Cinque Terre Beaches Guide – the 10 Best Beaches in Cinque Terre


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You’ll find ten total beaches in Cinque Terre. That’s a lot of options for a place that’s so charmingly small. With this guide, we’ve made it easy to get to know each one, so that you can find the very best beach in Cinque Terre.

…Or at least the best Cinque Terre beach for you.

There’s something for everyone here, after all, and it’s all so subjective.

10 Best Beaches in Cinque Terre

10 Best Beaches in Cinque Terre | Cinque Terre Beaches Guide

Cinque Terre Beaches – Things to Know

Cinque Terre is comprised of five small villages, and each has a favorite spot loved by locals for swimming, boating, or relaxing in the sun, but not every one of these waterfront hotspots meet the typical sandy beach requirements that most tourists seem to expect or crave on their summer holidays. Some Cinque Terre beaches are definitely better than the rest, so here’s how they stack up:

Best Beaches in Monterosso Cinque Terre

The Monterosso shoreline is spliced into two parts: Monterosso Old Town and Monterosso New Town, which is also known as Fegina.  An underground tunnel stitches the two halves of the village back together and serves as the only means to cross over an otherwise inaccessible rocky terrain that divides the two landscapes. Monterosso is also the only village in Cinque Terre that has an extensive shoreline of sandy beaches and is considered by many to be the overall best beach location in Cinque Terre.

  • Monterosso Beach in New Town | Fegina Beach

Fegina Monterosso Beach in Cinque Terre | Best Cinque Terre Beaches
Fegina Monterosso Beach | Photos by yrabota/iStock (top) and f11photo/iStock (bottom)
Il Gigante Giant on Monterosso Beach in Cinque Terre Italy | Best Beaches in Cinque Terre
Il Gigante – the Monterosso Giant | Photo by giomodica

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach

The Monterosso beach in New Town is the largest and most luxurious beach in all of Cinque Terre. You’ll hear it called Fegina Beach or sometimes just Monterosso Beach, and if you’re looking for a traditional sandy beach with a long shoreline, umbrellas, lounge chairs, gemstone blue water, and a promenade of shops, then this beach will probably become your favorite. The chairs and umbrellas require an extra fee to use, but there are also free areas where you can lay down a towel on the soft sand to enjoy the beach without all the extra amenities.

At the north end of the beach, you’ll find the Monterosso Giant–Il Gigante. This 14-meter-tall statue of Neptune has been ravaged by war and has lost the arms he once had during his initial construction in 1910, but that hasn’t stopped this wounded giant from towering over the beach and holding the waves at bay. Once a dominant symbol of Monterosso, Il Gigante still remains an impressive landmark on the beach.

Pros:

  • the best sand of all the beaches in Cinque Terre (and the only extensive sandy shoreline)
  • the largest and most luxurious Cinque Terre beach location
  • umbrellas and lounge chairs are available for extra comfort (fee required)
  • Il Gigante – the Monterosso Giant – is an impressive site to behold
  • Large boulders on the beach are a popular spot for climbing and diving (and make a great backdrop for photos)
  • has lifeguards present

Cons:

  • Fegina Beach gets incredibly crowded during the summer months and is often overrun by tourists
  • You have to pay to access the private areas with umbrellas and lounge chairs
  • If you’re looking for a quiet and relaxing beach location, this is not it

Fegina Beach is by far the most beautiful beach in Monterosso and has so much to offer, but you may have to compete with crowds if you visit during prime tourist season.

  • Old Town Monterosso Beach | Monterosso Vecchio Beach

Old Town Monterosso Beach in Cinque Terre | Best Cinque Terre Beaches
Cinque Terre Beach in Monterosso Old Town | Photos by f11photo/iStock (top) and chris-mueller/iStock (bottom)

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach

You’ll find the Old Town Monterosso Beach on the other side of the tunnel just past Aurora Tower and near the boat rentals. Like New Town’s beach, it’s a sandy area but is much smaller and not quite as crowded.

Pros:

  • Not as crowded as New Town Monterosso Beach
  • A pretty, sandy beach
  • Umbrellas and lounge chairs are also available to rent here (just like in New Town)
  • has lifeguards present

Cons:

  • Sand is not as soft as New Town Monterosso Beach (it’s sandy but can be a bit pebbly in areas)
  • The beach is smaller and not as scenic (but still pretty)
  • Just like in New Town Monterosso, you have to pay extra to access the private beach areas with umbrellas and lounge chairs

Monterosso Vecchio Beach is best for people who are looking for a comfortable, sandy beach area but want to escape the large crowds that dominate the more popular Fegina Beach in Monterosso.

