July 13, 2023
“How to get to Cinque Terre” you might be wondering? If you are planning a trip around Italy, there are a few stops that are absolutely mandatory to have. One of these stops is undoubtedly Le Cinque Terre. Le Cinque Terre is a UNESCO world heritage site, situated in Liguria, only a few miles away from Portofino. What does “Cinque Terre" mean? The name “Cinque Terre” literally means “five towns”. It is in fact a portion of rocky Ligurian coast with 5 little gems nestled in it.
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There is absolutely no wonder why our couples love this place so much. Whether they choose Le Cinque Terre for their elopement in Italy or they pick this destination for their honeymoon in Italy, we see exactly why the charm of this area casts such a powerful spell on them.
If you are asking yourself what towns are considered Cinque Terre, the answer is the following: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore. And if you are wondering which one is the best of the Cinque Terre, well, in this case the answer is much less straightforward, and in fact, it’s pretty impossible to say!
If you ask us, we definitely lost our hearts for Riomaggiore, Manarola and Vernazza. But with this said, making a list is really the hardest thing.
But, back to our original question, How to get to Cinque Terre?
Whether you are visiting Northern Italy or you’re travelling around Central Italy or you’re on a road trip from the South to the North, there are various ways to get to Cinque Terre. As in most touristic Italian destinations, when it comes to Cinque Terre there are a few things to keep in mind in order to ensure yourself a stress-free and instead enjoyable trip.
First and most important tip: FORGET ABOUT DRIVING! Trust the advice of a local!
Driving to Cinque Terre is really THE thing you should avoid doing: it’s busy, you cannot drive around the five towns, plus you’ll spare yourself from the stress of finding a parking spot!
The fastest way to get to Cinque Terre from Milan is by train. From Milano Centrale train station there is an Intercity train every 2 hours (book your tickets in advance to save money and secure yourself a seat, follow this link: www.trenitalia.com).
The train goes to Levanto, Monterosso and La Spezia Centrale, where you can get the Cinque Terre Express Train, the train that stops in each of the 5 towns. It runs every 20 mins and we strongly recommend getting the Cinque Terre Train Card, which allows you to hop on and off the train every time you want.
So if you are planning to visit the five towns in one day (which is totally doable), this is surely your best option. The cost of the Cinque Terre Train Card is €18.20 (€33 for two days) and it gives you also access to the hiking trails of the National Park surrounding the area.
Getting to Le Cinque Terre from Florence is extremely cheap and easy. If you are not driving around Italy and you instead can choose to use the train, again this would be your easiest option. There are several trains that depart everyday from Florence Central Station (Santa Maria Novella) and get to La Spezia Centrale, where you can easily make the Cinque Terre Train Card and start exploring the five towns.
If instead you need to drive from Florence to Le Cinque Terre because you are having a road trip around Italy as most of our couples are, then again in our opinion your easiest option would be to park your car in La Spezia and then get the Cinque Terre Train Card to explore the five towns. Finding a parking spot in La Spezia is not the easiest task and it can be quite expensive. One parking option is the train station. The train station rates are €1.50 per hour from 8am to 8pm and €1.00 per hour from 8pm to 8am. So leaving the car for a full day at La Spezia station is €30.
Another Parking option is Porto Mirabello, where ferries and boats to Le Cinque Terre depart everyday.
From Levanto, La Spezia and Portovenere you can easily get the ferry to 4 towns of Le Cinque Terre. Why only 4 you might be wondering? Because Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso have access to the water, whereas Corniglia is the only village that doesn’t.
The ferry runs between the towns from the end of March until November the 1st and it is a hop on and hop off service. You can get a one-day round trip ticket at €39 (€15 for kids), which will be your easiest option.
HERE you can find detailed costs and timetable of the ferries.
If you are having a trip around Italy and you are not only visiting Le Cinque Terre, then in our opinion 2 days (3 max) will be enough to really enjoy this little corner of paradise so unique in its own way and to actually get its vibe. You can dedicate one day to stroll around the five towns (if you travel around them by train it will be very easy and fast), then you can use your second day to enjoy the sea (in our opinion one of the clearest and most inviting water you can find in Italy) and do one of the many hiking trails of the area. Remember that as we were mentioning earlier, the Cinque Terre Train Card will allow you to enter the National Park too.
A beautiful and very satisfying hike would be the one from Corniglia to Vernazza.
This is a very helpful link that you should check out in case you wanted to consider a hike between these two towns (the website will give you all the details about all the other Le Cinque Terre trails too): http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/Eiti_dettaglio.php?id_iti=3577
IMPORTANT!! Please note that the fact that you are hiking in a coastal area doesn’t mean that you should underestimate the hike. Before leaving, make sure the weather conditions are good (which means that no bad weather should be forecasted but also that you are not hiking with the hottest temperatures either!!) and that you are wearing proper hiking shoes and gear. Flip Flops, as comfy as they might be, are NOT hiking shoes and are in fact a hazard both for you and for other people around you!! Never forget water, suncream, a snack, sunglasses and a hat.
Le Cinque Terre is definitely a unique and special corner of our country and we can totally see why it gets so many visitors each year. Just like the Amalfi Coast, the Dolomites, historical cities and more famous destinations in Italy, Le Cinque Terre too do get busy.
If you like travelling and exploring new places and cultures, then try to be as sustainable as possible when you do so. If you can, avoid travelling in the high peak season, most destinations get overcrowded and although tourism is in most cases the main source of income of many businesses in these areas, it also does make the lives of the locals hard and it is too big of a burden for the area involved. If you can travel only during the high season, maybe try to avoid visiting the most popular spots. There are so many alternative places that in most cases are even more beautiful than their more famous siblings.
When you travel, be as mindful of the areas you are visiting as you can and always follow the Leave No Trace principles.
When you can, travel by train and opt for public transports, it is the least impactful way of travelling and it saves cities and towns hundreds and hundreds of cars, traffic and pollution every day. Support local businesses and respect local customs.
Check out this article for more sustainable travel tips:
If you just stumbled on our website and were not even thinking about eloping but now you want to know everything about it, then you are in luck as we have hundreds of resources about eloping to Italy. Here below you can find the link to an article that will direct you to all our related posts:
While, if you were looking for a destination to plan your elopement and Le Cinque Terre breached your heart just like ours, then do not hesitate to get in touch!
Over the years we have put together a few incredible itineraries that will make your day simply exceptional!
Drop us an email at email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a WhatsApp text at 0039 351 53 51 817 and tell us allabout your exciting plans!
by Elopement Photographer based in Italy
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