So you have hiked the trails connecting the five towns of the Cinque Terre. You have walked up and down the hills and are sweating under the blazing Mediterranean sun. You have taken no fewer than 1200 hundred pictures of the azure-blue sea and you are just dying for a dip in it to cool off. Lucky for you, no matter which town you are in, there is a place for you to go into the water, whether you like to dip your toes in or crash head-first into the waves.
The largest of the towns, Monterosso, also has the largest beaches. They are long, sandy and have beach chairs with umbrellas for rent and if you did not wear your swimsuit for underwear, there are changing houses. The water is perfect and the sun is always shining, so rent a chair for a few euros and spend as long as you want here. Along the boardwalk there shops and little cafes selling gelato and Coca Light if you need a break from all the relaxing.
The rest of the towns have beaches with a less official feel. The beaches are less sandy and lack the amenities of the ones at Monterosso, but they also lacks the crowds. There are large flat rocks for sun-bathing (remember your SPF 50!) and the water is the same here. In Vernazza, the beach is nestled in a small cove and is accessible from the town’s main street via a tunnel next to the pharmacy (the town is so small, you will know what we mean when you get there). In Riomaggiore, follow the path along the cliffs south from the harbor to the beach. The beach near Corniglia is off of the path on the way to Vernazza. In Manarola, there is no traditional beach, but there is swimming allowed in the harbor area.
Be sure to bring your swimsuit with you before you leave for hiking for the day. With a places to swim along the trail and in every town, you could need it at a moment’s notice.
Cinque Terre combines the relaxation of a beach vacation with the workout of a trip to a national park. In short, you get the best of both worlds.