Wondering about how to spend your time in Cinque Terre in 3 days? You’ve come to the right place!
Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure to one of the most picturesque destinations in Italy? Look no further than Cinque Terre! Better yet, Cinque Terre in 3 days!
This incredible destination in Italy is a string of five stunning coastal villages nestled along the Ligurian coastline. With its colourful houses perched on cliff-sides, crystal-clear waters, and delicious local cuisine, Cinque Terre is a dream come true for anyone seeking a romantic, relaxing or adventurous getaway.
I stayed in Cinque Terre for 3 nights and experienced 3 full days in Cinque Terre and think it’s the ideal amount of time.
Join me on a 3-day Cinque Terre itinerary – a journey to explore the beauty and charm of this magical place. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Why Cinque Terre Italy is so Popular
There’s no denying it – Cinque Terre is a bucket-list destination!
Is Cinque Terre worth visiting? A resounding yes! The unmatched beauty and unique character of those five colourful villages perched on rugged cliffs offer breathtaking views of the Ligurian Seat. If you ask any traveller to name their favourite of the 5 towns, they likely will respond with, “it’s impossible, they’re all so beautiful“.
Cinque Terre is the ideal destination for…
- hikers – the scenic coastal trails are jaw-dropping
- couples – looking for a romantic and relaxing getaway
- beach bums – relax on the incredible beaches
- foodies – an abundance of seafood and local wine
- photographers – no matter the skill level, there’s no bad photo of Cinque Terre
- rock climbers – those seeking Cinque Terre rock climbing adventures enjoy the challenge
Overview: 3 Day Cinque Terre Itinerary
- Customizable. Simply swap out Monterosso al Mare and replace it with the village you are staying in. Plus, adjust this itinerary from 3 days to 2 days in Cinque Terre by simply adding an extra village on Day 1 and Day 2.
- Personalized. Instead of this Cinque Terre 3 day itinerary being very prescriptive on what to do and when I have purposely divided it into morning and afternoon/evening with suggested things to do. This gives you the freedom to choose your own adventure.
Day 1 of 3 Days Cinque Terre
Morning in La Spezia
Let’s start your 3-day Cinque Terre itinerary here!
Welcome to La Spezia, the gateway to Cinque Terre, the largest coastal city in the Liguria region of Italy. To start your day off right, head to the historic city centre. Pop into a local bakery for a fresh, warm croissant or cornetto and Italian espresso.
Take a leisurely stroll around Old Town and soak up the atmosphere of its charming streets and multiple piazzas before heading to the nearby Castello San Giorgio. This imposing fortress has been guarding the city since the 13th century and is a must-visit for history buffs. Climb to the top for stunning panoramic views of the Gulf of La Spezia and the surrounding mountains.
Now, it’s time to take the train to Cinque Terre where you’ll be for the remainder of the time.
(Travel tips: all ways of getting to Cinque Terre have La Spezia as the meeting point. You’ll read more about this in the section About: Visiting Cinque Terre below)
Afternoon and evening in Monterosso al Mare
Hop on the train and continue your journey to Monterosso al Mare, one of the five stunning villages of Cinque Terre. The train ride itself is a treat, winding through tunnels and offering breathtaking views of the Ligurian coastline.
As you step off the train, you find yourself in the lively Fegina neighbourhood or New Town (the main beach area).
Monterosso is the only flat village in the region, offering not just one but two stunning beaches – a soft and sandy one and another is smooth pebbles. The neighbourhood is just one of the two distinct neighbourhoods in Monterosso, the other being the historic Vecchio or old town. Both are connected by a picturesque promenade and a tunnel that cuts through the rock.
