Italy has an overwhelming beauty to offer, and the dilemma always soars to pick up the winner between the competitors, Cinque Terre, which is in northern Italy, and Amalfi Coast, another gorgeous location in Southern Italy. Land of five coastal villages, Cinque Terre seems to be painted with various hues owing to the colorful houses while the Amalfi coast is comparatively bigger than Cinque Terre and more touristy in nature as well. Let's delve into the similarities and differences of both the places for sorting out the perfect bucket list destination.
About Cinque Terre
The Instagram-worthy Cinque Terre is located south of Genoa in northwest Italy. Made up of five coastal villages, it faces the Ligurian Sea with its area expanding over 39 square km. The century-old seaside villages with colorful houses and vineyards are connected with each other via the Blue Path, thus, one can move easily between them. The prime villages of Cinque Terre are Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore among which Riomaggiore is the least busy whereas Vernazza boasts the only natural port. The neighboring towns of Portovenere, Levanto, and La Spezia are worth a visit as well after Cinque Terre. It does not have many beaches compared to the Amalfi coast. It is popular for its rugged and steep landscape, grapes and olives cultivation, incredible views of the harbor, and its unique highlight, five fishing communities. It is a place for backpackers more than family.
The best season to visit is May or September while October and November are the wettest months and January is the coldest month. The temperature is around 17 to 21 degrees Celsius in summers while around 3 degrees Celsius in winters. You may need approx 3 days to visit Cinque Terre and it is a backpacker-friendly destination over a family tour. The nearest airport is Pisa (PSA) as well as Milan Linate (LIN) and Florence (FLR).
Things to do In Cinque Terre
One can ramble across Cinque Terre through its gorgeous trails, see the views of "Santuario di Nostra Signora di Montenero" located above Riomaggiore, explore "Portovenere", a UNESCO Heritage Site, and relish the most amazing meals at "Nessun Dorma" in Manarola and "Fuori Rotta" in Riomaggiore, immerse in the beauty of sunsets at Corniglia, take a day trip at Manarola, enjoy the beach time in Monterosso, catch the Madonna Bianca Festival in August and lastly, wander across the five villages with pastel-colored houses, winding streets, hilly areas and having their own unique essence.
Where To Stay In Cinque Terre
Monterosso is a place with plenty of accommodation options compared to the rest. It is quite accessible too albeit can be pricey. Riomaggiore can be the next option with its brightly colored houses and fairly good nightlife, although it's much hilly in nature. Vernazza and Manarola are both smaller compared to the other two and do not have a fair number of hotels. Thus, one can seek guest houses or self-catering accommodation. Corniglia is the smallest village and is quite difficult to reach. Although, it provides incredible views and evenings full of solitude. The cheapest option is to stay in La Spezia or Levanto as it is not located in Cinque Terre but is also quite well-connected to it.
How To Travel Across Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is not advisable to travel by car due to its landscape. The towns of Cinque Terre can be visited by boat or train.
Most recommended is the train route as the railway station has good connections to big cities like Genoa, Milan, Florence or Pisa. The nearest station in La Spezia has access to almost all villages. The first village of Cinque Terre Riomaggiore is eight minutes away from La Spezia and also, and the distance between other villages is quite small. From Rome and Milan, it takes 4 hours and from Venice, it takes 7 hours to reach Cinque Terre by train. The nearest airports are in Pisa and Genoa.
The most known place to start a boat tour is La Spezia. The tickets are sold at the harbor, and it allows travel across all villages.
Do You Need Permit In Cinque Terre
One needs a Cinque Terre Card to cross the coast path from Monterosso to Corniglia although walking between Corniglia and Riomaggiore via hill path does not require any permit.
