What to do in Cinque Terre: 9 Activities To Enjoy That Aren’t Village Hopping

The first activity on everyone’s to do list when visiting Cinque Terre is to explore the five villages. It is a stunning part of the world with a unique character that makes an impression on all who see it. 

But after the village hopping, and beach swimming, there are a tonne of fun activities you can do in the Cinque Terre region. 

We have curated a list of the best options so that you can plan and organize what you need ahead of time. Some are very popular and require advanced bookings!

So here is our list of the best things to do in Cinque Terre after you have seen all five of the villages.

9 Activities to do in Cinque Terre

1. Hiking

This activity is not as simple as it once was. Many of the hiking trails have been damaged by landslides and have been left closed for many years. 

Things can change without notice so if you plan to do some hiking check with one of the tourist offices as to what is open. 

The trails that are higher up in the mountains are usually open all year round, others close for the winter months, and some are closed permanently until repairs are carried out. 

So plan your route ahead of time so you don’t spoil your plans for the day.

When you do set out there are a few basics that you must have before you can access the trails (there are checkpoints – and we got turned back at our first attempt): 

  • Buy a Cinque Terre Trekking Card, or Train Card – we recommend the latter as it gets you access to the trails and the trains. 
  • Wear walking shoes – you will be stopped if wearing unsuitable footwear (flip flops are not allowed).

Hiking in Cinque Terre

2. Take An Italian Cooking Class

Learning how to make pasta while in Italy is the dream right?

We tried so hard to get into a class at the last minute, but had no luck. So make sure you book your class in advance!

These are mostly based in the larger villages of Monterosso and Riomaggiore so be prepared if you are staying in one of the other villages.

Check out:

Cooking Class

3. Wine Tasting (and Vineyard Tour)

There are three ways you can do this: 

  1. Visit the local restaurants and sample the local product. 
  2. Seek out the local wineries and visit for a tasting
  3. Jump on an organized tour 

The hills around each village are covered in vineyards and the local produce is excellent! 

Some of their stories are very impressive too. Just one look at the hills, and tiered structure of the vineyards means a lot of hard work goes into every vintage. 

Check out the Cantina Cheo Vineyard in Vernazza where you can do a wine tasting on site

There are plenty of options to join a guided tour where you can visit vineyards, and ancient wine cellars. These are a bit more expensive, but an easier and more informative experience. Check out: 

  • Ancient wine cellar tasting
  • Vineyard tour and wine tasting

Cinque Terre Wine Tasting

4. Snorkeling

You can hire snorkels and flippers from a small store in the tunnel that leads to the waterfront in Riomaggiore.

Anh and I didn’t snorkel this time, but way back in my last visit in 2006 me and a few friends swam up and down the coastline here looking for some marine life.

We didn’t find that much…. But we did find a cliff with a steep drop off that we could climb. So we spent the day jumping off a 30ft cliff until a local guard told us to stop.

If you are strong in the water and feel like a swim then go for it. But I wouldn’t recommend this one… At least not in Riomaggiore.

5. Kayaking

We thought about this one, but I knew that I would be doing most of the paddling… that and I have a history of crashing into things on a kayak.

But it looked like a great way to absorb the coastal views at an easier pace than what the ferry allows.

The sunset option would have been our top pick! Maybe the included wine would have improved my paddle skills!

6. Private Boat Sunset Tour

If you aren’t the kayaking type and have some more money to burn, then taking a private boat at sunset would be one of the nicer experiences that you could have here.

We preferred to watch the sunset from one of the cliff top bars. 

We would have loved this one, but another case of the cost being hard to justify compared to the on land options.

Another option is to just take the day ferry between the towns if you don’t mind sharing your boat. 

Cinque Terre Boat Tour

7. Fresh Food Markets

We were greeted on our first morning with a street market down the main strip in Vernazza.

There was a selection of fresh fruit, meats and of course wine.

We didn’t notice anything too much different to the local produce available in the surrounding stores, but it was still fun to walk around.

Keep an eye out for small delis as well. The cheeses and cured meats are amazing! They pair nicely with the local red wines and you can enjoy at the water’s edge. 

8. Eat A Meal At A Private Home

If you want to get a window into how the locals live this will be the most authentic experience that you can get outside of door knocking and testing your Italian. 

This one was a little too awkward for us, but if you are really into your Italian cuisine then you may enjoy this one. 

9. Enjoy A Cocktail By The Sea

Every village will have somewhere to knock back a relaxing drink or two, but we recommend Bar e Vini a Piè de Mà in Riomaggiore.

This is located at the railway station end of town and sits atop a cliff face overlooking the water.

The cocktails come by the jug and definitely pack a punch, and the view is one to savor. 

Manarola Waterside Bar

Final Word

Missing out on the cooking class was a real bummer for us. So hopefully this list has helped you prepare better than we did! 

If you are really organized you can squeeze these into your village-hopping itinerary to cut down the travel if you are on limited time. 

All are a great way to spend a day! 

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