How Photograph Cinque Terre

Photograph Cinque Terre, few tiny villages in twelve kilometers of coastline. How take amazing images in this stretches itself along the west coast of northern Italy, approximately halfway between Genoa and Pisa.

Introduction to how Photograph Cinque Terre

This tiny villages are so picturesque, incredibly photogenic thanks the colourful façades of the houses and for their position along the coast. Also they are almost perfectly nestled against the rugged cliffs and simply their location alone is breathtaking. Like another famous location in Italy, as Venice, Florence or Val D’orcia you need to avoid tourist and choose the right time. So find a new perspective and point of view, can be a game changer.

A reliable itinerary

Visiting the Cinque Terre doesn’t take a lot of time, unless you want to photograph each village well for sunrise and sunset. Anyway if you want to organize just a weekend, two days are enough to visit all 5 villages, dedicating the right amount of time to each one, without rushing. Below I show you a two-day itinerary to photograph Cinque Terre, visiting 2 of them on the first day and 3 on the second day. You can easily reverse the order according to your interests. So start you day in Monterosso al Mare and then follow the coast as I show in the map. Finish at the sunset at Vernazza or Manarola where you can shooting a perfect long exposure images.

The five Villages from North to South

Monterosso al Mare

The northernmost village of Cinque Terre is the one with the most beloved sandy beach in the region. That’s why so many sunbathers are drawn to Monterosso al Mare. In summer colourful beach umbrellas are lined up here and make for a wonderfully colourful photo opportunity. Monterosso al Mare divided into two, so to speak: One part is the sandy area mentioned (the train station can also be found here) and the other is the historical village centre, which you can walk to from the train station in around 10 minutes.

Photograph Cinque Terre


Vernazza is considered one of the most beautiful villages of Cinque Terre – if not the most beautiful. Vernazza is one of my favorite of the five. Once you reach the promenade at the port, a fantastic view of Vernazza awaits you. Absolutely take a stroll along to the end of the headland for the best panorama. You should start to follow some small paths on the right and follow until the church. From there you will have a great view. Up there is also an amazing trekking way, the best location to shooting panoramic view. The most famous birds-eye-view photo spot can be found on the hiking track towards Monterosso, just a stone’s throw away from the town centre. 

Photograph Cinque Terre


The next Cinque Terre village to the south is one that is most commonly left out. There is a reason for this: Corniglia’s town centre is the only one not directly at the sea nor at the train station. Instead, it is perched high above on a cliff. So To reach the centre from the train station you need to climb the 377 steps of the staircase Scalinata Lardarina. Alternatively, you can also take a bus into the centre. Finally, in comparison to some of the other villages of Cinque Terre, Corniglia is definitely a little less spectacular. Of course, this also has its advantages, because it means that the streets are not nearly so full. However, if you want to concentrate on the highlights of Cinque Terre, then we personally would leave Corniglia out.

Photograph in Liguria with Me


Raise the curtain for our favourite: Manarola. We truly liked it the best here and that is also because we experienced a dreamy sunset here. Which leads us to my best tip: Save Manarola for sunset – you won’t regret it. The streets of Manarola are really pretty, but by far the best part is the panorama view from afar over Manarola. It’s unbelievable how the houses are built on the cliffs. Maybe the best postcard picture of the journey from here! The sunset and excellent photo spot is not hard to find. It is located directly by the legendary Nessum Dorma pub on the northern headland, just a few minutes’ walk from the town centre. At the latest, when you see the many photographers with their tripods, you will know you’re in the right place.

Photograph Cinque Terre


The southernmost village to photograph Cinque Terre is also rather photogenic. However, to be honest, Riomaggiore didn’t quite get us up out of our seats as we’d expected. The spark didn’t really want to fly, but the village is undoubtedly worth at visit. As you arrive at the train station, you walk through a tunnel and a few minutes later you are already in the middle of the old town. There are many well-known viewpoints, especially the one in front of Café La Conchiglia. Steps lead down to the water from there where you get an equally fantastic view of the colorful house facades. Can be a good location is the view from the end of Via di Loca to be very pretty. Far fewer people and photographers coming in this spot.

Other Location to Photograph near Cinque Terre

Around the Cinque Terre, along this amazing coast there are other great location where you can explore and capture. Usually are small and more easy to reach than the other five tiny villages. Below I put the most photogenic location around the Cinque Terre.

Porto Venere

If you want escape for the huge crowds or you have more time to capture the beauty of the area, Porto Venere is a great location to shooting great images. Here can you shooting marvelous landscape from the cliffs and most spectacular scenery. Some of the location to photograph are:

  • Porta del Borgo and historic centre
  • Sanctuary of the Madonna Bianca (church of San Lorenzo)
  • Doria Castle
  • Windmills
  • Byron Cave
  • Church of San Pietro


Together with Portovenere, Lerici is one of the municipalities overlooking the famous Gulf of Poets. This picturesque village has colourful houses by the sea, the cliffs, the hidden coves and the crystal clear water were all an inspiration to many artists and writers.

