If you’re trying to decide where to stay in Cinque Terre, you need to know more about the five villages found along its coastline.
Cinque Terre is a unique region and one of the best places to visit in Italy for a laidback getaway. The area was mostly isolated until the past couple of decades began to open it up to tourism.
The villages were once only connected via narrow paths and were previously difficult to reach from nearby cities. While travel between the villages remains a challenge, you can now visit these charming, secluded destinations with much more ease.
Located along the rugged coastline, you’ll find cliffs and hillsides covered in clusters of colourful buildings. Reaching the villages provides a chance to explore old stone streets containing hidden treasures such as boutique shops, cafes, and historic sites.
Not sure where to search? Start looking for accommodations with this guide to the best places to stay in Cinque Terre.
Where to stay in Cinque Terre: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods and areas for travellers
The five villages of Cinque Terre are spread across the coastline and connected by various hiking trails. Unfortunately, part of the path remains closed, making it difficult to hike to all the villages.
Your best option is to choose a village to stay in and then determine which parts of Cinque Terre you can hike or ferry to. While each option appears almost identical, the villages have their unique features.
A couple of the villages are relatively large, offering an assortment of entertainment, shopping, and sightseeing. The smaller villages are more private, allowing you to relax against the backdrop of a charming old-world fishing village.
No matter where you stay, the villages of Cinque Terre provide a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
The best areas to stay in Cinque Terre for travellers include:
✔ Best area to stay in Cinque Terre for hiking and beachcombing
If you have only one day in Cinque Terre, start your trip in Monterosso even if you don’t end the day in the village. It’s the northernmost village and one of the easiest to reach, making it the first place that visitors typically access in Cinque Terre. You can get to Monterosso via local trains directly from La Spezia or Genoa.
Monterosso is also the only village in the region with its own strip of beach that has enough sand for beachgoers and sunbathers to stretch out. During the warmer months, you’ll typically find the beach covered in loungers and towels.
The village includes two separate areas located on opposite sides of a hill. The old town is to the east and the new town is to the west, connected by a single tunnel through the hill or a walk around the beach. The area is also known for its abundance of lemon trees throughout the village.
Recommended hotels in Monterosso
Monterosso offers the largest selection of accommodations at some of the best hotels in Cinque Terre. It’s the most visited village so the local hotels try to cater to everyone. You’ll find options right near the beach and a few locations hidden away inside the historic centre.
- Roca Du Ma Pasu: Located near the beach between the historic centre and train station, this small boutique hotel offers rooms with views of the sea. It’s near the promenade, just steps from the water. You’ll also receive a complementary breakfast each morning on the patio facing the waterfront.
- Hotel La Spiaggia: This is one of the more convenient options, placing you just ten metres from the beach and a two-minute walk from the train station. It’s down the beach from the historic centre and has its own on-site bar and garden.
- Locanda Il Maestrale: A private courtyard with a garden and outdoor terrace help you relax at this boutique-style hotel located in the historic centre of Monterosso. It’s also a short distance from the beaches and several restaurants. If you feel like staying in, the hotel has a breakfast buffet and dining room.
- Hotel Souvenir: With rooms that overlook the historic streets of Monterosso, this hotel is a little further from the beach. It’s about a five-minute walk to the water but you may prefer to relax on the sun loungers in the hotel’s shared garden with views of the sea.
✔ Top-rated place to stay in Cinque Terre for history buffs and sightseeing
Vernazza has one of the smaller harbours but it’s also thought of as one of the more postcard-worthy sights in Cinque Terre. As you approach the village from the waterfront, you’ll see a charming little community with its sea-facing public square and amphitheatre.
It’s a tiny village with buildings closely positioned. Narrow lanes take you between the buildings and up mazes of stairs to various terraces and walkways. If the village wasn’t so small, you’d likely get lost navigating the twisting stone streets.
Hidden off the narrow streets are several historic sites worth visiting, including three old churches and a castle.
Doria Castle was built in the 15th century, providing a lookout to help protect the villagers from pirate invasions. You can walk the spiral staircase to reach the top of the castle and get a panoramic view of the sea and the village.
The historic churches include the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antiochia, built in the 14th century. The church’s octagonal bell tower stands out against the landscape of the rest of the village. It’s often the first thing that you see when approaching from the hiking trails in the hills.
Recommended hotels in Vernazza
Vernazza doesn’t offer a lot of choices for accommodations with just two hotels available throughout most of the year. However, the village does have a couple of bed & breakfast options and a few apartments for rent. Of course, availability tends to change throughout the year so other options may pop up.
