Where To Stay In Cinque Terre: How To Choose The Best Base

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Want to find out where to stay in Cinque Terre? Each village has its own personality, and in this guide, I will tell you how to pick the right one for you!

If you are asking yourself where is the best place to stay overnight in Cinque Terre and are a bit confused as to which village you should pick during your Italian adventure, you are in the right place.

Let’s start from the beginning!

Cinque Terre is a collection of five small towns on the Italian Riviera (Cinque Terre means Five Lands).

  • Riomaggiore
  • Manarola
  • Corniglia
  • Vernazza
  • Monterosso

These small villages are surrounded by mountains to the North and the crystalline blue Ligurian sea to the South. They are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park, and this place is so special it was declared World Heritage Site in 1997 by Unesco.

But back to your question:

Which is the best village to stay in Cinque Terre?

There is just one obvious answer to this question.

There is no best place to stay in Cinque Terre.

Each town has its character and magic. And the best place to stay will depend on what you want out of this experience.

Plus, once you get there, you will realize how close the five villages are, which means you don’t need to stay in a different town each night.

Just pick the best village to suit your needs and then walk from town to town or hop on the train to visit them all.

VillageBest Village To Stay In Cinque terre For
RiomaggiorePerfect...If you are a party animal. Lots of nightlife, young crowds, busy.
ManarolaPerfect...If you are a romantic at heart. Best for couples and quite evenings.
CornigliaPerfect...If you love peace. Off the beaten track, more budget-friendly options.
VernazzaPerfect...If you love to be with the crowd. Romantic but busy!
Monterosso Al MarePerfect...If you are a beach lover. Easy beach access, perfect for families and anyone with mobility issues.

What you should consider before deciding where to stay in Cinque Terre

1. Budget

You have two options when it comes to staying in Cinque Terre. You can either stay in one of the five villages inside the National Park, or you can opt to stay in one of the neighboring cities (like La Spezia or Levanto) and then reach the Cinque Terre every morning via train or ferry.

Staying in one of the villages is more expensive, but I can’t deny that it adds to the charm of this magical experience.

2. Moving around

Cars are banned in Cinque Terre. You can move around on foot, following the Cinque Terre hiking trails, by train, or by ferry.

Parking just outside the villages can be expensive at over 25 euros per day.

This means that if you are coming by car, you should pick a hotel or accommodation that offers a free parking space (or parking with reduced fees), or just decide to stay sleep the Cinque Terre and come in every day by train or ferry.

It also means there is no better time to become a bit of a travel minimalist and pack light! You don’t want to drag a heavy suitcase from the train station or the car park up and down hundreds of uneven steps.

3. How long you are staying for

If you only have a couple of days to visit Cinque Terre, you need to stay, without a doubt, in one of the five villages, to make the most of the little time you have.

But if you can spend over 3-4 nights here and are planning to visit the beautiful surrounding locations, like Porto Venere, you can think about staying in La Spezia or Levanto.

Where to stay in Cinque Terre by Village

One last thing you should know before we dive in is that if your dream is to stay in one of the five villages, there aren’t big luxury hotels with full-on facilities here. Even the most expensive options aren’t as polished as your typical 4-star stay. The streets are narrow and steep, and the locals want to maintain the pristine landscape intact.

You are much better off staying in a local bed and breakfast or Airbnb.

And with Cinque Terre becoming more and more popular, you are better off booking well in advance once you pick your favorite place.

Riomaggiore: Perfect…If you are a party animal

Who is Riomaggiore good for: Young couples and groups of friends who want to explore Cinque Terre but also have some fun.

Who is not so good for: If you are looking for a quiet place, this is not the town for you. Plus, if you have mobility issues or small kids, the steep stairs might not help you to move around easily.

Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre, Italy

Ok, party animal might be a bit much!

Cinque Terre isn’t your typical disco club town by far. But Riomaggiore has plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants to choose from compared to some of its neighboring villages.

Riomaggiore has very tall, colorful, and narrow houses, a gorgeous natural harbor, and a rocky beach from which you can enjoy a wonderful sea view.

It’s one of the hilliest towns to walk, built between 2 rugged hills, and has plenty of steep stairs and suggestive back alleys to explore.

From here, you can walk along the famous Via Dell’Amore (Lovers’ Walk), one of the most scenic footpaths to Manarola.

Note: Via dell’amore is currently closed for restoration. It might reopen in 2024. Check here for the latest updates.

If you are coming by train from La Spezia, Riomaggiore will be your first stop (or your last if you are coming from Monterosso). It’s less than 10 minutes by train from La Spezia, which means it is normally the first stop for tourists coming from outside Cinque Terre in the morning. And this makes it quite busy.

Plus, some of the bars will put on loud musing in the piazzas and harbor until late at night. If you are looking for some peace and quiet time, this might not be the best place for you.

