Anytime anyone asks me where my favorite place on earth is, I always immediately respond ‘The Cinque Terre’. David and I spent three of the best, most swoon-worthy days of my life there a few years ago, and since then, I’ve basically had my suitcase half-packed, awaiting my return. It’s not the easiest trip to plan, as it’s not the easiest place to get to, so we wanted to share a few things that we either learned the hard way or had to research from a lot of different places to find out.
-Pick the right village
There are almost no hotels in The Cinque Terre, so you’re going to need to book an Airbnb or vacation rental. Our favorite towns are Riomaggiore (we stayed here and loved walking down to the rocks to watch the sunset every night), and Manarola, which we think is the prettiest of the towns.
-Go at the right time of year
We recommend either going in May or September. The weather will be warm, and (hopefully) sunny, but you won’t encounter nearly as many of the summer crowds, which turn the small villages into overrun, and not nearly as enjoyable places.
-Skip the rolling suitcase
These villages are literally built into the sides of dramatic and beautiful cliffs. A duffel or a backpack is way easier to lug around, than trying for a rolling suitcase like I did (unless you’re interested in ruining the wheels forever).
-Drive and combine it with other stops
You can’t fly directly into The Cinque Terre, so we recommend flying into a nearby major airport, renting a car, and combining it with a longer trip to see other places. When we went, we flew into Paris and saw Zermatt, Colmar, and Annecy as well.
-Take the ferry
The most scenic way to get between the five villages is by ferry. It’s a truly breathtaking experience, riding the boat between the towns.