Scour the Cinque Terre with kids and you won’t find your typical attractions. There are no amusement parks, no zip lines, no flashing lights of any kind. When looking for things to do in the Cinque Terre with kids you can expect great food, hiking and a nice place to cool off on a hot summer day.
Gelato: You can never go wrong with a gelato stop when you are exploring the Cinque Terre with kids. If you really want to get adventurous, you can try gelato in each of the five towns and have the kids decide which is the best. Flavors range from chocolate and vanilla to fruits like strawberry, raspberry and lemon.
Pasta: The Cinque Terre is located in the Liguria region of Italy, and just south of Genoa, which is known for its pesto. Being on the coast, the Cinque Terre is also well known for its fish. Anytime you can mix a pesto pasta dish followed by some fresh seafood is a good meal to be had. Pair it with a local Cinque Terre white wine, one that you can rarely buy outside of the region, and your day just got a lot better.
Wine: The wine of the Cinque Terre is superb. The whites compliment the warm sea breezes that float through town, while the reds mellow out your day with their rich, bold flavors. More importantly, most wines made in the Cinque Terre can’t be found anywhere else, so load up while you can. Ship some home and take a bottle back to your hotel or rental with you to enjoy before the end of your trip, or pack a few in your suitcase. Just make sure you pad eat bottle well or you will have a soggy bag when you arrive home. Recommended: 2014 Cinque Terre – Cantina Crovara.
The old goat paths are a great place to hike with your kids, and yes, you can do it at any age. The simplest path, dubbed Lover’s Lane, runs from Manarola to Romaggiore. This relatively flat, simple path is easy for young hikers to tackle and parents carry babies can still get a hike in without breaking their backs. Check with the tourism board to make sure the path is open though; landslides regularly shut down paths throughout the region.
Monterroso is the only true sandy beach town within the Cinque Terre. If you want another option you will have to head north to Levanto. Veranazza has a small beach you can wade into, but honestly with the amount of gasoline foam coming from the boats and ferries, you may not want to hop in from shore. You will see many sunbathers in Manarola, who happily slip into the blue waters to cool off before returning to their sunbathing. There are no lifeguards, so keep a close eye on children who can’t swim.
- Explore the Santa Margherita d’Antiocha in Vernazza, a 1318 church built on sea rock that can’t be missed, especially if you are arriving by ferry. Simply look to the left of the little town and it is right there.
- The lookout towers of the 11th century Castello Doria in Vernazza offers views of the entire region. Most of the structure is a ruin, but you can still enter the tower.
- Climb through the streets of Manarola for beautiful views by the Church of San Lorezo before popping into the gothic-style church built in 1338.