Cinque Terre is one of those beautiful destinations that features on every Italy bucket list. With its colourful houses, vibrant green hills and turquoise sea, it looks like stepping into a postcard.
No Italy itinerary would be complete without a trip to Cinque Terre, and if you have time to spend a night or more there, I highly recommend doing so.
If you want to know the best places to stay in Cinque Terre, this is the guide for you!
My grandma is from La Spezia, a city just 15 minutes away from Cinque Terre, and I spent much of my childhood in the area.
This article is packed with my personal suggestions as a local, highlighting the Cinque Terre hotels for every budget and traveller.
While the Cinque Terre towns might all look very similar, they’re actually very different and each town is best suited for different people.
In this Cinque Terre accommodation guide you will find the difference between the towns and accommodation suggestions for every budget and need.
Whether you’re a couple looking for a romantic getaway, a family looking for a fun trip together, or a solo traveller looking for fun, this where to stay in Cinque Terre guide has something for everyone!
I’ve also included some cool places to stay near Cinque Terre, for a more local feel and less touristy vibe. So without further ado, let’s dive in and discover where to stay in Cinque Terre!
- 1 About Cinque Terre
- 2 Where to stay in Cinque Terre for beach lovers: Monterosso al Mare
- 3 Best place to stay in Cinque Terre for awesome views: Vernazza
- 4 Best village to stay in Cinque Terre away from the crowds: Corniglia
- 5 Where to stay in Cinque Terre for a romantic couples trip: Manarola
- 6 Where to stay in Cinque Terre for a lively stay: Riomaggiore
- 7 My personal favourite place to stay near Cinque Terre: La Spezia
- 8 Where to stay near Cinque Terre for a local hidden gem: Porto Venere
About Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre, in Italian meaning “Five Lands”, is a part of coastline in Liguria, a region of Italy.
It gets its name from the five towns that form the Cinque Terre; Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
Many travellers only visit Cinque Terre on a day trip, but they don’t realise how much they’re missing! It’s worth staying at least 2 or 3 days in Cinque Terre, and properly exploring this wonderful part of Italy!
There is also a Cinque Terre National Park, which encompasses other small villages, the green hills and vineyards and an area of 17 square miles, but the most famous part is the coastline that joins these seaside villages.
There is a beautiful hiking trail; the Sentiero Azzurro, which links the towns and offers incredible views over the sea and coastline. The towns are also connected by the local train system.
If, like me, you’re not a fan of driving and are looking for where to stay in Cinque Terre without a car, worry not!
The towns are very small and mostly pedestrian, a car would just complicate your trip. You can travel here easily by train instead.
These five towns are all extremely picturesque, with perched houses, terraced vineyards, harbours filled with colourful wooden boats and narrow pedestrian streets. They can seem very similar, but are actually very different.
If you’re planning a trip to Cinque Terre you probably want to spend at least one night there, and are looking for the best place to do so. After all, how do you decide which of the five villages should be your home for the trip?
There is no wrong answer; it all depends on your travel style. Each Cinque Terre town has its very distinctive feel, which I have summarised below.
Best towns to stay in Cinque Terre at a glance
Monterosso al Mare – Home to the biggest beaches in Cinque Terre, not as hilly as other towns, perfect for beach goers and families.
Vernazza – Can get very busy, many boat tours set off from here, lots of delicious food options and many gorgeous viewpoints.
Corniglia – Less busy than other towns, more affordable, epic views and an off the beaten track feel.
Manarola – Extremely scenic, very romantic location, perfect for couples.
Riomaggiore – One of the bigger towns, has a lively feeling, one of the best sunset spots and views, perfect for young people.
La Spezia – More a city than a town, just a 15-minute train away from Cinque Terre, offers a more local vibe and cheaper prices.
Porto Venere – Known as the “Sixth Land”, this gorgeous seaside town is overlooked by many tourists, and is perfect for an off the beaten track stay.
I have included also La Spezia and Porto Venere, which although aren’t technically part of Cinque Terre, are close enough and are actually where, as a local, I would recommend staying.
