Cinque Terre translates to five lands. These small seaside villages are built into the cliff along the coast of the Italian Riviera. If you find yourself near Florence or Tuscany, it’s worth a day trip to this region!
Via car or public bus, you can drive to La Spezia and catch the ferry to Cinque Terre. (If taking a boat isn’t your style, there is also a train from here). If you’re not comfortable using public transport on your own, you could take a day tour from Florence using a local tour operator. On my first trip to Cinque Terre we used Ciao Florence. They take care of the transportation to and from Florence, as well as the train tickets to get between the villages. It was a very stress free experience and was reasonably priced at 56 euros per person.
If you’re taking a day trip to Cinque Terre, you’ll want to get an early start. (For example, the tour leaves Florence at 7am). It’s 2.5 hours to get there from this part of Italy. The early wake up is worth it, I promise!
Start your morning in Cinque Terre by walking down the quiet streets of Manarola. If you feel inclined, grab a coffee at one of the cafes down by the water. After soaking up the ambiance of the first town, you’ll want to head off on foot to hike Lovers Lane. If you’re not interested in this walk or if the weather is poor, you can always take the train to the next town but this cliffside 30 minute walk will bring you from Manarola to Riomaggiore by providing the most stunning views of the coast!
Riomaggiore is one of the most colorful of the five villages! Here, you’ll want to walk up to get a vantage point of the village at Vista Panoramica, where the above picture was taken. If you’re lucky to be in Cinque Terre during the summer, you may be able to jump off one of the rocks into the sea at Riomaggiore. Once you’ve taken a dip, or snapped a few pictures while walking around, it’s time to catch the train to Monterosso el Mar.
Monterosso el Mar
Monterosso el Mar has the largest beach of all five villages. (It’s important to note that the beaches here are rocky, so having water shoes or sandals will be imperative for a nice experience). Here is where you’ll want to settle down and grab a bite to eat. I had the most amazing sandwich from A Butega de Munterussu, but there are plenty of restaurants all over. I recommend something quick for lunch so you’re able to make the most of your time there!
After lunch, make your way to the main strip in front of the beach. Here you’ll find a small bar serving fruity cocktails in a sharable bucket to go! Grab yourself a cold drink and make your way down to the water to enjoy.
Late afternoon I recommend taking the train to Vernazza to catch a glimpse of one last cliffside town before departing. If you feel inclined, walk all the way out on the dock to get a great view of the village (see above).
On our first trip to Cinque Terre, we went with our Moms (pictured above sharing a bucket of something good) who we were traveling Italy with for a week in March. We were able to visit 4/5 villages, but it was definitely a busy day. A few years later I was able to get back to Cinque Terre a second time in the summer as part of a work trip and visited only 2 of the villages, however my day was a bit more relaxed.
It takes a lot of stamina to visit 4 out of the 5 villages in only one days time; but it’s worth it thanks to each towns unique charm! If you’d prefer a more relaxed itinerary, I would definitely visit Monterosso for beach time & one other village instead.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: