5 towns in 3 days, Cinque Terre - Part II (Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore)


One of the most popular activities in Cinque Terre is hiking between the towns.  You can choose to either do them all in one day or split it up into a few days if you have the time.  You'll need to first get a Cinque Terre card from the info booth at the train station to pay for access to the trails.  There are regular checkpoints on the trails where you need to show your card so do not skip this part!

The hike between Vernazza and Monterosso is the longest, hardest and takes about 2 hours.  We decided we'd save that for day two (more on that next time).  Vernazza (where we stayed) to Corniglia is about one and a half hours, Corniglia to Manarola an hour, and Manarola to Riomaggiore 30 mins - perfect for a day's worth of hiking with enough time to stop in each town and explore!  Side note: make sure to double check that all the trails are actually open.  They often close.  If they aren't open, don't worry, you can take the train.

Some recommendations:

  • Start in Vernazza as early as possible to beat the crowds and the heat (in July this day was brutal) and get the most out of your day
  • Grab breakfast at Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre which is near the trail head in Vernazza if you want something quick and good!
  • Hike down to Corniglia
  • Stop in Corniglia for some fresh lemonade and walk around town. We brought Rick Steve's Italy guidebook which included self tours so in each town we stopped at we followed that (a little nerdy but I would recommend it).  Don't plan for much time in Corniglia
  • Head down to Manarola next
  • Spend some time exploring Manarola - it is beautiful
  • Grab lunch in Manarola (pesto, of course), swim in the beautiful harbor, take some photos
  • Hike down to Riomaggiore 
  • Explore Riomaggiore - also beautiful and picturesque 
  • Take the ferry back from Riomaggiore by way of Manarola, Corniglia, and finally Vernazza.  I prefer this route (vs. hiking back) because then you get to see the beautiful towns from the sea (new photo opps! YAY!)
  • Get gelato at Gelateria Vernazza in Vernazza upon arrival back ;) 

Hiking Vernazza to Monterossa, a photo lover's dream, next time!