We scheduled our Via dell’Amore walk for 10:00am, planning to visit the other Cinque Terre villages that day by train. We stayed in Monterosso so it worked nicely to take the train to Riomaggiore at the end of the Cinque Terre, talk our scheduled walk, then work our way back home by train. We bought a day pass so we could hop on and off the trains; the pass included free entrance to train station restrooms which was handy. It looks like lots of day trips do the same so expect huge crowds everywhere.
Riomaggiore is the largest of the five villages and one long steep hill. After the Via dell’Amore walk we walked up to the castle with a nice Toronto couple we met on the walk. He was originally from Scotland. She was born in London. The directions were a bit vague but we found the right church with the elevator next to it. It saves a lot of climbing! The castle had an interesting historical display and nice views.
It was pretty quiet when we started up to the castle. When we got back down it was much busier. The train station was hugely crowded, likely because a train was late
Manarola is the next village north. It was wall to wall people, with lots of boats in the road.
Manarola doesn’t have a beach but there are rocks to swim from and some ladders in place.
We crossed the waterfront and went part way up the hill on the other side. You get nice views of Manarola from there.
We knew there wasn’t much in Corniglia and after seeing all the switchbacks to get up there we just got on the train to Vernazza.
Vernazza too was crowded. It has somewhat of a beach. We were hot, tired, and thirsty by then so we got a seat at Anaras bar by the waterfront and had a lemon spritz and a good stout from Genova and focaccia.
There are both train and passenger tunnels in the villages. The road runs higher on the cliff and parking tends to be at the upper end of town. Some of the passenger tunnels are creatively decorated.
Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso is the fifth village and it’s where we stayed so I didn’t include it here. You can read about it here. Each village has its own character, though they’re similar. If you’re pressed for time you could visit one and get the gist of the Cinque Terre.