3 day Itinerary for Cinque Terre

I’ve lived in Europe for a number of years and have spent a lot of time travelling around Italy, so Cinque Terre holds a special place in my heart.

I’ve created this 3 day itinerary to give other travellers with limited time the chance to experience the beauty of this gorgeous area. From breathtaking beaches to picturesque villages, you’ll get an unforgettable experience in three days!

I want to give you all the information you need to make sure your trip is perfect, so I’m including tips from locals who know how to make the most out of their visit and avoid the touristy traps. Not only that, but I have included my own personal suggestions on where to go and what to do based on my own experiences living here!

So let me be your guide as you explore one of Italy’s best kept secrets – Cinque Terre – with my 3 day itinerary. You will be able to enjoy stunning views, amazing food, and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Nestled along the breathtaking Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is a collection of five picturesque villages that ooze charm and beauty. Translating into “Five Lands,” this UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of five villages named Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare.

Scenic night view of colorful village Manarola in Cinque Terre Italy

Renowned for their vibrant pastel coloured houses, terraced vineyards and dramatic cliffside views, these beautiful villages offer an unforgettable destination for all travellers seeking a unique and authentic Italian experience.

If you are looking to enjoy a 3 Day Itinerary in Cinque Terre, you will find plenty of memorable activities waiting for you. Before you plan your Cinque Terre itinerary, ensure you visit at the right time and stay in the best place for your needs. Spring (April – June) is considered one of the best times to visit Cinque Terre.

The weather is mild and pleasant, with blossoming flowers, lush greenery and fewer crowds compared to the summer months when it can become very overcrowded. September and October are also very favourable as this is after the peak summer months.

When it comes to choosing where to stay in Cinque Terre, each village has its own unique charm and atmosphere. However, for first timers, Monterosso al Mare is a great place to start. It is the largest village in Cinque Terre and offers a mix of sandy beaches, historical sites and a bustling town centre.

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Overview Of 3 Days In Cinque Terre Itinerary

Here is a brief overview of what to see in Cinque Terre in 3 days:

Day 1 in Cinque Terre

  • Explore Monterosso Old Town
  • Wander along the Seafront Promenade
  • Have lunch at Beach Bar Stella Marina
  • Relax on Monterosso Beach
  • Dine at Piazza Garibaldi

Day 2 in Cinque Terre

  • Take the Cinque Terre Express
  • Explore Vernazza Harbor
  • Climb Doria Castle
  • Enjoy lunch and views at Gianni Franzi Deck
  • Hike the Cinque Terre Trail
  • Spend the evening in Corniglia

Day 3 in Cinque Terre

  • Explore the Colorful Streets of Manarola
  • Visit the Cantina Crovara Vineyard
  • Have lunch at Nessun Dorma
  • Take a Riomaggiore boat tour
  • A Sunset Meal at La Conchiglia
Riomaggiore of Cinque Terre, Italy - Traditional fishing village in La Spezia, situate in coastline of Liguria of Italy. Riomaggiore is one of the five Cinque Terre travel attractions.

Day 1 in Cinque Terre

Explore Monterosso Old Town

To start off your three days in Cinque Terre, begin in Monterosso al Mare. This Cinque Terre village is home to a charming and historic Old Town that is worth exploring.

Take a leisurely walk through the narrow, winding streets and admire the colourful buildings, picturesque squares and quaint shops that line the cobblestone paths. Stop for your morning coffee and an Italian pastry for breakfast.

There are lots of small Italian cafes in the Old Town such as Pasticceria Bar Laura. Afterwards, browse through the shops and boutiques in the Old Town to discover local artisans and their handmade crafts.

From ceramics and jewellery to artwork and souvenirs, you will find unique treasures to take home.

Tour Pick
Monterosso al Mare / Italy - View of the village and the beach. Monterosso is the westernmost of the Cinque Terre, a national park protected by Unesco.

Horse ride of Monterosso al Mare

  • 2 hours 
  • Unique experience
  • Small Group Tour
Monterosso Al Mare, Italy - People are walking, traveling by a cozy vibrant streets full of small businesses on the ground floor in Monterosso Al Mare, Cinque Terre, Italy

Wander along the Seafront Promenade

Enjoy a scenic stroll along the seafront promenade. Take in panoramic views of the coastline, sandy beaches and the clear waters of the Ligurian Sea. Monterosso is split into two sections, the Old Town plus the newer part of town, known as Fegina.

