The best of five lands: highlights from the Cinque Terre

Posted by on 1 Jul, 2014 in Blog, Italy | 8 comments

After visiting the first town in the Cinque Terre on our itinerary, I (somewhat boldly) decided that I would write a post featuring my favourite photo of each town.

At the time, I had absolutely no idea how difficult that task would be. However, something about the challenge has since made the idea appeal even more…

So without further ado, here are five photos: my favourites of the photos I took of each town.

You can find more of my photos from the Cinque Terre here.

Monterosso al Mare

Coming from Milan in the North, this town is the first that you reach. It is the biggest town and fairly flat.

Boat in Monterosso harbour

Boat in Monterosso harbour

Why I chose this photo: While I loved the winding narrow streets of Monterosso, I went for this shot of Alessandro, because I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere with water so clear.

Best for…
The beach
: Monterosso has the only decent beach of the five towns.
Churches: Monterosso has two big churches in its old town.


Heading North-South, Vernazza is the next town. The poster child of the region, Vernazza is beautiful but swarming with tourists.

Rooftops of Vernazza

Rooftops of Vernazza

Why I chose this photo: Vernazza is such a photogenic town, it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo. We took this on a walk up the hills of vineyards, and while it isn’t quite the iconic shot everyone sees (as shown on Vernazza’s Wikipedia page), it’s a shot I loved the minute I captured it – and it’s mine, not just my version of the same old shot.

Best for…
: Vernazza has a hilltop castle which has great views over the town.
: Vernazza has a beautiful open harbour, great for taking photos, or even snorkelling.


Blurry view of elusive Corniglia

Blurry view of elusive Corniglia

Sitting high atop a cliff, Corniglia is the only town which cannot be reached by boat. With limited time on our trip, this is the only village we didn’t get to see. Though we did get some snaps from the boat as we sailed past.


Often described as the most ‘rustic’ of the towns, Manarola is picturesque perfection. Easily my favourite town, it has a much quieter, chilled vibe.



Why I chose this photo: There are so many photos of Manarola that I love, but to me, this shot is just the most perfect view.

Best for…
this village seems to get far fewer tourists than the others.
Views: Manarola easily has some of the best views in the Cinque Terre.
People watching: divers love the town’s rocky harbour for entertaining tourists.




The southernmost village, Riomaggiore is also popular with tourists, and therefore has a lot to offer.

Why I chose this photo: This red building at the village’s entrance is so striking, I really liked it. Such a dark red isn’t found elsewhere in the Cinque Terre.

Best for…
: Riomaggiore has a lot of restaurants and it seemed perfect for evenings
Shops: Lots of tourists mean lots of shops.
Alleyways: It’s said that all roads in Riomaggiore lead to the sea and there are plenty of roads to explore on your way back to the boat.

What do you think of my choices?
Comment below!



  1. Stunning! I grow more jealous with every photo of yours I see from this trip. Wish I’d had more time on my trip to Milan to go a bit further afield.

    • We were umming and arring whether to go for it tbh, because we only had two days in Italy, but I’m so glad we did. Wish we could’ve seen a bit more of Milan, but I think the balance we struck was perfect for what we wanted.

  2. Still never been to Italy, but your post has definitely encouraged me. Even today in the morning I’ve gave a thought to my new idea about cycling trip aroundItaly, maybe it is a sign! Aren’t you bugged by all these tourists and Italian people? Heard they can be nasty!

    • We didn’t come across any unfriendly Italians – on the contrary, everyone was lovely! The tourist crowds got a bit much in Vernazza, but we just headed on the boat to the next town to escape them.

  3. Dammit, John! This is not the time to be planning a trip to Italy and that’s exactly what you’re making me want to do! Beautiful photos, I loved that you didn’t go with the regular shot but your own version of it :)

    • Thank you, I always think you end up loving your own shot more anyway, because you remember glancing up and seeing it for the very first time.

  4. I feel like if I throw in Genoa and Portofino, these little towns would be plenty to occupy me for a week. Plus some horse tracks in the mountains and some wine tastings….purrrrfect. I’m day-dreaming already :)

    • Sounds like a great itinerary! Some of the towns we saw on the train were gorgeous.

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