a colorful buildings on a hillside by a body of water with Cinque Terre in the background

There aren’t many places anywhere near this level of beauty…

In some destinations hotels are unquestionably the way to go. Buffet breakfasts are tough to beat and the lack of effort required for… just about everything is much appreciated. The stunning Cinque Terre, nestled beautifully in the rugged hills of Liguria is not one of those places. This is a destination where renting an amazing house or apartment is the way, and rewarding in every sense. Here’s how to find the best places in the Cinque Terre, with or without breaking the bank…

a colorful buildings on a cliff by the water with Cinque Terre in the backgroundPicking A Town

The best way to search is to pick a town first, rather than just looking at endless listings and going crazy. Both Riomaggiore and Manarola are always fan favourites, and you’ll find an endless supply of proud locals in either. Each of the five villages which make up the Cinque (that’s five in Italian) Terre are connected via easy train access, or walking paths for those seeking outdoor excitement.

Trains to the Cinque Terre begin and end at La Spezia, which is a big port town, so unless you want a crazy cruise tourist filled experience, it’s best to stay in one of the five actual villages than a big hotel or resort in La Spezia. The further in to the Cinque Terre you go, the fewer cruise tourists…

One Hot Tip Before You Pack

The reason your photos, and every photo ever taken of the Cinque Terre looks so damn beautiful is that it’s rugged. With rugged hillside comes steep walking, and with quaint little Italian towns comes streets which aren’t as flat as a basketball court. This is a destination where overpacking is really not advised and high heels will make a hard walk harder. There’s nothing quite like watching tourists lug two cases each up a hill, as one of them gets away and head for innocent bystanders…

a colorful buildings on a hillside by a body of water with Cinque Terre in the backgroundAirbnb Is A Solid Choice

Airbnb isn’t as widely used in the Cinque Terre as other places, but it’s there. Pick a town and search, keeping in mind that this area is about the charm and is not home to many crazy modern new builds, and for that matter… fast internet either. If you avoid peak summer travel and stick to spring, fall or winter there are great options under the $100 mark, which instantly makes this a lot more attractive than hotels.

But Local Options Are Fantastic

Though it draws millions of tourists, so many that the government had to begin limiting visitors, there is a wonderful authenticity to each town in the Cinque Terre. Most of the best apartments are owned and rented by locals, via more low key platforms and many of the best accommodations never make it onto big platforms like Airbnb.

Cinque Terre Riviera is one of the best booking options, based locally in the Cinque Terre itself with options from €90 per night to €900 and up for extreme luxury properties. You can ask questions, get help with recommendations and find out about pretty much anything, including experiences like boat rides and private chef dinners. We’ve reviewed this service and swear by it.

In Italia is another solid option, albeit with less availability directly in the Cinque Terre and more in the Ligurian countryside and into Tuscany. It’s worth a look if you need a bigger place and plan to take the train into the Cinque Terre via day trips, but otherwise Cinque Terre Riviera is as good as it gets…

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Hopeful to take a rescheduled trip to Italy & Greece, fall 2021. We had planned to stay a few days in Amalfi area before leaving on cruise from Venice. It was complicated & pricey getting cruise line to deviate airfare. So, looking at Cinque Terre area…closer to airport of Venice. Maybe just take bus or train? Also, we will have luggage, 10 day cruise & husband has walking issues, artificial ankles. Is there anywhere to stay in area that’s relatively flat & just take taxi’s to restaurants? Also, saw ferry to Positano, would let us see Amalfi coast area. We’ve been to Italy couple of times, big cities, so anxious to see different places, just not sure this will work. Any suggestions, recommendations would be great. Thank you!

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