As you continue your wander along the seafront promenade, you will transition into the Fegina area, which offers its own unique charm and attractions. Make sure you walk to the end of the promenade.

You will find the very unique Monument to the Giant. This is a statue depicting Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. This iconic landmark is a symbol of Monterosso and offers a picturesque backdrop for your travel photos.

Monterosso, Liguria, Italy.  The promenade offers a pleasant view of the beaches with the bathing establishments and the surrounding nature. Beautiful summer day

Have lunch at Beach Bar Stella Marina

After exploring both the old and new parts of Monterosso al Mare and working up an appetite, make your way to Beach Bar Stella Marina for a delightful lunch experience.

Located right on the beachfront, this beach bar offers a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. Choose a table with a view of the sea, where you can continue to enjoy the scenic beauty while dining.

Relax on Monterosso Beach

For a blissful afternoon of relaxation, head to the sandy shores of Monterosso Beach. This beautiful stretch of coastline offers a perfect spot to unwind, soak up the sun and enjoy the refreshing waters of the Ligurian Sea.

Find a comfortable spot on the soft sand, lay out your beach towel and let the tranquillity of the surroundings wash over you. Take leisurely walks along the shore, dip your toes in the salty water or simply lounge under the warm Mediterranean sun.

Pebble beach Monterosso vacation Chairs and umbrellas on the beach of Cinque Terre Italy.

Dine at Piazza Garibaldi

To end your day, make your way to Piazza Garibaldi in Monterosso’s Old Town to relax and indulge in a delightful dining experience. Here, you will find a variety of outdoor cafes and restaurants that offer a range of culinary delights.

One standout option is Causapersa – Officina Enogastronomica. Causapersa is an inviting establishment that combines the flavours of the region with a creative twist.

From fresh seafood to homemade pasta dishes, you will discover an array of dishes to satisfy your palate.

Monterosso, Liguira, Italy. In the historic center of the village the ancient clock tower dominates the scene. Beautiful summer day.

Day 2 in Cinque Terre

Take the Cinque Terre Express

The Cinque Terre Express provides a convenient way to discover the beauty of Cinque Terre. Whether you are hopping between villages or exploring the entire region, this train service offers a hassle free transportation option for an unforgettable experience.

The trains run frequently, usually every 15-30 minutes, allowing you to easily hop on and off at different stops.

To start your second day on your 3 day trip to Cinque Terre. You will take the Cinque Terre Express from Monterosso over to Vernazza. This takes only a few minutes!

Manarola, Cinque Terre - train station in small village with colorful houses on cliff overlooking sea. Cinque Terre National Park with rugged coastline is famous tourist destination in Liguria, Italy

Explore Vernazza Harbor

Vernazza offers a delightful mix of natural beauty, cultural heritage and culinary delights. Head to the harbour area, where fishing boats dot the shoreline.

Take in the captivating views of the sea and the iconic Church of St. Margaret of Antioch, which overlooks the harbour.

You can step inside the church if you wish to admire the beautiful Gothic-style architecture and discover its fascinating history that dates back to the 14th century.

Ananasso Bar is a great place to stop for refreshments and a morning snack before you carry on around the rest of Vernazza. It opens at 8 am and serves amazing coffees, juices and breakfast staples.

Tour Pick
Colorful harbor at Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

Kayak tour from Monterosso to Vernazza

  • 3 hours 
  • Max of 12 people 
  • Snorkel equipment available
Colorful harbor at Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

Climb Doria Castle

Begin your adventure by wandering through the charming streets of Vernazza. Admire the colorful houses, narrow alleyways and pretty squares that give the village its unique character.

Then embark on a short hike up to the Doria Castle, a historic fortress perched on a hilltop overlooking Vernazza. From the castle, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the village and the surrounding coastline.

Doria Castle has a rich history that dates back to the 10th century. It was built as a defensive structure to protect Vernazza from pirate attacks and served as the residence of the powerful Doria family.

The castle showcases medieval architecture and offers a glimpse into the region’s past. As you explore the castle, you will encounter fortified walls, towers and remnants of its original structures.

Doria medieval castle in Vernazza. Built in the 15th century as a lookout tower to protect the village from pirates. Region of Liguria Cinque Terre. Province of La Spezia. Italy

Enjoy lunch and views at Gianni Franzi Deck

Indulge in a memorable dining experience at Gianni Franzi Deck in Vernazza. This charming restaurant offers a picturesque setting right on the waterfront, allowing you to enjoy breathtaking views of the Ligurian Sea.

