We're to stay ? Venazza - Manarola - Riomaggiore ??

Hi Having looked at the towns, My first thought is to stay in Vernazza.3 nights April 2013. I wonder what visitors in 2012 think of the recovery and whether staying in one of the other towns would be better.
Fwiw, I have had a recommendation to stay in Manarola. Regards

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Gerard, My suggestion would be to stay in whichever town most appeals to you in terms of "ambience" or other factors. Each of the five towns in the Cinque Terre is slightly different in that regard. My personal favourite is Monterosso. It's the largest of the five, has great beaches in both the old and new town areas, good choice of hotels and some wonderful restaurants. Although Monterosso can also be inundated with tourists, it seems to handle the crowds better given it's larger size. Monterosso tends to have more "conventional" Hotels, rather than the B&B's which are the predominant accommodations in the other towns. Regarding the "recovery", I was in Vernazza in September and there were few visible signs of the damage, although there was some evidence of the floods for those that are more familiar with the town. The local residents and authorities have done an incredible job of re-building, and I'm sure they'll be continuing with that over the winter. Happy travels!

Posted by Lesley
Johannesburg, South Africa
8 posts

Gerard Having never been there before, I chose Riomaggiore in 2009. We loved it there. Riomaggiore, Vernazza and Manarola are all quaint small villages, whereas Monterosso is a larger, busier town. Lesley

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7209 posts

We stayed in Vernazza. I think it's the nicest looking of the towns. Monterosso has the only beach (not much of one), some nightlife, parking, more hotels, and is less steep. If you have trouble getting around, Monterosso would be my first choice.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

We chose Manarola and stayed at La Torretta, which was wonderful. After hiking over to Vernazza, we were really convinced we made the right choice. Vernazza was incredibly crowded and we could hardly find a place for lunch- every place was full. We finally stopped in to a small bakery/cafe and bought piadini to take out. The person who served us was cool and abrupt, like she was tired of dealing with tourists. Then we had trouble finding a place to sit. Every bench and wall was already occupied. We ended up sitting on steps leading to a shop, after asking the person inside if that was OK. After a quick lunch we braved the crowds to walk down to the harbor, and then back up to catch the train back to Manarola. The station area and train were both even more packed with people than the streets. We were very glad to get back to peaceful Manarola. We thought the village was just as pretty as Vernazza. The paths through the vineyards and terraced gardens are lovely. There is nice swimming in deep water from the rocks just outside town.

Posted by SamSn
Scottsdale, AZ, USA
1092 posts

I like Monterosso best. It is the largest of the towns with most options for restaurants and shopping, plus it has a beach.

Posted by Lori
Yelm, WA, USA
10 posts

To Gerard in Australia, greetings to you! From the state of Washington, my name is Lori and here's my 2 cents.
Visiting 5Terre in April affords you the luxury of being spontaneous. In the short amount of time since you wrote your post, it's plain to see everyone has their own favorite village. Since staying in Vernazza was your first impression, I suggest you go with this idea for you first night. Once you're there, you can decide for yourself which village you like best.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3342 posts

Gerard. Any of the towns will do. There are trains going back and forth between La Spezia and Genoa every few minutes so you can hop on one and travel between villages as many times you want. The least convenient for this, imo, is Corniglia, because from the village to the station is a long series of steps (although there is a shuttle bus that goes back and forth from the station up to 'downtown'. Monterosso has the better beach, but in April is not that important. Also the station is a little walk away from the old village (but, unlike Corniglia, it's a flat walk through the tunnel, instead of a climb). I think you should stay wherever you find the accommodations to your liking. I can't help you there because I always did the 5 terre as a day trip from my beach house, a short distance away.

Posted by Terry
Cincinnati, Ohio
1 posts

Gerard, I've never posted before, but I felt a need to comment as I completely understand your quandary. I spent 3 nights in Cinque Terre last March. It was really difficult to make a decision about where to stay, although Vernazza wasn't much of an option as it was still recovering from the flood. We stayed in Manarola. It is quiet and quaint. It was so delightful I am returning again this March and staying the same place! We stayed at Aria di Mare. It was terrific if you want a fabulous view of the water with a terrace and it was a wonderful value at 75 euro per night. We took the train and hiked to visit the other cities, but I thought we had made the right decision. A word of caution,though. It is a billy goat hike up to the hotel from anywhere! I appreciated the exercise and felt less badly about all the bread I ate for dinner. Need to put a plug in here for the owner, Maurizo, too. He was SO helpful and accommodating.
From all of the other replies on here, It's evident that everyone liked where ever they stayed. That's pretty unusual. That said, you will probably love whatever you choose.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Gerard, Regarding "spontaneous travel", if you want to stay in a particular town or a specific hotel, I'd suggest pre-booking accommodations. April is the start of the tourist season in that area, and it can be busy. I believe Easter falls on March 31 next year, so that may be a factor too. Cheers!

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
679 posts

We also were not sure which to pick for our stay. We decided on Vernazza and were very happy with our choice. After seeing all five, it was the best! Just our opinion!

Posted by Nancy
Ann Arbor
20 posts

I too am going to Cinque Terre in April 2013. Have been trying to decide in which town to stay in. Everybody has give lots of good advice! Guess I just have to pick a town. And I have to figure which train & station from Genoa---Trenitalia? Thank you!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3342 posts

Trenitalia is the only train choice. Italo doesn't operate on that route and neither does any other private rail operator. From Genoa pretty much any station will do. Porta Principe and Brignole are the most important stations.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

@Nancy, Are you going to be staying in Genova, or coming from somewhere else? That will have a bearing on which station you'll be using there. As the others have mentioned, Trenitalia (Ferrovie dello Stato) is the "only game in town" on that route. You may find some answers in the Rick Steves Guidebooks, (Italy 2013 available now), but you you could also have a look at THIS Website. You could have a look at one of Rick's somewhat "dated" VIDEOS describing two of the towns. THIS Video provides a really interesting look at Vernazza. These might help you to choose which of the five towns to stay in. Cheers!