What once was a rural and remote string of Italian fishing villages is now one of the most popular destinations in Italy. Cinque Terre dates back to the 15th century, but it’s only been in the past couple decades that the UNESCO world heritage site has seen a huge spike in tourism. Thats why the best way to escape the crowds and experience the charming Italian village life is a Cinque Terre agriturismo stay.
Not only can you taste farm-fresh cuisine from these mom-and-pop B&Bs, you’ll be able to unplug and fully take in the beauty the region has to offer.
Here are some tips to get you started planning your stay.
What is agriturismo?
(Photo via Flickr)
Agro-tourism takes on many different meanings around the world, but in general in involves the fusion of agriculture and travel. Think along the lines of a farm-stay or a country cottage with a local restaurant. It’s quite possibly the best way to support the local economy while traveling by directly supporting farmers and locals.
This is no exception in Italy. Family farms barely survived the 1950s as it became so difficult to make a profit. Under the agriturismo law passed in 1983, the Italian government provided grants and aid to small family farms to keep them in business.
Agriturismo today is the best way to experience Italy as it once was. Think mom and pop bed and breakfasts with gardens, farms, or ranches. It usually appeals to slow travelers that are either couples or families from Italy, France, and Germany especially.
In Cinque Terre most of the agriturismo options are up in the smaller villages, outside of the actual park. With the exception of Cornigilia, you really won’t find any of these experiences within the main towns of Cinque Terre.
Know before you go
Before planning on visiting agrotourismo restaurants or accommodations in cinque Terre, there are a few important factors I should note.
- Plan on renting a car. You’ll have a much wider selection of agroturismo accommodation options if you have a car. Most of these villages are remote and a bit further in the countryside.
- Plan on taking public transport within Cinque Terre. You’ll want to leave your car at your accommodation, and take the bus into Cinque Terre. From there you can take the Cinque Terre train throughout all of the villages with a day pass.
- Plan on a minimum of 2 nights. If you do anything less, you won’t get to experience agriturismo or even see much of Cinque Terre itself. You’ll also want to factor in extra time between villages if you plan on hiking.
Best Cinque Terre Agritourismo options
If you’re coming to Cinque Terre with a car, you really have the freedom to stay in almost any of these villages. Most places provide parking and at least some type of breakfast. Others offer a restaurant with farm-to-table foods for lunch and dinner. Prices start at around 30 EUR a night and can cost more depending on your level of luxury.
You’ll be looking throughout the Ligurian Coast, but you should narrow your search to the Provence of La Spezia. This will include La Spezia and surrounding villages all the way to Levanto.
Below I’ve hand-picked the top-rated Cinque Terre agriturismo options for you to choose from. I would recommend using booking.com, as this is the most popular platform in Italy for accommodation.
Here is a breakdown of some of the best places to stay:
This charming farm-stay may have one of the best panoramic sea views in the area. This countryside cottage is only a 10 minute drive from the La Spezia train station, yet is surrounded by peaceful and quiet gardens. The property offers fresh farm-to-table breakfast options that are grown onsite! Prices start at 50 EUR a night, and they provide free parking and wifi, and are also pet-friendly!
On the other side of Cinque Terre park you have this argriturismo apartment where you can relax with a little more space. The cottage has a beautiful balcony with a view overlooking the countryside and farmland. They don’t provide breakfast here, but you can make use of the kitchen in the apartment and pick up local foods at the farmers market! Prices start at 80 EUR a night.
What is unique about this argiturismo option is that it’s a 15 minute walk from the beach, AND the property has a hot tub. Even so, the property is surrounded by tranquil nature with a view of the sea. The property doesn’t offer breakfast, but they do provide free parking and an airport shuttle transfer if you aren’t coming with a car.
This agriturismo queen room is hidden in the Castiglione Chiavarese village, and perfect for couples. This place is closer to Portofino, and would be ideal if you are coming from the Northern part of Italy such as Milan or Lake Como to make your way down the coast. Prices start at 60 EUR, and they provide a local breakfast, parking and free wifi.
If you’re looking for a view of the mountains surrounded by pure nature, this rustic agriturismo option is for you. It’s just outside of Levante, which is where you can get on the train to visit Cinque Terre via train. Indulge in the homemade food at the property on site, while letting the kids (or yourself) play with the animals. You can book your stay here for as little as 70 EUR a night with free parking, breakfast and wifi.
Though it’s slightly out of the way, this is one of my top picks for agriturismo stays near Cinque Terre. The adorable cottage is built with sustainable materials and located on an organic farm. They provide free parking, bike rentals, and wifi! Prices start here at about 75 EUR per night.
Finally, this family-run hotel is located in the Ligurian hills with walking paths leading to Cinque Terre. The hotel has an onsite pizzeria with local products, and a captivating view of the countryside. This pet-friendly accommodation provides free parking, wifi, and outdoor play equipment for kids with prices starting at 70 EUR a night for an apartment.
Cinque Terre Camping
If you’re wondering if you can camp instead in Cinque Terre, you’re not alone. A lot of people are Googling the same question right now, but the truth is that you can’t camp in Cinque Terre.
Why? Well it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and a national park, so this is part of what they do to preserve it. Likely this helps keep the park clean and peaceful for locals. There are other camping options near Cinque Terre.
- Consider booking accommodation from locally-owned apartment or hotel owners.
- Consider traveling in the shoulder and off-season to help better preserve the Cinque Terre Park from over-tourism.
- Taking the Cinque Terre train card support this sustainable form of public transportation (including the eco buses!)
- Make sure to stay on the path when hiking. They are there for a reason.
- Consider staying outside of the park itself to help preserve its authenticity.
- Bring a reusable water bottle with you, and recycle all waste in the bins.
- Read more about responsible travel here.
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