Make the Most of One Day in Cinque Terre: Top Things to do in Cinque Terre

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When people think of Italian beaches and coastal towns. They probably imagine this well-circulated Google/Pinterest image.

Yep. That’s Cinque Terre and we took one of those beautiful photos! Our excursion to Cinque Terre was an optional addition to our trip with EF Ultimate Break. And Cinque Terre as picturesque and romantic as it looks in photos! For us, visiting Cinque Terre was a day trip from Florence, so if you’re visiting Florence and still want to visit Cinque Terre, you can make it happen! Cinque Terre is a great day trip from Florence!

Here is how we made the most of Cinque Terre in one day! We have included the top things to do in Cinque Terre, how to get to Cinque Terre, and some interesting facts about Cinque Terre. Keep reading about the top things to see and do in Cinque Terre if you only have one day in Cinque Terre!

One Day in Cinque Terre Itinerary

Top Things to Do in Cinque Terre

History of Cinque Terre

Interestingly, Cinque Terre wasn’t always the desired Italian Riviera vacation spot. People have been inhabiting the region since the Bronze Age. Over time, the villages declined and inhabitants became very isolated. It wasn’t until the 19th century when the railway was built that inhabitants could experience the world outside of their villages. In the 1970s, Cinque Terre was “rediscovered” by tourists, which motivated a revitalization effort. During this time, the buildings were painted their iconic pastel colors. Now, visiting Cinque Terre is alluring, a magical place that so many people have on their bucket lists. Void of cars and the noise of the city, it truly is place to “escape it all.”

Tips for Visiting Cinque Terre: Arriving and Getting Around

Cinque Terre is actually made up of 5 small villages, connected by a rail system: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. You can catch the train at La Spezia and visit each of the villages. If you want to capture the photo at the beginning of this post, visit Manarola. You can hike to an overlook to capture the view! Each of the villages is very similar in how they look with their pastel hues contrasting the blue ocean.

Swim in the Mediterranean and Enjoy the Beaches

Monterosso is known for the large beach areas with public restrooms and beach chairs at an additional cost. Here, there is the main beach area that is right off of the train station and another about a 10-minute walk away. Both are beautiful! It’s so easy to spend a full day the beach in Monterosso!

All five of the villages have beach areas so you can take your pick! For the more adventurous, some of them have cliff areas for cliff jumping! You can also find boat rentals and boat tours if you’re interested in viewing the villages from the ocean side!

Eat some Pesto (and gelato!) for Lunch

If you visit Cinque Terre, you have to try to pesto! This region is known for its pesto, so we gave it a try. It did not disappoint! If you haven’t had enough carbs yet, the area is also known for Focaccia bread.

Like everywhere else in Italy, the villages of Cinque Terre are full of gelato shops so after having something savory, satisfy your sweet tooth with your favorite gelato flavor!

Hike Between the Cinque Terre Villages

If you’re the outdoors type, you can actually hike between the villages via hiking trails! Unfortunately, the winds were too high during our visit so we didn’t get to do any hiking. From other’s experiences, we have heard that the hiking is remarkable and a unique way to see the coast! The trails offer a different perspective of the villages and coast, so definitely bring your camera for the photography opportunities!


Go Shopping

The villages of Cinque Terre are full of local shops with handicrafts, art, jewelry, and nick-nacks. If you’re looking to purchase items specific to Cinque Terre and the Italian Riveria, buy some wine, olive oil, or pesto sauce.

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