The excellence of Italian traditions, lifestyle and eye for beauty combined and squeezed into a tiny segment of 12 km square. That’s how I would call the picturesque town of Vernazza, proudly wearing the title of the most beautiful of Cinque Terre. Splendid little towns of similar caliber extend all over the Ligurian coast, however none of them can compare to the bombarding and astounding way in which Vernazza just overwhelms your eyes with sights you won’t forget. It’s not surprising then, that Vernazza has been an inspiration for a lot of locations in movies, literature or even video games. All of the 5 towns (Cinque Terre) shining with their hospitality deserve a dedicated day to each, however if you’re tight on time, even spending just an afternoon there will be worth it. Today I’ll be showing you the splendid assets that you can see on one day in Vernazza while exploring Cinque Terre.
Vernazza or Vernassa (in the local dialect; Vernasa solely to the inhabitants), like I already mentioned, extends itself over a territory of 12 km square which are, in turn, occupied by the 761 of its citizens. Growing up in an Italian town of a similar size, it feels like a giant family where everyone knows each other – at least remotely. Located in La Spezia, the region of Liguria, Vernazza is a town that possibly placed its roots before the year 1080 – that’s when the first documents mentioning the town are dated to.
How to get to Vernazza
There are a few ways to get to Vernazza, depending on where you decide to stay.
If you decide to stay in Rapallo,
you have the possibility of getting to Vernazza and other towns of Cinque Terre by boat, which is an incredible experience of its own showcasing all of the coastal panoramas on the way. It might be a little costly, as it sums up to 25 euro one way or 40 euro with return per person – however, if you want to make unforgettable memories, you might want to splurge a little on it (it’s worth it). The timetable varies based on the season, but you can always consult it HERE (Boat Line 4). Usually the tickets are available immediately beforehand, but if you want to be certain, you can contact them by phone to check the availability.
If you decide to stay in La Spezia or Levanto,
which are the two major cities neighboring the Cinque Terre, you can get the Cinque Terre Express Train to get to each of the 5 towns. The trains circulate every 15 minutes and costs 4 euro for adults and 2 euro for children (age 4-12) for one segment of the trip (if you get off and want to get back or to the next town, you need another ticket). The train is the fastest and safest way to get in between the towns and you can choose when and where to get off as you please. You can get the tickets HERE. Keep in mind that if you decide to stay in one of the 5 towns, the best way to get there with your luggage (I suggest only bringing hand luggage as it might be tedious to carry it to your airbnb/hotel) is still with the train from either La Spezia or Levanto.
Driving to Vernazza
Even if you’re an experienced driver, do not come to Vernazza by car
The roads that lead to Vernazza are literally KILLERS. Unfortunately I had to learn that from my own experience – the streets are constantly curvy, very tight, and sometimes are not even protected by fences. It’s also worth mentioning that they go far above the landline, in between the mountains, and are very, very dangerous.
In addition to that, there is no parking lot available for tourists (except for the far away one that comes with a shuttle) and if you decide to park it alongside the road you have to walk (or more specifically hike) for a longer while before you get to the town itself. What’s also important is that there warning signs along the way saying you can’t park in most places as they are reserved for the residents and the police comes there everyday to earn some money on the parking tickets for tourists that ignore the sign (and end up paying a 50 euro fine for it).
What to see & do in one day in Vernazza
One of the places where you can taste the traditional Italian life by wandering around the tight corners of the place, get lemon-themed souvenirs and enjoy the traditional limoncello is Via Roma. It’s nothing more than a long alley leading you to the centre of the town, however everything you will find on the way is either a restaurant, a souvenir shop or a local store with specialties of the region. If you’ve arrived by train that’s where you will find yourself after descending, which is the main reason why the street is always so crowded with tourists (and the only Main Street of the town leading to the centre actually).
Chiesa di Santa Margherita (St. Margaret’s Church)
Upon reaching the one of the kind main square, the first thing that will probably caught by your eyes is the unique church. The yellow monumental & sacred art piece dates back apparently to even the XI century, however it had to be reconstructed several times to be able to pass the test of time.
The church, being the most characteristic focal point of the town, making it instantly recognizable on postcards and more, is surrounded by the green hills from one side and pastel traditional houses in red, orange, yellow and sporadically pink.
Town centre & Port bay
The beauty of Vernazza doesn’t lay in particular landmarks scattered around it, but the centre of the town in its whole, its entirety. The panorama of the hills hovering over the small, colorful architecture contrasted with the transparent sea water housing tiny boats becomes the most stunning when viewed as one masterpiece and not its specific segments. I’m pretty sure you are going to agree with me upon seeing these pictures, or what’s depicted on these pictures when you arrive there:
Natural wonders of Vernazza
Just as you turn around, you will be confronted with the other face of Vernazza – the cliffs and the water constantly hitting their base. The small rocky beach just by that spot is a popular place for tourists to be laying around on their beach towels enjoying the wonderful weather from the gorgeous Italian coast.
Belforte tower and Doria castle
The castle elevated in XI century in order to protect the town is open to tourists and even offers a restaurant with a view. The tickets for the viewpoint costs 1.50 euro, but when it comes to the restaurant, it’s worth booking ahead due to increased demand.
If you’re lovers of active travelling and love hiking, there’s also a possibility of accessing the hiking trail going through Via dell’Amore, from Vernazza to Monterosso (another town of the Cinque Terre). The access to the hiking trail viewpoint costs 7.50 euro and you need to have fully closed shoes for it (they won’t let you in in shoes with open toe, sandals, etc.).
If you want to taste Vernazza on your palate as well through the typical products they offer, get a Focaccia (bread-like dough) with Pesto (typical for the region of Liguria) in a nearby Focacceria (I bought mine in Batti Batti Focacceria just around the corner) and enjoy the snack with a view on the benches in front of the port. Just a simple snack that can bring a lot of happiness – believe me.
Vernazza is one of the most gorgeous places in Europe – I can assure you that much. Even though it’s just a small town and half a day is enough to see almost everything it has to offer, a visit there should be on everybody’s bucket list (it certainly was on mine).
I hope you loved my content about one day in Vernazza and I invite you to read my other post regarding gorgeous towns in Italy, but not only – there are a lot of destinations I visit and then write about. If you want to connect with me (which I would love to do if you’re willing to have a chat!), you can follow me on Instagram @milenacorleoneofficial, Facebook @ShipMeThere, Twitter @MilenaCorleone, Pinterest @lenacorleone. To be notified about new content, you can sign up to the Newsletter. And if you love my content and would love me to create more, you can now Buy Me A Coffee. I hope to see you around for more travel stories!
Articles related to One day in Vernazza | Exploring Cinque Terre:
- Visiting Portofino, Liguria – Don’t miss out while visiting Cinque Terre
- Visiting Savona, Italy – Travel Guide
- What to see in Cesena, Italy – Travel Guide
- Summer in Italy – Lido Delle Nazioni
- Italian dishes you should try (with home recipes)
- Mediterranean Party Recipes
- Subliminal culture learning
One day in Vernazza
One day in Vernazza