48 Hours in Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a special corner of Italy with incredible views, food, and beaches. During your semester, you might find yourself with a few free days to explore this pastel-colored wonderland – between your “studies” and our weekend trips, of course. To help you out, here is a guide to making the most of your time in Cinque Terre, even if you’ve only got a couple days.

Day 1: 

Arrive to Cinque Terre in the afternoon. Find a train to La Spezia station and then take the train from Spezia to Riomaggiore (7 minutes)

The town is super small so any airbnb in Riomaggiore on Via Colombo will be within 5 minutes from the train station, just keep in mind that everything is uphill so the closer the better. 

Check in to airbnb.

I would definitely recommend staying in Riomaggiore, especially on a student budget. It’s super nice, and it’s on the cheaper end of accommodation pricing. It only takes 5 minutes by train to get to the next town (Manarola). 

Get a healthy lunch that will fuel you for the rest of the day. We opted for Britta, which has smoothie bowls, salads, sandwiches, juices.

Next, take the train (or walk around 40 minutes) to the next town over, Manarola.

Dinner at La Scogliera on the balcony upstairs! It was one of the more budget friendly restaurants in the village. 

I ordered the seafood salad and it was incredible! 

After dinner, walk up to the restaurant Nessun Dorma (a must do in Cinque Terre). It has an amazing view of Manarola, but they don’t take reservations so get there early and be prepared to wait! We only ordered drinks there because we ate somewhere else, but the food looked amazing and wasn’t that expensive either!

Every village is super small, so the walk to the train station from the cliffside restaurant is only 7 minutes.

*Tip: Make sure you check train times before leaving the restaurant. The trains don’t leave as often later in the night, so you may have to wait a while if you don’t plan ahead.

Take the train back to Riomaggiore. 

*Tip: You can get the CinqueTerre card for 16 euros which gets you unlimited train rides from each town for a calendar day (not 24 hours).

Day 2: 

Go to Monterosso by train.

Take a stroll along the beach. It’s stunning!

Get a pastry at Il Formaio Di Monterosso.

Take the train to Vernazza, where a lot of the boat tours leave from. You used to be able to rent a boat without a license, but the national park rules changed and now only licensed skippers can drive the boats. 

Spend some time lounging on the rocks and swimming in the crystal-blue water.

Cinque Terre is known for their pesto and focaccia bread! We got pesto focaccia at Batti Batti Focaccia in Vernazza and it was amazing.

Take the train to Corniglia and walk up 400 steps to get to the town. Don’t worry, it’s worth it!

Go to Alberto’s gelato! They’re known for the basil lemon flavor but the honey and mint chip were also insanely good. 

Take the train back to Riomaggiore. Spend some time sitting by the marina in Riomaggiore, enjoying the stunning view. You can also do a boat tour here.

Get dinner in the town.

Close out your 48 hours by watching the sunset at the marina! 

Any free time you have beyond these 48 hours, you can spend eating, drinking, hiking, and basking in the sun along Italy’s beautiful, rugged coast.

Taylor is from the University of Florida and studied abroad in Barcelona for Spring 2021. She is a major foodie and always tries a local dish from every place she visits. When traveling she’s down for anything and loves doing things that can only be done in that specific place. Taylor wants to see as many places in the world as she can!

Check out more blog posts from our student community, or see what trips we’ve got in store for this semester! You won’t wanna miss ’em. And if you’d like to contribute to our community, give us a shout!

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