The breathtaking folded coastline of the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) stretches between the beach resort of Levanto and the port of La Spezia. It’s named for five tiny villages – Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore – wedged into a series of coves between sheer cliffs, and their comparative remoteness, and the dramatic nature of their positions, makes the region the principal scenic highlight of the whole Riviera. The scenery, certainly, is lovely, but bear in mind that it’s also the convenience which makes the Cinque Terre so popular: the main clifftop route is not particularly arduous – it’s pretty flat most of the way, the villages are not that far apart and all of them have plenty of amenities and places to stay; and if you get fed up with walking you can always jump on a train (or a boat). No surprise, then, that the area is teeming with travellers during summer, and the villages have lost some of their character to the tide of kitschy souvenir shops and overpriced, under-quality restaurants. But outside of August you should try to take in at least part of the area – it’s worth it, especially if you use quieter and more authentic Levanto or even La Spezia as a base.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Italy features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Where to find the best beaches in Italy

Where to find the best beaches in Italy

From secluded coves to lively seafronts, there are plenty of places to sun worship in Italy. But with an increasing number of hotels charging for access to the …

20 Jul 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy

Video: the 1 minute guide to Italy

Italy has long been one of Europe's most popular destinations. From the magnificent remnants of ancient Rome to the coolest in contemporary culture, secret beac…

08 Jun 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
Why Turin should be your next foodie break

Why Turin should be your next foodie break

Not so long ago, Turin (Torino) – Italy’s great northern powerhouse – was largely ignored by tourists, unfairly dismissed as little more than a giant Fiat…

26 May 2017 • Edward Aves insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right