We found it easy to get to Cinque Terre for a day trip from Portofino. After a quick 10 minute bus ride to Santa Margherita Liguria, it was only an hour by train to get to Monterosso. Monterosso is the largest of the five coastal villages collectively known as Cinque Terre. Upon arrival, we enjoyed a scenic walk along the only sand beach in Cinque Terre with its orange and green umbrellas before starting the hike to Vernazza.
We purchased a family Cinque Terre Card just at the entrance to the hike between Monterosso and Vernazza, which was classified as ‘medium’ level in difficulty. Good shoes are recommended given the terrain can be quite steep and narrow at certain points. Those taking this path will be rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view of Vernazza, which is probably the most ‘iconic’ of the Cinque Terre and is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
The streets were packed with visitors – all enjoying the beautiful town and the fantastic food. We grabbed some supplies from the local deli before it closed for the daily riposo and enjoyed a picnic of freshly sliced salami, ham, mozarella, vine ripened tomatoes and cheese before a refreshing swim with the locals in the harbour.
As we were only visiting for the day, we decided to take a train to Corniglia, which is the only town without access to the sea before moving onto Manarola which was built high on rocks 70 metres above sea level. We found Manarola to be incredibly charming but with no real beach, we especially enjoyed jumping off the many rocks, near the boat ramp.
After an afternoon rock jumping with the kids, we decided to take a ferry to Riomaggiore and then ferry hopped back to Monterosso. We found the ferry a beautiful and relaxing way to enjoy Cinque Terre with the kids – tickets can be purchased in each town (except for Corniglia) with costs dependent on how far you want to go. The ferry schedule, was pretty flexible.