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!
The 5 Best Places to Stay in Cinque Terre
- Monterosso al Mare. The largest, most versatile, and most practical town in the Cinque Terre, with the only sandy beach in the wider area.
- Vernazza. The most picturesque of all five towns and a paradise for photographers and lovers of pastel-colored houses, narrow streets, and beautiful vistas.
- Corniglia. Small, devoid of crowds, tourists, and noise, and the only city on this list that is not literally on the sea.
- Manarola. The second smallest town in Cinque Terre (after Corniglia), which offers a fine balance between loud commerciality and distant forlornness.
- 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.
The Best Areas & Hotels in Cinque Terre
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Bar La Terza Terra Corniglia
- Bar Stazione
- La Taverna del Metallo
- Orange Cafe La Spezia
- Ananasso Bar
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.
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.
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.
|✅ Best Area to See Everything
|Monterosso al Mare
|🐋 Best for Nature Lovers
|💲 Most Budget-Friendly Area
|🍽️ Best Area for Restaurants
|🎉 Best Area for Nightlife
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.