View of Vernazza Cinque Terre

A Little Piece of Heaven in The Cinque Terre

After spending time away in a new destination no one ever wants to return home to the daily slog of work, responsibilities and the general drudgery of routine life. At the end of every trip I long to hear that our return flight has been cancelled or that work has given me an extra day off (extremely wishful thinking), just so we can spend a little bit more time away.

This was exactly how I felt when our adventures in Italy came to an end; we just did not want to leave. But it was more than that. We didn’t want to leave the Cinque Terre because it was so completely magical that it had swept us up and carried us onto a cloud of colourful pastel buildings, cute cafes filled with smiling locals, food and wine we would have been happy to dine on for the rest of our lives, all along the edge of a rugged coastline and turquoise sea so utterly gorgeous that I wanted to move there straight away.

I wasn’t expecting to love this place quite as much as I did, but we can both now say that the Cinque Terre is one of our favourite places in the world.

This region of the Italian Riviera is made up of five small villages (Cinque Terre literally means “the five lands”) that are dotted along the coastline. We based ourselves in Vernazza and spent four wonderful days exploring all that the region has to offer.

The most southern village, Riomaggiore, is as typical an Italian fishing village as you can get. The one main road, full of small restaurants where you can get your fill of seafood and Italian pasta, winds its way down to the harbour, where fishing boats line the shore and pastel coloured houses perch right on the rocky cliff edge.  Even on the rainy day that we visited, the village was still incredibly charming and we climbed out onto the rocks for the best views of the village.

Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

The colourful harbour

Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

A panoramic view of Riomaggiore’s harbour

Manarola is the smallest of the five villages but it’s the one with the postcard perfect views. We didn’t find much to do here on a rainy day, but just walking along the cliff edge and looking out at the wonderful views was enough to keep us enchanted for a while.

Manarola Vernazza

The bright road leading down to the harbour

Manarola Cinque Terre

The picture perfect Cinque Terre view

Peaceful Corniglia, perched high up on the edge of the cliffs, was only a brief stop for us as our explorations in the rain had left us nice and soggy, especially after the hike up the 365 steps from the train station to the village! Because of it’s position so high above the water it’s not the best place to stay overnight, but the narrow cobblestone alleyways and the secret beach make this remote village the place to go when you want to get away from all the tourists who swarm into the other villages.

Monterosso al Mare, the most northern village with its two glorious sandy beaches, was bustling with people when we arrived – locals sitting outside cafes, children playing in the playground, people climbing rocks and swimming in the chilly sea and tourists buzzing about everywhere. It’s the largest and most populated of the villages with plenty of accommodation options and lots to do, but because of this it was our least favourite. It just didn’t have the same relaxed and friendly atmosphere that the other smaller villages had but that didn’t stop it from still being an incredibly lovely place.

Monterosso Cinque Terre

The view of Monterosso at the end of our hike

Beach in Cinque Terre

Monterosso beach

The last and our favourite of the Cinque Terre villages is Vernazza.  This was where we based ourselves so we obviously spent more time exploring here than we did the other villages. The one main road curves its way down past cute cafes and gelato shops, with narrow staircases that lead off to hidden restaurants and viewpoints.  The main square is surrounded by the sloping green vineyards, the church and watch tower, where children played on the small sandy beach and people sat outside restaurants and along the harbour walkway looking out to sea.

It wasn’t only that we spent most of our time here that made Vernazza our favourite village, but mainly because it is just so ridiculously gorgeous and it captured our hearts as soon as we stepped off the train.

Vernazza Cinque Terre

The colourful harbour

B&B in Vernazza Cinque Terre

Our cute little room overlooking the rooftops

Vernazza Cinque Terre

Enjoying our time in this gorgeous place

Vernazza Cinque Terre

The gorgeous turquoise waters

View of Vernazza Cinque Terre

The view of Vernazza on the way to Monterosso

Sunset in Cinque Terre

A beautiful panoramic sunset

Sunset Cinque Terre

Take away wine on the edge of the water at sunset

Do you love the Cinque Terre as much as we do?  If you haven’t been, go plan a visit now!

25 thoughts on “A Little Piece of Heaven in The Cinque Terre

    • Ayla says:

      It was never somewhere I’d really thought of visiting either to be honest but just happened across it when looking into Easter trips. Am soooo glad we went. One of our favourite places now! 🙂

    • Ayla says:

      It really is one of the most picture perfect places I’ve ever seen in my life – no photo editing is needed it’s so colourful and pretty!

  1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says:

    Oh Ayla! What a wonderful tribute to Cinque Terre you’ve put together here – it looks absolutely picture perfect, these photos are amazing and love how turquoise that water in Monterosso is! I’m just counting down the weeks now plan to pick your brain lots next week 🙂 I only wish that we could have come on Easter Weekend too and done that Italian double date we’d spoken about!! Lovely pic of you and Alex x

    • Ayla says:

      Pick my brain all you want, I could talk about this place for ages! I’m so excited that you’re going too soon – I hope you love it as much as we did. I’m sure you will, it’s just gorgeous Shikha 🙂

    • Ayla says:

      Yes each village deserves time spent on it. 4 days was enough to explore it all but I could easily have spent much longer there and am desperate to go back already 🙂

  2. Polly (Follow Your Sunshine) says:

    What a wonderful post!! Definitely one for the back pocket as we will definitely be making the trip to Cinque Terre at some point (we eventually opted for the Amalfi Coast for our honeymoon in July after lots of umming and erring between these two!). I love the beautiful colourful buildings – every one of your photos looks like it could be made into a postcard (even the rainy ones!)

    Polly xx
    Follow Your Sunshine

    • Ayla says:

      Thanks Polly! 🙂 I’d definitely recommend a trip to the Cinque Terre but I’ve heard some great things about the Amalfi Coast too so that sounds like a wonderful honeymoon. Would love to see your pics when you get back!

  3. thegrownupgapyear says:

    Aw, I can totally see why you guys loved it so much – your photos are great! I love that each of the places villages has a different personality. Yet another place to add to the future travels list 😉

  4. Packing my Suitcase says:

    Awnnnn you made me fall in love even more with Cinque Terre with this post!
    I was supposed to go there last year but had to change my plans 😦 I sooo want to go sometime soon ❤ which hotel/guest house did you stay?

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