Cinque Terre Travel Tips


Cinque Terre, Italy Travel Tips

We spent time in Cinque Terre, Italy this year and while researching for our trip we noticed a lack of online travel guides for this area. So, we put together this complete guide with our best Cinque Terre travel tips.

Cinque Terre, Italy Travel Tips


How to Get to Cinque Terre, Italy

The closest airport is Pisa and it’s about a 1 1/2 hour train ride from Cinque Terre. If you fly into Pisa Airport, take the train from Pisa Airport to Pisa Centrale. (Insider tip for flights: Momondo is the first place I check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines.) At Pisa Centrale, you will take a connecting train to Cinque Terre.

If you are arriving by car, it is highly suggested to stay in the neighboring towns of the 5 Terre region, such as Levanto. You will have a much easier time finding parking. Our hotel, Villa Margherita B&B, offered free parking for guests. To see a full review of this hotel, visit our post on where to stay in Cinque Terre — Villa Margherita B&B Review.


Where to Stay in Cinque Terre

You may be tempted to stay in one of the 5 villages of Cinque Terre, but our advice is to stay outside of these towns (we highly recommend Villa Margherita B&B) and take the train or ferry. Accommodation is cheaper and many of the neighboring towns (besides La Spezia) are less touristy and have more of an authentic feel.

We stayed in Levanto and fell in love with this small town. To learn more about the town of Levanto, read about our experience in Levanto, Italy.

Be aware that Italy train travel can be frustrating because it seems like they are having a strike almost every week. If a train strike occurs during your stay (which it did for us) then you may be stuck without a train out of any of the five villages. We met a couple who had to take a 60 Euro cab ride to a neighboring town in order to catch a train to get back to Rome.

If you have your heart set on staying in one of the villages, be prepared to spend more money. If you are traveling in summer, book FAR in advance. We traveled in May and had an extremely hard time finding any vacancies in the villages.

If you want to stay right in Riomaggiore (our favorite village) and you are booking in advance, I have heard amazing things about Zorza Hotel and Apartamento Rio Maggiore.


How to Get Around in Cinque Terre

You have a few different options for travel throughout the 5 villages. You can either hop on one of the many trains that link each village, take a ferry ride or hike the trails. There is also a taxi service in Monterosso, Vernazza and Manarola.


How Many Days to Stay in Cinque Terre

At least three days is needed to see all of the villages, preferably more. If you try to visit too many villages in one day, you may find yourself spending too much time at the train stations and not enough time enjoying the beaches, restaurants and hikes.


Best Places to Eat in Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore is a great place for dinner. We met quite a few people who ended their day in Riomaggiore at A Pie’ de Ma’ (spectacular views!) or at one of the many restaurants along the main strip.

We ate at the restaurant right below Mar Mar Hotel and a few others along the strip. These are just a few suggestions. Explore the area and hop into the first restaurant where the menu catches your eye. Most likely, you won’t be disappointed. After all, you ARE in Italy!

Cinque Terre Riomaggiore Restaurant


Favorite Things To Do In Cinque Terre

If it’s hot outside, we highly recommend spending a few hours lounging by one of the gorgeous beaches in either Monterosso, Manarola or Riomaggiore.

Watch the sunset with a bottle of wine and a fresh pizza pie.

Picnic in Cinque Terre Italy

Taking photos in Cinque Terre is a must. Just be prepared to plant yourself early if you want to capture any of those postcard-perfect sunset shots.

Hiking any of the Cinque Terre trails is a popular thing to do while visiting this area. Two of the trails were closed during our visit due to the devastating floods, but we were able to hike the trail from Manarola to Riomaggiore, also known as “Italian Lover’s Lane.” This is by far the easiest and shortest hike and the views are simply stunning.


Best Time to Visit Cinque Terre

The best time to visit Cinque Terre, Italy will depend on your preference. Most travelers obviously visit in the summer to get the best weather for swimming and lounging on the beach. I always tell people to visit in either the late spring or early fall to avoid the summer crowds. We visited in May and it was hot enough to swim, but not too hot to walk around. If you are not scared of a chance of rain, then April, May and September are the best months to visit Cinque Terre.


What to Pack for Cinque Terre, Italy

This will depend on the time of year you visit, but here are a few things to keep in mind when packing for a trip to Cinque Terre, Italy.

If you want to hike any of the trails, make sure to bring a good pair of hiking or running shoes.

— Bring layers. I packed a couple of cute tunic tops and a cardigan to layer over my dresses or short-sleeved shirts.

For the ladies, leggings are never a bad idea, plus a pair of comfortable shoes to go with nicer outfits. These are my favorite travel shoes. They have plenty of cushion and I’m always getting compliments.

I always bring a sarong to wear over a swimsuit and it can even be used as a towel.

If you visit in the colder months, these boots are perfect to wear with dresses and leggings.

In my opinion, the most important thing to bring to Cinque Terre is a decent camera. You will want to capture these memories. To find out what camera gear we bring on our trips, visit our travel photography camera kit.