Best Places To Stay in Riomaggiore


5 Terre Discovering: Staying in Cinque Terre on a budget doesn’t mean giving up on quality. 5 Terre Discovering has beautiful modern, clean rooms with private bathrooms and WiFi right in the center of Riomaggiore. Aldo, the host, is also super helpful and will share local tips. This accommodation is located next to restaurants and shops, which means you don’t need to walk far for anything you need.


Lucy’s: First of all, the view from this guest house is simply spectacular! Be sure to watch the sunset from your balcony. Plus, it’s just 100 yards from Riomaggiore Beach, and each cozy apartment has air-conditioning (a blessing in the heat of the Italian summer) with free WiFi.


Crêuza de Mä: This place has by far the best views you can ask for in Riomaggiore. It’s just a few minutes from the beach, overlooking the sea. Take a dip in the hot tub while admiring the view of the Ligurian coast, or relax on the rooftop terrace or beautiful gardens. It has only 4 rooms so book as early as possible to get a chance to stay here.

Best Airbnb in Riomaggiore:

Cozy house with terrace: A lovely flat with a beautiful view. The perfect base for exploring, right in the center of Riomaggiore, but very quiet in the evenings. Up to 5 guests.

Villino Caterina Luxe & Relax: With an incredibly romantic sea view, this cozy Airbnb is in the perfect location. There are a large terrace and a garden that will make your stay unforgettable. 2 guests.

We love staying in Airbnb on our travels, as we get a chance to know the locals. Check my top tips to pick the best Airbnb here.

Manarola: Perfect…If you are a romantic at heart

Who is Riomaggiore good for: Romantic couples and wine lovers that enjoy a more sophisticated atmosphere.

Who is not so good for: If you are looking for many nightlife options, this might not be the town for you.

A beautiful view of Manarola

We are allowed to have a favorite place in Cinque Terre, and Manarola is mine.

It’s the second smallest town in Cinque Terre, after Corniglia, but this doesn’t mean it’s less strikingly beautiful than its bigger neighbors.

Manarola has incredibly pretty pastel-color houses, and it’s surrounded by green and lush vineyards (if you are a wine lover, consider taking a tour) and olive groves.

The village revolves around the main street and has a little but very cute harbor at the bottom. There is no beach here, but there are plenty of rocks from which you can take a dip after a day of hiking around.

If you follow the path to the right of the harbor, you will get a chance to see one of the most photographed views of Cinque Terre.

The path is hard to miss, and if you follow the trail, you will be able to take a beautiful postcard picture!

Where to stay in Manarola


La Torretta Lodge: What I love about this place is that not only it’s affordable, but they also offer a free aperitif every evening. And they have a hot tub! It’s in a beautiful location in a converted Mediaeval tower. Each room has a unique design, and Manarola train station is only a few minutes away.


Ca’ D’Andrean: This family-run hotel might lack the views of some other places, but the delicious local breakfast, included in the prices, more than makes up for it. You will get croissants, cappuccinos, and fruit juices, plus in the summer, you can enjoy it in the beautiful garden overlooking the vineyards.


The First – Il Sogno di Manarola: It takes a bit of climb to get to it, but for that effort, you get unbelievable views across the sea. Everything about this place is perfect. It’s called The dream of Manarola, after all. From the terrace, you’ll be able to see Manarola in all its beauty.

Best Airbnb in Manarola:

Manarolavistamare – Apartment Limoncino: This is where Dan and I decided to stay. It’s a lovely flat just a few minutes away from Manarola’s main street. Simone and his mum Nicoletta were so welcoming and shared with us useful tips about the best restaurants in Cinque Terre and what to do. The apartment was thoughtfully designed and modern but respectful of the beautiful old house it’s in. Up to 4 guests.

Corniglia: Perfect…If you love peace

Who is Corniglia good for: Anyone who wants to escape the crowds.

Who is not so good for: If you fancy eating in a different restaurant every night, or looking for some nightlife, this is not the village for you.

An aerial view of Corniglia in Cinque Terre

Corniglia is the smallest of all Cinque Terre towns, and it’s the hardest to reach.

Perched upon the cliff edge of the mountains surrounding Cinque Terre, it’s the only village not at sea level.

To get to it, you’ll need to climb 377 steps from the train station at the bottom of the hill. Or you can take a bus and walk downhill to it.

This makes it the quieter of all villages, and that’s also what makes it so attractive. Here you can relax far away from the crowd and breathe nature.

Because Corniglia is so small, there isn’t a huge choice of accommodations, shops, or restaurants.

And every time you want to reach any other town, you’ll either need to climb those steps again or take the bus.

So keep this in mind before you decide to stay here.

Where to stay in Corniglia


Affittacamere Le Terrazze: Perfect location in the heart of Corniglia. Each apartment here comes with a kitchenette, which is great if you want to buy some local fresh food and cook something in the evenings while admiring the views. It’s also close to a couple of good restaurants and shops.

Hanging Garden: This affordable accommodation offers sweet and homely apartments equipped with a kitchen and washing machine. Amazing view and a great location, with some great restaurants around the corner.