With an extensive menu featuring fresh seafood and traditional Ligurian dishes. The friendly atmosphere, al fresco dining and attentive staff add to the overall experience.

Whether you are seeking a leisurely lunch or a place to unwind, Gianni Franzi Deck combines delicious food with stunning views, making it a must-visit spot in Vernazza.

Hike the Cinque Terre Trail

Embark on a scenic adventure by taking the Cinque Terre hiking trail from Vernazza to Corniglia. This moderately challenging trail offers breathtaking coastal views and takes approximately one hour.

Begin in Vernazza and follow the signs for the Cinque Terre Trail, immersing yourself in the rugged beauty of the coastline. Marvel at the terraced landscapes, capture memorable photos and take in the peaceful atmosphere as you ascend towards Corniglia along the Sentiero Azzuro path. 

Arriving in Corniglia, explore its narrow streets and enjoy the village’s relaxed ambience. Hiking from Vernazza to Corniglia allows you to experience the natural wonders and cultural charm of Cinque Terre.

Colorful Cinque Terre village of Vernazza, Italy. Above view with hiking trail and blue sea.

Spend the evening in Corniglia

As the day winds down, Corniglia provides a stunning setting to enjoy the evening. Marvel at the amazing sunset from one of the scenic viewpoints, where the golden hues reflect on the coastline.

For dinner, savour the flavours of traditional Ligurian cuisine at charming restaurants like Terra Rossa, indulging in dishes such as pesto pasta.

Take a leisurely stroll through the village’s quaint streets, soaking in the peaceful ambience as the buildings glow in the evening light.

Corniglia, Italy in the Cinque Terre Region in autumn at dusk.

Day 3 in Cinque Terre

Explore the colorful streets of Manarola

To finish off your 3 perfect days in Cinque Terre, head to Manarola. Explore the colourful streets and admire its vibrant and charming buildings.

Do not miss the opportunity to enjoy stunning coastal views from scenic viewpoints like Punta Bonfiglio where you can capture breathtaking views of the sea and the coastline that surrounds the village.

For breakfast consider a coffee at Da Aristide. It opens at 8 am and has a lovely local feel.

Tour Pick
Romantic dinner for two at sunset. White wine and Tasty italian snack: fresh bruschettes and meat on the board in outdoor cafe with amazing view in Manarola, Italy

Pesto Making Class & Boat Tour

  • 4 hours 
  • Max of 15 people 
  • Lunch included
Picturesque view of colorful houses in Manarola fishing village in Five lands, Cinque Terre National Park, Liguria, Italy.

Visit the Cantina Crovara Vineyard

Venture outside the village to explore the vineyards that cover the hills surrounding Manarola.

Take a leisurely stroll through the terraced vineyards, where you can find yourself in the beauty of the countryside while learning about the local winemaking traditions.

Discover the flavours of the region and appreciate the scenic landscape that makes Manarola truly special. Make sure to try the wine that is produced there!

Tour Pick
Pathway in vineyards at Manarola, Cinque Terre. UNESCO world heritage in Italy

Born To Be Wine

  • 2 hours 
  • Max of 10 people 
  • intimate experience
Pathway in vineyards at Manarola, Cinque Terre. UNESCO world heritage in Italy

Have lunch at Nessun Dorma

Before leaving make a stop at Nessun Dorma, a popular terrace bar overlooking Manarola. Sip on a refreshing drink while enjoying panoramic views of the village, the vineyards and the sea. It is a perfect spot to relax, have a bite to eat for lunch and soak up the atmosphere.

Take a Riomaggiore boat tour

Take the train over to Riomaggiore to explore the final of the five Cinque Terre villages. Experience the beauty of Riomaggiore from the water with a boat tour.

Climb aboard a boat and cruise along the coastline, taking in the colourful and breathtaking scenery. Enjoy the refreshing sea breeze as you admire the rugged cliffs, hidden coves and clear waters of the sea.

A boat tour offers a unique perspective of Riomaggiore, allowing you to capture stunning views and create unforgettable memories. Relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere as you explore the coastal charm of Riomaggiore from the comfort of a boat.

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

A Sunset Meal at La Conchiglia

End your 3 days in Cinque Terre with a memorable dining experience at La Conchiglia while enjoying a sunset meal in Riomaggiore.

