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The Best Bars Along the Cinque Terre Coast of Italy

Nessun Dorma's views will keep you up all night
Nessun Dorma's views will keep you up all night | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
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Line up Aperol spritzes, fine Italian wines and ice-cold beers in between browsing the scenic villages of this superlative hiking route and holiday hotspot.

Clinging for dear life onto the Italian Riviera coastline, this quintet of colourful, centuries-old seaside villages are as quaint as they come. Arriving by train or boat, you’ll find toytown harbours with clanging church bells and Crayola-bright fishing vessels, plus ravishing cliffside restaurants and vertiginous coastal walks, cooled by the Mediterranean sea breeze. Cinque Terre isn’t known for its hopping nightlife scene, but you can pause for refreshment at these lovely watering holes, bursting with old-world Italian glamour.

KM0, Corniglia

Bar, Italian
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This pebble-dash hole-in-the-wall hides a shady cafe terrace, where you can take a breather and sip a local wine or a bottled beer, surrounded by fragrant rose and hydrangea bushes. By day, it’s a rustic sandwich shop, but after dark it’s drinks that take precedence. It’s also worth a browse for the shelves upon shelves of Italian wines, and deli nibbles to take away.

Bar Terza Terra di Cadario Alison, Corniglia

Bar, Wine
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Unwind by the sun-warmed walls of this clifftop balcony terrace, overlooking peacock-toned waters that are so translucent you can see pebbles at the bottom. This Corniglia pitstop is on the coastal hiking route through Cinque Terre, so it’s popular, but still feels laid-back. Sip a chilled glass of white wine with some olive tapenade on toast, and watch as the sunset paints the surrounding coastline a warm coral pink.

Nessun Dorma, Manarola

Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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Nessun Dorma restaurant bar, Cinque Terre National Park
©  Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
With a clifftop location overlooking the Mediterranean and the cascade of candy-coloured houses that make up Manarola village, this is more of an A-list restaurant than a bar. However, you can still stop in for drinks (or a pesto-making masterclass). Gorgeous, sun-hatted couples rest their legs here after the coastal hikes in the vicinity, clinking chunky spritzes or petal-pale rosé and snapping the views. There’s now a stylish, cavernous wine shop to peruse afterwards, too.

Vertical Lounge Bar, Riomaggiore

Bar, Cocktails
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In the southernmost village of the five, Riomaggiore, the social scene gets going around 9pm, with young-professional locals and visiting couples lingering until 3am. Carefully prepped cocktails arrive in copper tankards or coconut halves, with pesto-topped focaccia or marinated anchovies beating the bar-snack competition. Charismatic owner Firenzo encourages mingling, and the music is cranked up after dark, so be prepared to make new friends.

Bar Colpi di Timone, Monterosso

Bar, Beer
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Right above Monterosso’s silvery, shingly beach, this nautical-themed joint is the kind of place with a wall of polaroids featuring guests from all over the world. It has a charming garden terrace just across from the sea, and a counter full of fresh oranges, bananas and pineapples waiting to show up in your glass. This is also a great spot for unusual ales and stouts; ask the young team of friendly chaps who run the place for their favourite brew.

La Scuna, Corniglia

Bar, Wine, $$$
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La Scuna Wine and Beer, Cinque Terre National Park
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

High on a sea-facing viewpoint in Corniglia, La Scuna has an enviable selection of Italian wines and a tropical-feeling terrace trimmed with succulents. Totter down its skinny stone steps to bag a table there, feasting on platters of sea-salty anchovies and cured coppa ham that pair perfectly with citrussy, froth-topped pints. Come for sunset if you can, arriving a good hour earlier to be sure of a seat with a view.

Bar O’Netto, Riomaggiore

Bar, Beer
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A place to refuel between picturesque wanders around Riomaggiore, this cavernous pub is in a terracotta-toned building just off the main square. Cold beers dripping with condensation, friendly staff doling out local tips, complimentary crisps and olives… It’s low-key, un-trendy, and you’ll feel right at home. Beer fans will love the wide selection of Italian craft ales, and charcuterie and cheese boards keep you going until dinnertime.

Ananasso Bar, Vernazza

Bar, Wine
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On the tranquil waterfront in Vernazza, this al fresco bar has sunflower-yellow parasols and bantering patrons who will keep you entertained. Settle in for quality coffees or rosemary-laced wine spritzers as you photograph the paintbox-bright fishing boats just offshore. It’s as fabulous for a first-thing cappuccino, with the sunlight sparkling on the water, as it is for a sunset view with an icy aperitivo.

Spend the night in one of the best hotels in Cinque Terre, now bookable via Culture Trip. Or, travel further up the coast to Genoa, where you’ll find a range of hotels for all types of travellers. Spend your days exploring the port city and then finish off in one of the many bars. If they’re not reasons enough, discover why you need to go.

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