Best Airbnb in Corniglia:

Private room with a view: Cristiana has 2 beautiful rooms view a stunning view from Corniglia. This one is for 2 guests, and this one is for 4 guests. It’s about a 10-minute walk from a pretty inlet with rocks, perfect to swim, called la marina.

Vernazza: Perfect…If you love to be with the crowd

Who is Vernazza good for: Anyone who wants to be in one of the most beautiful spots in Cinque Terre, in the middle of the action, and doesn’t mind hanging around with the rest of the crowd.

Who is not so good for: People who enjoy having a quiet time and are turned off by having to queue for everything.

A view from Vernazza from the Cinque Terre trail

Most people rate this as the most beautiful village in Cinque Terre. Books have been written about it. And it’s one of the most photographed, together with Manarola.

But with popularity comes the crowd. And pricier accommodations. And Vernazza can get quite busy, especially during the day.

Evenings are much better, as most tourists that come for the day will leave the town around sunset.

Vernazza is flatter than Manarola and Riomaggiore and has plenty of bars and restaurants around his central location, Piazza Marconi.

You can still see the walls from an ancient fortress and admire the views from Doria Castle, an 11th-century old castle dominating the small town from the top of its 60 meters.

With a romantic atmosphere and charming views, most hotels and accommodations here overlook the city and the harbor. And can get full months ahead of time.

If you want to stay here, book well in advance, like in Manarola.

Where to stay in Vernazza


Rina Rooms: with the perfect location set in the heart of Vernazza, Rina Rooms is about 150 yards from Vernazza Train Station and less than 5 minute walk from the small beach and the beautiful Ligurian Sea. The rooms are basic but clean and comfortable. What more can you ask from budget accommodation in such an expensive location?


La Polena: With a beautiful location next to the harbor, you should stay here if you want to be right in the center of Vernazza. Plus, if you open the window at night, you can sleep to the sound of the sea. Bars and restaurants are just a short walk away, and the train station is just around the corner.


Santa Marta Rooms 25: Great central location. Rooms are comfortable and modern and have been recently renovated to high standards, which makes this place one of the best options to stay in Vernazza.

Best Airbnb in Vernazza:

Room in Vernazza historical center: This is my kind of place. A well-designed cozy room with all the comfort you need and thoughtful touches from the host. I love how he used modern objects with old furniture. It has a hotel feel at a much cheaper price. Up to 2 guests.

Monterosso Al Mare: Perfect…If you are a beach lover

Who is Monterosso good for: Beach lovers, anyone looking to relax but also families with small children, or anyone who doesn’t fancy climbing up and down stairs all day long.

Who is not so good for: People who want to stay in one of the more charming villages.

The beach in Monterosso Al Mare

Monterosso is the biggest town in Cinque Terre. It stands on much flatter land than all its neighbors, and at a first sight, it might not look as charming as some of the other villages.

But if you want to relax on an Italian Riviera beach, Monterosso is the only town in Cinque Terre that can make your wish come true.

As much as there are other small beaches in Vernazza or Riomaggiore, Monterosso has the best long sandy beach offering you all the comfort you need, like sunbeds and colorful sun umbrellas to rent.

Plus, if you don’t like the idea of carrying your bags up and down hills and stairs, staying overnight in Monterosso might be your best choice.

And because it’s much easier to access, it’s the perfect place to stay for families with small kids or anyone with mobility issues.

Where to stay in Monterosso


Affittacamere Sull’Arco: Roomy and cozy rooms in the center of Monterosso. Plus, the host here gets raving reviews. If you are looking for the perfect location at an affordable place, this is where you should stay.


Il Giardino Incantato B&B: This lovely B&B looks like a little boutique hotel. It has a pretty garden at the back, which is what gives it its name, the enchanted garden. Scrumptious breakfast is served every day, plus you might get to try the local limoncino in the evenings while relaxing outside.

Best Airbnbs in Monterosso:

XX Street: Located in the old part of town, right in the center of village life, this apartment is modern, extremely comfortable, and quiet. Lots of restaurants nearby, and Sara, the host, can give you some great tips about what to eat and where to eat around town.

Other places to stay in the Cinque Terre neighborhood

If you are not too short on time, are on a budget, or simply want more choices, you can widen your horizon by looking outside Cinque Terre.


The pretty town of Levanto, known as the door to Cinque Terre due to its proximity to it, is the perfect budget location.

There are plenty of restaurants and shops and it’s only one stop away (4 minutes!) from Monterosso al Mare.

You can also take the local ferry and admire the view from the sea.

La Spezia

La Spezia is another great location to stay in. It’s a good size city, with all the comfort you can ask for, like big supermarkets, restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

Plus, the Cinque Terre Express Train connects it to Riomaggiore in just 7 minutes.

Sestri Levante

Sestri Levante is another option to consider. It’s a nice little town with good hotels and a train station. It’s a bit further out and trains take about 20 minutes.

Sestri Levante is a good choice only if you stay for more than a couple of days.


There you have it!

Which Cinque Terre village is the perfect fit for you?

Do you need more help to decide?

Just leave me a comment below, and I will do my best to help you.

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