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Monterosso or Vernazza

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104 posts
Monterosso or Vernazza

Hi guys,

I have spent countless hours scrolling the internet and TA trying to decide which village to stay in during our visit to CT on 17th-20th July 2018 (peak season). I think I have narrowed it down to either Monterosso or Vernazza. Most of the research I have done suggests Monterosso is the biggest town and has a more laid back/ resort style to it whereas Vernazza is more romantic and picturesque.

I was hoping to get some opinions and/or advice from anyone who has any experience staying in any of the villages that can help me make my decision.

It will be my partner and I's first visit to the CT; we are 24, love exploring, eating local food, going to the beach and taking in the culture of each city. We will be flying from Barcelona > Milan then getting the train to CT.

I look forward to hearing any suggestions or advice :)

16 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
99,205 posts
17 reviews
18 helpful votes
1. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

It really does not matter which village you stay in. The train takes only 15 minutes to go the whole distance from Monterosso to Riomaggiore. You have identified the main differences between Monterosso and Vernazza, but I would add that Monterosso is the only village with a sandy beach.

It comes down to your preference.

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
506 posts
32 reviews
13 helpful votes
2. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

See your other post.

BC, Canada
Level Contributor
147 posts
331 reviews
167 helpful votes
3. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

We have always stayed in Monterosso. The last couple of years, whenever we stopped in Vernazza during the day it was busy beyond belief. Yes, all of the villages are busy, but Vernazza, being the "photo-op village" for the Conque Terre, exceeds all of the others in how packed it is. This could be a consideration in your decision.

Budapest, Hungary
Level Contributor
60 posts
75 reviews
21 helpful votes
4. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

Vernazza indeed very picturesque so as Mnterosso. Once I stayed in Vernazza, I slept nothing because of the frequent train traffic during the night.

So every time we stay in Monterosso, also very romantic and the beach is very nice. As for the trains, Monterosso is handy because you can catch direct trains to Milan without changing in Genova.

Nova Scotia
Destination Expert
for Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
14,470 posts
173 reviews
77 helpful votes
5. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

I guess it depends upon where you stay in Vernazza. The one night we stayed there (fairly close to the water overlooking the main street) we did not notice the trains.

Christchurch, New...
Level Contributor
105 posts
14 reviews
6 helpful votes
6. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

Vernazza is where visitors from the cruise ships that dock at La Spezia reportedly come marauding up the main street. There are sites you can check cruise ship arrivals, which might help you decide. I saw that in another thread but can't find it now. Perhaps someone else might have that info which could help you decide.

The point about just getting on trains between towns is it's now more expensive than it used to be, €4 for each journey, which means €20 seeing them all once. There's a day pass for €16 and longer versions as well.


These also include the fare for bus rides from each town which take you out of the centre, which could be good for avoiding the crowds.


I was there about 5 years ago and thought Manarola and Vernazza were quite similar, but Manarola seemed more picturesque to me actually, and we're going back this year in August (even worse than July)

When we're there I plan to look around the towns early and late in the day, and 'head for the hills' around the middle of the day.

Level Contributor
11,992 posts
3 reviews
12 helpful votes
7. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

With the suffocating crowds during the summer, I can't think of a worse place to be. On the 18th the big cruise ship carries over 6,000 passengers.

Dallas, Texas
1 post
1 review
1 helpful vote
8. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

We were there in May 2017 and stayed in Monterosso. The cruise ships let off in a port near there and both of those towns get pretty crowded during the day. Most passengers take the train or boat to visit the various stops. We spent a lot of time on the trails hiking between each town, which provided the least amount of crowds and had breathtaking views. In early morning hours and evening, the tourists go down considerably (like most major stops in Italy). Monterosso will allow you you to have a larger amount to do and places to eat in the evening hours. There is a wonderful restaurant with outside/seaside dining, it has big umbrellas, you can’t miss it. Grab a table as early as you can, it gets very busy. Good food and wonderful service. Enjoy your visit. Rick Steves provides good advice about navigating Cinque Terre.

Level Contributor
11,992 posts
3 reviews
12 helpful votes
9. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

There are multiple big cruise ships in port, 18 to 21. E,g. Vernazza, crowds could be worse than this:


Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
43 posts
8 reviews
7 helpful votes
10. Re: Monterosso or Vernazza

We stayed in Monterosso in late May 2 years ago and crowds were not too bad. We loved Monterosso and was so easy to catch the train to the other villages. Lots of nice restaurants too.

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