During the past years, I received hundreds of questions from all over the world. Some questions were frequently asked so I am trying to answer them here.
Basically everyone. It is so beautiful and unique in this world that you just have to see it. Of course, I mainly recommend it if you like active holidays to enjoy hiking and water sports but you will also love it if you just prefer relaxing on the beach. If you are into gastronomy, you won't get disappointed tasting local food and wine. It's perfect for couples as the place is really romantic so you can propose your girlfriend, spend your honeymoon, have your wedding here or just a nice vow reneval on your anniversary. You can also travel with kids, see details in the next section. The villages have many steep streets and hundreds of steps so if you are not very fit or too old for these climbs, you should try to search for accommodation in the central area of the villages, with no steps. (It's not easy but I have some solutions for you.) If you have difficulty walking, you can still stay in Monterosso or La Spezia and take the boat to see the villages.
Kids will love the colours, cats, pizza, icecream, beaches, pebbles, trains, tunnels, boats and so much more. They will enjoy the Levanto-Framura bike path through the old railway tunnels. There are also nice playgrounds in each village, my favourite one is in Manarola with breathtaking seaview. Our baby girl enjoys crawling around the piazza, meeting local kids and old ladies sitting on the bench. Travelling with a baby is a great way to meet local people! She also loves the sea of course, but her favourite activity is surely playing with small stones on the beach. In the central part of villages you can walk around with a pram, but if you'd like to visit the higher parts of the villages or do some hiking, you have to carry her on your back.
You can essentially visit the Cinque Terre any time of the year. Its climate is usually warm and dry; during my many visits I have seen rain maybe twice. Of course, you are more likely to experience rain in the spring and fall. However, if you would like to hike, these are the more pleasant months as during the summer it can be too hot for walking in the hills. Winters are not too cold. Usually you can swim in the sea between May and October. Of course, the water temperature is more pleasant between June and September so summer is the best time for swimming, water sports, boat excursions and nice Italian gelato in the shade. If you have kids, you will probably be travelling during the summer school holiday.
If you would like to experience a real Italian festa, check out the dates under festivals. You can also check here the dates of Italian national holidays. If you don't like crowds, it is worth avoiding these dates – mainly April 25, May 1, August 15, Easter and Pentecost – as the area is full of Italian tourists. August is generally crowded as every Italian goes to the sea so if you have a choice, come some other time.
If you would like to experience the villages with local people only, travel in March, November, or even during the winter months. The Cinque Terre is nice and quiet, and you can experience how life was 30 years ago before travellers discovered this beautiful area. At the end of December and the start of January, you can also see the biggest nativity scene of the world in Manarola.
During the winter, many apartments and restaurants are closed but don't worry, there are nice rooms and apartments with heating, and you will surely find a few open places to enjoy a delicious Ligurian meal.
In many apartments and rooms, there is still no Internet. I think it is better this way as instead of spending time with your laptop or smart phone, you'll be enjoying real life in these wonderful villages. But if you just can't live without Internet and feel the urge to share your holiday photos with everyone on Facebook, don't worry, there is Internet around. There is an Internet cafe in every village and many bars will give you a free Wi-Fi code if you get a drink.
There are no campsites in the 5 villages but there are several campsites in Levanto and Deiva Marina. You can find them on the Internet.
The quality of tap water is really good here and you will find fountains in the streets. So no need to buy expensive bottled water, plus you'll create less garbage. Just bring an empty water bottle with you.
The Cinque Terre is not cheap. As everywhere in the world, tourism has raised prices. I often go to the market of La Spezia to shop for food, it's much cheaper than the stores of the villages. In restaurants, you have to expect Western European prices. You will find wonderful local products to take home as souvenirs: wine, limoncino, pesto, olive oil, anchovies, ceramics, etc. Paintings also make great presents, look for my painter friend Oliver in Riomaggiore or Manarola. There are also beautiful books to take home. My personal favourite is "Vineyards with seaview" by Catherina Unger with amazing photos and wonderful stories of local winegrowers.
Police: 113. Firemen: 115. First aid: 118. The closest hospitals are in La Spezia and Levanto. Both of them offer really good quality services.
There is a luggage deposit at the railway station of La Spezia Centrale, at the railway station of Riomaggiore and at a laundry in Monterosso. Please ask locally for more information as prices and opening times might be changing.