Let’s start by saying that Cinque Terre should be visited at least once in your life. There are a number of reasons but mainly we are referring to one of the most beautiful, unique and incredible areas of all the Mediterranean sea.
Located south of Genoa in northwest Italy, the National Park of Cinque Terre (the oldest of Italy) shines from the coast with its beautiful five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
Here the mountain slides directly into the sea and creates coves and creeks among the rocks. From the coast you can see wonderful patches of colorful tower-houses, all developed vertically and crossed by small alleys.
They can easily be reached from the airports of Genoa, Pisa, Rome and Florence by mainline train and there is even a local train between La Spezia and Levanto which stops at each of the villages.
Do not trust those who say that it is enough to see one village to get an idea of the others, each of them has its own history, peculiarities and secrets so my advice is therefore to aim to collect them all.
If well organized, the weekend will be enough to explore all the pearls of Cinque Terre, but of course, the more time you have, the more you can explore and enjoy the surroundings 😉.
Indispensable practical tips (a necessary step)
- The car is not the best way to visit Cinque Terre, there are few parking spaces and they are outside the villages. Upon reaching the Cinque Terre, the car will be totally forgotten in favor of the local train, therefore it is more comfortable to arrive directly by train. The train connects Levanto to La Spezia and make stops in each of the 5 villages with a frequency of 20 min.
You can reach Monterosso village from Milano Centrale in about 3 hours, check the routes on www.trenitalia.com.
- If you really want to experience Cinque Terre don’t make the mistake of booking a hotel outside, i.e. in Levanto or La Spezia, you’ll pay less but you’ll lose half the magic!
- To travel freely between the villages I recomend to buy in advance the Cinque Terre Card. It allows unlimited use of the train on the Levanto-La Spezia route, for a whole day, as well as city buses. The Cinque Terre card can be purchased online or at the info points in Cinque Terre railway stations and prices are quite reasonable:
- 1 day for adults: 16,00
- 2 days for adults: 29,00€
- 1 day for children 4-12 years old: 10,00€
- 1 day for senior (over the age of 70): 13,00€
- 1 day for family (two adults with more than one child under 12): 42,00€
- It is not just a matter of climate (in Cinque Terre it is generally good), beyond temperatures and absence of rainfall there is an important factor, in my opinion, to consider: the number of tourists.
The ideal situation to enjoy the small villages – as well as peace and nature along the trails – is when there is no crowds. Therefore I would avoid the period of Easter which is the worst one, Cinque Terre are literally invaded by tourists.
Let’s start our journey and explore the five villages from north to south: