglia is nowhere water. It has more of an agricultural vibe, surrounded by vineyards from all sides. That means, obviously, that the vines are especially great!

You have to at least try Vernaccia di Corniglia, a white wine with a long tradition dating back to the 1300s when Boccacio was writing the Decameron and the Renaissance was on the doorstep of Europe.

The fact that Corniglia isn’t a coastal town by definition doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a beach. There’s Guavo, which is clothing optional, and Spiaggione, which is close to the train station. Both of them are quite nice.

While Corniglia doesn’t have a lot of historical monuments, those it does have are worth your time. Plus, you can enjoy them in peace and quiet, since there won’t be any crowds.

The main attraction is the Church of St. Peter, a 14th-century building located on the Corniglia main square and dedicated to the city’s patron saint. But the Oratorio dei Disciplinati di Santa Caterina and the Saint Mary’s Terrace are no less interesting.

The accommodation options are generally cheaper in Corniglia. Most of them are actually apartments, and they mostly have three or four-stars, and the prices are generally in the mid-range area.

There’s not a lot of real luxury since there are fewer tourists. So, if you’re on a budget and you still want to visit Cinque Terre, Corniglia is the right place to do that.

Things to Do

  • Sunbathing and swimming on one of Corniglia’s beaches is fun. The Guavo welcomes nudists, while Spiaggione is a newer beach close to the train station. Neither is any less dreamy than the other beaches in Cinque Terre.
  • Climb the 370 steps and the rich panoramic terrace called Lardarina. It’s probably the most scenic place in the whole of Corniglia, and from here, you can see far and wide — the sea, the mountains, and the city — and take some magnificent pictures.
  • Walk the vineyards and sample the exquisite wine the area is known for. Take the hike to the village of Volastra, starting from the Church of St. Peter, where you will find an authentic Italian vineyard. You have to try the 700 old white wine called Vernaccia di Corniglia.
  • Take a stroll through the narrow streets of Corniglia, and learn about its history through its architecture. The Church of St. Peter, located on the main square, should be your first stop. All the cities in Italy have their patron saint, and this church is dedicated to St. Peter, Corniglia’s patron saint. After that, go to Oratorio dei Disciplinati di Santa Caterina and the Sanctuary of Nostra Signora delle Grazie.

Where to Eat

  • Bar Pan e Vin is a 2022 Travelers’ Choice cafe-restaurant offering Italian, Mediterranean and Ligurian food, with a lot of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. The focaccia, the sandwiches, and the craft beer — especially after a hard day spent hiking — are particularly popular.
  • La Scuna Wine & Beer is a beautiful rustic place located in a building made from stone, offering — as the name suggests — a wide variety of beers and wines, but also cocktails, liqueurs, and smoothies. The food is also good. The focaccia, the chase, the anchovy – this place is perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Alberto Gelateria is on this list for two reasons. It’s a Travelers’ Choice restaurant for 2022 and you can’t visit a small Italian town without eating gelato! But at Alberto, there are all kinds of sweets, like ice cream, cakes, and cookies.

Corniglia Budget Hotels

  • AMARE IL MARE Amare il Mare is a pretty nice one-star hotel close (an 8-minute walk) to Corniglia Beach. All of the rooms have free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, private bathrooms, tea and coffee makers, flat-screen TVs, and some of them have patios. There’s free parking in front of the hotel.  
  • Il Gabbiano Apartment is a very cheap three-star apartment five minutes from Corniglia Beach. The apartment offers free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, one bathroom, one bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen, and a sitting area. The visitors can enjoy the view both from the terrace and the patio.

Corniglia Mid-Range Hotels

  • Affittacamere Le Terrazze is a three-star hotel inside the Cinque Terre National Park that also boasts a beautiful garden. All the apartments have a private bathroom, a kitchenette, and a balcony. There’s also free Wi-Fi and free parking. According to the reviews, the apartments are particularly suitable for couples.
  • Cecio 5 Terre Rooms is another three-star hotel, this time close to Corniglia Beach (approximately nine minutes). There’s free Wi-Fi, free parking, free air-conditioning, a safety deposit box, and a private bathroom. Some rooms have balconies that offer a beautiful view of the sea.

