48 Hours in Cinque Terre – 2 Day Itinerary

Stretching 15 kilometres along the Italian Riviera coast, Cinque Terre is a steep seaside landscape that people have transformed into a livable village made of stone-walled terraces.

It is a breathtaking stretch of five villages – the Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. 

Riomaggiore village street boats and sea in Five lands on sunset Cinque Terre National Park Liguria Italy Europe.

These villages are built into the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, and together they form one of Italy’s most enchanting and unique destinations. If you plan a short trip to this beautiful territory, this 2 Day Itinerary for Cinque Terre will help you.

Cinque Terre is the smallest national park in Italy and was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has become one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors annually.

The area is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, crystal clear waters, colourful houses, and terraced vineyards that produce the famous local wine, Sciacchetrà. 

Based on all this, you might wonder how to make the most out of 48 hours in Cinque Terre. While it offers so much, two days in Cinque Terre is enough to enjoy the region.

Aside from its picturesque and breathtaking view, various outdoor activities include trekking, hiking, swimming, and kayaking.

There are also plenty of opportunities to swim, sunbathe on the beaches, and enjoy local seafood delicacies and wine. Each of the five Cinque Terre villages has its charm and personality. 

So, during your visit to Cinque Terre, you can expect a unique and unforgettable experience. While the small villages can get crowded during peak season, they offer a charming and authentic taste of Italian life.

Vernazza, Italy -  View of Old Traditional Houses, Santa Margherita di Antiochia Church and Vernazza Beach

Now the key to enjoying your 2 days in Cinque Terre is to visit during spring and fall shoulder seasons when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. 

Wondering where you’ll stay will also be helpful for your trip. For first-timers and all tourists visiting the region, staying in Monterosso al Mare is highly suggested. This is the largest of the villages in Cinque Terre and is near famous landmarks. 

Now, whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or simply looking for a relaxing holiday by the sea, you’ll enjoy your two-day trip with this Cinque Terre itinerary.

Here we’ll cover all the information you need, including where to go, places to see and things to do. By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to enjoy Cinque Terre in two days. 

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Overview of 2 Days in Cinque Terre Itinerary

Here’s a glance at what you’ll see and do in two days in Cinque Terre:

Day 1: 

  • Explore Monterosso al Mare 
  • Have Lunch at Pippo a Vernazza
  • Hike half a stretch of the Blue Trail
  • Enjoy the sunset at Manarola

Day 2: 

  • Get Coffee at Blue Marlin 
  • Walk your way around the Villages
  • Enjoy lunch at Manarola
  • Join a Cooking Class
  • Wine and Dine at Riomaggiore
Corniglia village Cinque Terre Liguria Italy Europe

Day 1 in Cinque Terre

Explore Monterosso al Mare 

If you are visiting Cinque Terre for the first time, it is best to stay in Monterosso al Mare and make it your base location for all your day trips and excursions in Cinque Terre National Park. 

Monterosso al Mare is the largest of the five villages and offers visitors a range of activities. After arriving at your accommodation, it’s nice to take your time and rest and then head on tour with your first agenda of the day – exploring Monterosso.

You can stroll along the beach promenade and enjoy the sun, sea, and sand here. But you can also enjoy the scenic view or just walk around the little alleys of the old neighbourhood as you familiarise yourself with the little village.

But before you continue your adventure at Cinque Terre, you have to know that you’ll probably go around from one village to another by train called the Cinque Terre Express. 

Monterosso al Mare, Italy - Monterosso al Mare is a town in the province of La Spezia. It is one of the five villages in Cinque Terre. It is located at the center of a small natural gulf, protected by a small artificial reef.

Have Lunch at Bar Lo Spuntino 

After checking out places and exploring the village of Monterosso, you’ll also have to fuel up and get a hearty meal before continuing with the itinerary planned out for the day.

This great coffee shop or resto bar in the area is called Bar Lo Spuntino, which serves excellent food and drinks perfect for your lunch. 

The bar does not only serve great wine and drinks but also has an extensive menu of authentic Italian cuisine.

Plus, with its location in the newer part of the village, you’ll get to enjoy not only great food but also admire the view of the beach where it is situated. 

Hike half a stretch of the Blue Trail 

It’s time to enjoy one of Cinque Terre’s highlights – trekking and hiking! On your first day, you must hike the first section of the Blue Trail, connecting all five Cinque Terre villages. 

You can hike half a stretch of the trail and enjoy the stunning sea and the surrounding countryside views.

While there are many routes to take, as of today, there are only two trails open to the public – Corniglia and Vernazza and Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. 

For the first stretch, you can choose Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Assuming you’ll stay in Monterosso, this will be much more convenient for your first day. 

You just need the Cinque Terre Card and a hiking permit. This is important because you’ll need this to enter the Blue Trail.

But don’t confuse this with the Cinque Terre Treno Card, which is like an all-inclusive card, working as a hiking permit, bus ticket, and a Cinque Terre Train ticket. 

Rocky coast near Riomaggiore with the Love Road (Via dell'Amore) in Cinque Terre, Italy.

Enjoy the Sunset at Manarola

You can wrap up your first day of the trip by taking things slow and enjoying relaxing sightseeing at Manarola. Manarola is the village that offers the best view of the sunset in Cinque Terre.

While other villages also offer a great viewpoint of the sunset, you’ll probably see most postcards and souvenirs in Cinque Terre featuring a photo of a sunset captured at Manarola. This only explains how great the view will be there. 

You’ll have to take the train to arrive here, and once you’re at the village, look for a great restaurant or wine bar like A Pie de Campu, where you can get a table that offers a view of the sun setting. 

