At the beach in Koh Nang Yuan, Thailand

By Norbert Figueroa, an experienced architect, travel writer, long-term budget traveler, and photographer with over 13 years of travel experience in over 139 countries and counting. @globotreks

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Cinque Terre is a picturesque destination along the stunning Italian Riviera on the northwest part of Italy that depicts that iconic colorful Italian village setting by the coast.

But, Cinque Terre is more than just a coastal village. This popular destination consists of five wonderful villages: Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, and Monterosso al Mare.

In fact, that’s what Cinque Terre means in Italian: Five Lands.

But, in addition to the famous five villages, there are two more that form part of this charming region: La Spezia and Portovenere. 

Each village has its distinct character, and choosing where to stay in Cinque Terre is vital for enjoying your holiday. 

So, when taking your road trip through Italy, you definitely should consider staying in Cinque Terre.

These fishing villages have something for everyone, whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, an outdoor adventure, or simply a place to relax and enjoy the stunning coastal scenery. 

Manarola Sunset in Cinque Terre

Manarola: Best for Sunsets, Wine, and Breathtaking Views. 

Manarola, one of the seven villages of Cinque Terre, captures the essence of this spectacular coastal region. Known for its stunning sunsets, exquisite local wines, and awe-inspiring views, this small village is sure to offer you an unforgettable experience. 

Overlooking the Ligurian Sea, you’ll find postcard-perfect views of colorful houses cascading down the cliffs and a harbor that adds to its unique charm. 

One of the best ways to experience Manarola is by exploring its vineyards and indulging in the local wines. The village is renowned for producing high-quality Sciacchetrà, a sweet dessert wine from Bosco, Vermentino, and Albarola grape varieties.

Another great thing about Manarola is that you can easily hop on a train or hike to the neighboring towns, such as Riomaggiore and Corniglia, and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of each one. 

Manarola View in Cinque Terre

Where to stay in Manarola

When it comes to where to stay in Cinque Terre, Manarola, you’ll find enough options that cater to your needs. Manarola is the most expensive village to stay in in Cinque Terre.

However, whichever accommodation you choose, you’ll have easy access to the village’s main attractions, including the picturesque harbor and the cliffside hiking trails.

La Torretta Lodge

This hotel in the heart of Manarola, La Torretta Lodge, is a quaint guest house known for its exceptional hospitality and stunning views. It is housed in a renovated medieval tower with rooms that are beautifully decorated and offer a comfortable setting. 

The highlight of this accommodation is its rooftop terrace, with its hot tub, where you can relax and admire the stunning views of the village and the sea.

Manarola Street in Cinque Terre

Hotel Marina Piccola

Just steps away from the harbor, Hotel Marina Piccola is a fantastic place to stay in Manarola for those seeking convenience to some of the wonderful sites in this village. 

This family-run hotel offers comfortable rooms, some with balconies that overlook the village and the sea. While it may not look like much from the outside, the inside promises modern luxury and comforts.

The friendly staff, delicious breakfast, and unbeatable location make it popular among visitors.

Ca’ D’Andrean

Against the Manarola Mountainside, Ca’ D’Andrean provides a tranquil place to stay, away from the hustle and bustle of the village center. 

This bed and breakfast offers tastefully decorated rooms and a beautiful garden to unwind while enjoying the peaceful surroundings. The hosts are known for their freshly baked pastries and warm hospitality often providing valuable insights into local attractions and activities.

Corniglia Sunset in Cinque Terre

Corniglia: Best Village To Stay Away From the Crowds

If you are wondering where to stay in Cinque Terre away from the crowds, look no further than Corniglia. This village will give you a peaceful and authentic experience and provides a relaxing escape amidst the stunning coastal scenery.

Unlike the other villages in Cinque Terre, Corniglia is situated atop a cliff, requiring a climb of around 382 steps or a shuttle bus ride. This geographical feature acts as a natural barrier, making Corniglia less accessible and thus attracting fewer tourists.

As a result, the village maintains a laid-back atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy a more intimate and authentic experience.

