The Cinque Terre is a quaint string of fishing villages on the most rugged part of the Italian Riviera. The name, Cinque Terre (CHEENG-quay TARE-ay), literally means ‘five lands’ or 'five villages’. So it should come as no surprise that there are – wait for it – five villages. From south to north they are Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.
The whole region is a national park, and one of the main attractions is the system of hiking trails that connect the villages. Unfortunately the trail system is extremely fragile. It was started by locals centuries ago to provide a route from one town to another. It was not intended to handle the 2.5 million visitors that wanted to see the Cinque Terre in 2019. Several sections of the trail are closed until further notice, while funds are drummed up for a more robust infrastructure. The park director has made noises about limiting the number of visitors, but for now there are no restrictions.
To access to the trails and other park services along the coastline you have to buy a park pass, called the Cinque Terre Card, which is available for 1 day or 2 days. With the Card you’ll get a guide and map of the area and access to sights and services maintained by the Cinque Terre National Park. There is also a version of the card that includes the use of trains and minibuses between the villages.
Get all the details on where to stay, where to eat, and how to get around the Cinque Terre with a custom, Hand Crafted Trip Plan.