Choose your own adventure:
- Stroll along the promenade and take in the mesmerizing views of the Ligurian Sea
- Unwind on the beach and take a dip in the crystal-clear waters
- Explore the colourful streets of Old Town lined with artisanal shops, gelato stands, and charming cafes
- Enjoy wine tasting at Monterosso’s oldest wine bar (Enoteca Internazionale Wine Bar)
- Admire the 14th-century Church of San Giovanni Battista. Known for being the oldest church in Cinque Terre
- Check out an ancient ruin by visiting Sant’Antonio del Mesco
- Enjoy a leisurely lunch and dinner in Monterosso (see restaurant recommendations below)
- And, when the sun begins to set, find a cozy spot to watch the sky turn shades of pink and orange over the sparkling Mediterranean sea
Top-rated tour in Monterosso: join a small kayak tour along the coastline as the guide leads you to secret coves past the colourful villages. Check prices and book your dates.
Restaurants in Monterosso
Being a food lover’s paradise, there is no shortage of restaurants in Cinque Terre. Seafood is caught daily. Pasta is made by hand and often served with fresh pesto. For a quick lunch or afternoon snack try farinata, a chickpea pancake, and focaccia, a type of flatbread that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, topped with olive oil, salt, and rosemary.
Then there’s the wine. Several local wineries produce crisp and refreshing white wines, including the famous Sciacchetra, a sweet dessert wine made from dried grapes to end your delicious meal.
Now for the restaurant recommendations:
- Ristorante Miky and the sister restaurant La Cantina di Miky
- Causa Persa
- Agriturismo Missanega
- L’ancora della Tortuga
Day 2 of 3 Days Cinque Terre
Morning in Corniglia
On day two of your Cinque Terre adventure, the next stop is Corniglia, the smallest and perhaps the most unique of the five Cinque Terre villages.
To reach Corniglia, you can either take a scenic hike along the coastline or hop on the local train that runs between the villages.
Once you arrive in Corniglia, you’ll immediately notice its distinctive character. Unlike the other villages, Corniglia sits atop a rocky promontory, surrounded by vineyards and terraced hills.
To reach the village itself, you’ll need to climb a steep staircase of 382 steps that winds through narrow streets and charming homes. The effort is worth it, as Corniglia rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the coastline and the surrounding hills.
Speaking of views, Corniglia is also home to two incredible viewpoints that offer some of the most stunning vistas in all of Cinque Terre. The first is the Belvedere di Santa Maria, located just a short walk from the village center. From here, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the rocky coastline and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.
The second viewpoint, a bit more off the beaten path, is La Torre. It’s a medieval tower that once served as a lookout for incoming pirates and enemy ships. To reach La Torre, you’ll need to climb a steep staircase that leads you to Piazza Taragio. The tower offers 360-degree views of the entire Cinque Terre coastline. From here, you’ll feel as though you’re on top of the world, with the rugged cliffs, colourful houses, and sparkling sea stretching out before you.
Looking for rock climbing around Cinque Terre – start in Corniglia. The cliffs offer challenging routes for experienced climbers. The cliffs surrounding Riomaggiore are a popular spot for rock climbing.
Afternoon and Evening in Vernazza
After a delightful morning in Corniglia, it’s time to continue your Cinque Terre adventure by making your way to Vernazza, one of the most picturesque and charming villages in the region. Hop back on the Cinque Terre train.
Vernazza is nestled in a small bay, surrounded by rocky cliffs and dotted with colourful buildings and fishing boats. It’s a scene straight out of a postcard, and it’s easy to see why Vernazza is considered one of the most beautiful villages in all of Italy.
Choose your own adventure:
- Stroll along the waterfront promenade, soaking up the village’s relaxed and laid-back atmosphere
- Visit the harbour, it’s a great spot to watch the boats come and go while admiring the sea views
- Walk along the picturesque streets and admire the colourful houses
- Head up to the Castello Doria, a medieval fortress perched on a hill above the village. From here, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of Vernazza
- Visit the Church of Santa Margherita di Antiochia, a beautiful Gothic-style church that dates back to the 13th century. Inside, you’ll find a wealth of stunning frescoes and artwork
- Hike along the trails – one leading to Monterosso and the other to Corniglia (note: both require about 2-3 hours to go one-way)
- Enjoy a late-night dinner and sunset at Gianni Franzi
Top-rated tour in Vernazza: join a small tour that takes you to a panoramic vineyard along the Cinque Terre hiking route for some wine tasting and a tour of the winery. Check prices and book your dates.