Read on to discover more information on each town, as well as some awesome hotel and apartment suggestions for each of the Five Lands.
Where to stay in Cinque Terre for beach lovers: Monterosso al Mare
Italy is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the Ligurian coast is amongst those. That said, Cinque Terre specifically doesn’t have an awful lot of beaches.
If on your visit to Cinque Terre you want to be within walking distance of a gorgeous beach, then Monterosso al Mare is the perfect Cinque Terre town for you.
Monterosso al Mare is home to the biggest beaches in Cinque Terre, and with the most crystal clear turquoise water.
The main beaches are Fegina Beach, right as you walk out of Monterosso al Mare train station, and the one by Via Corone, in front of the town centre.
Both beaches are equipped with sunbeds, umbrellas and beach bars, as well as free beach sections.
By staying in Monterosso al Mare you will combine a picturesque stay in one of Italy’s most distinctive towns with a relaxing beach vacation.
The town centre of Monterosso al Mare is characterised by narrow pedestrian streets and quaint vibe.
I have listed below some accommodation options in Monterosso al Mare for every budget.
Budget: Affittacamere La Terrazza sul Mare – This bnb is in the perfect position for those looking for a relaxing beach holiday, being located exactly in front of the beach. It also has a spacious terrace where you can enjoy the sun and sea views when the beach is busy.
Mid-range: ALTIDO Villa Monterosso Apartment Bellavista – This modern villa is tastefully decorated, with gorgeous views of the Ligurian coastline and sea. It’s also in an excellent position in Monterosso.
Luxury: La Casa del Gigante Luxury Collection – If you want to treat yourself, this is the place to do so. Built in a traditional rock castle, this luxurious 2-bedroom apartment has spectacular views of the Monterosso beaches and coast.
Best place to stay in Cinque Terre for awesome views: Vernazza
Vernazza is possibly my favourite town in Cinque Terre. While it might not be the most dramatic, I find the two viewpoints over it (that you can find on both sides of the Sentiero Azzurro) simply breathtaking.
And it’s not limited to the official viewpoints, there are many gorgeous corners in and around the town where you can enjoy gorgeous views over the roofs of Vernazza, the colourful harbour, the sea and surrounding green hills.
Vernazza is the perfect place to stay in Cinque Terre for people who love photography and hiking. From here you can do the Sentiero Azzurro trail going to Corniglia in one direction and to Monterosso in the other.
Here are some awesome places to stay in Vernazza for every budget.
Budget: Affittacamere Elisabetta – In line with the beautiful of Vernazza, this lovely bnb is perfect for those who want a treat without breaking the bank. They have balconies and a rooftop with 360 views over the sea and Vernazza, the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view away from the crowds!
Mid-range: Casa da Muccia Vernazza vista mare – We walked past this cute house during our Sentiero Azzurro hike and thought how amazing it would be to stay here. From this rustic house you can see the iconic view over Vernazza that you see in postcards, from the comfort of your bed.
Luxury: MADA Charm Apartments Terrace&Carugio – Located in the heart of Vernazza, these beautiful apartments have modern furnishing but retain their traditional feel. You can also enjoy gorgeous views over the harbour of Vernazza.
Best village to stay in Cinque Terre away from the crowds: Corniglia
Considering the five towns of Cinque Terre are the main attraction of the area, it’s hard to fine one that isn’t busy and touristy. That said, Corniglia is by far the quietest of the Cinque Terre towns.
Corniglia is located on top of a hill, far from the sea. While that makes for some seriously stunning views, it makes it harder to go for a swim in the sea and doesn’t have the same maritime feeling as the other towns.
When spending a day in Cinque Terre almost every tourist passes by Corniglia, but beyond a casual walk through its quaint and narrow streets and admiring the view over the coastline, not many stop for longer.
Staying in Corniglia for a night means enjoying one of the most popular destinations in Italy, without the huge tourist crowds.