Corniglia Luxury Hotels

  • Luxury Penthouse Sea View is an expensive and beautiful four-star apartment. It offers one bedroom, one bathroom, a kitchen, and a sitting area, but also a huge terrace with a view of both the sea and the mountains. Additional bed linens and towels are possible for extra money. The premises are also pet friendly.
  • Attic Outstanding View is another four-star apartment with a perfect view of the beauties of Corniglia. The apartment is quite big, boasting two bathrooms and two bedrooms, a kitchenette, and a sitting room. There’s a satellite flat-screen TV, a patio, and a terrace — and the view they offer is just unforgettable.

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4. Manarola

View of street with colorful houses in Manarola for a piece on where to stay in Cinque Terre

Giampaolo Nitti/Shutterstock

Manarola is the second smallest town in the Cinque Terre area — after Corniglia — with a population of only 353 people. Unlike Corniglia, it’s a coastal town with a beautiful marina which is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

The city is mainly famous for its scenic views, small narrow streets, and tasty food and wine. Generally, it’s not very different from the other Cinque Terre towns.

What’s unique about it is that it strikes an interesting balance. It’s not as small and isolated as Corniglia, but also not as big and crowded as Monterosso al Mare. The center of the city consists of two main streets, Via Renato Birolli and Via Antonio Discovolo.

Both of them run from the sea to the cliffs, and here you’ll find most of the cafes, shops, and restaurants in the city. There’s no better activity in Manarola than to slowly stroll these streets and enjoy the view. The city is not very crowded, and you won’t have to fight your way through a mass of tourists.

Probably the main attraction of Manarola is its famous viewpoint on the top of the hill overlooking the city. It’s quite a relaxing hike since you only need one or two hours to reach the Manarola Overlook Viewpoint (as it’s named on Google Maps).

Once you reach the top, the famous restaurant Nessun Dorma awaits you for a glass of wine or an Aperol spritz. Just be careful! The Overlook Viewpoint is not an undiscovered gem, everybody knows about it, and it can get crowded.

There’s also the mandatory city church. This one is called Chiesa di San Lorenzo and is located on the hilltop overlooking the city.

Since you’ll definitely go hiking, don’t forget this small beauty if you want to enjoy the history and architecture of Manarola. There are no apartments in Manarola lower than three stars.

The accommodation and the restaurant situation are similar to the rest of Cinque Terre. Mostly three-star apartment complexes, some four-star luxury accommodations, and many traditional restaurants offering classic Italian fare.

Things to Do

  • The historic district  in Manarola was selected as the 2022 Travelers’ Choice, and that’s truly something. Manarola is a typical Ligurian coastal city with narrow streets, colorful houses, steep staircases, and a general Cinque Terre vibe. Stroll the Via Renato Birolli and Via Antonio Discovolo, the two main streets of the city, but don’t forget to visit Chiesa di San Lorenzo, which is quite beautiful and old.
  • Hike to the Manarola Overlook Viewpoint, which is definitely the most famous attraction of the city. It’s not a terribly hard hike since it lasts somewhere between one and two hours. You won’t need any special gear. Just don’t forget to take your camera and check the season: during the summer months, the trail is overflowing with tourists from all around the world. But the view from above is absolutely worth it.
  • Manarola is a coastal city with a beautiful Marina. That means a lot of boats and boat tours every day. One of the best tours of the Cinque Terre from the sea starts in Manarola: join it, and discover new grottos, caves, beaches, and views that are simply not possible from the mainland.
  • Manarola offers a distinctive experience for swimmers. The swimming in this city is not done from a beach, but from the city’s marina. There’s one more place where you can swim too! Following the cemetery, you can reach the tiny port of Palaedo. Just be careful and mind the rocks.

Where to Eat

  • Nessun Dorma is an Italian restaurant that stands apart for one thing — it serves neither pasta nor pizza! So what, then, aren’t we in Italy? They serve bruschetta, salad, and meat and cheese platters, with a policy that everything must be fresh, from the homemade bread to the vegetables. The seaside view comes as a bonus.
  • Cappun Magru is a 2022 Travelers’ Choice mainly concentrating on seafood, wine, and bread from the Ligurian region. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. This little spot is a pretty quiet place where you can have the relaxing Cinque Terre dinner from your dreams.  
  • Aristide is another 2022 Travelers’ Choice famous for its vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The staff is very polite and speaks English well. We recommend butter and anchovies as the entrée and seafood for the main course.

