The five Cinque Terre towns are connected by train, and the best way to make the rounds to all the villages is to get a Cinque Terre Card. You can snag one at the visitor center next to the Riomaggiore station and they have various options depending on the length of your stay. Hop aboard a train to the next stop: Manarola.
Manarola has the classic Cinque Terre look, with those pastel-hued houses seemingly growing out of the tops of its coastal cliffs. From the train station, walk through the town and then head up a path curving around the right to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the marina. You can also step out onto the rocks for a close-up.
And what’s an Italian escapade without some tasty gelato? Snag a cone at Gelateria 5 Terre on the main walking street of Manarola.
You may want to stick around Manarola until the lights come on to take in the twinkly night view. It’s a good call, but make sure you catch the train back to the town you’re staying in. As might be expected, things shut down pretty early in Cinque Terre.
Corniglia, the middle child of Cinque Terre, separates itself from its siblings by being perched 100 meters above sea level atop a promontory. Whether you climb 382 steps or ride a shuttle bus up to it, Corniglia earns its elevated status with old-school allure that feels even more “yesteryear” than the other four towns.
I joined a guided walking tour of Corniglia put on by Cinque Terre Walking Park and it was a wonderful way to get a quick two-hour taste of the tiny but terrifically charming village. They lead you to scenic vista spots where you can admire the Cinque Terre coastline. And they show you how to catch the bus to get up and down the cliffs, which isn’t always intuitive.
The walking tours and excursions are free if you have the Cinque Terre Card. I recommend following Cinque Terre Insider, who regularly posts a monthly rundown of all the tours offered.
I always enjoy a view of train tracks winding through majestic scenery and the Corniglia station offers up a pretty good one.
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