I couldn’t resist the chance to spend a few days in Cinque Terre to enjoy the warmer weather, see these stunning towns and eat mass quantities of pesto. The last time I visited Cinque Terre it was in late September and the towns were transitioning into the off season.
Although there were more crowds this time around, it’s nice to enjoy a beach destination under the sun and on the sand. In this itinerary, I’ll share how to see Cinque Terre in two days with transportation tips, what to do in Cinque Terra and, of course, what to eat and where to drink along the way.
How long does it take to see Cinque Terre?
It’s easy to see Cinque Terre in two days if you want to have a few nice meals, relax on the beach and see the sunset with a cocktail. However, if you want to really spend time time in each town, leisurely do a hike and have a full beach day, you might want to take 3 to 4 days.
I’ve heard of people doing Cinque Terre as a day trip from Florence. I’ve never done that, but I wouldn’t recommend it. That is just way too much transportation for one day and you wouldn’t enjoy it as much being that rushed.
Cinque Terre in Two Days, Day One: Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare and Manarola
I started the day in Vernazza, arriving on the late morning train with the first heard of tourists, eager to see this slice of Italy. Old Italian men were still in the piazza having their morning cornetto and caffé and the beach was still empty.
I headed straight to the best view points in Vernazza, the castle (€1.50 entrance fee) and the hiking trail to Monterosso. Not only is the Cinque Terre Train Card the best way to go if you plan on hitting multiple towns in one day, you’ll need it for access to this part of the trail.
It might be a little early, but you NEED to experience Gelateria Vernazza. There’s also two locations in La Spezia so if you’re lucky, you can have it more than once (guilty). I’ve had my fair share of gelato and I’d like to think of myself as a bit of a connoisseur. This place has ruined me and now my previously delicious neighborhood gelateria is garbage in comparison. Cocco Nero (black coconut) has changed the way I think about Almond Joy bars and gelato combinations in general.
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Monterosso al Mare
Around noon is the perfect time to roll into Monterosso for two reasons: the beach and lunch. Farinata is a regional specialty made of ceci flour (garbanzo beans) and I can’t get enough of it. Il Frantoio and La Pia are great casual spots for farinata and sandwiches. Always say yes to pesto.