One of the most alluring destinations along the Italian Riviera is the five villages of Cinque Terre. These fishing villages, clinging to the cliffs of the Ligurian coastline, seduce visitors with their pastel-hued buildings and delicious pesto and focaccia bread. Adventurous travelers plan a trip here to hike the trails between the villages, and relax on the beaches too. Each of the five villages has something to offer the sun worshipper, but some of the best beach options are actually between the villages. Pack along your hiking shoes and with a little extra energy, you could be sunbathing on one of the most beautiful secluded coves in all of Italy.
The first village of Cinque Terre is Monterosso. Heading south, the rest of the villages are Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. These five villages are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and locally there is a serious attitude towards preserving the villages and the beaches. Monterosso actually has the best Cinque Terre beaches, offering a wide beachfront right in the village. It will require very little effort to get to the beach from your hotel, and there are plenty of cafés and restaurants to keep you fed and watered during a relaxing trip. If you like your Italian beaches with convenience, choose the first village of Monterosso.
Many visitors think that the village of Vernazza is the most visually stunning of the five villages. This town doesn’t have a big beach like Monterosso, but it does have a natural pier that is ideal for sunbathing and soaking up the local atmosphere. Between Monterosso and Vernazza, there are many coves where nude sunbathers spend the day working on their golden glow. Adventurous travelers will indulge in a little cliff jumping and there’s even waterfalls where you can go for a swim. All in all, these secluded coves are Italian beach heaven.
The next village after Vernazza is Corniglia. This is the only village of the five that isn’t directly on the coast; Corniglia is actually perched on a hilltop. This is incredible for travelers who want to see the views, but not ideal for beach bums. However, there is one option nearby. The Guvano beach just outside of Corniglia is the area’s most famous nude beach. To reach the beach you can either climb over 350 stairs from the town to the beach or take the shuttle bus.
The picturesque town of Manarola will be the least satisfying for sun worshippers. While there are no proper Cinque Terre beaches here, there are stairways that lead to rocks that are ideal for sunbathing. Travelers often spend their last day in Cinque Terre indulging in every last minute of sunshine they can before departing on these rocks in Manarola. While the views are great, there are many better beaches along Cinque Terre.
The last of the five villages is Riomaggiore. Just two minutes outside of the town visitors will find a secluded, uncrowded beach. While hiking remains the most popular activity in this section of the Italian Riviera, lounging on the beach comes a close second. A train system with frequent service connects the five villages, making it easy to hike to a beach and return by train. For swimming, cliff jumping, and some romantic sunbathing in the sand, Cinque Terre can’t be beat.