Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. This cluster of five villages located on the rugged Ligurian coast is a photographer’s paradise, with its brightly-colored houses perched on cliffs that plunge into the sea.
The villages are also a hikers’ dream, with trails linking them together and offering stunning coastline views.
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Getting to Cinque Terre can be a bit tricky, as there is no direct train or bus from major cities like Florence, Milan, or Rome.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the different ways to reach Cinque Terre using different transport methods.
Where Is Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is located on the northwestern coast of Italy in the region of Liguria. The closest major city is Genoa, which is about an hour’s drive away.
The closest airport is also in Genoa, and from there you can either rent a car or take a train to the Cinque Terre villages.
If you’re coming from Florence, Milan, or Rome, the best way to reach Cinque Terre is by train.
Keep reading to learn how to get to Cinque Terre.
Best Way To Reach Cinque Terre
The best way to get there is to take a train to the town of La Spezia and then switch to a local train that goes to the Cinque Terre villages. The journey from La Spezia takes about 30 minutes.
Once you’re in Cinque Terre, getting around is pretty straightforward. Most of the villages are small and can be explored on foot. A local train runs between the villages, so you can hop on and off at each stop.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can also hike the trails that link the villages together. Along the way, you’ll get breathtaking views of the coastline.
The Cinque Terre villages are:
- Monterosso al Mare
Getting To Cinque Terre By Train
The easiest and best way to get to Cinque Terre is by train. The closest major city with a direct train connection is La Spezia.
From there, you can take a local train to any of the Cinque Terre villages.
You can take a regional train to Cinque Terre if you arrive from Genoa. The journey takes about an hour.
You can book your train ticket on Omio.
Getting To Cinque Terre By Car
If you’re traveling by car, you can reach Cinque Terre easily from anywhere.
If you’re staying in one of the villages, you may have difficulty finding parking, so make sure to book accommodation that provides parking. That said, driving around the small roads in Cinque Terre is tricky because they’re very narrow and winding.
We recommend leaving your car at your accommodation and using the local train to get around the villages.
Getting To Cinque Terre By Bus
There is no direct bus from major cities like Florence, Milan, or Rome to Cinque Terre. However, some buses can take you to La Spezia, and you can take the local train there.
You can book your bus ticket on Omio.
How To Get Around The Cinque Terre Villages
You’ll find hiking trails, minibusses, local trains, and ferries connecting the villages in Cinque Terre. Alternatively, if you’re driving, you can drive between the villages, but parking could be an issue.
We recommend parking your car in a hotel offering a parking spot and using public transportation or your two feet to get around the villages.
- Local Train: Several local trains operate between the Cinque Terre villages. This is the best way to get around if you want to visit all five villages in one day.
- Minibusses: Some minibusses connect the villages but don’t run as frequently as the trains.
- Hiking Trails: There are hiking trails linking all of the Cinque Terre villages.
- Ferries: Ferries also operate between the villages, which is a great way to see the coastline.
Cinque Terre Transportation Tips
- Buy a Cinque Terre Card: This card allows you to use all of the public transportation in Cinque Terre, including trains, buses, and ferries. You can also use it to get discounts at some of the restaurants and shops. The Cinque Terre Card has different prices depending on the length of stay.
- Purchase your card in advance: Tickets for the local trains can be bought at the train station, but we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance online to avoid long lines. That said, the system had issues when we were there, and it was very complicated to buy a ticket in person. Avoid any inconvenience and buy it while you have wifi.
- Be prepared for crowds: Cinque Terre is a popular destination, so it can get crowded, especially in the summer. If you’re visiting during peak season, we recommend getting an early start to avoid the crowds.
How Long Does It Take To Walk Between Villages?
It takes about 30 minutes to walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola and one hour to walk from Manarola to Corniglia. From Corniglia, it’s about 1h30 to Vernazza and 1h30 hours to Monterosso al Mare.
If you’re planning on hiking the entire trail, it takes about 5 hours to complete.
Best Time To Visit Cinque Terre
The best time to visit Cinque Terre is in the spring or fall when the weather is milder, and there are fewer crowds. That said, Cinque Terre is beautiful year-round, so if you can’t visit during those times, don’t worry.
Remember that some of the trails may be closed in the winter due to weather conditions. For example, during our trip in June, the hiking trails by the sea from Corniglia to Riomaggiore were closed. Although the higher trails were open, we could still do it – we just needed to climb more stairs.
Final Thoughts On Getting To Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is the place for you if you’re looking for a beautiful and relaxing Italian getaway. You’ll fall in love with this picturesque region with stunning coastline views and many hiking trails to explore.
The best way to get around is by train or bus but be prepared for crowds during peak season. And, don’t forget to buy your Cinque Terre Card in advance!
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