Best Beaches in Vernazza Cinque Terre

Vernazza has two beaches–a small sandy beach in the center of the harbour and a pebbly hidden beach that can be accessed by walking through a secret tunnel leading underneath and just outside of the village.

  • Vernazza Beach – Harbour Beach

Vernazza Beach in Cinque Terre Italy | Best Cinque Terre Beaches
Vernazza Beach | Iryna1/iStock

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach

The Vernazza Beach is small but centrally located at the most bustling part of the village–the Vernazza harbour. It’s also a sandy beach, and that’s a rare commodity in Cinque Terre, where most of the shoreline is pebbly or full of rocks. Restaurants and small shops line the plaza, so you don’t have to go far to grab a bite to eat or to reach any other necessities you may need while enjoying the waterfront. You can even eat inside of a castle.

Pros:

  • Convenient Location
  • Sandy Beach
  • The harbour walls provide a safe, protected place for swimming

Cons:

  • The beach is small (super small)

Overall, we love this beach, and it’s one of our top 3 favorite beaches in Cinque Terre!

Read Next: Cinque Terre Restaurants – Eat in a Castle by the Sea & Other Favorites

  • Hidden Vernazza Beach in Cinque Terre

Hidden Vernazza Beach in Cinque Terre | Best Cinque Terre Beaches
The hidden beach lies just to the left of this iconic Vernazza viewpoint and requires passing underneath it through a natural tunnel carved into the cliffside to emerge at the beach on the other side | Photo © Adventure Dragon

Best Cinque Terre Beaches in Vernazza | Hidden Beach in Vernazza Cinque Terre

Hidden Vernazza Beach in Cinque Terre | Best Beaches in Cinque Terre
Hidden Vernazza Beach | Samuel Francis Cain /iStock

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach

We’re a sucker for hidden beaches. There’s something that just seems so magical about them, and we cannot stay away. The Vernazza hidden beach lies right outside of the village to the left of the main outcrop of rock that’s the focal highlight of almost every photo you see of Vernazza. To reach the beach, you have to journey through a tunnel that’s been naturally carved into the cliffside, allowing passage directly underneath all of the village’s cute, colorful houses.

Pros:

  • Large Beach
  • Just a short walk away from the main part of Vernazza village
  • Scenic, Exciting Location (and passing through a tunnel to reach it just makes us so giddy)

Cons:

  • Not as soft or sandy as the beach in Vernazza harbour
  • Not centrally located in the middle of Vernazza village

If you like a little bit of excitement, adventure, and don’t mind the short walk or lack of fluffy soft sand, you’ll probably love this Cinque Terre beach! Just like the other beach in Vernazza harbour, this hidden beach ranks as one of our overall top 3 favorite beaches in all of Cinque Terre!

Best Beach in Manarola Cinque Terre

Manarola is one of the most scenic villages in Cinque Terre and has gorgeous seaside views, but unfortunately its waterfront lacks sand. This minor setback hasn’t stopped sun seekers from going to the beach, however–or the Manarola Non-Beach, as we like to call it. While this might not be the best spot for everyone, this charming little locale still has much to offer in the way of beachside activities.

  • Manarola Harbour – Sunbathing and Cliff Diving

Manarola Harbour Beach Sunbathing | Cinque Terre Beach Activities
Manarola Village Harbour Sunbathers | panemoj/iStock
Manarola Harbour Beach in Cinque Terre | Cinque Terre Cliff Diving & Cinque Terre Cliff Jumping
Freeartist/iStock
Manarola Harbour Cinque Terre Cliff Diving & Cinque Terre Cliff Jumping
Cliff Jumping in Manarola Cinque Terre | JanHetman/iStock

Why We Love This Non-Beach in Cinque Terre

Manarola has no official beach, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing beach activities. Despite its lack of sand, the Manarola harbour is a popular spot to lay down a towel to soak up the sun. During the summer months, the concrete ramps and walkways are full of sunbathers and beach-goers who don’t seem to mind or take-notice that they’re not actually at a beach at all.

