One day in Cinque Terre - suggested itinerary

How To See The Best of Cinque Terre in One Day

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Cinque Terre in Italy has been on our list of places to visit for many years. But when we finally decided to make a last minute trip to the Italian Riviera, we had no idea how much time you actually need to visit all five little villages of Cinque Terre. Is one day enough for Cinque Terre?

After a lot of research we decided to spend two days in Cinque Terre area: one day visiting and hiking Cinque Terre itself and the second day exploring the nearby hidden gem, a beautiful little town Portovenere.

In my previous posts I talked about visiting Portovenere and shared practical tips for visiting Cinque Terre. Today I want to share our itinerary for the best of Cinque Terre in a day.

If you are wondering if one day is enough for Cinque Terre, the answer, of course, depends on what you are looking for. If you want to quickly see all the five villages and hike the Cinque Terre trail, then yes, one day is enough. Of course, you can stay longer and explore deeper, but if you are short on time you can definitely see the best of Cinque Terre in one full day.

There are three ways to see Cinque Terre: by boat, by train, or a combination of boat and/or train and hiking. The train is the fastest way to get around with lots of trains connecting the five villages at regular intervals throughout the day. The boat takes much longer, but gives you a different perspective. However, some of the best views of Cinque Terre are found on land and not from the water.

We only had limited time as the days were really short at the end of October/beginning of November when we visited, so we chose to explore Cinque Terre by train in combination with hiking. Find out!

Cinque Terre 1 day itinerary

For your convenience, I created a custom map of Cinque Terre, so you have a better idea where each place is located.


 

Take a train to Monterosso al Mare

We started our day at around 8AM with a short (20min) train ride from La Spezia where we were staying to the furthest village of Cinque Terre – Monterosso.

You can, of course, also opt to stay at one of the Cinque Terre villages or at the nearby town Levanto which is also on the same train route. You can find the Cinque Terre train schedule here.

Visit Monterosso al Mare and hike to Vernazza

Monterosso al Mare, the most Northern of Cinque Terre villages, is the most visited in Cinque Terre, mainly due to its sand beach. Monterosso has the only somewhat noteworthy sand beach in Cinque Terre, so it attracts many tourists in summer.

The beach was completely deserted on a late-October morning. After a short stop at the tourist information center to enquire which sections of the Cinque Terre hike were open we set towards Vernazza.

Monterosso al Mare beach

Monterosso al Mare beach end October

 

Before you reach the start of the hiking trail, you pass the old town center of Monterosso. The small town square has that typical laid back feel of the villages along the Mediterranean. An obligatory statue (in this case of Italian hero Giuseppe Garibaldi) in the middle surrounded by trees offering some very welcome shadow (yes, even in October!) with a couple of benches where locals were catching up on the latest gossip and doing some tourist-watching. There are some restaurants and little shops here, as well as a little playground. A very cozy place!

Monterosso al Mare town square

Monterosso al Mare town square

 

The Monterosso – Vernazza hike starts here, just behind the communal building. If you look well you will see a tiny arrow ‘Vernazza’ pointing in the direction of a narrow path going up the hill. Once on the trail, you cannot really go wrong – there is just one path.

The hike from Monterosso to Vernazza took us 2 hours. We were hiking together with our three kids age 7-9 and they did just fine. However, some parts of the trail are quite steep and also a bit narrow, so you have to keep an eye on the children.

Vineyards along the Cinque Terre trail

Monterosso al Mare as seen from the hiking trail

 

Visit Vernazza

Vernazza is one of the most picturesque villages of Cinque Terre.  There are several stunning viewpoints from the Cinque Terre trail, some 5-10 minutes before you reach the village coming from Monterosso. Even if you are not hiking the whole trail, you could walk to these viewpoints from Vernazza.

Practical guide to visiting Cinque Terre in Italy - all your questions answered

Vernazza from one of the viewpoints along the hike from Monterosso

 

Vernazza itself is a colorful little village bustling with life. I can’t imagine how busy it must be in summer! By the time we reached the village it was around 11AM and really hot. Time for a gelato! There are several gelaterias, as well as many restaurants and shops in Vernazza. You can rent a kayak, go swimming, or just hang around and soak in the atmosphere.

Vernazza harbour in Cinque Terre

The tiny beach of Vernazza

 

TIP: refill your water bottles in Vernazza and buy some local food to take with you for a picnic along the trail. This will save you lots of time (and money).