Manarola Budget Hotels

  • Le Coste by Arbaspàa is a complex of quite cheap three-star apartments with modern design and furnishings, located both near the beach and the train station. Each room has free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and a private bathroom. The apartments are pet-friendly and there’s available parking.
  • Casa Di Mezzo by Arbaspàa is another cheap three-star complex of apartments conveniently near Manarola Station. Some rooms offer a view of the Ligurian sea, but all of them are en suite and have a kitchenette. The reviews indicate that it’s a particularly suitable place for couples and visitors with pets.

Manarola Mid-Range Hotels

  • Arpaiu is a three-star accommodation that offers both rooms and apartments. All the rooms have free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, private bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs. You also have a hair dryer and a coffee machine at your disposal. Finally, the complex offers free parking and a tasty breakfast every morning.
  • Hotel Marina Piccola is another three-star accommodation located two minutes from Manarola beach. It offers the usual: free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, a private bathroom, and flat-screen TV. According to the reviews, the place is especially suitable for couples: probably because of the tasty breakfast and generally relaxing cozy atmosphere.

Manarola Luxury Hotels

  • L’EMPORIO ROOMS is a complex of luxurious four-star apartments with city views. Every room has free Wi-Fi and free air-conditioning, a private bathroom, a flat screen TV, a fridge, and a desk. Select, more expensive rooms have a kitchen and a microwave. There’s also a terrace on the premises.  
  • Il Sogno di Manarola by The First is another four-star complex of luxurious apartments with a perfect view of the mountains, the city, and the sea. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV; and some rooms have a terrace and a microwave. Finally, pets are allowed on the premises, and there’s a great, tasty breakfast every morning.

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5. Riomaggiore

Image of Riomaggiore village nestled in the coastal hills is one of the best places to stay while you're in Cinque Terre

Denis.Vostrikov/Shutterstock

Riomaggiore is the first or the last city in Cinque Terre, depending on whether you come from the south or the north. It’s on the other end of Monterosso al Mare, and with this city, we complete the Cinque Terre circle.

Accidentally and unintentionally, it’s a great place to wrap things up with, since it has a distinctive and unique quality that sets it apart from the other cities on the Ligurian coast. That’s mainly because of its youthful energy.

Cinque Terre is generally intended either for experienced mid-age or people in their twilight years who know how to enjoy the better things in life — it can get a bit boring for the younger generation.

Riomaggiore is an exception to this rule since it has the most vibrant nightlife of all the cities in this guide. Most of the bars and clubs close quite early in Cinque Terre, but that’s not the case here.

Visit the following places to spice up your trip and have a few drinks — some of them even offer live music:

The other activities and attractions in Riomaggiore are quite regular, and completely in touch with the rest of Cinque Terre. There are the beautiful narrow streets of the historic city, the buildings such as the San Giovanni Battista church, the castle of Riomaggiore, and The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero.

Then there are the sandy beaches and the beautiful hiking trails — The Walk of Love and The Via Beccara being the most famous. All of them are worth your time.

It’s usually stated that Riomaggiore offers more budget accommodations compared to the other cities in Cinque Terre. It’s hard to agree with that since there are literally no hotels or apartments lower than three stars.

To be fair, some of them are quite cheap. The restaurant situation is as marvelous as ever, boasting Italian restaurants, seafood places, as well as pizzerias and gelaterias at every corner.  

Things to Do

  • Explore the vibrant nightlife of Riomaggiore since you can’t do that in the rest of Cinque Terre. There’s a wide variety of clubs, bars, and cafes, and here’s a list of the most important ones: Bar La Terza Terra Corniglia, Bar Stazione, La Taverna del Metallo, Orange Cafe La Spezia, Ananasso Bar, and Accanto. Some even offer live music, but you’ll rarely find something that works after 1 AM.
  • Stroll through the historic city of Riomaggiore, and visit some of its most important monuments. Start with the San Giovanni Battista church, which is the most important monument in the city. Continue with the imposing castle of Riomaggiore and finish with the sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero, which lies just outside of the city.
  • Riomaggiore is a paradise for hikers, a constant theme throughout the cities of Cinque Terre. The two most important hiking trails are the following: The Walk of Love; and The Via Beccara, along the ancient mule track, which culminates with the sanctuary of Our Lady of Montenero.
  • Do the most obvious thing: Go to the beach and relax. The Riomaggiore beach, located in the east, is quite wide and big and equipped with all the amenities, like beach showers. Another option is the Canneto beach, which cannot be reached by land, only by sea. It’s quite unique since it has a natural waterfall.

