Monterosso al Mare is the westernmost of the five villages in Cinque Terre, Italy. It’s not one of the most popular villages in Cinque Terre, but it definitely deserves more attention.
This village is a great place to have as a base when exploring Cinque Terre. There are plenty of nice hotels and restaurants, as well as good connections of both trains, boats and hiking trails to the other villages in Cinque Terre. Down below you can read more about the village and useful information before your trip.
Things to do in Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso al Mare is a nice village in Cinque Terre that has a lot to offer its visitors. Here you’ll find everything from beautiful historic buildings and nice beaches to dining experiences and fun activities.
See Il Gigante (the giant)
At the end of the beach in the village you can see the giant which is a statue built by the sculptor Arrigo Minerbi and the architecture Francesco Levacher in 1910.
The 14-meter-high sculpture was built as a decoration for the elegant house Villa Pristine, and has been a symbol of the village ever since.
During World War II, Villa Pristine was destroyed by bombs, but most of the sculpture survived. Before the house was destroyed, Neptune held a giant shell in his hands, which unfortunately was also destroyed by the bombs.
It’s a cool statue that’s well worth a visit when you’re in Monterosso al Mare.
Visit the church of San Giovanni Battista
This church was built between 1244 and 1307 in a Ligurian Gothic style. The outside is covered in white and green marble with a beautiful rose-shaped window above the entrance.
It’s a beautiful church that’s a must to visit when you’re in town.
Walk up to Monumento a San Francesco d’Assisi
Monumento a San Francesco d’Assisi is a bronze statue similar to Francis of Assisi. It’s a beautiful statue with a great view of Monterosso al Mare and the sea.
To visit this place you have to walk uphill a bit, but it’s definitely worth the effort since you’re going to be rewarded by a beautiful view at the top.
Taste local products
Tasting local products is a great way to get to know the village a little better. I can recommend going on the tour called “Lemon Garden Tour & Tasting”, which you can book via AirBnB experiences.
During this tour you get to stroll around in a garden where you will see how lemons, mandarins, olives, figs and basil grow. After visiting the garden you get to taste local products.
If you like food experiences, then this is no doubt one of the best activities in Monterosso al Mare for you.
Visit Torre Aurora
The Aurora Tower is one of the most popular attractions in Monterosso al Mare. It was built in the 16th century to protect the village from pirates.
The tower is located in the middle of the village on the border between old town and the new district of Monterosso al Mare. At the foot of the tower is a nice restaurant where you can enjoy delicious food and drinks with a beautiful view of the ocean.
Go on a sunset boat tour
When you’re in Cinque Terre it’s always nice to go out on the sea and see the villages from a different angle.
In Monterosso al Mare there’s a boat tour called “Sunset Boat Tours 5Terre Experience” which can be booked through AirBnB Experiences. During this tour you’ll get to see the villages from the sea as well as tasting local products and sip on a glass of delicious prosecco.
If you go during a warmer period of the year, it will also be possible to go swimming from the boat during the tour. It’s no doubt one of the most magical experiences in Cinque Terre.
Admire the details inside Oratorio dei Neri
One of the most famous churches in the village is Oratorio dei Neri. It’s a small church known for its beautiful architecture and decorations of angels, skeletons, bones and skulls.
If you’re interested in visiting religious and historical sites then this is one of the best things to do in Monterosso al Mare for you.
Stroll around in old town
One of my favorite things to do in Monterosso al Mare is to stroll around old town and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
There are many nice buildings inside old town, as well as small shops where you can look for souvenirs and cafes where you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee.
Kayaking from Monterosso to Vernazza
If you feel adventurous during your trip, then you must book a kayaking tour from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza.
The experience is called “Cinque Terre Morning Kayak Tour” and can be booked through AirBnB experiences.
The tour starts in the morning where you go kayaking with a guide in the crystal clear towards Vernazza. This is no doubt one of the best experiences for the adventurous people traveling to Monterosso al Mare.
Relax at the beach
Monterosso al Mare is one of the villages in Cinque Terre that offers one of the most beautiful beaches.
Here the water is crystal clear and cooling for those who wants to go swimming on a warm and sunny day in Cinque Terre. There are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas for rent at this beach, as well as nice restaurants, cafes and shops nearby.
Hiking to and from Monterosso al Mare
If you like to stay active during your travels, then I can recommend going on one of the hikes from the village. Hiking is one of the most popular things to do in Cinque Terre since there are many good hiking trails that offer beautiful views of both nature and the colorful villages.
From Monterosso al Mare you can go hiking to both Vernazza and Levanto.
It’s 3.5 km to Vernazza from Monterosso al Mare and it takes about 2 hours depending on how fast you walk. To Levanto it’s a 8km long hike and it taks about 3 hours.
If you only have the energy to walk one way, you can always hop on the train back to Monterosso al Mare.
Down below you have a few recommendations on good restaurants in the village:
- Ristorante Miky
- L’Ancora della Tortuga
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Travel to Monterosso al Mare
Traveling to Cinque Terre is not as complicated as it may seem. One can easily take the flight to any of the nearby airports (Rome, Genoa or Pisa) and then hop on a direct train to Monterosso al Mare.
If you do not find flights to these cities, you can also travel to Florence and Milan. From these cities you can also take a train to Cinque Terre, but you need to change trains in either Pisa or Genoa.
It’s also possible to travel by train through Europe down to Italy. Just catch a train to Rome, Genoa or Pisa and then change train to Cinque Terre.
You can also travel to Monterosso al Mare by car if you prefer that. The roads are very good through Europe so it’s easy to drive down to Cinque Terre. However, car is not the best option due to lack of parking spaces in Cinque Terre.
My best tips is to travel to any of the bigger cities to then catch the train to Cinque Terre. Car is not needed to get around in or between the villages.
Best time to visit Monterosso al Mare
The best time to visit Monterosso al Mare and the other villages in Cinque Terre is between September and October. During these months there are less tourists but the weather is still nice and warm.
July to August is peak season in Cinque Terre, and that’s a time of the year that I do not recommend you to visit. It’s too many people visiting and the prices are generally higher.
During winter there are the least people visiting, and many hotels and restaurants are also closed – which makes it a little bit less fun to visit. The weather is also quite cold and windy, and that’s why winter is the least visited time during the year.
Spring can also be a good time to visit before all tourists arrive to the villages in Cinque Terre. However, the weather can vary and it can be both windy and cold if you’re unlucky.
I have visited Cinque Terre during both spring and in late September, and I must say that is was best to visit after high season.
In the village there are many nice hotels that you can book. Down below you have recommendations on three different hotels:
In addition to these hotels there are also lots of nice apartments that you can book through AirBnB. The apartments are usually a bit more affordable and also have a kitchen so you can cook your own meals to save money.
More about Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre
Monterosso al Mare is the westernmost village of Cinque Terre and consists of two parts; the old town and the new town.
You can easily walk between these towns as there’s a tunnel through the mountain for pedestrians and cars.
Monterosso al Mare has long been a popular destination for both Italian and foreign tourists. It was when the railway was built in 1870 tourism started. Thanks to the railway, Monterosso al Mare and the other villages of Cinque Terre have become some of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy.
How to get around
Inside the village it’s best to get around by foot. Monterosso al Mare is a small village so there’s no need to have a car.
If you want to go to any of the other villages in Cinque Terre, you can either hike, hop on a boat or take the train.
Map of Monterosso al Mare
Below you have a map of Monterosso al Mare where you can see some of the village’s major attractions. If you find it difficult to find the attractions, you can always use Google Maps in your phone.
Do you have more questions about Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre? Leave a comment below!