Staying in Corniglia offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local way of life. The village is characterized by narrow, winding streets, colorful houses, and charming squares.

Wander through the narrow streets, and shop at the local artisan shops offering handmade crafts and souvenirs. Its small size provides a sense of community, and you’ll often find locals chatting in the piazza. 

While in Corniglia, take the time to explore the village’s hidden corners and discover its unique attractions. Visit the Church of San Pietro, a beautiful 14th-century church in the central square, and enjoy panoramic views from its terrace. 

Corniglia is also an excellent starting point for outdoor adventures. From here, you can access the hiking trails that connect the five villages of Cinque Terre.

The path from Corniglia to Vernazza, known as the Sentiero Vernazza-Corniglia, offers spectacular vistas of the coastline and vineyards.

For a unique beach experience, head down to Guvano Beach, a hidden gem between Corniglia and Vernazza. You can reach this secluded pebble beach via a short hike from the village. It offers a serene spot to unwind and enjoy crystal-clear waters away from the crowds.

Corniglia from the Trail in Cinque Terre

Where to Stay in Corniglia

While it may not have direct beach access like some of the other villages, Corniglia compensates with its charm, tranquility, and affordability. It is an excellent choice for those looking to explore the Cinque Terre on a budget.

Madüneta 5 Terre:

Situated in a quiet corner of Corniglia, Madüneta 5 Terre offers a unique, colorful, and authentic stay. This hotel is surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Cinque Terre National Park, and the rooms are tastefully decorated.

All the rooms are equipped with air-conditioning and your daily amenities. There are also several restaurants and shops nearby to explore. 

Corniglia in Cinque Terre

Affittacamere Le Terrazze

Offering a range of comfortable rooms, Affittacamere Le Terrazze is an excellent choice for self-catering. The rooms are cozy and equipped with modern amenities. Some of the rooms even have spacious terraces, where you can relax and enjoy views of the village and the sea. 

At Affittacamere Le Terrazze, you can also expect exceptional service and friendly staff. And as a bonus, the central location means you can easily explore the village. 

Locanda Il Carugio:

Locanda Il Carugio is housed in a traditional Ligurian building. The rooms are clean and comfortable, featuring a blend of modern and traditional decor. 

Some rooms have a balcony with exquisite mountain views. All the rooms are equipped with aircon, a flatscreen TV, and other necessary amenities to make your stay comfortable.

One of the highlights of staying at Locanda il Carugio is undoubtedly the delicious complimentary breakfast served each morning.

Vernazza from Above in Cinque Terre

Vernazza: Best Town To Stay for Awesome Views 

Nestled in a natural amphitheater with colorful buildings cascading down the hillside towards the turquoise waters of the Ligurian Sea, Vernazza boasts a picture-perfect setting. This village exudes a romantic and idyllic atmosphere.

Like the other villages in Cinque Terre, Vernazza is worth exploring. Don’t be afraid to wander through its narrow streets, adorned with vibrant houses and flowers. Make your way to the harbor, where colorful fishing boats bob gently in the water.

Climb up to the Doria Castle, a medieval fortress perched on the hilltop, and marvel at the views of the village and the coastline from its tower.

Vernazza from Behind in Cinque Terre

For those seeking even more breathtaking sites, you definitely have to try the hiking trails around the village.

The most popular trail is the Sentiero Vernazza-Monterosso, which offers stunning scenery of the coastline and vineyards as you make your way through terraced hillsides.

Be sure to bring your camera to capture the dramatic cliffs, azure waters, and charming villages from a unique perspective.

Vernazza offers a range of activities to enrich your stay. Indulge in delicious Ligurian cuisine, savoring local specialties such as “trofie al pesto” (handmade pasta with basil pesto) and fresh seafood dishes.

Don’t forget to visit the small beach within the harbor for a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters.

And, this is just a biased comment, but while I love all of Cinque Terre villages, Vernazza is my favorite of them all. To me, it’s just so picturesque and charming.

Vernazza from the Sea in Cinque Terre

Where to Stay in Vernazza

Vernazza is one of the best places to stay in Cinque Terre. One of the major advantages of staying here is its central location within the Cinque Terre National Park. Despite its small size, the village offers a variety of options to suit different preferences. 