One thing to bear in mind if you’re staying in Corniglia is that while the town is on top of a hill, the train station is at sea level. To reach the town you have to walk up 380 steps. Make sure to pack light and leave the big suitcases at home!
I have listed below some beautiful accommodation options in Corniglia for every budget.
Budget: Ostello Corniglia – This hostel is perfect if you want to stay in the Cinque Terre towns without spending a fortune. They have spacious dorms with a view over Corniglia and the green Ligurian hills.
Mid-range: Cecio 5 Terre Rooms – Located just outside of the town centre of Corniglia, this bnb has a gorgeous view over the perched houses of Corniglia, the sea and coast. They have a variety of rooms for different budgets and needs.
Luxury: Corniglia Dreams – Located in the heart of Corniglia, this bnb has a panoramic terrace with stunning views over the coast and rooftops of Corniglia. It’s the perfect place for a fancy stay in Corniglia.
Where to stay in Cinque Terre for a romantic couples trip: Manarola
Manarola is, in my opinion, the most romantic and scenic town in Cinque Terre. All of the Cinque Terre towns are pretty, but Manarola has a restaurant and park overlooking its iconic colourful houses that is simply gorgeous.
If you’re looking for that picture perfect spot with all the colourful houses perched on the side of the cliff and the green hill behind them, then Manarola is the place to go.
Last time I was in Manarola there were loads of couples all dressed up for dinner at Nessun Dorma, the restaurant with this iconic Manarola view.
As the sun starts setting and the houses turn golden, it’s the perfect spot for a romantic date. For those travelling to Italy with their partner, Manarola is without a doubt the best place to stay in Cinque Terre.
Here are some awesome accommodation options in Manarola for every budget.
Budget: ARIA DI MARE, Manarola – Camere con vista mare! – With its tastefully decorated rooms and gorgeous views, this bnb is the perfect place to stay without breaking the bank.
Mid-range: Arpaiu – With their exposed brick walls the rooms at Arpaiu are the perfect combination of rustic and modern. Add to that a wonderful sea-view terrace and affordable price, and you have a winner.
Luxury: La Torretta Lodge – If you want to treat yourself, this is the place to do so. These luxurious suites are recently renovated, tastefully decorated in a modern Mediterranean style, and also have a gorgeous outdoors terrace with view over the roofs of Manarola, the sea and surrounding hills.
Where to stay in Cinque Terre for a lively stay: Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore is one of the most bustling towns in Cinque Terre. It’s slightly bigger and is home to many cool bars, restaurants and street food shops.
It’s perfect if you’re looking for where to stay in Cinque Terre with family or friends, and want a lively place where you can meet others. My favourite thing to do was watching the sunset from the harbour.
As the sun started to set many people gathered to sit in the rocks by the harbour with takeaway pizza, fried seafood and beers to watch the sun go down and turn the colourful houses of Riomaggiore golden.
In Riomaggiore you can also find some of the most scenic and panoramic hotels in Cinque Terre.
Budget: Hotel Villa Argentina – Located just outside Riomaggiore, this hotel has spacious rooms and an outdoors terrace with gorgeous views over the sea and Riomaggiore.
Mid-range: Stellio Affittacamere – Guest House – This tastefully decorated bnb has a rustic feel and is located over the harbour of Riomaggiore. It’s within easy walking distance of the train station and has epic views of the sea.
Luxury: La Vista di Marina by The First – It’s considered one of the best hotels in Cinque Terre, and it’s easy to see why. For something this beautiful, I’m happy to spend a bit more than I’d usually budget in an Italy itinerary.
This apartment combines modern furnishing with exposed bricks for a rustic vibe, combined to spacious rooms and white décor for an airy feel. It also has a spectacular terrace with view over the sea and iconic perched houses of Riomaggiore.
My personal favourite place to stay near Cinque Terre: La Spezia
I know it might not make much sense, but in my opinion the best place to stay in Cinque Terre is actually outside Cinque Terre.