Day 3 of 3 Days Cinque Terre
Morning in Riomaggiore
Buongiorno! Today’s adventure takes you to the last two beautiful villages in Cinque Terre, the first being Riomaggiore.
Instead of taking the train, let’s arrive by boat! As you arrive, you’ll be struck by its charming harbour, colourful houses, and stunning cliffs that rise up from the sea.
Choose your own adventure:
- Wander the village and its narrow streets and colourful houses
- Explore the Castle of Riomaggiore, a medieval castle located at the top of the village that offers breathtaking views of the sea
- Visit the Church of San Giovanni Battista, a beautiful 14th-century church with stunning frescoes and intricate carvings
- Pop into the little artisan shops full of handmade pottery, jewellery, and other crafts
- Book a table on the terrace of the Rio Bistrot and enjoy a leisurely lunch while overlooking the quaint harbour
Top-rated tour in Riomaggiore: join a small group tour of the local vineyard & wine cellar tour and sample 5 TripleA wines. Check prices and book your dates.
When it’s time to head to Manarola, instead of taking the train walk along the Via dell’Amore. This is a romantic and picturesque path that connects Riomaggiore to the nearby village of Manarola. The walk takes about 20-30 minutes and offers stunning views of the sea and the coastline. Well, be sure to add time for photo-taking!
Afternoon and Evening in Manarola
As you arrive in Manarola, on foot from Riomaggiore, you’ll immediately be awe-struck by how stunning this village is! This is the most Instagrammable of all the villages.
Choose your own adventure:
- Explore the charming streets and alleys, which wind their way through the village and offer a glimpse into the local way of life
- Enjoy a gelato as you soak up the atmosphere in Piazzale Papa Innocenzo, a lively piazza
- Visit the Church of San Lorenzo, a beautiful Gothic-style church that dates back to the 14th century
- Admire the views from the many scenic viewpoints offered just above the town
- Stop at one of the many local shops offering a sample of homemade limoncello
- Sip on an aperitif at Nessun Dorma bar while taking in the spectacular views, or better yet, watch the sunset
- Enjoy a late candlelit dinner at Da Aristide located beside the fabled Via dell’Amore, and reminisce on your wonderful time in Cinque Terre
Top-rated tour in Manarola: sip on 3 different local wines at a wine bar while learning about the wine-making process in Cinque Terre. Check prices and book your dates.
About: Visiting Cinque Terre
How to Get to Cinque Terre from Florence
- From Florence to Cinque Terre by train. Take a train from Florence Santa Maria Novella Station to La Spezia. From La Spezia, take the regional train to any of the Cinque Terre five towns. The journey takes less than 2.5 hours and you can check prices and book your tickets here.
- To Cinque Terre from Florence by car. Rent a car and drive to Cinque Terre. The journey takes approximately 2 hours. Parking is sparse in Cinque Terre and you can’t drive within the 5 towns. It’s recommended that you park at La Spezia train station and take the Regional train to any of the Cinque Terre five towns.
- From Florence to Cinque Terre by bus. Take the bus to La Spezia train station. From La Spezia, take the regional train to any of the Cinque Terre five towns. The journey will take approximately 2.5 hours.
How to Get to Cinque Terre from Milan
- From Milan to Cinque Terre by train. Take a train from Milan Centrale Station to La Spezia. From La Spezia, take the regional train to any of the Cinque Terre five towns. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and you can check prices and book your tickets here.
- To Cinque Terre from Milan by car. Rent a car and drive to Cinque Terre. The journey takes about 3 hours. Parking is sparse in Cinque Terre and you can’t drive within the 5 towns. It’s recommended that you park at La Spezia train station and take the Regional train to any of the Cinque Terre five towns.