This charming restaurant offers a perfect setting to savour a delicious meal as the sun sets over the horizon. Take a seat on the outdoor terrace and enjoy views of the sea and the village.

Feast on a selection of fresh seafood dishes or other regional specialities, all expertly prepared with the finest ingredients.

Pair your meal with a glass of the local wine to enhance the flavours and create a truly unforgettable culinary experience.

Riomaggiore waterfront view with buildings in Cinque Terre at night, Italy.

Tour ideas for your 3 days in Cinque Terre

Cesarine: Small group Pasta and Tiramisu class in Riomaggiore

Immerse yourself in the intimate setting of a local’s home, acquire valuable cooking skills and savour the authentic flavours of Italy.

Experience the joy of preparing homemade pasta and a traditional Italian dessert in a small group cooking workshop. With a maximum of 12 participants, you will receive personalised instruction and guidance as you learn to master two pasta recipes and create a delectable tiramisu.

This half day workshop includes a refreshing sparkling wine, complimentary soft beverages and the opportunity to taste your pasta and dessert creations at the end.

Kayak tour from Monterosso to Vernazza-Maimuna cave + Snorkeling

Experience the beauty of the famous Cinque Terre villages from a unique perspective on a kayak tour along the coast.

Led by a knowledgeable guide, you will discover hidden gems and hear intriguing stories of Monterosso and Vernazza.

You will also get to take a refreshing swim and explore the underwater world with the provided snorkelling gear.

The tour departs from the convenient and easily accessible Beach Bar Stella Marina, offering various amenities such as showers, cabins and bar service.

Monterosso al Mare / Italy -  View of the village and the beach. Monterosso is the westernmost of the Cinque Terre, a national park protected by Unesco.

Horse ride on the coast of Monterosso al Mare Cinque Terre

Enjoy the views of Cinque Terre on a horseback ride along the stunning coast. Located in Monterosso al Mare, this horse riding experience offers a one of a kind adventure on the picturesque Ligurian coast.

Discover the joy of horse riding while taking in the captivating landscapes of Cinque Terre including riding through the woods.

FAQs About 3-day cinque terre itinerary

What should I pack for a 3 day Cinque Terre itinerary?

Since the Cinque Terre area is located in the Mediterranean Sea, make sure to bring light clothing like shorts and t-shirts.

If you’re visiting during the cold months, however, it’s best to bring warmer clothes such as a jacket or cardigan.

You’ll also want to have comfortable shoes for exploring the trails of the region, and possibly waterproof ones if there’s rain in the forecast.

Additionally, don’t forget essential items like sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat to protect from sun exposure!

Is it possible to visit all five villages of Cinque Terre in one day?

While it is possible to do this in one day, we recommend taking more time and allowing yourself at least three days.

This way you can properly explore each village without feeling rushed, truly immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of this beautiful region.

how many days to spend in cinque terre

Cinque Terre can be easily visited in just one day, but it is recommended to take your time to really explore the area.

Two or three days would be ideal, allowing you to make your way along the picturesque coastal paths, admire the breathtaking views from terraced vineyards and immerse yourself in the quaint seaside villages.

It is also possible to stay longer if you want more time for leisurely hikes and boat trips.

Final Thoughts: 3 day cinque terre itinerary

In conclusion, a visit to Cinque Terre offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, charming villages and authentic experiences.

Whether you are exploring the colourful streets of Monterosso, hiking the scenic trails between Vernazza and Corniglia or enjoying the coastal views from Manarola and Riomaggiore, each village has its own unique charm and attractions to offer.

From relaxing on the beaches and indulging in delicious Italian cuisine to embarking on boat tours and learning about the rich culture and traditions, Cinque Terre provides a truly unforgettable experience.

Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a food lover, an adventure seeker or simply looking for a romantic getaway, Cinque Terre caters to all. So pack your bags and embrace the beauty of the Italian Riviera. This is a go to destination to create lasting memories.

Recommended tours in Cinque Terre

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Author

  • Alice

    Meet Alice, a seasoned traveler and marketing consultant from Derbyshire. Her adventures stretch from Singapore to Bulgaria, uncovering unique destinations. Despite her busy marketing career, she indulges in luxurious trips with her partner, offering insightful and engaging travel perspectives through her writing | | Specializing in luxury travel, couples' retreats, crafting detailed itineraries, and offering expert advice on select tour experiences and beach destinations, Alice brings a wealth of expertise to the table.

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