Before we begin, Cinque Terre literally translates to 5 Lands. The name comes from there being 5 major villages along the coast. So you know how you’ve seen pictures of the beautiful colourful houses lit up on the hills? Trust us when we say it’s SO MUCH BETTER in real life. Beyond bucket list worthy! We were truly blown away by the beauty of each village. They were all slightly unique in their own way, but Riomaggiore stole our hearts (probably because we made it our home base & spent the most time there, but it was a dream come true honestly)! Rio was small, but mighty!
Where is Riomaggiore?
Riomaggiore is a village in the province of La Spezia, in the Liguria region of Italy! It is one of the 5 towns in Cinque Terre. I remember when I was doing research on Cinque Terre, I was so confused the order of the towns! From North to South they are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore. So Riomaggiore is the most southern town of Cinque Terre!
How do I get to Riomaggiore?
Driving? Would NOT recommend! Honestly it looked like a disaster for anyone trying to drive in 5T- and we’re not just saying that. We did have a rental car for the last few days we were there, but left it in La Spezia in a parking garage. That is what most people do if they have a car, as it is only an 8 minute train ride to Riomaggiore, and trains run all the time.
Getting between the towns is SO FAST & EASY guys! Like, easier than any transit you’ve ever taken. There is a train station in each of the 5 towns, and it is a max 20 minute ride from one end to the other. It depends how long you visit for, but you can buy a Cinque Terre card that gives you unlimited access to trains, hikes, toilets, and Wi-Fi. It’s 16 Euros each for a day pass, OR the train is 4 Euros each individual time you take it. We did a mixture of both. This would depend on your itinerary and how long you’re staying.
Where to stay in Riomaggiore, and for how long?
We chose Riomaggiore as our home base for 4 nights!
1. It was the “cheapest” of the 5 towns. I say cheapest, but during peak season it was still about $150 a night. If you’re on a budget, staying in La Spezia and training in each day would be the cheapest- which would have been fine too (most tourists do this).
2. It was actually the least busy during peak season! We didn’t feel it was overwhelming or overcrowded like the other towns were.
3. Might be biased, but after spending 4 nights there, we fell in love with it the most! The views and sunset spots, and the food, ahh! We will be returning one day for sure. Manarola or Vernazza were a close second if you’re thinking about staying in the other towns!
Why 4 nights?
We would say if you want to fully see each of the 5 towns, 3-4 nights is PERFECT! So many tours do just a day trip in Cinque (which yes, the towns are all so close together, and all have a similar feel to them so this definitely could be an option), but we really don’t think a day or two is enough time to fully experience the beauty of it all! You can easily do 2 of the towns in a day, so keep that in mind!
We chose the route we always choose, and stayed in an AirBnB! Worth it! The local who owned the place gave us tips and showed us around for a bit, giving us advice on where to go and what to do! We LOVE AirBnB. If you want to know the one we stayed at, send us a message! If you still have not signed up for AirBnB, what are you waiting for?! Europe has the BEST ones to stay at! You can get $60 off your first stay by clicking here!
Where to eat in Riomaggiore? Mmm!!
OMG our favourite thing in the world to do…EAT ITALIAN FOOD! Being on a coastline, the food is very seafood based, but Steph doesn’t eat fish (crazy, I know), and she got by jusssst fine! Here were our favourite spots to eat in Riomaggiore! Riomaggiore had some of the best restaurants in Cinque Terre! If you want to see recommendations for the other towns, click here!
- Old School – BEST. GELATO. EVER. & you can’t beat the VIEWS!
- Kepris Pizzeria – Quick grab & go pizza that is to die for!
- MiVa – Seafood Cones, they look super cool and taste good; Italy’s version of “fast food”
- Fuori Rotta – delicious dinner higher up, with a view over the entire town!
- Vertical Bar – For epic cocktails & apps! Had such a cool vibe!
- Dau Cila – If you’re looking for a fancier dinner spot!
- LASTLY, it doesn’t matter where you get it from, try fresh Focaccia, Pesto Pasta, Seafood, Limoncello, Local Wine, Granita, & Gelato – can’t go wrong with any of these classics!
What to do in Riomaggiore?
- HIKE – there are hiking trails between each of the villages. However, some are closed for maintenance so be sure to check with the information booths to see which hikes are open during your stay. There are easier ones, and ones that are a bit more strenuous.
- Check out the castle & churches on the hill! Castello di Riomaggiore, Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero, Church of San Giovanni Battista of Riomaggiore (so pretty!)
- Riomaggiore Beach – note* This is not a sand beach, it is filled with little rocks and stones. You’ll notice this is common in Italy in some areas. Still a beautiful area! If you’re looking for sand beaches in Cinque Terre, go to Monterosso.
- Honestly just spend your day or night walking to streets, exploring & eating! It has such a relaxing vibe to it we know you’ll love it!
Anything else you should know?
THERE ARE ENDLESS STAIRS. Not exaggerating. Wherever you stay, it will most likely be up 2-3 flights of stairs so make sure you are able to handle going up and down them often, and make sure you can lift your suitcases up and down them LOL! There was actually flyers everywhere to call and pay someone to carry your bags up because thats how strenuous it can be at times. Just be aware for anyone with disabilities of any kind, it could be a challenge.
SOAK IN ALL THE VIEWS! Some of the best views in Cinque Terre are in Rio! So enjoy every moment!
Feel free to send us a message with any questions! You can check out our photos and “Cinque” highlight cover for more stories on IG @thethompsontrotters
S & S