Where to Eat

  • Kepris Pizzeria is an old-school 2022 Travelers’ Choice Pizzeria located in the northern side of Riomaggiore. The pizzeria offers a variety of pizzas at a reasonable price, and has a very welcoming and warm staff. It’s a small place near the train station, where you can have your pizza in a casual environment. There’s also a takeaway service, and according to the reviews, almost everybody takes an extra pizza for home.
  • Il Pescato Cucinato is a 2022 Travelers’ Choice seafood restaurant located in the center of Riomaggiore. It offers fast-food seafood, and according to the reviews, it’s one of the best places of its kind in Cinque Terre. Their fried calamari has garnered praise from all around the world for being super tasty and light.
  • Old School Riomaggiore – Cocktails & Food is another 2022 Traveler’s Choice restaurant (there are a lot of them in Riomaggiore), with a perfect view of the sea and the city. It functions both as an Italian restaurant and as a cafe, with one of the best cocktails in the area. It’s best to go here if you’re in the mood for either brunch or a drink, and it’s an especially great place for vegans and vegetarians since it offers a lot of options for them.

Riomaggiore Budget Hotels

  • Affittacamere Le Giare is a quite cheap, but very beautiful three-star accommodation, located half a kilometer from Riomaggiore Train station. Each apartment is furnished with free Wi-Fi, free air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. There’s a terrace, too, with a view of both the city and the sea, and coffee and tea makers in every room.
  • Rio Rest Apartments is another relatively cheap three-star accommodation located half a kilometer from Riomaggiore Beach. The apartment has one bedroom, one bathroom, a dining area, and a kitchen. You’ll also have free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a flat-screen TV. The premises are pet-friendly.

Riomaggiore Mid-Range Hotels

  • Locanda Dalla Compagnia is a three-star hotel with a reasonable price — not too cheap, not too expensive. Located in the center of Riomaggiore, the apartments overlook the historic Church of Our Lady. There’s free Wi-Fi and free air-conditioning on the premises, some apartments are basically by the sea, and some of them have a fully equipped small kitchen.  
  • Scorci Di Mare is another mid-range three-star hotel, this time with a twist. It’s located 50 meters from the Riomaggiore coast in a historic 14th-century building that has aged like fine wine. The rooms are furnished in an eco-friendly, modern way; some of them have terraces overlooking the city center, and others a small kitchenette offering every amenity.

Riomaggiore Luxury Hotels

  • il Mare di Ada:seaside apartament in Riomaggiore is a four-star hotel located 100 meters from Riomaggiore Beach. A beachfront hotel with free Wi-Fi and a view of the sea, it’s especially suitable for couples (according to the reviews). It offers two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a kitchen area. The apartment is pet-friendly, and there’s breakfast available every morning.
  • La Vista di Marina by The First is quite expensive — more expensive than all the four-star hotels — three-star apartment complex located near Riomaggiore Beach. Each unit offers free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, a private bathroom, satellite flat-screen TV, a kitchen, and a sitting area. The apartments are non-smoking but pet-friendly.

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So, Where Should You Stay in Cinque Terre?

As you see, choosing where you should stay in Cinque Terre is not an easy task. All of the five cities in the area are both distinctive and beautiful. Let’s make a quick recap to make it easier for you.

Monterosso al Mare is the biggest, most practical, and most versatile city in this guide. It’s the perfect destination for first-time visitors to Cinque Terre since it’s more modernized and more commercial than the other places on our list.

Vernazza is probably the most famous city in Cinque Terre. A magnet for tourists for almost half a century, it’s beautiful and picturesque and the perfect place for those who’ve fallen in love with Italy while looking at pictures and who don’t mind big crowds and many tourists.

Corniglia is the smallest city in Cinque Terre and the only city which doesn’t go out directly to the sea. People who don’t like noisy crowds and prefer a more relaxed atmosphere usually choose Corniglia.

Manarola is the second smallest town in Cinque Terre and the place where you’ll find the most famous viewpoint in the region. Small yet versatile and quite popular, it’s a great place for those who want to experience a little bit of everything.

Riomaggiore is the only city in Cinque Terre with a lively and vibrant night scene and the most suitable and interesting place for young people. It’s also a great place for swimming and hiking.

No matter which area you choose to stay in, make time to explore all 5 villages! Each offers something unique and you’ll want to take in as much of beautiful Cinque Terre as possible before you leave for home.