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Yaaaaaay, you’re going to Italy! Somewhere among all the instagrams and recommendations and pinterest searches, you found Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast. You know they both have rocky cliffs, colorful towns, and that perfectly blue water – but which one is best for your trip?
If you’re curious, the Amalfi Coast is my favorite place in Italy, hands-down. But there’s so much more to consider before you pick one over the other. It’s time to start your Pro/Con list, Rory Gilmore style – here are the five things to think about:
How much time do you have?
A couple days → Cinque Terre
To really see Cinque Terre, you should stay a night or two. That said, it can be done as a day trip from Florence. It will be a long day, and you won’t get to visit all five towns, but it’s doable if one day is all you have and you’re dying to check it off your list.
Five days or more → Amalfi Coast
Just getting to the Amalfi Coast is a trip in itself, so plan to stay a minimum of three nights. There’s also a lot more to explore here, and a handful of fantastic day trips to take just along the coastline. You could easily stay here for a week or more – we spent two weeks based in Positano, and can’t wait to go back!
Where else are you traveling in Italy?
Exploring Tuscany → Cinque Terre
If you’ll be around Tuscany, maybe staying in Florence, Cinque Terre is right next door! A couple days along the coast will fit much more seamlessly into your itinerary than a mad dash down to Ravello before you catch a flight home.
Flying into Rome → Amalfi Coast
Are your spending your time further south, or looking for just one or two stops in Italy? Make the Amalfi Coast your main destination, and tack on a few days in Rome – an itinerary that I 100% approve.
What’s your budget?
Watching the wallet → Cinque Terre
Because Cinque Terre is so well-connected, you have plenty of options for transportation and accommodations. It takes up less time in your itinerary, and you’ll even find more street food and quicker, less expensive ferries between cities. It’s just easier to spend less in Cinque Terre.
ready to splurge → Amalfi Coast
On the Amalfi Coast, it’s easier to splurge. Accomodations, food and activities are all generally more expensive. Then there’s the transportation out to a somewhat remote location, almost no street food (does a lemon granita in Capri count?), and fewer grocery stores – even when you’re spending mindfully, it’s going to add up.
What’s your vacation vibe?
Explore → Cinque Terre
It’s not like Cinque Terre is the Italian version of a Rumble class, but it does have a busier pace than the Amalfi Coast. There are daytrippers aplenty, and even on the beach in Monterosso, it’s not easy to snag a lounge chair for the day. You can hike between towns, each filled with their own charming shops and restaurants – you usually don’t need a reservation, but you won’t have the place to yourself.
Indulge → Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast has the feeling of a fancy resort (admittedly one of the reasons I love it). There are cruise-ship daytrippers, but there’s more space for them to spread out. Mornings are slow and easy. Lounge chairs and Goyard tote bags abound, and famous restaurants like La Sponda book up months in advance.
What Do You Think?
This is the most important thing: is one spot calling to you more? All the logic in the world won’t help if the Amalfi Coast wins on your Pro/Con list, but Cinque Terre is what you really want to see. At the end of the day you should spend your trip where you want to be, not where people on the internet (myself included!) like best.
Try imagining your post-vacation self, who has a bit of a tan and a handful of good stories, no matter which destination you chose. If you skipped Cinque Terre, do you feel a pang of regret? What about the other way around? I think you’ve got it.
How to (Not) See Cinque Terre in One Day
My Complete Guide to the Amalfi Coast
my free printable five-step
guide to packing light &
traveling in style