If you feel like having the wine later at night, you can always spend watching the sunset at a public point in Manarola, such as Picnic Place.

Admirable travel destination, wonderful mediterranean village with traditional colorful old houses and fishing boats at sunset, Manarola, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy, Europe

Day 2 in Cinque Terre

Get Coffee at Blue Marlin 

Before you start your day, make sure you’re ready to head on from your place of accommodation and travel to Vernazza.

Before strolling around, it would be a great idea to take it slow and get a cup of coffee first at Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin is a local coffee shop in Cinque Terre. While it may look simple, this is one of the most famous places to serve great coffee.

They also serve breakfast food. It is easy to find since it’s just next to the village’s train station. 

Walk your way around the Villages

Cinque Terre comprises five villages; you must see them all even if you just visit for 48 hours. While it may seem exhausting and overwhelming, exploring your way through these villages will be the highlight of your trip. 

After having coffee, you can walk around the village of Vernazza (where Blue Marlin is located). The town is situated in the south of Monterosso, and you’ll enjoy the hilly landscape of the village. As you trek to the city, you’ll also enjoy discovering the local ambience and maybe meet some residents here. 

Vernazza will be a great village since it is one of the five villages with a location and rich history. Many houses are painted in bright pink, yellow, and orange hues here. 

The village is also home to the Doria Castle, used to defend the town against pirates and other invaders. What makes it exciting is you can climb to the top of the castle to get great panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding countryside.

Vernazza village with typical colorful multicolored buildings houses, Castello Doria castle on rock, green hills and Genoa Gulf, Ligurian Sea, National park Cinque Terre, La Spezia, Liguria, Italy

Enjoy lunch at Manarola

After strolling for a bit in Vernazza, it’s time to hop on that train and head on to your next stop. In this itinerary, we suggest you go to Manarola (again) and have your meal at Cinque Terre there. 

As mentioned earlier, Manarola is a beautiful village famous for its colourful houses and picturesque harbour. Here you can find a favourite restaurant that offers a panoramic view of the sea, where you can also enjoy great Italian food. 

So for your lunch, you’ll be heading to Nessun Dorma, which offers a great view and is deemed one of Cinque Terre’s most Instagrammable spots. You’ll need to reserve yourself on their waiting list, which opens daily. 

Join a Cooking Class

While it may seem like you need more time to join a cooking class in Cinque Terre, this is a unique experience only you can experience when in Italy. Fortunately, some locals offer cooking classes to tourists in the area. 

One cooking class you can join is how to make pesto. Pesto has been a staple of Italian cuisine, and only a few know that this is a speciality in the region of Liguria, where Cinque Terre is located. 

Here you can learn from an expert local and, at the same time, enjoy the food scene of Italy in Cinque Terre.

At the end of the cooking class, you have gained knowledge and skills and can want what you’ve made during the session. 

Branzino or Mediterranean sea bass whole roasted in salt fish filleted at the table by a waiter at a street restaurant in Vernazza, Cinque Terre Italy

Wine and Dine at Riomaggiore

Seeing how Conuqe Terre is a fishing village and home to the wine industry, you should take advantage of those two during your last day in the national park. The best way to experience that is at Riomaggiore. 

Riomaggiore is one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre. The southernmost village is known for its stunning views, charming atmosphere, and delicious seafood and wine.

Since the village is located right on the coast, many local restaurants here offer a variety of dishes made with freshly caught fish and shellfish, such as trofie al pesto or frittura mista.

In addition to its seafood, Riomaggiore is also known for its wine. The village is located in the heart of the Cinque Terre wine region, which produces some of Italy’s most famous wines, including Sciacchetrà, a sweet dessert wine made from sun-dried grapes. 

While you can both try these out in one local restaurant, you also have the choice to hop from one place to another or join a local wine-tasting tour if you still have time to spare. 

Woman holding a glass of white wine with Mediterranean Sea and traditional colorful houses in romantic old town of Manarola in Cinque Terre, Italy

Tours in Cinque Terre

Kayak and Snorkeling Tour

Aside from walking around and going on a Cinque Terre trekking tour, you can also enjoy the sun and the sea while visiting here. In this Kayak and Snorkelling tour, you will visit Stella Marina, one of the region’s famous beaches. 

This will be the starting point of your kayak tour led by a professional local tour guide. You will be directed to hidden gems and then shared with local stories about these areas.

During your stops at each place, you will also be given time to snorkel and enjoy the water. 

sea kayaking near the mountain coast on Fiolent

Sunset Boat Tour 

Cinque Terre gives one of the region’s most beautiful sunset views. This is why it is a must that you give going on a Sunset Boat Tour a try. During this tour, you will join a small group and hop aboard a small boat that will cruise through the sea. 

Starting from the Monterosso Pier, you will pass by the colourful villages of Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. You will also stop in the town of Vernazza, where you’ll have time to explore the place before returning to the boat. 

What makes this tour even worth it is aperitifs and prosecco will be served, and snorkelling equipment will be provided, which you can use along the way. 

Sunset over Manarola town, one of five famous colorful villages of Cinque Terre National Park in Italy.

2-Day Itinerary for Cinque Terre Wrap-up

Now that you know what Cinque Terre can offer within two days, there’s nothing much left to do. We’ve already provided information about places to visit and things to do, as well as specific details on what to eat and where to stay.

You can now just ready your documents, book your hotel or Airbnb, pack your bags, and you’re prepared to take on an adventure at Cinque Terre! 

Read more: 3 day Cinque Terre Itinerary

Recommended tours in Cinque Terre

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  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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