It’s no surprise that the colorful villages of Cinque Terre are an Instagram paradise. Everywhere you go, you’ll stumble upon a lot of beautiful photo spots. In this blog post, we’re sharing the best Insta spots in Cinque Terre, including links to the exact locations and directions. Some of these spots are hard to find!
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Viewpoint on the Vernazza - Monterosso trail
Vernazza has two beautiful viewpoints along the hiking trails to Monterosso and to Corniglia. If you follow the right signs, both viewpoints are easily spotted.
The first viewpoint is one of the most famous viewpoints of Cinque Terre and is often featured on puzzles, postcards, mugs and other souvenir gifts. It’s located along the hiking trail from Vernazza to Monterosso. Don’t rely on Google Maps directions to get to this viewpoint, as Google Maps will send you to a dead-end path next to the church. The start of the hiking trail is at the main square in Vernazza (basically the only square in Vernazza). When on the main square, turn your back towards the beach. Walk past the restaurants on your left and walk past the restaurant that’s called Taverna del Capitano. There’s a small staircased alleyway on your left, with a sign indicating the trail to Monterosso. Take the stairs up and head left at the end of the stairs. From here, you don’t have any other options than following the trail.
You’ll have to hike up some time until you reach the viewpoint, approximately 15 minutes. The viewpoint will be on your left right before you reach the other side of the mountain. In 2020, we had to go through a hole in the gate to get to the viewpoint. In 2022, we had to go through a hole in the bushes. The viewpoint isn’t fenced so be careful. If you’re there during golden hour, there probably will be some photographers as well so you’ll know you’re at the right spot. Take some time to admire the beautiful view and of course to create all the content you want at this spot.
There are only a few paid hiking trails in Cinque Terre, and this trail is one of them. To access the paid hiking trails you either need a Cinque Terre Trekking Card or a Train Card. The Trekking Card is €7,50 for 1 day or €14,50 for 2 days. Check out this blog post for more information.
Along the trail, there’s a booth where you have to show your Trekking or Train Card to get access to the trail. The booth is only occupied by staff during working hours, generally from 09:00 until 17:00. If you’re at the booth before 09:00 or after 17:00, you can visit the viewpoint (or do the hike) without paying. We know from experience that this really works as we visited the viewpoint around 8 in the morning (in 2020) and 6 in the evening (in 2022) and both times there was no one checking our cards (which we didn’t have). An extra advantage of visiting in the morning or in the evening is that the light is better.
Viewpoint along the Vernazza - Corniglia trail
The next viewpoint is located along the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia. The trail starts in Vernazza’s main street. There are a couple of stairs on the right of the pharmacy in Vernazza. Take the stairs up and head left. Simply go straight and up all the time, while following the curves of the path. At some point you’ll see a tower and that means you’re very close. Head up to the tower and the viewpoint is basically next to it, it’s hard to miss. This viewpoint is less popular than the previous viewpoint, so there’s a big chance that you’ll have the place for yourself.
The trail from Vernazza to Corniglia is also a paid hiking trail. However, the viewpoint is before the checkpoint booth so you don’t need to pay to see this view.
Port of Vernazza
Vernazza has a small port with a small beach and fisherman’s boats. From the end of the quay you have a beautiful view of the colorful houses of Vernazza and the yellow church. It’s a great photo spot!
Via San Giacomo
The houses at the seaside part of Riomaggiore are built up against the hill, offering the most beautiful views. A great spot to photograph the colorful houses of Riomaggiore is from Via San Giacomo. Before Via San Giacomo turns around the mountain, there’s a square-like place where people gather to soak up the views. Be aware that this spot is filled with people during the day, which makes it harder to take photos. Best time to visit would be in the morning, but otherwise being patient works too.
Rocks in the Port of Riomaggiore
The next photo spot in Riomaggiore is less easy. There are a lot of rocks in the port of Riomaggiore. Besides the obvious purpose of wave-breakers, the rocks also offer a great view of the village. For the best view, you have to climb the rocks quite a bit. Yes, climb, because the rocks are too huge to simply walk on them. The further you get, the better the view becomes. Be very careful when doing this, and don’t even think of climbing the rocks when the tide is too high. The rocks can become dangerously slippery.