Keep in mind that Vernazza is, however, one of your more expensive villages regarding accommodation in Cinque Terre. 

Having said that, it was my favorite of the villages to stay in and I highly recommend it.

La Malà

Located just steps away from the Vernazza harbor, La Malà is a boutique guesthouse converted from an antique Ligurian house.

The rooms are elegant and charming, featuring a blend of modern comforts and traditional elements. Some rooms offer balconies or terraces with beautiful views of the village and the sea. 

Albergo Barbara

Situated in a prime location near the Vernazza train station, Albergo Barbara is a family-run hotel that offers comfortable rooms and a friendly atmosphere. 

The rooms are cozy and well-maintained, providing a comfortable base for exploring the village and the surrounding area. The hotel’s rooftop terrace offers fantastic views, making it an ideal spot to relax and soak in the beauty of Vernazza.

Camere Giuliano

Camere Giuliano is a charming guest house in Vernazza’s heart. This cozy accommodation offers comfortable rooms with simple yet inviting decor. The rooms have terraces, allowing you to enjoy mountain and village views. Each room has free wifi and a small kitchenette. 

The guesthouse is only a short walk away from Vernazza beaches and is surrounded by plenty of restaurants. 

Riomaggiore from the Sea in Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore: Best Place for A Lively Stay

Riomaggiore, the southernmost village of Cinque Terre, is renowned for its lively atmosphere and vibrant energy. If you’re seeking a place that offers a mix of stunning coastal beauty and a bustling social scene, this is the best destination.

With its colorful houses, bustling streets, and bustling harbor, Riomaggiore exudes a vibrant and energetic vibe.  Take your time to admire the colorful buildings and vibrant murals that bring the village to life.

Exploring the village is an adventure on its own as the streets are lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. You can also wander down to the lively Riomaggiore harbor and stroll along the waterfront promenade, lined with charming cafes and gelato shops.

This village is also home to numerous restaurants and trattorias that offer a wide array of delicious Italian cuisine. Be sure to indulge in fresh seafood dishes, pasta specialties, and regional delicacies while here.

The best way to do that is to sit down at a lively trattoria and enjoy the flavors of Ligurian cuisine while soaking up the energetic ambiance.

Riomaggiore is a great starting point for exploring the stunning hiking trails that Cinque Terre is famous for.

Embark on the challenging but rewarding hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola, known as the Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Path) to enjoy the breathtaking coastline and sea views as you walk along the cliffside trail.

Riomaggiore offers a perfect blend of coastal beauty and energetic charm. Immerse yourself in the bustling ambiance of this vibrant village. 

Riomaggiore at Night in Cinque Terre

Where to Stay in Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is a great place to stay in Cinque Terre. It caters to a range of preferences and budgets, offering options that include guesthouses, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and small boutique hotels.

In fact, Riomaggiore is probably your most budget-friendly option in Cinque Terre. 

Cinqueterre Residence

Situated just a short walk from the village center, Cinqueterre Residence offers spacious apartments with modern amenities. These self-catering accommodations feature fully equipped kitchens, comfortable living areas, and private terraces.

Enjoy the private outdoor hot tub, the air-conditioned rooms, and the scrumptious buffet breakfasts. 

Riomaggiore Closeup in Cinque Terre

Ca’ di dodo:

Located in the breathtaking coastal village of Riomaggiore, Ca’ di dodo is a charming accommodation that captures the essence of the Cinque Terre region. 

The holiday home is a delightful fusion of traditional architecture and modern comforts. Each room boasts its own unique character, and some even offer panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea.

MARÌ – Between Land and Sea

This fabulous apartment is in the heart of Riogmaffiore. MARÌ – Between Land and Sea offers a quaint apartment with a balcony with a lake view and is close to Riomaggiore Beach. 

The space is comfortable and equipped with air-conditioning and all the amenities you may need during your stay.  It is ideally located for exploring Riomaggiore and the surrounding Cinque Terre region including the nearby sites like Saint George’s Castle. 

