If you are wondering if one day is enough for Cinque Terre, the answer of course depends on what you are looking for. If you want to quickly see all the five villages and hike the Cinque Terre trail, then yes, one day is enough. Of course, you can stay longer and explore deeper, but if you are short on time you can definitely see the best of Cinque Terre in one full day.
In the 5 Terre area are located five villages, from West to East they are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso.
There are other two villages in the Cinque Terre area named Volastra and San Bernardino. They are never listed in the 5 original towns but are included in the Cinque Terre National Park territory.
Cinque Terre are reachable by train, by car, by bus, by boat:
Go the the 5 Terre by train is the best because stops in every village.
If you want to get to Cinque Terre by car, consider that the road is narrow and winding and runs up high from the villages. Cars are not allowed to drive into the villages and parking for visitors are located outside the villages.
Getting to 5 Terre by public bus now is possibile there are small buses depsrting from La Spezia and arriving to Vernazza only.
Going to 5 Terre by boat is certainly very scenic but takes too much time to get there. The boat stops in Portovenere, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso (Corniglia has no pier). From La Spezia to Monterosso, including the stops takes approx 2 hrs.
For the calculation of the distances and duration of the transfers we keep La Spezia as reference, this is the biggest town inland of Cinque Terre.
Best Restaurants for Dinner
One of the nicest things about Cinque Terre’s restaurants is that they have both great ambience and great food! Lots of restaurants have outdoor seating, with popular dinner spots situated near the waterfront.
While all the food we had in Cinque Terre was great, my one criticism of some places were that the portions were tiny. I suppose that is the Italian mentality that you should eat multiple courses for dinner so each is a little smaller than you might anticipate. Below I’ve listed recommendations for great Cinque Terre restaurants that I really enjoyed:
Osteria: despite the rather bland name, we loved this spot for fresh pasta and seafood. We tried the seafood pasta, pasta with clams and walnut ravioli pansotti as well as the huge plates of garlicky mussels (Monterosso)
Ristorante al Pozzo: great pastas here as well, but portions are a bit small. (Monterosso)
Belvedere: the fish stew here is incredible. (Monterosso)
La Cantina di Miky: homemade pastas with an emphasis on seafood, beach views and fresh pesto bruschetta (Monterosso)
Al Castello: for a fancy sunset dinner with a view, located inside the castle. (Vernazza)
Visit the spectacular coastline of the Cinque Terre, a beautiful stretch of ocean coast
Enjoy the pastel-colored villages as you walk through the village's stone paths
Savor a delicious local lunch in a quaint restaurant with a stunning view of the sea
Explore the Parco Nizionale delle Cinque Terre
Covering only about 4,300 acres of land, the Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre is the smallest national park in Italy. The park, also called Park of Man is unique as the people cultivated the steep and sloping land, erected authentic traditional settlements and sketched hiking trails which provides the visitors with breath-taking scenery. In 1997, the wonder of man was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area inhabited by around 4000 people boasts of whopping 2.4 million visitors every year! Visitors to this Eco tourist national park are vowed by the atmosphere, the perfect harmony created between the humankind and nature, food, and the welcoming people.
Tease the taste buds at Liguria
The best thing about the seaside destinations is the freshness and deliciousness of the food available. A trip’s purpose is wasted if one has not gorged on the tasty seafood of the Cinque Terre. Perhaps it is the result of the rich algae that blooms in the Ligurian Sea that the food is especially delectable. Anchovies, the local staple are found in antipasti, as an appetizer, and even as pizza toppings.
The locally invented Fresh basil pesto is another local specialty which should not be left out. A light brown pasta, trofie is also a must-have.