Village 1: Vernazza
Vernazza is the most picturesque (and usually the busiest!) village in the 5 terre. With its quaint harbour, multicoloured buildings and the train popping in and out of the mountain side it almost feels like a little toy town! We stayed at Albergo Barbara which was absolutely perfect for a 2 night stay. Situated in the middle of the main square, we couldn’t have asked for a better location, and our room was right at the top of the building with views over the port from the cosy common area.
The best viewpoint is just a 10 minute walk up from the town, through steep, narrow streets and along the coastal trail towards Monterosso. Get here early to avoid the crowds – we arrived at 7am and had the view completely to ourselves! (This patch of ground is actually closed off by a wobbly fence, probably to deter instagrammers from clambering all over the place and potentially falling off the edge… but if you’re agile, (and careful!) you can shimmy over and get some fence-free shots.
Village 2: Manarola
Further along the coast is Manarola, another tiny village with pastel-coloured houses tumbling down the cliffside. The best way to see Manarola is from above. The clifftop path leads to a leafy park and an al-fresco restaurant with a panoramic view of the harbour.
Village 3: Riomaggiore
Riomaggiore is the largest of the 5 villages and the most photogenic spot is right down in the narrow harbour where the pastel-hued buildings seem to perch haphazardly on top of each other. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a boat, this village is best viewed from the water!
Village 4: Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso is where the sun-seekers flock to in the warmer summer months as it is the only village with a proper sandy beach. It feels like the kind of place where you might spot George Clooney taking a stroll. When we visited, in late September, the beach was mainly deserted save for a cluster of brightly-coloured parasols lining the white sand beach.