My husband and I were just in Cinque Terre on Sept 17-19. We stayed in Riomaggiore both nights, but we tried to explore all five towns. Our room in Riomaggiore was adequate (clean sheets and a comfortable bed, but the room was tucked in one of the many small alleyways so it was dark and noisy) but not great. We got the room by asking someone at the main bar in town.
The town was incredibly charming but crawling with tourists and young Americans who came through as backpackers and decided to live there for a while (lots of Italian guy / American girl couples!). I was sort of embarrassed to be just another American visitor and I felt sorry for the townspeople (especially the older ones) who have had so much adjusting to do these past few years.
We took the train to Monterosso and wanted to hike all the way back to Riomaggiore — a book we had said the entire hike would take about 2 hours — what a crock!!
I’m glad your site was more truthful about the hike; that it starts out pretty rugged and challenging but then gets better. We had already been hiking that day and were sucking wind by the time we approached Vernazza. It was getting late and we were very tired so we wussed out and took the train to Manarola, then took the easy “walk of love” to Riomaggiore.
I think visitors should be warned that the entire hike is not for the faint of heart. The “walk of love” thing can be misunderstood to include all five towns! Next time we’re there I want to take a whole day to do the entire hike, I’d also like to take a boat ride.
Thanks for your site!