Monterosso al Mare is the largest among five villages. The beach in this side of Cinque Terre is the only sand beach covering a large area as the beaches in other villages are quite small and pebbly and some are just full of big rocks that sit on the water. For this reason, Monterosso al Mare attracts more tourists during the summer. One of the main attractions in town is the Convent of Monterosso al Mare because of its artistic and historical treasure. The altar and choir are made of wood that reminds a Capuchin style building in 1600's. It has maintained its old character and charm until today.
Corniglia sits on top of a headland, about 100 metres high above the sea and is surrounded of terraces full of vineyards with one steep side descending to the sea. To reach the village, you have to climb up on brick stairs of around 382 steps or ride a small bus that that follows a vehicular roadway to the top. This location of this village gives you a spectacular panoramic views of the sea and it makes the climb all worth it. One of the attractions to see at the top is the Baroque style Church of St. Peter. It has a combination of Gothic and Ligurian elements with its 1351 Carrara white marble rose window.
Manarola is second to the smallest and probably the oldest village in Cinque Terre. Sciacchetrà, the famous local wine has originated in this village but now is being produced everywhere in Cinque Terre. Production of this wine dates back to the Roman period and the winemaking tradition is being passed on generations. In top part of Manarola is the Piazza where you will find Church of San Lorenzo and a bell tower that has been significant watch tower in medieval times. Lighting up 15,000 bulbs illuminating improvised figures of around 300 characters during Christmas is the main event highlight in this village.
Vernazza is a fortified town that has a picturesque colorful houses stacked on top of each other, a small harbour and seaside piazza. It is home to some of historically significant structures such as the Doria Castle. This castle was built to protect Vernazza and its people during the Middle Ages. Aside from a historically inclined visits, this castle is now being used as a venue for events celebrations and wedding ceremonies.
The last and the easiest to reach is Riomaggiore. It is the largest of the five villages in Cinque Terre. The most famous Lover's Lane trail, Via dell’Amore starts here. It has a romantic feels with the amazing views of the coastlines and stunning landscapes. After a scenic twenty minutes walk, this path leads to the village of Manarola.