How to Get to Cinque Terre from Rome
- From Rome to Cinque Terre by train. Take a train from Rome Termini Station to La Spezia. From La Spezia, take the regional train to any of the Cinque Terre five towns. The journey takes almost 4 hours and you can check prices and book your tickets here.
- To Cinque Terre from Rome by car. Rent a car and drive to Cinque Terre. The journey takes approximately 4.5 hours. Parking is sparse in Cinque Terre and you can’t drive within the 5 towns. It’s recommended that you park at La Spezia train station and take the Regional train to any of the Cinque Terre five towns.
How to Get around Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is interconnected by a series of hiking trails and trains.
In fact, taking the Cinque Terre Regional Train is the most popular and efficient way to get from one town to the next. You can purchase a Cinque Terre Card to easily hop on/off the train for your three days in Cinque Terre.
Many come to Cinque Terre for scenic hiking! There are several hiking trails that connect the five towns, offering stunning views of the coast and the surrounding hillsides. The trails fall within Cinque Terre National Park vary in difficulty, so be sure to check their ratings before you start. It’s also important to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks, especially for the longer trails.
If you want to see Cinque Terre from a different perspective, take a boat tour along the coast! A boat tour departs from all villages except for Corniglia.
Where to Stay in Cinque Terre
I highly recommend staying in Monterosso al Mare as there are more options out of all of the 5 villages. One such property is Marymar – which offers a bedroom with an inner courtyard view mere steps to Monterosso Old Town beach.
FAQ: Cinque Terre in 3 Days
Is 3 days in Cinque Terre too much?
3 days in Cinque Terre is not too much. In three days you can explore all 5 of the towns, hike the trails, and relax by the sea.
How many days are needed in Cinque Terre?
The ideal number of days in Cinque Terre is 2-3 days. This allows you enough time to see all five of the towns, enjoy a hike and boat ride and try the local cuisine.
How long does it take to walk the 5 villages of Cinque Terre?
To walk the 5 villages of Cinque Terre will take you 4 to 6 hours depending on your pace and how many times you’ll be tempted to stop and take photos.
Is Amalfi or Cinque Terre better?
Both the Amalfi and Cinque Terre are scenic coastal destinations. Amalfi is known for its dramatic coastline and luxury, whereas Cinque Terre is known for its colourful villages and incredible hiking.
What is the best month to visit Cinque Terre?
The best time to visit Cinque Terre is the shoulder season months of April, May, September, and October when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are fewer.
Is Cinque Terre considered Tuscany?
No, Cinque Terre is not part of Tuscany. It’s located in the neighbouring region of Liguria, along the Italian Riviera coastline.
Italy Travel Resources
Travelling to Italy, be sure to check out my Europe Travel page for all of your resource needs – flights, accommodation, car/train and more.
Seeing that you are thinking about travelling to Italy, here are some articles you might be interested in.
- 19 Best Tuscan Towns you’ll want to add to your itinerary
- First-timers guide to Florence – and the top things to do
- 24 Hours in Florence with 16 amazing things to do
- How to spend a day in Siena
- Visiting the hilltop town of Pienza
- Your guide to Cortona and the top things to do
- Dreamy Places to Stay in Cortona
- Venice vs Florence: which city is better?
- First-timers guide to Rome
- 18 Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy
- Things to you need to know before you go to Italy
If you LOVE EUROPEAN TRAVEL or planning a TRIP TO EUROPE, subscribe to my website! I will share my love of Europe with you, along with travel planning tips and inspiration. And, you’ll get a FREE gift for signing up – 30 Bucketlist Places in Europe! Join, and let’s be travel friends!
As a Holidaymaker
Visiting Cinque Terre is an experience that will leave you in awe of the beauty that exists in this world. In just three days, you will fall under its spell. So, come and explore this enchanting corner of Italy, and let Cinque Terre steal your heart forever.