Hike from Vernazza to Corniglia

After refilling our water bottles in Vernazza we continued further on the Cinque Terre trail to Corniglia. The hike between Monterosso and Vernazza leads mainly through the vineyards and the forest and has more shadow. This section of the hike – Vernazza to Corniglia – is probably even more impressive, as the trail is more open and you can enjoy incredible views over Vernazza (at first) and the Ligurian coast almost all the way! Vineyards are replaced by olive trees, and then vineyards again… It’s a beautiful hike! But oh so warm in the middle of the day!

Hiking Cinque Terre Trail at Vernazza

Vernazza as seen from the hike to Corniglia

 

There aren’t many places to stop for a picnic, but there are a few nice spots overlooking the sea about half way through the hike. You can, of course, continue further and have lunch in Corniglia. We did both – a small picnic along the way followed by pizza in Corniglia. Kids just couldn’t resist it when they saw the pizzas!

The hike from Vernazza to Corniglia takes about 90 minutes.

Family hiking Cinque Terre trail from Vernazza to Corniglia

Hiking towards Corniglia

 

Visit Corniglia

Corniglia is probably the quietest village of Cinque Terre because it’s the most difficult one to access. Located high on the hill it is the only Cinque Terre village that cannot be reached by boat. There is a train station, however, but it’s located down by the sea. So if you are coming by train, you will need to go up a couple of hundred stairs to get to the village. I think there is also a bus connecting the train station to the village, but we didn’t see it.

Cinque Terre coast - Corniglia and Manarola as seen from the hiking trail

Corniglia and Manarola (in the distance)

 

Since we came to Corniglia on foot, we didn’t have to mount the stairs. And time-wise you don’t waste much either, so if you want to visit Corniglia and you are moderately fit (and have walking shoes), you better hike there from Vernazza.

After our pizza lunch in Corniglia, we walked down the stairs to catch the train to Riomaggiore. I’m sure glad we didn’t do this trip in the other direction!

Staircase to Corniglia train station

Staircase to Corniglia train station

 

In the past, you could hike the whole Cinque Terre trail between Monterosso and Riomaggiore. But due to some mud slides a few years ago the paths between Corniglia and Manarola and between Manarola and Riomaggiore have been closed, so now you can only walk the two sections that I described here. It seems that there are no immediate plans to reopen the rest of the trail…

 

Take a train to Riomaggiore

After a long wait (due to two canceled trains), we finally got on the train and in just a few minutes we arrived in Riomaggiore. If you look at the map, you will see that we skipped one of the most beautiful villages – Manarola – at this point. But there is a good reason for it. We wanted to go to Manarola at sunset, so we decided to head to Riomaggiore first.

Riomaggiore is a rather big village, but we didn’t have much time to explore it properly. We wasted an hour waiting for the train in Corniglia and it was also going to get dark at around 5PM in the period when we visited. So upon arrival, we went straight to the most beautiful place – the tiny waterfront area of Riomaggiore with the famous postcard-view that you have probably seen in the travel brochures.

Riomaggiore is one of the most colorful towns of Cinque Terre #Italy

Riomaggiore

 

If you have more time, you can explore the old town with busy shopping streets. Also, make sure to walk a part of the famous Via dell’Amore coastal trail. Only a very small section is open to the public, but it’s really beautiful!

A friend who knows Cinque Terre really well also recommended to have a drink at the local bar A Pie’ di Ma’ in Riomaggiore.

Via dell'Amore in Riomaggiore Italy

Via dell’Amore in Riomaggiore

 

Go to Manarola for sunset and dinner

We arrived in Manarola about half an hour before sunset. Just enough time to walk through the village and get to the scenic viewpoint – the best place to be at sunset in Cinque Terre.

Best towns you have to visit in the Italian Riviera - Liguria, Italy

Manarola at sunset

 

Afterwards we had dinner at Nessun Dorma – a very good simple restaurant with some the best views in Manarola. They don’t take reservations and there was a queue waiting to be seated, but we only had to wait a few minutes. It was the perfect end to a beautiful day in Cinque Terre.

After dinner we took a train back to La Spezia. And one train was cancelled again (low season? not enough tourists?), so by the time we reached La Spezia it was after 9PM. A long, but a beautiful day.

Manarola at night

Manarola at night

 

So, this is our sample one day Cinque Terre itinerary. As I said, there are many ways to explore this beautiful coastal area. But if you are planning a visit and don’t know where to start, then I am sure that this post will give you a good idea of what you can see and do in a day and help you plan your trip. And remember, we visited late October, when it gets dark at around 5PM. If you come in spring or in summer you will have much more time, so you can certainly make this exact same trip in one day.

