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The Complete Guide to the Cinque Terre

Still have questions about your trip to the Cinque Terre? Our Itinerary Review is just what you need. No time to plan yourself? Check out our full service Travel Planning to Italy.

 

The time has come to wrap up our first stop on the Tour of Italy.  We’ve put everything you need to know about visiting the Cinque Terre here.

**We will be updating this site as details of the potential ticket requirements become available.  Read our post HERE about the details leading up to visitor restrictions.**

Location of the Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre or five lands is located along the Italian Riviera in the Liguria region.  The rugged coastline includes the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.  These five villages and surrounding hillsides are part of the Cinque Terre National Park which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Villages of the Cinque Terre

Your first decision when planning your trip is which village to call home.  The five towns all have distinct features, find the one that best suits your style and goals.

Monterosso – This town has the best beach and is the most resort-like.  If you want any kind of night life, this is your town.

Vernazza – I’m partial to this town and I’ll admit it.  The quaint piazza lined with wonderful restaurants next to their harbor is the stuff dreams are made of.

Corniglia – Located on the top of a hill, this is the only town not on the water and few people stay over night. I love hiking here and enjoying a quiet afternoon wandering the alleys.

Manarola – Another picturesque town, this is the smallest of the five.  There is a tiny harbor for swimming and one main street with a mix of shops and homes.

Riomaggiore – The biggest of the villages with great connections by train to La Spezia and the rest of Italy.  This was the first place I ever stayed in over 20 years ago, Mama Rosa’s will always bring back memories.

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Getting to the Cinque Terre

Plane – Milan and Pisa airports are the closest to the Cinque Terre.  Look for flights on my favorite search site SkyScanner HERE and read more about my tips for booking your flight HERE.

Train – Genoa to the north and La Spezia to the south are the gateway cities to the Cinque Terre.  Check schedules on TrenItalia HERE.

Car – While travel to this region is least desireable by car, driving is not impossible.  Monterosso has the best access with a parking garage.  You will need to arrive early in peak season and check back to see what restrictions might be imposed this year.  For help finding a good deal on a rental car, I recommend AutoEurope with their great service and price match guarantee.

 

Taking the Trains in the Cinque Terre

The villages are connected by local well worn trains.  See my complete post HERE for all the details regarding train travel in the Cinque Terre.

The basics.  Decide on individual tickets are a combo pass with entrance to the park. Tickets can be bought individually for 2.10 euro which gives you 75 minutes in one direction.  Alternatively you can buy the Cinque Terre Treno Multi-Service Card which gives you unlimited local train use in addition to the mandatory park and hiking entrance fees.  Cost is approximately 12 euro/day or 23 euro/2 days.

 

Hiking along the Cinque Terre coast

In my humble opinion, hiking in the Cinque Terre is the best way to get around.  Each of the five villages are connected by a series of train systems.  The big things to remember before heading out. Purchase your pass, these are required to enjoy the national park. Get an early start and beat all the crowds or hike beyond the traditional routes by taking the high trails.  Most important, double check trail closures as these can change dramatically.  For full hiking details see our post HERE.  Read some of our trail antics here:  How I didn’t meet my future husband and An amateur’s tale.

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Touring the Cinque Terre by boat

Boats service the Cinque Terre from Easter to October connecting Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Portovenere.  These are a great and much more scenic way to see the area than by train. Costs range from 2 to 25 euro. Round trip tickets are slightly cheaper than one-way tickets. There are little stands set up at each town’s harbor where you can purchase tickets.  The boats are NOT covered by the Cinque Terre pass. This is a very informal process and is covered in our post HERE.

 

Need more reasons to visit?  Check out these good reads.

Our favorite local dish Tegame alla Vernazzana

5 of our best reasons to travel to the Cinque Terre..

Save Vernazza for updates on restoration and preservation of the area.
Questions?  Let us know.

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About the author: Andi Brown

I am passionate about helping people create vacations that are perfect for them through personalized travel planning, itinerary review and small experience focused tours. My services put an emphasis on the experience of Italy, getting my clients away from the tourist crowds and into the heart and soul of the people. I believe in working with family run businesses at great locations with attention to the details. If you can dream it I can make it happen.