Monterosso al Mare from the Sea in Cinque Terre

Monterosso al Mare: Best Place to Stay for Beach Lovers

Monterosso al Mare is a dream come true for beach lovers seeking a sun-soaked getaway. 

Monterosso al Mare boasts not one but two stunning beaches. The main beach, Monterosso Beach or Fegina Beach, is a long stretch of golden sand that offers ample space for sunbathing, relaxation, and beach games.

The second beach, the Old Town Beach or Spiaggia del Gigante, is a smaller, more intimate beach nestled between cliffs and characterized by its charming atmosphere.

Take a refreshing swim in the clear waters, go snorkeling to discover the vibrant marine life beneath the surface, or rent a paddleboard or kayak to explore the scenic coastline.

Adrenaline seekers can try their hand at exciting water sports such as jet skiing or parasailing, adding an extra thrill to their beach experience.

Monterosso al Mare Sea View in Cinque Terre

In addition to the beautiful beaches, Monterosso al Mare offers scenic coastal walks that allow you to explore the breathtaking coastline.

The coastal path, known as the Via dell’Amore (Lover’s Path), connects Monterosso al Mare to the neighboring village of Riomaggiore, offering stunning views of the sea and cliffs. 

You can also hike the Blue Trail, which connects all five villages in Cinque Terre. You can read more about my experience hiking this trail and making the most out of my time at Cinque Terre here.

This village has an array of beachfront restaurants and cafes where you can indulge in delicious meals while enjoying the stunning views.

Treat yourself to fresh seafood delicacies, traditional Ligurian dishes, and delectable gelato as you take in the sights and sounds of the beach. Combining delectable cuisine and picturesque surroundings creates a truly delightful dining experience.

Monterosso al Mare Beach in Cinque Terre

Where to Stay in Monterosso al Mare

Monterosso al Mare, the largest of Cinque Terre’s villages, is your mid-range cost village. While you may not find 5-star, top-of-the-range luxury hotels, you will find cozy guest houses and boutique hotels. 

Hotel Porto Roca

Situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, Hotel Porto Roca offers stunning coastline views. It provides loungers and umbrellas at the beach below, a swimming pool, and a restaurant with terraces offering stunning vistas. The rooms are modern, elegant, and clean, with incredible sea views. 

Hotel Punta Mesco

Hotel Punta Mesco offers a secluded and authentic setting away from the bustling crowds. It is located in the New Town area, close to the train station and a short walk from the beach. The hotel features comfortable rooms, a garden, a terrace with sea views, and a refreshing drink bar.

Albergo Degli Amici:

Albergo Degli Amici is a fabulous hotel located in Monterosso al Mare’s historic center. This means the hotel is also ideally located for exploring the town.

Behind the property, there are olive groves and vineyards which give a relaxed and truly Italian atmosphere. There is also a sun terrace with a foosball table and a wonderful garden. The rooms are colorful, clean, and comfortable. 

La Spezia in Cinque Terre

La Spezia: Best Place for Vibrant Nightlife

La Spezia is a vibrant city located on the Ligurian coast of Italy, serving as a gateway to the picturesque Cinque Terre region. La Spezia is a great choice if you prefer a larger city with more amenities and various accommodation options. 

This village boasts a lively dining scene with numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars. You can indulge in delicious seafood, traditional Italian cuisine, and regional specialties. The city also offers a vibrant nightlife, with various bars and clubs to enjoy live music, cocktails, and socializing.

While in La Spezia, you can explore the city’s attractions, such as the Naval Museum, the Amedeo Lia Museum, and the scenic promenade along the waterfront.

Stroll through the historic center, where you’ll find charming streets, shops, and local markets. You can also enjoy boat tours, hiking, and cycling in the nearby natural parks and coastal trails.

La Spezia is well-connected to other parts of Italy, making it easily accessible. The city has a central train station with frequent connections to major cities like Florence, Pisa, and Genoa.

Additionally, the ferry services from La Spezia connect you to the beautiful villages of Cinque Terre, offering a scenic and convenient way to explore the region.

