Our morning view of Vernazza's town square
Oh, Vernazza, you are so beautiful...so old...so charming... so unique...

The main street (and really the only street) heading from the train station down to the beach and town square

We knew we wanted to go to Cinque Terre, Italy and we were a little late in the game with planning a trip for August in Italy, but even if we had planned earlier I am not sure what I would have changed.  Honestly, we got lucky.  There weren't many options left in our price range for accommodations (I booked this in May), but we ended up with a fabulous place that I would highly recommend for families visiting Vernazza.
 I had heard several warnings on bringing young children to Cinque Terre, Italy, but we couldn't pass up a visit just because we had little legs with us.  Yes, there are steps everywhere.  And, yes, you probably shouldn't bring a stroller (or if you do be prepared to have to carry it up and down steps A LOT!) . But, if you are comfortable with a baby carrier then by all means GO!  We stayed for 4 nights and opted to travel from Geneva by train.  These towns are pedestrian only, so even if we had driven we would of had to park the car outside Vernazza and train into town.
 We stayed in a room owned and run by Francamaria Rooms.  It was right off of the main square in the green building pictured above.  Our room, named C├Ęssa Doia, is the one with the dark green shutters open and the two bathing suits hanging from the line outside the window.  The building is pictured again below on the far right side of the photo.  It had a wonderful location because it overlooked the main square below including the restaurants and beach.  And, you could walk to it with less than 10 steps total.  By taking the 5-6 steps between the pink and green building and then turning right behind the green building you could access the room from the street.  So, I suppose you could bring a stroller if you stayed in this room (however you would still have to carry it down from the train station as there was no working elevator).
Jonathan and my cousin, Mindi, having a chat on the ramp that heads down to the beach
 Vernazza is currently the only town sandwiched between 2 open coastal trails.  For this reason, and because I had read it was so beautiful, we chose to stay in Vernazza instead of the other 4 towns.  Our itinerary included hiking, relaxing and eating. By staying in Vernazza we were able to start hikes early in the morning, finish them by late morning and have the rest of the day for naps, beach and lingering around the town before eating large quantities of fresh seafood and pasta for dinner.
Just after the Vernazza checkpoint heading toward Monterosso
 Of our 3 full days we spent 2 of them hiking in the mornings followed by swimming and relaxing in the afternoons and on 1 of them we took the public boat to the remaining towns we had not yet visited.  The boat is a nice way to see the towns from the water and an alternative to the train.  After having hiked along the coastal trail via the Vernazza - Monterosso Trail and then the Corniglia - Vernazza Trail, we had seen several views of the towns from the mountains above and were eager to see what they looked like from the Sea below.  While hiking the water looked so welcoming and the rocky cliffs dropping down into the Sea breathtaking.

A mid-way stop along the Corniglia-Vernazza Trail (Corniglia on the jut of land sticking out into the water behind us)

On the public boat heading out of Vernazza
View of Riomaggiore from the public boat




I am happy that we stayed in Vernazza.  After reading that Monterosso was more family friendly I was concerned that we had chosen the wrong home base, however I wouldn't change our location.  If we went back I think we might even stay in Vernazza again.  Monterosso is beautiful and has several long beaches and is more stroller accessible, however you also have to fight cars, delivery trucks and taxis.  I enjoyed the pedestrian only and smaller town of Vernazza.  It felt safer for me to let the children run around the town square, dance to the music and explore the twisting narrow streets and walkways.







 We also really enjoyed Vernazza's beach.  It was small, however it was sandy.  We swam in Monterosso, and it was much bigger, but also very pebbly.  The children had lots of fun digging in the sand and swimming at Vernazza's beach every afternoon.










Link to our hike from Vernazza to Monterosso
Link to our hike from Corniglia to Vernazza
Link to all of our photos from Cinque Terre