Cinque Terre is an area of Italy that’s just so beautiful to see. It’s one of those spots that seems so typically Italian and feels like a proper throwback in time. Suffice to say, this made me determined to visit and boy, not one of the things to do In Cinque Terre disappointed.
If you haven’t heard of Cinque Terre before, then I wanna let you in on a few spots I loved during our last few visits… and if you have, I’m hoping I’ll be able to show you a few little spots that you might have missed. Either way, I’m determined to show ya something new ✨
You can imagine it now, thick Italian accents, the smell of the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains of gelato that you’ll almost certainly devour (at least I did, anyway). With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some of the most stunning things to do in Cinque Terre that I loved. So much so that I had to visit another two times! 🤣
Also, if you’re visiting Cinque Terre for the first time, make sure to check out our guides for each town:
And our complete guide to Cinque Terre
Take a look below at some of the things to do in Cinque Terre. 🇮🇹
1.) Ramble around Cinque Terre
Once you’ve arrived in Cinque Terre, it’s best to forget all about your car, uber, cab etc as you’ll only have two choices; walk or take the train between the 5 towns. Now, there are benefits to both, naturally, with the walks and hikes being a great way to see parts of this region that you’d likely have missed on the train.
On the other hand, the train is super fast (it only takes a few minutes between the towns) and best if you’re struggling for time. The Cinque Terre Trail to Corniglia is a great way to see views from high above the towns, but be warned, it can be a little tough if you’re not used to hiking.
Another note to mention is that quite a few of the trails have closed for refurbishment and some are intermittently open. In this situation, I always think it best to check once you arrive and plan your routes accordingly. As a rule of thumb to remember (until about 2020), the Manarola – Corniglia trail is closed and most of Riomaggiore – Manarola (these are trails 2a and 2b).
For a detailed trail guide, check out this PDF, here.
2.) See the views of Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero
Situated high above Riomaggiore, Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero is still one of my favourite viewpoints in all of Cinque Terre. You’ll need to take the walk up to the viewpoint, which can be tough on a really hot summers day. Although I haven’t taken it, I’ve heard that there’s also a bus that drops you off near Telegrafo.
From here, you can then take the hike down (though it’s still a little bit of a challenge) and enjoy the gorgeous views of Cinque Terre. Just make sure to pack a few big bottles of water, sunblock and a hat. It might be one of the nicest views and things to do in Cinque Terre but just remember that the Italian sun is strong!
3.) Explore Portovenere
Often overlooked on a trip to and around Cinque Terre, Portovenere is a stunning little place to see.
Although not technically one of the villages of Cinque Terre, Portovenere was awarded UNESCO World Heritage protection at the same time and consists of; Fezzano, Le Grazie and Porto Venere.
If you’re visiting on a Monday, you’ll be able to visit the local market that happens right in the town centre.
Best of all, in August, you might be able to catch the Madonna Bianca Festival whereby hundreds (if not thousands) of Roman torches light up the town and the spit of land called, Punta di San Pietro. It truly is magical.
4.) Nessun Dorma, Manarola
Nessun Dorma is one of those tasty spots to visit in Cinque Terre. Perched in Manarola, it’s one of the nicest spots for a bite to eat. Best of all, they also have a range of Pesto tasting classes to join, too. Now, this might sound drab to non-cooks but I promise you it’s actually really fun and interesting and one of the things to do in Cinque Terre if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
Oh yeah, just remember to take some cash with you as they don’t accept cards.
5.) Find the best sunset spots in Cinque Terre
There are literally hundreds of different viewpoints to watch the sunset in Cinque Terre that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Though, if I’m honest, one of my favourite spots to watch the sun go down is in Corniglia when the town gets bathed in a gorgeous orange glow.
If you want to to see four of the villages at sunset, pop over to Stella Marina Beach (at Monterosso), it’s the perfect spot to chill out with some local wines (and calamari, if you’re hungry) and watch the sun disappear behind Punta Mesco.
Also, if you feel like earning your sunset, take the trail to the statue of St. Francesco overlooking Monterosso. The views are incredible and it really is one of the things to do in Cinque Terre (well, in my opinion at least). ☀
6.) Fuori Rotta, Riomaggiore
If you’re anything like me, your trip to Cinque Terre will involve copious amounts of food! I mean, you’re in Italy, you have to gorge… am I right?
Well, if you are like me, you’ll wanna head over to Fuori Rotta in Riomaggiore. This is one of the things to do if you love an authentic Italian meal where you’ll leave stuffed! On a hot day, it’s a great spot to grab a light lunch of bruschettas, meats and hams – they really make the most amazing platters that you can nibble on with wine.
Oh yeah, and make sure you grab a table on the terrace (in the sun), it has the most amazing view over Riomaggiore.
7.) Gorge on Gelato
Yeah, you’ll notice that food is a theme with me! 🤣
To be honest, this is Italy after all… home of amazing pasta, gelato and pannacotta. There’s no way I’m going to regret these.
There are quite a few spots for gelato in Cinque Terre but possibly one of my fav’s has to be the Gelateria Vernazza. They’ve got some yummy flavours. I had their hazelnut so much that all I remember saying in Vernazza is ‘nocciola grande per favore’. 🤣
8.) Take a dip at Manarola
So, Manarola isn’t your typical beach with white gleaming sands but it’s one of my favourite spots for a dip in Cinque Terre. Head to the harbour area and pop into the sea just before lunch or after a longer ramble around the town. It’s so refreshing.
If you’re looking for more of a traditional beach set up, pop over to Monterosso beach. Best of all, the train stops almost right at the start of the beach itself.
9.) See the views of Manarola
Still one of my favourite views in Cinque Terre has to be of Manarola that can be seen from the Manarola Scenic Viewpoint. Honestly, I think it’s one of the things to do in Cinque Terre for a truly stunning view, plus it’s a great photo spot! The walk to the viewpoint is only about 200 metres or so from the harbourfront, so it’s easy to see when you’re in the town itself.
For an authentic bite to eat in Manarola, pop into Trattoria dal Billy who serves up the tastiest seafood from the local shore. Their salted anchovies are soooooo good with a glass of chilled white wine. 😋
10.) Explore Cinque Terre by boat
There are quite a few independent boat tours that operate and it really is one of the things to do in Cinque Terre if you fancy giving your legs a little rest!
If you’re in Monterosso al Mare, hop on board one of Angelo’s Boat Tours, especially for their evening tapas tour with lots of bubbles, wines and antipasto. The whole team are so friendly too and it feels so intimate and nice (With about 8-10 people on the boat). ⛵
It’s a great way to chill out after a day exploring Cinque Terre.
11.) Have a tipple at Cantine Lunae
Okay, so this spot definitely competes as not only one of the best things to do in Cinque Terre but potentially one of the best wineries I’ve visited in Italy. They have the best range of wines, bubbles, grappa and (Yaya’s favourite) Passito wine, (like this one) that’s similar to the ice wines we tried in Canada.