Famous all over the world, the Cinque Terre are five villages perched on the sea and characterized by the pastel colours of the Genoese-style tower houses. With sand beaches, hiking trails and sweeping views, you simply can’t go wrong with these Cinque Terre beaches.
Over the centuries, locals have carefully built terraces to cultivate grapes and olives on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. The Cinque Terre, recognized in 1997 by the Unesco Mankind’s World Heritage, are today a National Park and Protected Marine Area with the aim of protecting this great cultural heritage and natural environment.
There are many beaches in the Cinque Terre, but most of them are quite hidden and secluded, with access through challenging paths, or with a private boat.
All along the coastal line there are rocky outcrops, harbour quays and pebble beaches… once you have decided your favourite beach, you just have to enjoy a cooling swim in the clear blue water! You can swim in the beautiful blue water of Cinque Terre from May until October.
Let’s see together the most beautiful Cinque Terre beaches you cannot miss, village by village.
Monterosso has a long sandy beach situated in the new part of the village. This is the perfect place if you are looking for a traditional beach with sand and umbrellas. You can either choose to pay for an umbrella and a chair or settle in a free area with your own towel. Along the promenade you’ll find restaurants, pubs and ice-cream shops.
A curiosity: on the beach of Monterosso (Fegina beach) there is a large statue depicting Neptune, the god of the sea, nicknamed Il Gigante. It is a reinforced concrete and iron statue built by Arrigo Minerbi of Ferrara and engineer Levacher in 1910. Unfortunately, it suffered damage during the bombings of the Second World War, as well as a storm in the 1960s, which they partly destroyed it.
To reach the beach, take the train that goes between the Cinque Terre villages and you’ll find the beach right in front of the train station in Monterosso.
In the harbour of Vernazza there is a small sandy beach where you can take a swim and there are also flat rocks that are great for sunning. The natural harbour surrounding the beach allows the water to remain calm and creates a great place to protect the local fishing boats.
From the railway station go along the main village street in direction harbour, 2 minutes walk.
One of the least crowded is the Guvano beach near Corniglia.The beach of Guvano is small and composed of sand mixed with pebbles and gravel. If you hike the trail between Vernazza and Corniglia you will find a sign Spiaggia Libera, which means Public beach. The Beach is frequented by those who love naturism.
Although there is no traditional beach in Manarola, there is a beautiful harbour area that has the best deep-water swimming around.
The access to the beach of Manarola and the sea is allowed by steps that start from the village and reach the cliffs where you can stop freely to sunbathe or dive into beautiful waters. From the train station proceed in direction harbour, 3 minutes walk.
In Riomaggiore there is a public beach of boulders with crystal water east of the village. Being a hillside town overlooking the sea, access to the sea is via comfortable, well maintained and safe ladders. The main beach of Riomaggiore is not composed of sand, but made of pebbles, gravel and cliffs.
From the railway station, follow the tunnel and the sign to “marina”.
Just past there and you will reach the stony beach.
Cinque Terre Beaches Travel Tips: Things to know before you go!
- All villages can be visited within a single day trip, but if you are into hiking two full days in the national park are recommended.
- Do not visit Cinque Terre by car. It is hard to get into the villages, and parking fees are very expensive. The best option is the train.
- Don’t miss trying the local seafood, with cones of fried calamari, shrimp and anchovies available everywhere.
- The hills behind the villages are covered in vineyard terraces and you can do a tasting at some of the wineries.
- Don’t forget comfortable shoes as well as a hat of scarf in summer, as there’s not a lot of shade along the paths. Also pack a water bottle as there are free water taps in each village where you can refill it.
- If you want to see four of the villages at sunset, pop over to Stella Marina Beach (at Monterosso), it’s the perfect spot to chill out with some local wines and watch the sun disappear behind Punta Mesco.
- We recommend to spend the night in Riomaggiore. It is one of the bigger villages and has loads of small hidden streets to get lost.
Best time to visit the Cinque Terre
The villages have a different atmosphere at different times of day, so staying for a few days would give you time to decide on your favourite so you can go back for sunset or dinner. Anyway, as the majority of the visitors make a day trip, the best times to visit is before 09:30 AM and after 4:30 PM.