La Spezia Street in Cinque Terre

Where to Stay in La Spezia

In terms of travel and accommodation costs, La Spezia can be considered a mid-range village to visit in Cinque Terre. The city is well-connected by train, with frequent services to the Cinque Terre villages and other towns along the coast. 

Hotel Firenze e Continentale

Located in the heart of La Spezia, in a renovated historic building, Hotel Firenze e Continentale is one of the best hotels in Cinque Terre, La Spezia. The rooms are clean and elegant, with modern amenities. 

It features a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city and the Gulf of La Spezia. The hotel’s central location allows easy access to the train station, shops, and restaurants.

CDH Hotel La Spezia

CDH Hotel La Spezia provides contemporary rooms and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. The hotel’s convenient location makes it an excellent choice for exploring the city and accessing transportation to Cinque Terre, the harbor, and it offers comfortable, well-appointed rooms. 

The 4-star hotel also has a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, a fitness center, and a restaurant serving local and international cuisine. Its proximity to the waterfront and the city center makes it a great option to explore La Spezia. 

Affittacamere Casa Dane

Affittacamere Casa Dane offers clean and cozy rooms in a central location, close to the train station and the city center. All the rooms are elegantly decorated and have air conditioning. The hotel also offers bicycles to their guests for exploring the town. 

Portovenere in Cinque Terre

Portovenere: Best Place to Stay for a Local Hidden Gem

Portovenere’s stunning natural beauty, rich history, and charming atmosphere offer a unique and authentic experience. 

Portovenere is characterized by rugged cliffs, clear waters, and colorful houses lining the waterfront. The town is tucked away from the crowds, offering a more unique and untouched environment than the neighboring Cinque Terre villages.

The natural beauty of Porto Venere is truly mesmerizing, making it a perfect escape if you are looking for a peaceful and picturesque retreat.

The village is steeped in history, dating back to Roman times. The town is named after a temple dedicated to Venus, which stood on the Church of San Pietro site.

You can explore the historic center and its narrow, winding streets, discover ancient fortresses and defensive walls, and visit landmarks like Chiesa di San Pietro. The blend of history and architecture in Portovenere adds a sense of authenticity and charm to the town.

Portovenere Coast in Cinque Terre

Where to Stay in Portovenere

Portovenere may not be the cheapest destination in Italy, but it offers a unique and charming experience that is well worth the cost. The perks of staying in Portovenere are that it maintains a sense of authenticity and retains its traditional Italian charm.

Grand Hotel Portovenere

This luxury hotel offers stunning views of the harbor and the picturesque town.

With elegant rooms, a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, and a restaurant serving delicious seafood, the Grand Hotel Portovenere provides a truly indulgent experience. Its central location allows for easy exploration of Portovenere’s attractions.

Hotel Belvedere

Perched on the hillside overlooking Portovenere, Hotel Belvedere offers incredible views of the town and the sea. This 3-star  hotel features comfortable rooms with modern amenities, a terrace, and a garden.

The tranquil setting and attentive service make it a perfect choice for a relaxing stay.

Locanda Lorena

If you prefer a more intimate and cozy accommodation, Locanda Lorena is an excellent option. Located right on the waterfront, this charming inn offers comfortable rooms with sea views and a restaurant renowned for its seafood dishes.

Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and the sea sounds while just steps away from Portovenere’s attractions.

Vernazza Wide Angle in Cinque Terre

Ready to Visit Cinque Terre?

Staying in Cinque Terre, whether in Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Manarola, or Vernazza, offers an unforgettable experience combining natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality.

Exploring the villages of Cinque Terre and other Ligurian hill towns is a delight in itself. Whether you prefer to hike the scenic trails, take a boat ride along the coast, or hop on the train that connects the towns, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views and memorable experiences. 

So, venture to Cinque Terre, immerse yourself in its beauty, savor the local flavors, and create cherished memories in this enchanting coastal paradise. It’s a destination that will captivate your senses. Perhaps you will even be inspired to visit Rimini – the other side of Italy.

Where to Stay in Cinque Terre | Best Villages and Hotels
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