Don’t know what to pack for your Cinque Terre trip? Don’t worry, I have you covered and created the perfect Cinque Terre packing list, so that you know exactly what to take on your trip, no matter the kind of traveler you are.
For many travelers – and that would include myself, actually! – the worst part about any trip is the packing and trying to figure out what to take and what to leave behind. If you’re planning a trip to Cinque Terre, what you pack for your vacation really depends on when you’ll be visiting and what you intend to do while you’re there.
If you’re going to Cinque Terre during the shoulder season (for example in October, or March-April), you’ll likely want to do some hiking on the fantastic trails in the region. However, unless there is a rare hot day, you won’t be going to the beach to do any swimming.
If you’re visiting Cinque Terre during the summer, it might be too hot to do a lot of hiking but you’ll likely be heading to the beaches to enjoy the sun and warm, clear waters.
You’ll notice that there’s nothing like a Cinque Terre packing list for winter. This is because I don’t really recommend traveling there during the winter. Don’t get me wrong: it is gorgeous and the lack of crowds makes it even more fascinating. But it gets quite cold and there’s lots of rain during that time of year. Quite often, the hiking trails are closed due to mudslides and other adverse conditions and many businesses are closed up during the winter months because there aren’t a lot of people around to keep them open for.
That being said, no matter what time of year you travel to Cinque Terre, it’s important to pack accordingly and packing for a trip to Cinque Terre doesn’t need to be a dreaded task!
Continue reading to discover what to pack for Cinque Terre, as recommended by a very experienced traveler! Let me start with a few basic guidelines that will help you packing.
Useful Things To Know When Packing For Cinque Terre
You will be much better off packing light!
No matter what season it is when you travel to Cinque Terre, you’re bound to have an active vacation with swimming, hiking and exploring. Just traveling between the villages involves getting on a train or ferry so you’ll be moving around a lot too. For these reasons, the last thing you want to be stuck with is a lot of excess luggage.
There’s nothing worse than traveling around an area and having to tow multiple bags around and this is especially true if you travel during the summer when it’s very hot! There are many hills and stairs around the Cinque Terre villages and imagining carrying extra baggage around over this type of terrain should be enough to convince you to leave anything you don’t need at home. The best way to travel is light!
Only take the items you’ll need for the season you’re traveling in. There’s no reason to take a different outfit for every day. You can wash items as you go! Pack your toiletries into small reusable containers instead of taking large bottles and take versatile clothing that can easily go from exploring to casual dinner with the right accessories. You only need one outfit for those times when you wish to dine in a more formal establishment that requires a dress code.
Don’t pack heels
This one is for the girls reading this post.
The many hills and stairs are a very good reason not to wear high heels during your visit to Cinque Terre. Cobbled streets, hills and stairs make walking in heels almost impossible or at least very uncomfortable. Be sure to pack something comfortable like sneakers, flats, or hiking sandals. There’s no need to take a pair of heels to go anywhere fancy. You can get comfortable stylish flats that can go from sightseeing to dining without having to change.
The Best Luggage To Use For A Cinque Terre Trip
It’s becoming easier and more convenient to be a minimalist traveler! With the cost and hassle of checking baggage on a plane and having to carry items around from place to place, it’s just so much better traveling with less. Even if you have to check a bag, it’s best to go with something small.
A carry-on size Cabin Zero, which fits 36 liters, or a very light carry-on bag with wheels should fit a lot of your belongings and it’s easy to lift and carry. Remember that you’ll need to lift your luggage over lots of stairs so make sure it’s something you can easily get around with. That’s why I prefer a Cabin Zero-style backpack.
If the small carry-on is not enough to hold everything you want to take with you, a small backpack should do the trick! Actually, you should take a small backpack anyway because it can also be used as a daypack. It’ll come in handy when you’re exploring the villages, hiking, or heading out to the beach.
Another great piece of luggage to take with you is a cross-body bag that crosses the front of your body. This makes carrying smaller items, such as money, bus passes and snacks, easy. If you manage to get one that is stylish enough, you can even use it at night, when you go out for dinner.
There isn’t a lot of crime in the Cinque Terre region anyway, so you likely won’t have to worry about being robbed. But it’s always a good idea to be safe no matter where you’re traveling. This type of bag is also a deterrent for would-be thieves who won’t bother to try and steal from a bag that only opens in front of you.
Don’t forget to read my post Where To Stay In Cinque Terre.
The Best Cinque Terre Packing List
Hiking in Cinque Terre packing list
If you’re going to be hiking during your visit to Cinque Terre, there are a number of items you definitely should pack. Here is a list of essential items.
Hiking shoes or boots and hiking socks
I have seen people walking along the trails of the Cinque Terre in running shoes, plain city boots and even wellies. The trails are good and often paved, but the slightest rain and humidity will make them muddy and very slippery and you really want to have a pair of good hiking boots or shoes with a gripping sole to avoid slipping down. You will also need good hiking socks that will give enough pad to your feet for comfort.
Are you familiar with the changeable weather in Cinque Terre? Yes, that’s right, the weather can change quickly. While winter is the season that sees the harshest conditions, adverse weather can happen in the summer, spring and fall as well. It certainly rained a lot when we visited at the end of April. Hence, do yourself a favor and make sure to have a light rainproof jacket.
A quick dry long sleeve shirt such as Kuhl Sojourn or a short-sleeve in case you are hiking in the hottest months are also needed. In fact, I recommend packing an extra one in your daypack, in case you need a quick change.
