The villages of the Cinque Terre
The variegated villages of the Cinque Terre, perched on rocky cliffs along the coast of Liguria, leave unforgettable impressions with visitors, no matter whether it is the first visit or if they are regular tourists to this special and completely unique Italian dream come true. Although the Cinque Terre villages are set on the coast, tourists do not come here for sunbathing at the beach. It’s another type of tourism in the seductive Cinque Terre: peaceful, ecological, rich in culture, history, nature and gratification of the senses.
The five villages
Each village of the Cinque Terre will surprise you with its own special and unique characteristics. For example, Monterosso al Mare, is particular because of the many black and white striped walls, typical of the ancient Ligurian churches and other buildings, and it is ideal for a beach vacation. Romantic and colourful Vernazza, sitting on the imposing cliffs, is the village that is better "nestled" into the Ligurian landscape than the others, set as it is between watercourses and verdant rocks. The tiny Corniglia is a unique village built on the cliff face and surrounded by vineyards. At first sight it looks inaccessible, but it is in fact something which tourists should not miss. Ancient Manarola in its turn attracts travellers because of its architectural and cultural landmarks. Finally, between two steep cliffs, we find Riomaggiore, a quiet village where still today the work of a fisherman is carried on.
And you, instead…, what will you discover in the villages of the Cinque Terre?
Main features and differences of the Cinque Terre villages
Which village is the most beautiful?
As we know, the criteria of beauty are very subjective. As they say “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!” Perhaps this is why, when you ask the question to tourists who have visited all five villages of this national park, there is no clear answer to determine which village is the most beautiful of the Cinque Terre. It’s usually said to be Vernazza and Manarola: the first fascinates with its multi-colored houses, the other with its towers, famous throughout the Cinque Terre. These two are always considered to be the most romantic villages and countless pictures are taken there. Vernazza and Manarola are not to be missed!
Where you can see sunsets in the Cinque Terre
You can enjoy the sunset from any village of the Cinque Terre, but the area has some special features to bear in mind. Because of the numerous rocky geographical features, such as we find in Mesco, the sun sets much earlier in Monterosso and Vernazza. However, you can see the other villages in the magical light of sunset from the Fegina beach in Monterosso. According to tourists, another ideal place to watch the sunset is Manarola.
What is the largest village with no steps?
Although Riomaggiore has the highest population (over 1500), the largest village in terms of area is Monterosso al Mare. It is the only village of the Cinque Terre with sand beaches (suitable for children) and the size of the little streets here makes it possible to arrive by car. And prices are also more affordable here.
Which village you can miss out on seeing?
If you don’t have enough time, it’s best to skip Corniglia. It is the smallest and because it is built on the cliff it is the least accessible of all the Cinque Terre villages. If the access to the Sentiero dell’Amore (Path of Love) is closed, you might also leave out a visit to Riomaggiore.
Towns near the Cinque Terre
The villages of the Cinque Terre are certainly not the only attractions for tourists traveling to Liguria. There is detailed information on our site for more than ten places worthy of interest and which are easily reached from the Cinque Terre. More information can be found on the page “Neighboring towns”. You can also discover how not to miss anything in one trip on the page “The dream trip in 2 weeks”.