If you have 2 days to visit Cinque Terre, you have just enough time to slow down and capture the essence of these beautiful villages of the Italian Riviera. Ideally, staying longer allows you to adapt to the local rhythm and enjoy a deeper experience. But if you don’t have that much time, with 48 hours you can still go beyond the superficial 8-hour itineraries of mass tourism. How can you make the most of your 2 days in Cinque Terre? We have some tips and ideas for you.
Visiting Cinque Terre: Sailing or Hiking
Each of the five gems offers something amazing for you to see. The landscape and history of Riomaggiore inspired painters like Telemaco Signorini and Arnold Böcklin. Manarola features picturesque tower houses and terraced vineyards. Corniglia challenges you with the Lardarina, its brick staircase with 377 stairs and 33 flights. Vernazza is the quintessential fishing hamlet. Monterosso treasures sandy beaches and the imposing Statue of the Giant.
You can visit the Cinque Terre villages with a trip by public boat (available between late March and early November) or by train (available year-round). These transport options are used by most of the tourists that visit Cinque Terre every year.
To prevent being at the wrong place at the wrong time, such as avoiding long queues because you find yourself in the middle of a group of hundreds of cruisers, you can book a tour with an expert guide that will optimize your time and make you visit the most authentic parts of the villages, off the beaten track. You can also book a private boat tour to explore the Cinque Terre by sea, away from the crowds. This is particularly ideal in the hottest summer months.
If you would like to hike between the villages, keep in mind two things: you must be prepared to walk on steep slopes and you should not suffer from vertigo. It is best to avoid hiking in summer because there is not much shade on the trails and it can get really hot. Also, try to avoid the most crowded hiking trails along the Sentiero Azzurro: the experience is challenging, but certainly rewarding! If you are not sure about alternative routes, you can choose a private guide for hiking.
Tasting Cinque Terre: Wine & Food Experiences
A short break in the Italian Riviera would not be complete without experiencing local wine and food traditions. During your 2 days in Cinque Terre you can go beyond drinking wine in panoramic bars and eating in delicious restaurants, you can also visit vineyards and join a cooking lesson.
Meeting friendly local wine producers and visiting their dramatic terraced vineyards will make you understand why the type of winegrowing practiced in Cinque Terre is called ‘heroic viticulture’. The experience proceeds with some wine tasting in the typical cellar. Another option for food lovers is to join an Italian chef for a private cooking lesson, at the end of which you can enjoy your culinary creations for dinner with a glass of local wine and panoramic views.
These experiences will bring you closer to the locals, allowing you to understand the history and challenges of the territory and its inhabitants.
DIY or Guided Tour in Cinque Terre?
There are so many online and printed guides regarding the area that it is certainly possible to visit Liguria’s “famous five” on your own. However, if you only have 2 days in Cinque Terre and want to make the most out of your precious time, relying on a local guide for a private tour might be ideal. In fact, it will be easier for you to travel like a local, to explore secret corners, to stay away from large tourist groups, and to have fast solutions in case of unexpected events, such as boat transport being cancelled due to bad weather.