I’m also a bit biased because my dad is from La Spezia, and I spent big chunks of my Italian summers there, but for me it’s the best spot for a local Cinque Terre holiday.
La Spezia is a city located just 15 minutes train journey away from Cinque Terre. It has a lively nightlife, lots of great restaurants and much more local feel than Cinque Terre.
While in Cinque Terre you will mostly meet tourists, La Spezia is relatively off the beaten track, and you can have a proper Italian experience. Most hotels and bnbs will also be considerably cheaper than in Cinque Terre.
It’s the perfect place to stay if you want a cheaper and more local experience, and don’t mind being a 15-minute train journey away from the action.
In busy season when Cinque Terre is swarmed by tourists, you’ll be glad to be a little outside it all! Even if you’re visiting Italy in winter, it will still be much more local than the Cinque Terre towns.
While La Spezia itself is also a very pretty city and worthy of a visit, if you’re only staying there to visit Cinque Terre I recommend finding a place to stay close to the train station.
I listed below some accommodation options in La Spezia for every budget.
Budget: Grand Hostel Manin – This hostel has spacious dorms, a friendly atmosphere and is located in the heart of La Spezia. It’s the perfect place to use as base to explore Cinque Terre on a budget!
Mid-range: Hotel Nella – You will need a car to stay here, but the views and experience are worth it. Located in La Foce, the hills above La Spezia, this hotel has cosy rooms in a peaceful countryside setting. Here you can wind down and relax away from the crowds after a long day exploring the bustling Cinque Terre.
Luxury: La Spezia by The First – Luxury Rooms & Suites – If you want to treat yourself, this is the place to do so. Located in the heart of La Spezia, these modern rooms have a gorgeous view and are the perfect place to relax.
Often referred to as the Sesta Terra (Sixth Land), Porto Venere is a gorgeous coastal town that many travellers never see. Porto Venere is located further along the coast, a 15-minute drive away from La Spezia.
Porto Venere is very similar to the towns of Cinque Terre, with its colourful houses perched along the harbour and narrow pedestrian streets.
Porto Venere is also home to some beautiful beaches, a scenic church on top of a cliff, stunning coastal views and a crystal clear rocky bay where you can swim.
While it’s a popular destination amongst Italians, you won’t find as many foreign tourists here compared to Cinque Terre. Prices are also cheaper compared to the main Cinque Terre towns, and it has a more local feel.
It’s a great place to stay if after exploring Cinque Terre you want to rest in a more tranquil setting, without as many tourist crowds, but still that picturesque coastal town vibe that La Spezia doesn’t have.
One thing to note is that you might want a car to stay here. You can reach Porto Venere by bus from La Spezia, but they’re very infrequent and slow.
Here are some awesome accommodation options in Porto Venere for every budget.
Budget: Affittacamere L’Oblò – This bnb offers a cosy stay in their tastefully decorated rooms, and is located in the heart of Porto Venere. The perfect place to stay to explore this cute town.
Mid-range: Relais Santa Caterina – This apartment is perfect for those looking to treat themselves at an affordable price. White airy rooms, a beautiful garden and a stunning view over Porto Venere and the islands. What more could you ask for?
Luxury: Grand Hotel Portovenere – If you want a relaxing stay in a hotel with beautiful views, spacious rooms and delicious food, this is the place for you! Spoil yourself and enjoy your stay while visiting Cinque Terre.
Final thoughts on the best towns to stay in Cinque Terre
There you have it, the ultimate guide to where to stay in Cinque Terre!
As you can see there isn’t one single best place to stay in Cinque Terre, it ultimately depends on your travel style and what you’re searching for from this holiday.
If you’re a couple looking for a romantic stay you might choose Manarola, if you want to relax on a beach you might stay in Monterosso, or if you want an off the beaten track experience then Porto Venere is waiting for you.
Whatever type of vacation and stay you’re looking for, there is a town and hotel in Cinque Terre perfect for you. I hope this guide helps you choose the best Cinque Terre town for you, and to plan your perfect holiday!
Have you stayed in Cinque Terre before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!
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