If you are looking for a relaxing summer destination to visit during a trip to Italy, then you may consider Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Coast in Italy.
Known for its famous clusters of brightly coloured houses by the sea, the beaches in Cinque Terre are worth a visit.
Cinque Terre beaches are full of coves, smooth rocks, and old stone harbours – which may not seem apt at first glance but are very well-suited for sunbathing and swimming. Other activities you can expect in the area include a national park and various hiking trails set amongst the Mediterranean sea.
If you are looking for beaches in Cinque Terre that may be off the beaten path but still offer an unforgettable seaside holiday, look no further! There are amazing Cinque Terre beaches in each of the five villages: Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Monterosso al Mare. Here are our favourite beaches in Cinque Terre.
See also Best Places to Visit in Northern Italy.
The best beaches in Cinque Terre
Vernazza is well-known for being a famous fishing village and the only natural port of Cinque Terre. This historic town is also known for its olive oil, as the village is surrounded by steep olive groves that produce some of the tastiest olive oil in Italy.
In Vernazza harbour, you will find two Cinque Terre beaches. The first Vernazza beach is a sandy, small beach that offers flat rocks perfect for sunbathing. You can expect to find calm water and local fishing boats here. It’s located along the main street, about 2 minutes from the railway station.
The second Vernazza beach is on the east side of the village and is very stony. However, this is a more private and secluded beach that visitors can find by walking through the cave on the left side of the village main street.
Corniglia is a hamlet located within Vernazza in Cinque Terre, Italy. This ancient Roman village is one of the only places in the Cinque Terre without direct sea access.
If you are looking for a secluded Corniglia beach, look no further than Guvano. This uncrowded beach is located on the hiking trail between Vernazza and Corniglia, so it isn’t strictly in Corniglia.
Look for the sign that says ‘Spiaggia Libera’ or ‘Public Beach’. Guvano is also known as one of the unofficial nudist beaches in Cinque Terre, so be warned when visiting that you may see some skin – however, it is relatively quiet and peaceful.
Monterosso is one of the largest villages that form the Cinque Terre in Italy. Its prosperous hills produce olive oil, lemons and vines like no other.
If you’re looking for Cinque Terre beaches here, you’re in luck because Monterosso has two main beaches to visit.
If you’re looking for a traditional Monterosso beach, go to the long sandy beach in the ‘new’ part of the village called Fegina. You’ll find sand, umbrellas, beach chairs and a promenade full of restaurants, bars and ice cream stores. This Cinque Terre beach is located right in of the train station in Monterosso.
If you prefer to visit the old part of the village, also known as Aurora, you will enjoy the Monterosso beach on the Vernazza trail. It’s a very sandy beach near the boat rental hub and offers both private and public areas. It is a 10-minute walk from the train station, on the left side.
If you’d like to do some extra exploring in Monterosso, you can find old castle ruins, narrow medieval streets and multi-coloured terraced houses in the village.
Join this boat cruise to Riomaggiore and Monterosso
Riomaggiore is the southernmost region of the Cinque Terre in Italy. It is a small village located in the La Spezia province in the Liguria region. This historic village is said to have originated as early as the 8th Century.
Riomaggiore beach is a public beach just east of the village itself. It offers crystal clear waters, a harbour, a ferry dock and a stony setting.
You’ll also find many boulders at Riomaggiore beach, but this does not hamper the experience and is very typical of Cinque Terre beaches.
Riomaggiore is also well known for its Via dell’Amore or ‘Lover’s Lane’, a romantic path that offers incredible views of the Mediterranean coastal landscape. This walk takes around 20 minutes to complete and will lead you to Manarola.
Manarola is a small town within Riomaggiore in the north of Italy. It is the second-smallest of the Cinque Terre villages and sits 70 meters above sea level on a high rock.
While there are no official Manarola beach, you will find a beautiful harbour here that is perfect for deep-water swimming. Manarola is one of the smallest regions in Cinque Terre, so you can expect a lot of privacy when visiting, especially if visiting during the off-peak tourist season.
For those with an adventurous spirit, take the ladder and be rewarded! There is also an outdoor shower available to freshen up. To get here, you’ll need to walk about 3 minutes away from the train station.
Alternate Cinque Terre Beaches
If you are in the area and looking for more Cinque Terre beaches, you may consider Levanto beach. Levanto is not one of the main Cinque Terre beaches but is only a 3-minute train ride from Monterosso (book your train tickets here).
Levanto beach is long and beautiful, blessed with a sandy shore perfect for all kinds of summer activities. It includes both private and public sections and offers many amenities such as a bar, outdoor pool, beach chairs, umbrellas and outdoor showers.
Additionally, there are many types of water sports equipment that you can rent, such as canoes, peddle boats, surfboards and motorboats.
Ready to hit the beach in Italy?
No matter which of the Cinque Terre beaches you choose to visit, you’re in for a beautiful vacation! While the beaches in Cinque Terre may err on the rocky side, this doesn’t mean that they can’t fulfil your dream of having a relaxing Mediterranean getaway!
Remember to consider the Cinque Terre region of Liguria, Italy, when planning your next fantastic holiday.
Looking for more Italian beaches to explore? Check out these posts:
Where to Stay in Sardinia, Italy
Best Beaches in Sardinia, Italy
Best Places to Visit in the Amalfi Coast in Italy