The water in front of Manarola harbour is also the deepest of all the villages in Cinque Terre, so it’s a popular spot for swimming as well as cliff jumping. If you’re the adventurous type who loves a good adrenaline rush, you might even prefer Manarola to the real beaches of the other villages in Cinque Terre.

Pros:

  • best spot in Cinque Terre for swimming, diving, and adrenaline junkies

Cons:

  • The harbour isn’t a real beach, so if it’s sand you’re craving, you may want to visit a different village and beach in Cinque Terre instead

Best Beaches in Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

At first glance, you might assume that Riomaggiore has no beach. The harbour is dominated by rocky cliffs, and there seems to be no sand in sight. Just around the corner from the harbour, however, a beach lies hidden behind the cliffside, obscured from view by jutting rocks. To reach it without a boat, take the stairs on the left side of the harbour which will lead you down to the ferry dock. Keep walking past it, and you’ll soon arrive at Riomaggiore Beach.

  • Hidden Beach in Riomaggiore | Riomaggiore Beach

Hidden Riomaggiore Beach in Cinque Terre | Best Cinque Terre Beaches
Hidden Beach in Riomaggiore Cinque Terre | Michal Stipek/iStock
Hidden Beach in Riomaggiore Cinque Terre Beaches
Stone Beach of Riomaggiore Cinque Terre | ahavelaar/iStock

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach

The water at Riomaggiore Beach is crystal clear. The beach itself is made-up of pebbles, boulders, and large but incredibly smooth rocks rather than sand. For some, this unique feature is part of the appeal and attraction, but if sand is one of your requirements, you’re better off visiting one of the other Cinque Terre beaches on this list.

Pros:

  • crystal clear water
  • quieter and more secluded than the other beaches in Cinque Terre
  • scenic backdrop / old ruins

Cons:

  • no sandy beach
  • requires a short walk outside of the village

The pretty ruins and scenic old train tunnel that dominate the landscape at this spot are honestly my favorite reasons for visiting Riomaggiore Beach.

  • Riomaggiore Harbour – Cinque Terre Beach Alternative

Riomaggiore Harbour | Cinque Terre Best Beaches
Riomaggiore Harbour | travnikovstudio/iStock
Riomaggiore Harbour | Best Beaches in Cinque Terre
Riomaggiore Village Harbour | Iryna1/iStock

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach Alternative

Riomaggiore Harbour is one of the most scenic spots in all of the five villages. The colorful houses rising up from its dramatic cliffside have been the backdrop for countless Instagram selfies and iconic photos taken in Cinque Terre over the years. If sand isn’t a requirement for you, it’s a perfect alternative to heading to a traditional beach. The rocky outcroppings and concrete walls surrounding the harbour are popular spots for sunbathing or simply sitting in the sun while watching the boats drift in and out. Grab a good spot early because they can fill up quickly during the summer months!

Pros:

  • postcard-perfect views
  • close to amenities

Cons:

  • Not a real beach
  • Swimming is not allowed in the harbour due to the boat traffic

Best Beaches in Corniglia Cinque Terre

Corniglia sits at the top of a hill 100 meters above the sea. It requires 382 uphill steps just to reach it from the train station, and its distance from the water means that it’s the only village in Cinque Terre that has no direct access to either a harbour or a beach. This leads most tourists to believing that the village has no ocean access at all, but that’s actually an incorrect assumption. Corniglia actually has three beach options. It’s just that they’re much more difficult to reach than the other beaches in Cinque Terre.

Corniglia Cinque Terre Best Beaches
Aerial View of Corniglia in Cinque Terre Italy | Simon Dannhauer/iStock

If you’re feeling extra daring, don’t mind a bit of a hike, or enjoy a good challenge, then you can try out one of the following beach options that are mostly only known to locals in Corniglia:

  • Corniglia Marina

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach Alternative

Since Corniglia village is located away from the sea, many people don’t even realize that it has its own marina just like all the other villages in Cinque Terre. This makes it a perfect spot to escape the crowds. From the main street of the village, you should see signs indicating the route to take to reach the marina. There will be a set of stairs leading down the hillside towards the water. Corniglia marina is no more than a secluded cove with a long, concrete deck overlooking crystal-clear water, and you’ll likely be the only person swimming there. Perhaps you’ll run into a local or two, but this is definitely not a popular spot for tourists.

