The Italian Riviera is beautiful, to say the least, but beauty doesn’t come much better than the Cinque Terre portion of coastline in the Liguria region of Italy.
Not only is this a national park, it is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed on this coveted list for its cultural importance thanks to the five charming coastal villages that give the area its name. You can read more about the villages on the Villages in Clinque Terre page.
Where to Stay
Despite the small sizes of the villages they are well set up to welcome visitors so you’ll find many excellent places to stay.
Ranging from hotels to hostels and villas there are over 200 places to stay in Cinque Terre.
An overview here
When looking for a place to stay check the exact location. Not all accommodation is within the boundaries of the national park but may be in one of the larger towns of the area.
Also note that there are no 5 star hotels in or nearby to the villages so if you’re used to luxury you’re not going to find that here.
The appeal of Cinque Terre is very much the more rustic feel of the place, but if you want facilities, aim for one of the 4 star properties.
Getting to The Five Lands
This section of the Italian Riviera is hugely popular with tourists from all over the world, and much of the appeal is its inaccessibility.
Most places get plenty of visitors because they’re easy to get to, but it’s the opposite here!
Set onto the rugged cliffs that overlook the Ligurian and Mediterranean Sea, the villages remain difficult to get to and cannot be accessed by car.
There are trains, pathways, and even a ferry that connect the five villages together, and the fact that you have to arrive here this way is very much part of the charm of visiting.
So the best option is to leave your car behind and come here by train from Genoa or La Spezia.
Genoa has the advantage of size and an international airport. The city is the sixth largest in the whole of Italy, and you can fly here from various cities in Europe then catch the train to Cinque Terre.
You won’t need a car to get around the five villages either, and coming with a car is a bad idea as you’ll just have to park it somewhere and leave it for the duration.
When to Visit
Like the rest of the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre has a mainly Mediterranean climate.
The best times to visit are during the summer months when it is hotter and drier with average highs around 27 to 28C in July and August.
Of course the drawback is that this is when most other people prefer to visit too, so it will be crowded.
Spring or autumn are good alternatives though from September and into October rainfall does become heavier.
May or June is often the best time for a visit.
Click on picture to see more and larger images
Staying outside the five Cinque Terre villages
The small village Levanto. A great place with some good restaurants and bars. Not too difficult to reach by car.
Bed and Breakfast Villa Margherita was our home while we explored the coast between Genoa and Riomaggiore.
The best central hotels and by the water are sold out quickly, so it’s a good idea to book well in advance if possible.
Our review of Villa Margherita: To be Italy, it was a good breakfast. Did almost expect only some jam and croissant, but we were positively surprised with a lot of choices. Great service, friendly staff, and english was no problem. Free parking and wifi. The beds a little to hard for our taste, but not too bad.
It is possible to hike to Monterosso as is 3 kilometers from Levanto. You can easily take the train to all villages from here as well.
We can also recommend a day-trip to Genoa if you have the time. Genoa is 1,5 hour by train from Levanto, so it may be too far away to stay in Genoa if you plan to explore Cinque Terre more than one day (would recommend at least 3 days here to see it all).
Read more about the villages