If you visit in the spring or fall, you might want to bring a light waterproof jacket.

For more information about what we pack on our trips, visit our Europe packing list for women, our packing tips for world travelers, and our tips about how to stay stylish while traveling. To learn more about how to travel in Italy, visit our post with our best travel tips for Italy.


Plan Your Trip to Cinque Terre

After traveling consistently for over 10 years, we’ve come to trust and rely on a few websites to help us find the best deals on flights and accommodation.


  • Momondo is the first place we check when searching for cheap flights. It searches hundreds of sites for the best fare and includes both standard and budget airlines. The price calendar feature shows the cheapest days to fly in your preferred month of travel.


  • offers savings on hotels, apartments, and villas in 80,000 destinations worldwide. You can browse hotel reviews and find the guaranteed best price on hotels for all budgets.


Love to Travel?

Want to know how to travel the world? I’ve put together a page full of useful travel resources with tips and tricks I’ve learned after consistently traveling for over ten years. Learn about my best travel tips, how to find the best prices on flights and accommodation, how to take great travel photos, and more.


Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. The price stays the same for you, but if purchased through this link, the company would pay us a small percentage of the sale, which helps to cover the costs of running this site.


Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on .

  • Lorien

    I feel like staying in one if the towns gives you more of an authentic time. We stayed in a guest house booked from airbnb in Vernazza and had the best time. By evening, all the tourists head out and it is quiet and lovely. I would recommend Vernazza to stay in so you can hike to Monterosso one day and to Corniglia one day. Good tips!

  • Rachel

    Thanks for this. How many hours is from Pisa to Buti? I will be going to Pisa tower and stay at Bhappy Resort.. Thanks!

    • Hi Rachel. Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that question, but you could try doing a Google search.

      • Rachel

        Ohh thanks!

  • Sita

    Thanks for the tips! We are heading to Italy in May and I definitely want to check out a couple of these islands! So beautiful!

  • Linda

    Hi Christy. We are 6 adults from Canada (very young 60 year olds:) who are planning a month in Italy to celebrate our bds this year. 2 1/2 of those weeks we will be together. We have a week in San Gimigiano and a week in Appenzell Switzerland already booked but we do feel we should experience Cinque Terre on our way to Switzerland. We have 2 full days and nights to invest there. I have sent your b & b a request to see if they have accommodations. Here is my question…based on your experience, in hindsight would staying in one of the 5 towns be better than staying outside? I know parking would be challenge if not impossible. I like the idea of spending a day out wandering, going back to our room and getting cleaned up and then searching for a local restaurant in town for dinner. Walking to the restaurant would be nice. Is that possible where you stayed…or…would leaving CT, going to the B & B and going back to one of the CT towns later be an option or doable? Thanks for your ideas,

    • If you can find a hotel in one of the villages, it sounds like that might be ideal for you. We took the train in and out of the other villages and enjoyed the quiet town of Levanto. There are plenty of restaurant options in Levanto within walking distance to the B&B, so it’s just your preference of where you want to base yourselves. I can’t remember how late the trains run, so that might be something to check out before you decide. Enjoy your trip!

  • Penny Little Wyatt

    So glad to find your site. How accessible are the villages and is the trail manageable in an electric scooter? My husband can walk short distances only. Thanks.

    • I think you could probably get to the main parts of the villages in a scooter, but I’m not sure about all of the trails. I remember the Riomaggiore trail had some pavement, but I honestly can’t remember if it was all paved.

  • depalo

    Eventually I have found some tips how to access Cinque Terre.I am going there shortly. I will stay for 7 days in La Spezia and LS will be my base.To sum up,to see all charm of Cinque Terre towns the best way is to take a boat trip around,isn’t it?

    • A boat trip is a great way to see the villages, but I also recommend doing some of the hikes!

  • Hi, thanks for the tips – always love a good restaurant tip. Heading there in a few weeks so will be giving teh food and bevs a good work out.

  • Taylor

    The Cinque Terra is my favorite place I’ve visited! We visited when we lived in Italy and then went back last year for a couple days and my boyfriend (no fiance) proposed in Riomaggiore. It was magical!

    • Wow! That sounds like the BEST proposal. We love Riomaggiore. Congrats on your engagement!

  • love to travel

    Hi there. we are a group of four and will be in Pisa soon. I would like
    to visit cinque terre but i will be with my 80 yr old father who is in fairly good
    shape but would not walk uphills or take many steps.
    Therefore i would like to know if you recommend visiting cinque terre by ferry. Are there steps to arrive to the ferry from the station. going downstairs will be no
    problem for him but then he will need to go up to go back to the station!! Which station would be nearest to the harbor for us to get on the ferry easily? If you think there are ways to visit the harbors and beaches without hiking it would be a pleasure to visit.

    • I think the ferry would be a great option for you! Seeing the coastline from the water will be gorgeous!