Spend free time exploring Vernazza and Riomaggiore, two spectacularly beautiful coastal villages in Cinque Terre, an area so scenic that UNESCO named it a World Heritage site.
After departing from the pier, you will settle in for an immensely picturesque drive to Vernazza, one of five coastal villages within Cinque Terre. All of them lie within the ruggedly beautiful Cinque Terre National Park, an area that UNESCO has deemed a World Heritage site for being a landscape of great scenic and cultural value.
Arguably the most photogenic of the villages, Vernazza is a wonderful setting to enjoy free time, meandering about wherever you please. The main square is a great place to start exploring, as the Church of Santa Margherita d'Antiochia stands here overlooking the natural harbor. Built in the Gothic-Ligurian style, the church features an octagonal bell tower that can't be missed, making it even easier to find your way around the pastel-colored town.
After a few hours strolling the narrow lanes of Vernazza, you will drive on to Riomaggiore, another absolutely gorgeous coastal village that clings to a steep hillside. The largest of the five villages, Riomaggiore has also been built into a steep rocky hillside, affording magnificent views of the sea.
Because of its size, Riomaggiore offers a few more points of interest than Vernazza. A 13th century castle looms over the historical center, the Oratory of St. Mary Assumption holds an intriguing 15th-century triptych and the St. John the Baptist church is ornamented with black-and-white marble.Note: Walking on this tour is at the guest's discretion during their free time; this tour is not available to wheelchair guests. Conservatively dressing is required to enter churches during your free time and weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.