Two days is a good time to spend in the Ligurian Riviera and visit the Cinque Terre villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. They are the main tourist attraction of the district.
If you want to book a room in one of the five villages, you may like to know that hotels are very expensive here, especially in the summertime; so if you are going to plan a two days trip and your budget is limited, probably you should try to book one of the several Levanto hotels. Levanto is a very popular destination all year round. Don’t forget to book in advance!
Why to book one of the Levanto hotels
Many tourists choose to stay in Levanto due to its strategic position. It is the first village out of the Cinque Terre National Park even if it is far from Monterosso al Mare only 4 minutes by train.
It is so close to the other villages that it is possible to reach all of them just walking through one of the 48 natural paths of the National Park. If you like nature and don’t fear the heights, it is the best way to visit the area.
Also, Levanto is as beautiful as the other towns with its typical colorful fisherman houses and the Renaissance buildings and churches set in the historic city center.
It is perfectly connected by train and by car with all the five villages and all the main tourist point of the Ligurian Riviera.
It is bigger than the other towns nearby, so Levanto hotels are not so expensive as the others. They also offer several types of services for groups, families with kids and single travelers.
Day one: Riomaggiore, Manarola and Corniglia
Taking the train from Levanto go straight to Riomaggiore. In a 21 minutes ride you will be in the easternmost village of the coast. It is crossed by the Rio Maggiore river while the three peaks of the Monte Verugola overlook the valley.
The historic city center dates back to the thirteenth century and it hosts several churches and sanctuaries. The village is an impressive example of christian architecture in Italy while the Riomaggiore Castle is a great example of military architecture. It dates back to the 1260 even if the building works ended in the fifteenth century.
Enjoy a refreshing lunch by the sea and then reach Manarola by foot or by train. It takes just a few minutes. It is the second village on your way back to Levanto.
Manarola is the smallest one together with Corniglia and it is completely perched on the rock overlooking the sea.The most relevant buildings are the gothic bell tower of San Lorenzo and the ruins of the castle. It was built to prevent the village from pirates incursions and today it is a private house. Do not miss the last stretch of via Belvedere. It is like a balcony overlooking the sea and it ends with a panoramic square devoted to Eugenio Montale
Let’s end your first day by walking among the Corniglia vineyards. This is the only village of the Cinque Terre that doesn’t overlook the sea but be careful: if you want to reach it, the Lardarina awaits for you. It is a 382 steps stairway which is better to climb in the evening due to the heat of the Ligurian summer.
Day two: Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza
Monterosso al Mare is the westernmost village of the Cinque Terre and it is just a few minutes far from Levanto. You can start your second day from here.
The historic city center dates back to the tenth century and it was rebuilt many times over the years. There are several valuable religious and civil architectural buildings all around Monterosso. The most important are the so called “statue of the Giant”, Villa Montale and San Giovanni Battista Church.
The statue of the Giant represents Neptune. It is made of reinforced concrete and seems to support the rock.
Villa Montale was the house of the Italian poet Eugenio Montale who lived here for a long time.
San Giovanni Battista church is an important example of genoese architecture due to the facade made with white and black stripes of marble.
After a lunch break in the beautiful Monterosso you cannot miss the opportunity to visit Vernazza and its natural beauties. The village is famous for its colorful houses and the vineyards overlooking the sea.
The so called “Nostra Signora di Reggio” sanctuary is waiting for you at the top of the mountain. You can reach it walking along one of the official National Park paths. Then, go back to the alley and take a train to your hotel in Levanto.