Photography Tour Lerici


While you are photograph in the Cinque Terre, you can take the opportunity to capture other interesting small town like Portofino and San Fruttuoso. Each one is special in its own way. The small fishing village of Portofino, right on the Italian Riviera, is a devastatingly beautiful travel destination for any photographer. Portofino’s spectacular scenery ranges from the hair raising to the calm and tranquil. Taking a small boat and you will arrive in a tiny spectacular bay San Fruttuoso .

For More information about the Italian Riviera read this post.

The Right Gear to Photograph Cinque Terre

Tuscany is a an amazing, charming and beautiful area and you can capture stunning images in many location, no matter the gear. So even with a phone you would do! Anyway, if you want to make the most of your journey in the region, here is some equipment that you might need.

  • A camera. It doesn’t matter if your camera is a full-frame or APSC if you understand how to use it.
  • A wide-angle lens. Useful in Architecture and in the tiny street in old. Also would be useful for some landscapes scene to fit everything into the frame.
  • A versatile travel zoom, such as 24-105mm or similar. This will come in handy when you need to zoom in town. I don’t suggest a dedicated telephoto, but having something with more reach will definitely help.
  • A tripod Must have for landscape picture and night photography.
  • (Optional) a polarizing filter. A polarizing filter can occasionally be useful, so if you have one, there is no reason not to bring it. But I wouldn’t list it as a hard requirement.
  • ND Filter for long exposure (Optional)
  • (Optional) a drone. If you have a drone, Cinque Terre is an amazing area to fly it. Anyway are many rules to do it and you have to be careful. In the East years you have to follow European recommendation to do it. Generally you can use just only outside if the city, in the old town you need special permit. Although you can looking this map about flying in Italy and Ligurian Coast.

Travel Tips


Usually i spent 2-3 days photograph Cinque Terre, perfect time to discover this area. Anyway, for most photographers usually you coming 1-2 days and sometimes they come shortly. Remember take into account the fact that there might be bad weather. In four or five day also you can make the vilages around and trek some paths to find new location


All of the villages have accommodation available, but in high season and week end they are full. Each locaiton have their advantages. Maybe if you stayed in Vernazza or Rio Maggiore for me are the best decision. Riomaggiore there are a lot of good hotels there, and the prices are more reasonable.Those villages are small and usually is take 5 minute walk from the train, and a 3 minute walk from the water in Vernazza.Maybe Monterosso al Mare doesn’t have the charm of the other villages, but if you have a rental car you can drive right in here.
Consider also an option of Levanto if the hotels are full, it is cheaper and near with the train .

Getting there & Local Transport in Cinque Terre

Getting to Cinque Terre

The masterplan for a day trip to Cinque Terre: Drive to the closest large town, La Spezia, park there and then explore the region by train. That’s exactly what I recommend for you. You can find your parking spot directly in the parking garage at the train station in La Spezia. The price for a good 8 hours came to around 15 euros. Not all that cheap, but you do get to board the train directly from there. With just a few minutes later you’re already in the first village. Anyway, it is theoretically possible to reach Cinque Terre by car. Although: It takes a lot longer to drive over the windy roads than taking the train. And we don’t even want to imagine the stress of finding a park. In that respect: Thumbs up for the train!

How Photograph Cirque Terre with Local transport

Taking the train to photograph Cinque Terre

All five villages are connected to each other by train. The travel time between the villages is just a few minutes and the intervals are very regular, around 15 minutes (main season) or around 30 minutes (off-season). The train station is located just a stone’s throw away from the town centre in almost all five of the villages. So if you travel with the train, you always arrive right in the thick of the action. You need the Cinque Terre Card to be able to use the train as many times as you like. Easily to get the card at all train stations in the area or now also online. For me the train is definitely the best, least complicated and most of all the fastest option to get from one village to the next. Clear recommendation!

Price: 18 euros (1 day), 29 euros (2 days). Includes: Unlimited trips with the trains and buses, use of toilets, access to all footpaths.

How Photograph Cinque Terre Traveling by boat

You can gain a whole new perspective of the coast from the water. Between the end of March and start of November you also have the option to reach the villages of Cinque Terre by boat. Corniglia is the only one that doesn’t have a port. So You will need a different ticket to the train ticket to travel by boat. Because the trip takes a while longer and the intervals are not as regular, we would recommend you take the train instead for a day trip.

Traveling on foot

Last but not least: One popular variation for exploring and photograph Cinque Terre is a combination of trains and hiking trails. All five villages are connected to each other via various hiking trails. While some trails are quite relaxed, there are also more demanding routes. If you would like to hike one or two sections, then we definitely recommend appropriate footwear. Can be hard but great to Photograph Cinque Terre


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