Sunset in Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore is one of the best villages in Cinque Terre to see the sunset. The best place to see the sunset is also from the rocks in the port. If you’re a little extra (like us), get a takeaway pizza on your way to the rocks to enjoy while watching the sunset into the sea. We got our delicious pizzas at Pizzeria Kepris, right across the street from the train station. Be aware that it’s a bit of a walk from the train station to the port of Riomaggiore, so the pizzas might be a bit cooled off by then. You can also get a pizza at one of the many restaurants along Via Colombo (Riomaggiore’s main street), which is a detour but also a little closer to the port of Riomaggiore. It can get very crowded as it’s a popular sunset spot. You might allocate some extra time to get to a good photo spot.
Corniglia is built on top of a hill with no direct sea access, which makes it a bit harder to find good photo spots that overlook the village. Therefore, the best photo spot in Corniglia is located just outside of the village, along Via Stazione. From here, you have a beautiful view of Corniglia, with the famous wine fields where the Vernaccia grapes grow.
Monterosso is known for its long-stretched beach. The colorful and perfectly aligned beach umbrellas together with the bright blue color of the sea work great in photos. Be aware that 95% of the beach in Monterosso is privately owned, which means that you can’t walk up to the beach to take photos. All the areas with beach beds and umbrellas are privately owned. Prices range between €30-40 for two beds for one day. We think Monterosso is a great place for a day at the beach during the sunny season.
Ristorante Cigolini is located right on the beach with a terrace overlooking the sea. It’s a great place for drinks or a quick snack, as long as you don’t expect a culinary experience. If you happen to snatch a table overlooking the sea, it’s also a great photo spot. An extra fun fact is that the umbrellas on the terrace match with the umbrellas on the beach.
At the end (or the beginning) of Via Fegina is a small viewing platform next to the street with benches. From here, you have a beautiful view of the entire beach of Monterosso. If you ask us, this is a photo spot you shouldn’t miss!
Rocks in Manarola
For an amazing view of the colorful houses in Manarola, head down the main street to the port of Manarola. Once at the port, take the coastal path to your right. Walking up this path, you might notice two staircases that lead down the rocks. Take the second staircase and climb the rocks until you find a good spot to capture the houses. In the summer, you might see people jumping off the rocks into the sea from here. Be very careful when climbing the rocks and taking photos here as it’s not without risk.
Coastal Path in Manarola
Walk the same coastal path further up. When the path turns to the other side of the mountain, there’s a staircase to your right. Take it up and walk a little further. From here, you also have a beautiful view of the colorful houses. This photo spot is a lot safer than the previous one as you don’t need to climb rocks and you’re protected by a fence.
Nessun Dorma offers amazing views of Manarola while serving delicious food for a very reasonable price. They serve a variety of bruschettas, cold cut platters and salads. The bruschettas are to die for, especially those with their signature pesto. Keep in mind that all food served here is cold, so don’t expect any pizzas or pastas. Nessun Dorma is insanely popular, to no surprise. When we visited in 2020, we had to wait 1,5 hours (!) to get seated for dinner. Nowadays, they luckily work with a digital queue system in their mobile app.
Search “Nessun Dorma” in the Play Store or App Store and download the app. The restaurant opens at 13:00 and you can enter the digital queue at 12:30. The app indicates how many tables there are in front of you. When there are 5 tables in front of you, you have to make your way to the restaurant and wait to be called (in person). This works so much better than waiting in line for hours.
If you want to eat there for lunch, we’d recommend entering the queue directly at 12:30 as spots fill up quickly. If you want to have dinner at Nessun Dorma, check the app in the afternoon as the digital queue often closes before 17:00.
Regina di Manarola
Regina di Manarola is a beautiful restaurant with the most amazing views of Manarola. The decorations and tableware of the restaurant are so pretty. The restaurant consists of multiple terrace levels, all providing a beautiful view. We loved having dinner here during sunset time and watching the changing colors of the sky. We’d recommend making a reservation in advance, which you can easily do through their website. https://lareginadimanarola.it/
Boat Tour in Cinque Terre
A great way to get the best photos of the villages of Cinque Terre is by going on a boat tour. We did a sunset boat tour and sailing past the villages during golden hour is truly amazing. The captain told us about Cinque Terre and its history, while enjoying an aperitif and focaccia. It was a beautiful experience and a great way to witness the beauty of Cinque Terre from the sea. We did a tour with Crazy Boat Cinque Terre and paid €60 per person for 2,5 hours. There were 10 people in total on the boat.
We hope we’ve inspired you to visit Cinque Terre with these Instagrammable places. Have you been to Cinque Terre or is it still on your travel bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!
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