Hiking pants or shorts
If you’re traveling during the cooler months, make sure to pack long hiking pants. I use Kuhl Softshell frost and could not recommend them more. In the warmer months, it’s best to hike in shorts. Kuhl splash as the perfect hiking shorts
If you are planning on hiking the Cinque Terre trails in the fall or spring months, you will definitely need a light sweater – I love the Stria Pullover Hoody by Kuhl as it’s very comfortable. You may also want to bring a scarf, a hat and gloves (I often find my hands get very cold when hiking in the colder months).
Some of the trails in Cinque Terre are a bit rugged and steep so if you are unsure about your step you may want to take along some hiking poles to help make the hiking easier and prevent an injury during your vacation. Personally, I am not a fan of hiking poles at all – but I am an experienced hiker!
A refillable water bottle is likely the most essential item you’ll need on any hike, any time of year. Even when it’s not very hot outside, the sun is hot and combined with a strenuous hike, dehydration can set in. It’s important to always be hydrated while hiking! You won’t have to carry too much water around: there are water fountains in all the villages so you can refill your bottle as you go.
Head over to my post A Guide To Hiking The Cinque Terre.
If you go to the beach
If you plan to travel to Cinque Terre during the hotter months and will be going to the beach and swimming in the sea, the items you pack will be much different than the ones you pack for hiking! Here are a few things you should not forget.
Bikini or swimsuit
Of course, the most important item you can bring on any beach vacation is your bikini or swimsuit. There are plenty of shops in Monterosso al Mare or Levanto where you can get a spare one, in case you need it.
A beach towel is an important item to have too. Most hotels will provide you one, but if you find a lightweight and quick-dry one I recommend bringing one anyways.
Flip flops or sandals
Hiking boots are not very comfortable on the beach – besides your feet will boil in them – so you’ll need to have a pair of flip flops and a pair of light sandals. This is what to wear in Cinque Terre also when you go out to dinner or hanging out at your hotel.
Furthermore, some of the beaches in the area have pebbles instead of sand so a pair of water shoes that allow you to walk over the rocks to get into the water are a great thing to have to save your feet!
Of course, being practical at the beach is important but you’ll want to look stylish too! A sunhat doubles as a chic accessory while protecting your head and eyes from the sun.
A light sundress doubles as a cover-up. Kuhl Skyla dress comes in a variety of colors, including black. The latter one is actually very easy to dress up with the right pair of shoes!
Other beach essentials
o trip to the beach is ever complete without a good refillable water bottle, lots of sunscreen and a nice beach bag to carry all the items you need for a relaxing day at the beach.
Make sure to also read my post The Best Guide To Monterosso Al Mare.
Sightseeing in Cinque Terre packing list
No doubt you’ll be doing some sightseeing while touring the Cinque Terre region as this is something that can be done in any season. You will want to be as comfortable as possible because sightseeing could involve light walking and riding on ferries, buses and trains. Here is a selection of essential items you will need.
A sundress like the one mentioned above for the summer, or a plain dress that you can accessorize for the evening are an essential item for a good Cinque Terre packing list. For those evenings when you’ll likely go somewhere nice to enjoy some fine dining, make sure to pack a nicer dress for these occasions. Kuhl has a selection of lovely dresses that are at the same time stylish and comfortable to wear.
One or two pair of pants
You will need a couple of pair of pants for your Cinque Terre trip – one of them can be a pair of jeans. You can use them for sightseeing during the day, and dress them up with a nice shirt or accessories for the evening. The same goes for shorts in the summer months. Kuhl has a very good range of pants and shorts that are at the same time comfortable and stylish.
T-shirts or tank tops
You will need cotton shirts – long or short sleeve – to layer up during the day when you go sightseeing. In fact, if you visit in the summer months you will probably want to opt for a tank-top to keep as cool as possible!
They are super versatile! You can wear them for sightseeing, to go on a hike and even as a pajama so they are an essential item on this Cinque Terre packing list.
A light cardi or sweater
The nights can get a bit cool in the late spring or early fall, so you should pack a light cardi or sweater for the evening.
It can actually get quite cold in the evening during the fall and spring months (and obviously in the winter) and you won’t regret bringing a warmer jacket (and perhaps a scarf and a hat) with you. When we visited in April it rained a lot and it was quite cold at night so we were happy to have a thicker jacket.
Very comfortable shoes
Whichever season you choose to visit Cinque Terre, the most important thing you can pack for sightseeing activities is a very comfortable pair of shoes. Trainers, sneakers, or comfortable flats are what to wear in Cinque Terre and no restaurant in the region is so formal that you will feel compelled to wear anything more stylish.
Other things to add to your Cinque Terre packing list
There are a few other important items to add to your Cinque Terre packing list. Some are obvious, and others are often forgotten or overlooked. Here’s a list of items that you should make sure to pack for Cinque Terre:
- A pajama – it may seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked or forgotten (I only know too well!).
- camera – make sure to also being a charger for the battery, and enough memory cards.
- power-bank – in case you need to charge your phone on the go.
- plug adaptor – if you’re traveling from the United Kingdom or North America, you may or may not be aware that your chargers won’t work in the outlets around Italy. You’ll need to take a plug adapter with you so your electronics can be charged.
- sunglasses – to protect your eyes on those sunny days and to look stylish.
- sunblock – you will need it to prevent sunburn when outdoors during the day.
Finally, remember to bring your cell phone! You will need it to keep in touch with the other people in your travel party, your family and friends back home and emergency services if ever needed. In fact, you will want to ensure it’s always charged and has enough credit to call or send texts during your trip.
Make sure to read these posts to better plan your trip to the Cinque Terre region.
- How To Get To Cinque Terre From Milan
- The Best Day Trip From Florence To Cinque Terre
- A Quick Guide To Manarola
- A Useful Guide To Vernazza
- A Short Guide To Riomaggiore
- Is The Cinque Terre Card Worth It?
- The Best Restaurants In Cinque Terre