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Monterosso vs Vernazza

Vernazza is Rick's favorite but we're having trouble finding a room at a reasonable price. Monterosso seems to have more accommodations---any thoughts on the two would be appreciated. We only have two nights and one full day to hike and plan to do all 5 towns. Probably won't swim or even sunbathe--we'll be there in October.

Posted by
7737 posts

Monterosso has a flatter layout than Vernazza. We stayed in Vernazza and when we hiked into Monterosso and wandered around I remember thinking "Why didn't we stay here instead? This is great." That was in September and the Monterosso beaches were a big attraction to us.

Posted by
13 posts

Well Jeanne, I have never been but am going to CT the 2nd week of September so I thought I would share my research with you.

My friend just got back from a trip and staying in Vernazza. She met someone in Rome who hooked her up with a friend in Vernazza renting a room. I hear it is the prettiest/most photo worthy. However, she said there is nothing to do there at night. I am not sure what your plans are (aside from hiking). Vernazza is also supposed to be incredibly crowded.

Apparently all of the night life is in Monterosso. Keeping in mind that we are in our mid-20s, we decided to stay in Monterosso instead of Vernazza for our trip this September. We booked a room with Acqua Marina (just google it) for 130 euros. It has really good reviews. I think they may even have cheaper rooms than that if you ask for a "standard" room.

I can also tell you that all of the RS recommendations I tried were booked. But, perhaps you will fare better in October when it is colder.

Good luck!

Posted by
636 posts

We were in Vernazza in early July, and, while it was crowded, it was absolutely delightful. But, we arrived on a Sunday afternoon and stayed until Tuesday. I was told that weekends are more crowded.

As for nightlife in Vernazza, we didn't care. For us and our 3 teenaged kids, having a nice dinner, walking along the breakwater and town's streets and eating gelato were plenty. However, I have heard that the Blue Marlin is the place to go for a good time.

Posted by
636 posts

For a place to stay, Vernazza wins hands down. However, if you can't find affordable accommodations and your primary objective is hiking all 5 towns, it makes more sense to stay in Monterosso. Another town worth considering is Riomaggiore, since it's on the other end.

If you want to do the most difficult part of the hike first, start in Monterosso. Otherwise, start in Riomaggiore.

Posted by
20 posts

We stayed in Vernazza for 5 nights in June and did not make reservations till the day before we arrived. After hiking all day and not finishing dinner till 10:00, we really didn't need night life. We found Vernazza more peaceful than Monterosso. Sitting on the break wall with a glass of wine, could any place be better?

Posted by
186 posts

Monterosso is great also. I would stay in any of the towns as they all have their charm. My least favorite would be Corneglia as it is the smallest, but some people would disagree with that as well. The towns are so close together and linked by train that staying in a different town than your original plan is not a big deal.

Posted by
65 posts

If you enjoy getting out and about at almost any hour, and you like variety in terms of food and wine, and you like the idea of going to multiple places in the evening where you might meet locals who don't have a stake in tourism, then Monterosso is far and away better in every respect.
If you are a sheep, then have fun in Vernazza with the
flock.

As for hiking it doesn't matter. Depending on your age and fitness you can plan as you like. For example my parents have have enjoyed hiking the towns using the train as feet, where as I have hiked all towns both ways in a day using feet as feet.

Posted by
1879 posts

Vernazza is over rated, and over run because of Rick Steves. We stayed in Monterosso and had a wonderful time. You can easily reach each of the 5 towns hiking or by train. It's not that important to stay in Vernazza. Find a place and be happy. Like the other poster said...be a sheep, or forge your own path!

If you can find a place in the old town, that's a bit more charming than the area by the train station in Monterosso. Expect the church bells to awaken you each morning, great restaurants and lemoncello!

you might actually discover something new, and have far fewer crowds than those following the blue book.

We were there in late September, early October too. it's a bit cooler, but wonderful temps for hiking. We even went ski kayaking, that was a blast, but the guy that did that isn't there any longer as far as I know. he was an American transplant, I think he's moved on.

Posted by
1358 posts

If you read and follow the advice given here by others you cant go wrong.

Vernazza is primitive, small and provincial; while Monterossa is a larger busy tourist center. Both will be crowded no matter which time you go. Beaches and swimming are not appealing.

But visiting all 5 villages is quick and easy by rail...a 5 minute trip between each.

Unfortunately, seeing them from the sea is more impressive. Therefore some will suggest a boat cruise while you are there if you have time.

Most visitors go to the village of their choice and start looking at rooms. You will want to see 4 or 5 before deciding because there is such variety in them. You will find some of them to be a greater value than others.

I inspected 5 apartments before choosing one.

Posted by
73 posts

I don't believe Vernazza is more appealing than any of the other towns. All 5 each have their own charm--for me, the best part of Vernazza was the view as we hiked towards it from Corniglia--breathtaking. Once we got down to the main street, it was overrun with tourists. Beautiful, yes! They all are! But you can't go wrong in picking any of the 5 towns--and as another poster stated, all towns are a quick train ride away.

Posted by
192 posts

You can't go wrong in any of the towns. Easy access to all the other towns no matter which one you stay in. We stayed in Monterosso for 10 days and had a great time. Were there in September so the beach was a big plus for us. Make sure to take a boat ride between the towns at least once. The hiking is excellant, especially from Monterosso to Vernazza.

Posted by
12154 posts

I can see why Rick likes Vernazza. It's picturesque and quaint.

Monterosso has the only beach and some nightlife, Vernazza has some restaurants open at night.

We all really liked CT, but sometimes I'm tempted to skip it. I don't want to be a Rick dittohead traveler.