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Cinque Terre is a truly magical set of towns, nestled on the coast of Italy. Located only 2.5-3 hours outside of Florence, this seaside region is nothing like the large cities of Italy. For those of you who are not familiar with the area, Cinque Terre is more accurately a region, rather than a singular city. The region of Cinque Terre is made up of five waterfront villages: Riomaggiore, Monterroso, Vernazza, Manarola, and Corniglia. While you could spend countless days wandering these beautiful towns, it is possible to get a taste of each village in only a day! Whether you have a week or only one day, this guide will what you need to know about one day in Cinque Terre. Read on to find out how to see it all with the one day Cinque Terre itinerary!
Where to Stay in Cinque Terre
Luxury: The First – La Vista di Marina
If you’re looking to splurge then The First – La Vista di Marina is right place for you. With ocean-facing rooms, equipped with large balconies. If you’re traveling in a group, I recommend the penthouse apartment.
Mid-Range: Alla Marina Affittacamere
Located right by the little harbor in Riomaggiore, this cozy spot is just a 5 minute walk from the train station. The room is pretty basic, but the location is absolutely prime (and even better if you snag a sea-view room). Breakfast is included with most room rates.
Budget: Ostello Tramonti
Ostello Tramonti is a great option for travelers on a budget. Located just 2 kilometers outside of the villages, in a town called Biassa, Ostello Tramonti is an affordable hostel option. This location allowed for us to get an early start in Riomaggiore, as well as enjoy the sunset in the villages without having to rush back to a far off larger city. This hostel is the ideal location for travelers on a budget! They offered a delicious, but small, breakfast for 3,50 euros, as well as very delicious dinner sets for approximately 10 euros. For the convenience of the guests, the hostel provides a shuttle to and from Riomaggiore. The shuttle runs from 8:30am to 10 am and then again from 8:30pm to 10 pm, for 1 euro each way.
One Day Cinque Terre Itinerary
The Cinque Terre Park Pass
A one day Cinque Terre Park Pass costs 12 euros. The pass includes the park entry fee, all trains and buses, and wifi at the train stations. If you are trying to visit all of the villages in one day then I recommend buying this pass as soon as you arrive in Riomaggiore in the morning.
One Day Cinque Terre Itinerary
Starting your morning in Riomaggiore, hike up to the church for some epic views. The hikes takes 1.5-2 hours round trip, but I would allow time for enjoying the view at the top. We grabbed a quick slice of takeaway pizza and headed down to the rocks for a view of the water for a post hike snack.
We took the train from Riomaggiore straight to Monterosso. Here we enjoyed our first gelato of the day, before spending some time through the charming alleyways (note all the beautiful gigantic lemons!!)
Our next hike of the day was a 2 hour hike from Monterosso to Vernazza. While a bit challenging in the heat of the day, it was definitely worth the views! Make sure to take into account the amount of walking that you will be doing when picking out an outfit, and more importantly, shoes for the day. While hiking boots are definitely not necessary, I would recommend wearing sneakers if you plan to do this hike.
In Vernazza we took a break at a restaurant by the water where we split a pizza before ordering our second gelato of the day. If you were looking to save a bit of cash there are a bunch of small markets in Monterosso where you could pick up a panino, etc to bring along for the hike – to be eaten either along the way or by the water in Vernazza.
Corniglia & Manarola
Next, we took the train to Corniglia – unfortunately due to a missed train, a delayed train, and a sporadic bus schedule we didn’t actually have time to see anything more than the Corniglia train station. Make sure that you check the train schedule and keep an eye on the time so that this doesn’t happen to you!
Finally we took the train to Manarola, which quickly became our favorite of the five villages. It offers the quintessential picture perfect views of Cinque Terre. We started out with the loop of the city along the wooden pathway, ending in a cemetery that overlooks the water. After a quick wander we settled into a waterfront bar, Nessun Dorma, with a jug of wine and a perfect view of the setting sun.
How Many Days Do You Need in Cinque Terre?
All in all, this is a perfect one day Cinque Terre itinerary for exploring the five picturesque towns when you don’t have much time. Ideally, I would have loved to have 2-3 days to continue exploring Cinque Terre. However, we did not feel rushed, despite our super full day! I would definitely recommend visiting Cinque Terre even if you only have one day.
Here are some other articles that you should check out if you’re planning a trip to Italy:
- Road Trip in the Dolomites
- 7 Spots you Can’t Miss in the Dolomites
- A Guide to Hiking Seceda, Dolomites
- How to Get to the Dolomites, Italy
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