- Albergo Barbara: Located in the centre of town, some of the rooms in this hotel offer views of the sea while others look out at the mountains. The rooms are spacious and elegantly furnished. People tend to enjoy the helpful staff and free coffee provided in the morning.
- Hotel Gianni Franzi: You’re a short walk from Doria Castle when you stay at this location. This is one of the fancier hotels in the Cinque Terre region with its own lounge, on-site bar, and restaurant. It’s also a few steps from the main square and near some of the best restaurants in the village.
- Paola51: While this location is a bed & breakfast, it’s a suitable alternative if the two hotels in the area don’t have vacancies. You’ll find reasonable rates and double rooms with views of the village and mountains. It’s a peaceful place to stay and located right near the train station.
✔ Best part of Cinque Terre to stay in for wine lovers and hikers
Most of the top things to see & do in Cinque Terre are found in the other villages but Manarola has its own unique features, including wine. The area is surrounded by grapevines used to produce the local Sciacchetra wine.
It’s an active village despite the small size. During most days of the week, you can find the harbour full of fishing boats. The waterfront promenade and main street are the busiest areas in Manarola. In fact, you’ll likely spend your time exploring these two parts of the village or hiking the nearby trails.
One of the most popular excursions is a trip to the top of nearby Punta Bonfiglio. The hike takes up the hill to a lookout point with sweeping views of the village and the ocean. The hilltop destination also has a bar and a playground, offering fun and relaxation for visitors of all ages.
As with the other villages, several hiking paths extend into the hillside behind Manarola. After seeing everything that the village has to offer, you can simply get on the trail and hike to Riomaggiore or take a ferry to Corniglia to the north.
Recommended hotels in Manarola
Manarola has a limited selection of hotels. You’ll find most of the accommodations on the main streets near the harbour, making it easy to reach the tiny beaches or the waterfront promenade and the amphitheatre.
- Hotel Marina Piccola: This hotel is just a short walk from the beach and the train station, making it one of the more convenient places to stay in Manarola. You’ll also get a sweet breakfast buffet each morning to fuel your hiking adventures. The rooms are small but some of them offer balcony views of the village.
- Ca’D’Andrean: This cosy little hotel is near the coastline in the centre of Manarola. As the hotel is near the water, some of the rooms have balconies that look out at the rest of the village. The hotel was also recently remodelled, updating each room with new furnishings.
- Da Baranin: Located further back from the water, this hotel offers more seclusion compared to the other options. You’ll also receive the obligatory free breakfast and balcony with views of the sea or the village. However, the views are a little limited as the hotel is more secluded.
✔ Top area to stay in Cinque Terre for entertainment and local cuisine
The typical Cinque Terre itinerary ends in Riomaggiore as it’s the southernmost village in the region before you reach Porto Venere at the tip of the coast. Of course, plenty of people also start here and finish in Monterosso.
As with most of the villages, Riomaggiore has a small harbour revealing a collection of old buildings with peeling pastel paint. However, it’s one of the larger villages with a population nearing 2000 residents.
People often consider this one of the more romantic spots in Cinque Terre and it is known for its gorgeous sunsets, botanical gardens, and bird watching centre located high up on the hill.
It’s also one of the better areas in Cinque Terre for entertainment, dining, and shopping. As Riomaggiore is a little bigger compared to most of the other villages, it has more shops, restaurants, and bars lining its main streets. It’s a fun place to explore whether you’re in the area for one day or an entire week.
If you want to try the local cuisine or go bar hopping in the evening, Riomaggiore has you covered. It’s also convenient to reach as you can simply take a short train ride from nearby La Spezia.
Recommended hotels in Riomaggiore
Along with Monterosso, Riomaggiore has a decent selection of mid-range hotels and dozens of apartments and villas for rent. Most of the hotels are found on the main street running between the harbour and the hiking trail behind the village.
- Locanda Ca Dei Duxi: Located in a traditional building, this hotel features stone walls and wooden ceilings. It’s in the centre of the village, a short walk from the beach and main attractions. You’ll find yourself surrounded by little shops, cafes, and restaurants.
- Hotel Del Sole: Another option found on the main street, this small hotel has comfortable rooms and friendly staff. If you need help deciding what to do or where to go, the staff are always available to help. You’ll also have your own patio with views of the village and a free Italian breakfast each morning.
- Hotel Villa Argentina: This boutique-style hotel has views of the old village and the sea from the balconies of the rooms. You can also choose from a variety of room types including twin, double, triple, and studio rooms. The hotel even has a three-bedroom apartment with its own living room.