Pros:

  • quiet, secluded, and peaceful
  • the water is beautiful
  • has a stone / concrete deck that can be used for diving or sunbathing

Cons:

  • There’s no sandy beach
  • It’s a rather long walk from town
  • no amenities

We only recommend the Corniglia marina to adventurous travelers who love going off-the-beaten-path to find secluded or rather unknown spots. If that’s you, then you’ll probably love this little hidden gem. For all other travelers–especially those in search of a traditional sandy beach–there are so many other beaches in Cinque Terre that you’d probably enjoy more than this one.

  • Spiaggione di Corniglia – the Corniglia Train Station Beach

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach

There’s nothing really special about this Cinque Terre beach, but it makes this list for the sake of convenience. You’ll find the Spiaggione di Corniglia located right next to the Corniglia train station. There’s a ladder that will take you from the railway down to the rocky shore. Although it is pretty here, I don’t think it is anywhere near as pretty as the quiet cove of Corniglia Marina.

Pros:

  • Relatively easy to reach from Corniglia Station (but still requires a small ladder climb)

Cons:

  • No sand
  • No amenities
  • Not as pretty as other beaches on this list

This is definitely not the #1 best beach in Cinque Terre, but since Corniglia has so few beach options, it IS one of the easiest ways to enjoy the water from Corniglia if all you’re looking for is somewhere close to the train station.

  • Guvano Beach – A Hidden Nude Beach near Corniglia

Why We Love This Cinque Terre Beach

If you’re feeling especially brave, you can venture off the beaten path from Corniglia to reach a hidden, clothing-optional beach nearby. Once upon a time, the best way to reach this secret spot was by walking a mile through a dark, abandoned train tunnel that passed through a mountain and emerged at the beach on the other side. Nowadays, however, the gate marking the entrance to this tunnel is chained and locked (according to rumors), so you might have to skip this route.

Luckily there’s another option to reach Guvano Beach, but it’s no less difficult. The only other way to reach this clothing-optional beach is to follow signs to a path that culminates in a tricky rope-climb directly down the mountain. Landslides in the area have also rendered this route a bit dangerous throughout the last couple of years as well, so traversing this trail is not an easy feat.

For the safest way to reach Guvano Beach, your best bet is to charter a boat or rent a kayak and then approach this hidden Cinque Terre beach from the water rather than land.

Pros:

  • Getting there is an adventure

Cons:

  • Getting there is an adventure

Overall Best Beach in Cinque Terre

What is the best beach in Cinque Terre
Fegina Beach in Monterosso New Town | yrabota/iStock

So… What is the #1 best beach in Cinque Terre?

Tricky question. It’s hard to choose just one beach as the overall best beach in Cinque Terre because each one is unique and caters to a specific type of person. That means that your favorite will be personally dependent on whether you’re looking for something sandy, secluded, bustling with activity, or off-the-beaten path.

Based on popular vote alone, however, Monterosso Beach in Fegina wins as the number one best beach in Cinque Terre. It’s a crowd favorite, can compete with other beach destinations in the Italian Riviera, and is by far the most popular beach in all of Cinque Terre. It’s probably your safest bet if what you’re looking for is a traditional, resort-style beach location.

Coastal Walks Connecting the Cinque Terre Beaches | Cinque Terre Beach Walks

Best Coastal Walk in Cinque Terre Italy | Cinque Terre Beach Walks
The Best Coastal Walk in Cinque Terre, Italy | Iryna1/iStock

What if one beach isn’t enough for you, and you’d like to experience as many Cinque Terre beaches as you can during your trip? You’ll be happy to learn that there’s a coastal Cinque Terre hiking trail that runs along the water’s edge and connects all five villages together. It’s possible to spend a day walking from one Cinque Terre village to the next, while stopping to visit the best beaches, restaurants, and other attractions that each one has to offer.

Read Next: Cinque Terre Hiking Map & Guide – the Best Coastal Trails & Hikes to Walk in Cinque Terre

We hope this Cinque Terre Beach Guide was useful in helping you plan your holiday. For related content, check out more of our Italy Travel Guides.

10 Best Beaches in Cinque Terre | Cinque Terre Beaches Guide


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Jillian Michelle
FAIRY DRAGON MOTHER at Adventure Dragon. Artist. Writer. Dreamer. Adventurer. I still believe kindness can change the world. I just want to inspire.

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