One can also avail of Cinque Terre Cards costing up to 7.50 Euros per day which includes free wifi, local buses, and toilets. Also, a train version includes unlimited conveyance on the Cinque Terre line which costs around 18.20 Euros per day. You don't need any Cinque Terre card to enter the five villages although two trails from Monterosso to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia require it. The Cinque Terre Trekking Card is mostly purchased to hike the Blue Path. This trail not only offers mesmerizing views of the Italian Riviera but also allows practical methods of commuting across villages. It costs around 7.50 Euros for an adult
About Amalfi Coast
This stretch of Italian coastline is located in the Campania region in southern Italy overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Popular for its architecture, crystal clear waters of the beach, authentic delicacies, family-friendly accommodations as well as natural scenery. It is a UNESCO heritage site as well as Cinque Terre and has picturesque towns and villages. Amongst which, Sorrento, Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Amalfi, Maiori, Minori, Atrani, Cetara, Vietri Sul Mare, Scala, Furore and Salerno are worth the visit. Amalfi Coast is well known for its azure blue beaches, cliffside resorts, luxurious Italian dining, and also ancient villas. It is a perfect place to be visited with your loved ones.
The best season to visit Amalfi Coast is May or September with a temperature of 20 degrees to 25 degrees. July and August are believed to be overcrowded whereas winters are a little inconvenient too. The nearest airport is the Capodichino Airport (Naples) although many people prefer flying to Rome and then arriving at Amalfi as it's cheaper. Also, if Amalfi Coast is combined with the Isle of Capri, Rome, and Tuscany, it can be a much longer trip.
Things To Do On Amalfi Coast
Amalfi has 13 charming towns which have fascinated people all over the world. Strolling across the flower-draped pastel houses tumbling down the steep hillside, hiking the “Path of Gods” trail above Amalfi Coast, visiting the Island of Capri, especially "Mount Solaro" in Ana Capri, A sea cave called "Blue Grotto" in Capri, a day trip to Ravello as it's the most romantic destination of Amalfi coast, visiting "Villa Cimbrone" in Ravello, "Terrace of Infinity" for the best sunsets, "Furore Beach" as the most iconic beach, visiting Atrani to have a glimpse of true Italian lifestyle," Ill Trident "in Positano for scrumptious food in Positano, shopping in Amalfi town and visiting Amalfi Cathedral are few of the prime things to do in Amalfi.
Where to Stay On Amalfi Coast
Ravello is a perfect honeymoon destination and staying at Villa Cimbrone is highly recommended. Also, Caruso in Ravello and Le Sirenuse in Positano are the best honeymoon hotels. Maiori and Minori are a good bet for families as it has long sandy beaches and budget-friendly accommodations. Residence Panoramic (Maiori) and Lidomare (Amalfi) are a few beach resorts on Amalfi Coast. If one is a true beach lover, one should seek accommodation in Positano. Villa Nettuno is a mid-range hotel in Positano whereas Albergo Sant’Andrea is in Amalfi. Il San Pietro di Positano, Santa Caterina, Botanico San Lazzaro, Casa Angelina are few best luxurious stay options along Amalfi Coast.
How To Travel Across Amalfi Coast
Travelers can reach Amalfi from Naples International Airport or reach Amalfi Coast also by train. From Naples, one can opt for the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento, Vietri Sul Mare, or Salerno and later a Sita Bus to the nearest Amalfi towns. Prices of buses range from 2.20 Euros for 45-minute journeys or 6.80 Euros for 24-hour journeys. High-speed ferries are another option to reach Positano, Amalfi, or Sorrento and even nearby islands such as Capri or Ischia in the months of April to October. It ranges from around 12 Euros for a one-way journey. Lastly, the Amalfi car drive can be quite challenging due to its landscape and also the traffic as Amalfi towns are mostly on cliffs.
Do You Need Permit In Amalfi Coast
You need an International Driving License to drive in Amalfi.
Who is the Ultimate Winner?
Both Cinque Terre and Amalfi Coast have their own peculiarities which enchant the travelers although Cinque Terre is a backpackers' paradise whereas Amalfi Coast is more suited for the family.
If one is in northern Italy, Cinque Terre is the option whereas, in Southern Italy, it's Amalfi. Also, Cinque Terre is relatively close to Florence and Milan, while Amalfi Coast is very close to Mt. Vesuvius and Naples. Comparing both on duration to complete them, Cinque Terre is compact and should be the go-to spot, whereas Amalfi is much larger. Amalfi has more beaches compared to Cinque Terre which is quite hilly in nature. So, the ball is in your court to decide the winner now.