Cinque Terre Travel Tips

We spent some time in Cinque Terre earlier this year and while researching for our trip, we noticed it was a bit difficult finding helpful information online. So, we put together this short travel guide for anybody looking to plan a trip to this gorgeous part of Italy.

 

How to Get to Cinque Terre

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. 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.

 

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 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.

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.

In Riomaggiore, you may want to try Zorza Hotel or Mar Mar.

 

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.

 

Length of Stay

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.
 

Riomaggiore Village in Cinque Terre Italy
 

To learn more about how to travel in Italy, visit our in-depth post with our top travel tips for Italy.

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!

      • http://www.ordinarytraveler.com/ Ordinary Traveler

        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,
      Linda

      • http://www.ordinarytraveler.com/ Ordinary Traveler

        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.

      • http://www.ordinarytraveler.com/ Ordinary Traveler

        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?

      • http://www.ordinarytraveler.com/ Ordinary Traveler

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