How many days in Cinque Terre do you need to really appreciate all that the area has to offer? Is a 2 day visit enough or should you plan for longer?
Located on Italy’s Riviera coastline, Cinque Terre is made up of five small fishing villages. It is both exceptionally beautiful and delightfully traditional, offering local markets, regional cuisine, and exquisite views.
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One of the easiest ways to work out how long to stay is to think about the pace at which you want to see the sights.
If you don’t mind a packed schedule, then a 2-day visit would be enough to see the best of the region’s attractions.
Or would you rather have a more relaxing break, with a little free time to soak up the atmosphere? Then you may prefer to spend 3 days in Cinque Terre instead.
How To Decide How Long To Stay In Cinque Terre
Your preferred pace of activities is an important factor when planning how many days for Cinque Terre you’ll need. But there are other things to think about that may also influence the length of your stay.
Here in this guide, we’ve listed the main considerations when planning your visit. We’ve also recommended some of the best sights and activities in the region, along with roughly how long you will need for each.
To help you figure out exactly how long you’ll need in Cinque Terre, make a list of the things you want to do in Cinque Terre, and consider the time of arrival and departure. Then, look at the distance between places to keep it realistic.
At the end of this exercise, you’ll know how many days in Cinque Terre you’ll need.
Time Of Arrival, Hotel Check-In Time, And Time Of Departure
When deciding how many days in Cinque Terre you will need, one of the first things to think about is what time you’ll arrive.
If it’s fairly early in the day, then you’ll be able to do some sightseeing straight away. If it’s late, however, you may not have time to visit any attractions at all.
In that case, you might want to add an extra night to your stay. The same will apply if you are leaving early on the day of your departure.
You’ll also need to think about what to do with your luggage if your check-in and check-out times don’t match your times of arrival and departure. If you arrange for storage, this will give you a few more unencumbered hours for sightseeing!
First, check to see if your accommodation provider will look after your bags for you. Most will be happy to do so, although they may charge a fee.
If not, then there are three main places to leave your luggage – either at the La Spezia train station, at the Vernazza train station, or at the Monterosso tourist office.
Not a fan of trains? Book a private transfer from Florence instead.
Activities In Cinque Terre
Your priority when visiting any new destination is to see all of its best sights.
So to make it easier to work out how many days in Cinque Terre you’ll need, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the attractions you really want to visit. You can then work out roughly how much time it will take to fit them all in.
Don’t forget to account for time spent queueing, especially if visiting during the busy summer months. And you will also need to plan for the time it takes to travel from one part of the region to another.
Note that many travelers prefer to book tours and activities in advance to save time, skip the queues and make the most of their holidays.
Pace Of Activities
If you like to see the sights at a relaxed pace – perhaps lingering over a delicious meal or just relaxing and soaking up the sunshine – then be careful not to create a hectic itinerary.
Getting around the five villages of Cinque Terre is very easy and there are three main ways you can do it – either by train, boat, or on foot.
There is a 7.5-mile (12 kilometers) walking trail that takes you along the coast through all five villages. You need to buy the Cinque Terre Pass in order to hike the trail, but the wonderfully scenic views of the villages and surrounding landscape make doing so very worthwhile!
If poor weather means the coastal trail is closed, there are other trails further inland. But since these are longer – and quite demanding in places – you might prefer to take the train or boat.
The train runs more frequently than the boat, but the journey isn’t very scenic as it goes through many tunnels.
The boat journey is much more enjoyable and you can get some lovely views of the villages from the water.
What To Do In Cinque Terre
Here are our favorite things to see and do in Cinque Terre, along with our suggestions for how long to spend at each.
Enjoy A Romantic Sunset Boat Tour
The sight of the villages of Cinque Terre at sunset is truly beautiful and not to be missed.
This tour – starting from Monterosso – allows you to enjoy it in style. It begins with a welcome drink after which you head to a secluded bay for a swim in the sparkling waters of the Ligurian sea.
Back aboard the boat you then head towards Punta Mesco, crossing Cinque Terre National Park.
This is the time to take some memorable photos, surrounded by the beautiful colors of the sunset. On occasion, you may even spot a dolphin swimming alongside!
Suggested time: 3 hours
Explore The Cinque Terre National Park By Kayak
Even if you don’t have any kayaking experience, you will love this unique adventure exploring the rugged coast of Cinque Terre with a local guide.
Starting from the beach of Monterosso, you will head towards Vernazza, with lovely views of the brightly colored villages from the water. Passing imposing cliffs and hidden coves, you will paddle on towards the beach of Guvano and then Corniglia.
After stopping for a refreshing swim, you will continue on to complete your journey.
Suggested time: 2 to 3 hours
Try The Local Wine On A Vineyard And Wine Cellar Tour
This wine tour takes you to a vineyard and wine cellar in Riomaggiore owned by a native of the village. It is fascinating to see, descending vertically towards the sea and surrounded by beauty on all sides.
During the experience, you will get to taste five of the local wines, including a sweet sciacchetrà, plus a rosé and a red, all produced organically. You will also learn more about the tradition of winemaking in the region.
Suggested time: 2 hours
Taste Authentic Recipes In The Home Of A Local
Trying new foods in the places you visit is always a wonderful experience – but trying authentic recipes in the home of someone who lives there is extra special!
During this private dining experience, you will be treated to a demonstration of local cooking skills. Covering 4 courses – a starter, pasta, a main course with a side dish, and dessert – the meal will give you the chance to try traditional foods cooked using recipes passed down through generations.
This makes a great introduction to the local cuisine. But it also allows you to connect on a personal level with an Italian family and understand more about their culture.
Beverages – including water, coffee, and wines, are included.
Suggested time: 3 hours
Hike The Staircases Of The Cinque Terre National Park
Hiking with an experienced guide is a good way to take in the beauty of Cinque Terre whilst learning more about its features. This half-day experience allows you to do just that!
After meeting your guide near Manarola Station you will head towards Corniglia along the picturesque coastline. Some of the ascents might be on the steep side – but the magnificent views awaiting you are well worth the climb.
Your guide will be happy to discuss the characteristics of the area with you as you cover 3.2 miles (5.1 kilometers) of terrain with an elevation gain of 1500 feet (457 meters).
Suggested time: 4 hours
Sample The Local Specialties
The seafood industry is still an integral part of life in Cinque Terre and there are so many delicious local specialties to indulge in.
Look out for the wonderful Monterosso anchovies that are famous all over Italy – if you’ve never liked anchovies before, the ones caught here will be a revelation!
Of course, this is the place to indulge in pizza and pasta, too, with ‘trofie’ being the pasta shape associated with the region.
Be sure to also sample the gelato – Alberto Gelateria in Corniglia is reputed to serve the best in Italy!
Suggested time: 2 to 3 hours
Final Thoughts On Cinque Terre Getaways
We hope this guide has helped you decide how many days in Cinque Terre is enough to see everything you want at a comfortable pace. We also hope you enjoy your visit to this uniquely stunning Italian destination.
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