Before booking – about Cinque Terre
We suggest to visit Cinque Terre by train and doing some trekking path. If you are coming by car, leave it parked for the whole stay. You can buy the Cinque Terre train card (one, two or three days) which allows you to get on and off at all stops between La Spezia and Levanto for the entire validity of the card. It also allows you to access the SVA path between Monterosso and Corniglia which is subject to a fee and to take buses inside the park (more info on the card here). We recommend you to wear suitable shoes for trekking.
Some people visit the Cinque Terre in one day, which we strongly advise against. To fully enjoy the beauty of the place, we suggest you do at least 2 full days, and if you like walking, swimming or try some local experience it is better to take more time, even 3, 4 or more days.
Many think that Manarola and Vernazza are the most beautiful villages in the Cinque Terre, the ones not to be missed. Manarola for the colorful houses overlooking the sea and Vernazza because it’s small and cozy. Monterosso is the largest one, the only town with a sandy beach. Riomaggiore is the most populous, whose Marina is very beautiful to see. Finally Corniglia, the less visited village due to its uncomfortable position (it can be reached by taking 400 steps) but equally interesting from a scenographic point of view.
You can walk between one village and another through the high paths. The lower ones, the famous Via dell’Amore between Riomaggiore and Manarola and the second stretch between Manarola and Corniglia have been closed for years.
You’ll need at least a couple of days to walk between Cinque Terre and to take enough time for a quick visit. Please read this article for details.
Cinque Terre food is a combination of land and sea food. Famous are anchovies and lemons of Monterosso, Cappun magru, pesto and focaccia, Cinque Terre d.o.c. wine, sweet Sciacchetrà wine, farinata.
By train: It takes about 10 minutes from La Spezia to Riomaggiore, the first village of Cinque Terre. 30 minutes to reach Monterosso, the last village.
By car: It takes about 30 minutes from La Spezia (railway station) to Riomaggiore, the first village of Cinque Terre. About 50 minutes to reach Monterosso, the last village.
From mid-March to early November each train ride costs € 4, while in the low season, from November to March, it costs about the half depending on the length of the ride. If you plan to take the train and buses more often, it becomes convenient to buy the Cinque Terre card, for 1 day (€ 16) or 2 days (€ 29). The card also includes the train, the busses in the Cinque Terre and the paths between Monterosso and Corniglia.
You can read this article for detailed informations
Cinque Terre can be visited all year round. The intermediate seasons like spring and autumn are, of course, the best time but you can consider wintertime as well, as temperatures are never excessively cold. If you hike, in summer the heat is almost never a problem as there is always a breeze from the sea and some parts of the trails are shaded by woods.
We usually offer this full-day private tour to visit the Cinque Terre in one day from Florence. The tour includes an English speaking guide for max 7 hours, all train rides from La Spezia to Cinque Terre. To reach Cinque Terre you can drive, take a train or book a transfer (write us for more infos: firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are no direct trains, but there are 18 trains departing Firenze Santa Maria Novella station each day that will get you to the Cinque Terre (Monterosso) station. The station at which you’ll change trains varies, so check your itinerary closely. You can book here.
By train: 2,5-3 hours
By car: 1,5 hours
There are various options to visit the Cinque Terre in 3 days, by train or by hiking trails. If you visit the Cinque Terre only by train, 2 days could be enough and the third day you could dedicate it to the surroundings, for example seeing the beautiful Portovenere. If you like walking, you can visit all the villages in just 2 days if you are fit, 3 if you are less fit. We have developed a series of “self guided” packages which include accommodation (of various levels), dinner and wine tasting. For long distance packages, luggage transport is also included. You can find more information on 3-4 day packages here, and 5-6 day packages here.
The ferry boats connect the Cinque Terre with Portovenere, La Spezia and Lerici. You can buy the ticket directly upon boarding. You can consult routes, timetables and prices directly on the Maritime Consortium website
You won’t need a car to visit Cinque Terre, they are National Park, so it is strictly forbidden to enter inside the villages with the car. The train is the fastest and most practical way. If you come by car it is better to park it and always use the train. If, on the other hand, you stay for several days and want to explore the surroundings, then the car becomes essential. To visit Lerici and Tellaro, or the areas of Lunigiana and Val di Vara, Marble Quarries, etc., it is absolutely advisable to move by car.
If you want to reach Cinque Terre by car, the villages develop from top to bottom and the parking lots are located in the upper part of the towns. The only village that is an exception is Corniglia, here the village and the parking lot are at the same height. Always keep in mind that parking spaces are limited, we suggest you to leave your car in La Spezia (there is a guarded car park at the station) and travel between the towns by train.
Unfortunately the Cinque Terre are not very suitable for the wheelchairs, there are steps, narrow and irregular roads, continuous ups and downs. The small railway stations are not equipped with services for disabled, the only way to reach the villages is by car (at certain times it is allowed to enter by car up to a point, it is necessary to inquire by calling the police of the municipality). Among all the Cinque Terre we recommend Monterosso, which is the largest in width and the one with the most regular road. An interesting solution can be to take the ferry boat to La Spezia and reach Monterosso, admiring the other villages from the sea. These are the only easy stops for getting on and off in a wheelchair.
If you are looking for a sandy beach in the Cinque Terre, the only one is to go to Monterosso. However, all the Cinque Terre have access to the sea. After Monterosso you will find all villages with beaches. Bonassola beach is also well known and appreciated, frequented mainly by locals.