There is arguably nothing better than summer in Italy, and more specifically, by one of the country’s fabulous coastal areas. Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast do share a lot of similarities, but there are a ton of differences, too. If you don’t have time to visit both (if you do, consider it), the following can help you make your selection.
Cinque Terre vs. Amalfi Coast: Food
A lot of travelers are surprised to learn that food throughout Italy is very different, and specific regions of the country will mean a very different culinary experience. So, what kind of food are you really looking to indulge in during your visit?
If you like seafood just as much as you like Italian food, visit the Amalfi Coast where the two deliciously come together and indulge in some of the best Italian seafood in the country. And although not technically in the Amalfi Coast, the nearby city of Naples—which is where you’ll likely end up at some point if you’re traveling to the Amalfi Coast—might arguably have some of the best pizza in Italy.
Cinque Terre is Italy’s pesto capital, and although you can get obviously get pesto pretty much anywhere, there’s something extra delicious about the pesto in Cinque Terre. From pasta to pizza to toasted flatbread, spread this yummy stuff on just about anything you can think of.
Cinque Terre vs. Amalfi Coast: Alcohol and Wine
If you’re a wine lover—more particularly, you like white wine, you’ll want to head to Cinque Terre for premium selections. Red wine isn’t produced much in Cinque Terre, so while you might still be able to find a delicious glass of Pinot Noir somewhere, you’ll be better off with the whites if you want to stick something that’s produced locally.
Looking for something a bit different? The Amalfi Coast—and more specifically, the town of Sorrento—is famous for its tangy and memorable limoncello. There are so many damn lemons and limoncello throughout the Amalfi Coast, that it’s impossible not to smell it everywhere you go. It’s pretty nice and refreshing—that is, unless you hate lemon, in which case you might want to stick to Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre vs. Amalfi Coast: Things to Do
If you love to be active, Cinque Terre is where its at. Cinque Terre, which means five lands, links the five different villages by its famed hiking path. Travel from one town to another entirely on foot, or just set out for a mini-hike if you aren’t looking for anything too strenuous.
All in all, Cinque Terre is much smaller and low-key compared to Amalfi Coast. As such, there is no wonder that there is a lot less to do in Cinque Terre. But if you don’t care about having tons on your to-do list and like the idea of simplicity and small villages, Cinque Terre might be the perfect choice.
On the other hand, you might want more activities to choose from and perhaps you get bored easily. The Amalfi Coast has a lot more to do and see—from the picturesque Positano to the beautiful island of Capri. Getting around is easy, but not quite as simple as short train rides or hikes, like in Cinque Terre. You’ll need to drive or take a ferry if you plan on visiting other parts of the Amalfi Coast (and we highly recommend you do). But sightseers will certainly have their work cut out from them, from historic cathedrals to museums and castles.
Cinque Terre vs. Amalfi Coast: Beaches
If you’re traveling to a seaside town in Italy, especially during the warmer months, you’ll probably want to know more about the beaches. So, which has the better beaches—Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast?
It’s really a matter of what you consider a great beach. If you’re looking for long stretches of powder white sand and warm water, you won’t find that in Italy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find some lovely swimming spots to cool off on a sizzling hot day.
In Cinque Terre, you really won’t find many beaches, per se, but you’ll find lots of little swimming spots, places for cliff jumping, and areas where you can lay out on the rocks. The “proper” and best beaches are found in Monterosso.
Now if beaching is an absolute must for your trip, Amalfi Coast wins, hands down. From the beaches of Positano to the beaches of Nerano, there are tons to choose from—whether you want stretches of beach or tiny little coves. Be warned, though, that these beaches are rocky, so do bring your water shoes!
Essential Travel Information
Trains: Getting around Europe is easy and fun when you take the train. Whether you’re just traveling throughout Italy, or you’re traveling throughout Europe, Rail Europe is the way to go and the easiest way to plan your train travel.
Flights: Prefer to just fly from city to city, or need to book your flights to Europe? You’ll have plenty of options, depending on your departure city and destination. Major European air carriers, that also fly to and from the US, include Air France and Swiss International Airlines. Use an airline search engine like CheapOAir to compare different options.
Lodging: Want to stay in a five-star luxury resort, or perhaps just looking for a hostel? We love Expedia for its wide range of accommodations options, and we’re sure you’ll find what you need for your Italy trip. Feel free to reach out to us if you need help or suggestions!
We want to hear from you! If you’ve been to both: Do you prefer Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast? Why?