TIP: Try to avoid visiting Cinque Terre in summer as the tiny villages are swamped with millions of tourists.

***For all the practical tips in regards to visiting Cinque Terre please refer to our complete guide to visiting Cinque Terre. It contains a lot of information and should answer any questions you may have. Check it out!***

***If you decide to stay at least a few nights in Cinque Terre area, please check our guide to where to stay in Cinque Terre (and book ASAP – accommodations here sell out really quickly).***

***If you are looking for a guided tour for a day trip to Cinque Terre, you can find some of the best-rated options here: from Florence, from Milan, or from Pisa.***

***If you are traveling to this part of Italy and looking for more ideas on what to see and where to go, please also check these articles for more inspiration: Most Beautiful small towns of the Italian Riviera and the Best towns of Tuscany.***

***Read also: Practical information for visiting Cinque Terre***

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One day itinerary for Cinque Terre in Italy

See the best of Italy's Cinque Terre with this one day itinerary #italy
How to see the best of Cinque Terre in one day #italy

Comments

  1. Really great post! Thanks a lot.
    I am going to Florence in the first week of November and was planning a full day in Cinque Terre but wasn’t sure where to start. Your blog just saved me! 🙂

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Victor. Enjoy your trip!

      1. Jurga thank you so much for all your info re Cinque Terra – we followed your trail last Sunday and it was brilliant – the views are amazing and it was lovely to meet and say hello to people along the way. It was great to see so many people out and about. The weather was great and the sunset was well work seeing in Manarola. We were only there for the day and the villages were so quaint and beautiful with lots of cafes, shops, Gelatos etc. I would definitely recommend everybody to do this trip – it is doable in one day but a second day would probably allow you more time in the villages if you are hiking. Locals all very friendly and helpful.

        1. Author

          I’m so glad to hear you had such a great time in Cinque Terre, Noni. And thanks a lot for sharing your experience. I agree with you that two days would allow you to get to know the place a bit more. We stayed a bit longer and visited Portovenere and Lerici and afterwards quite a few other towns in the region and it was great, but for 5terre itself we also only dedicated one day. There’s just never enough time to see it all, right? 😉
          Happy travels!

  2. Great blog! We are on a cruise and arrive in Portofino which is further away. It still looks doable and we have 10 hours. It looks like we take a 15 minute bus ride from the port to Santa Margherita train station. Not sure which town to start in, the furthermost so we work our way back toward the Port at Portofino. Any recommendations are appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Author

      Hi Lisa, I’m not sure about the trains from Santa Margherita to Cinque Terre, but if you can get to Levanto, from there you can get to all the 5 villages by train. The rest really depends on how much time you have. I’d start with Riomaggiore, then visit Manarola, and then Vernazza (all by train, because that’s the fastest way). If you still have any time left, you can probably best get back to Santa Margherita Ligure and explore the town there a bit. I wouldn’t count on trains too much either – we had quite a few cancelations on the day we visited and you don’t want to be too late for your ship.
      If you find all this too stressful, you can also just visit Portofino, maybe take a boat tour to San Fruttuoso abbey and potentially also spend some time in Santa Margherita Ligure. All these places are really nice too and wouldn’t require that much planning if that’s where your cruise docks anyway.
      Enjoy your trip!

  3. What a GREAT site. My husband and adult daughters will be traveling to CT from Pisa on a Sunday, Sept 29th. What kind of weather should we expect? Is it still hot? Debating whether to do a private tour from Pisa (no large tours available on a Sunday) or follow your suggested itineraries with a combination of train and ferry. How long does the train ride take from Pisa to La Spezia? (know it’s one hr by car) Also if coming into the train station at La Spezia from Pisa, where would we pick up the ferry? Is it close by? Do you have a ferry schedule available?.How much does the on and off ferry ticket cost? If we were to do the small bites at the restaurant you suggested on Manarola, what time would the sunset be approximately on the 29th of September? Which is the best and quaintest village to explore if only doing one? (Besides Manarola for the sunset)

    1. Author

      Hi Marcia, I’m afraid I can’t help you with all the details – you can google train schedules, sunset times, and all the other practical information. Ferry schedule should also be online, but in September they run quite frequently so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. The ferry is not at La Spezia station, it takes about 20min to walk – take a look at this map. I don’t know how much it costs this year, but it depends also on what kind of ticket you take. I think the most flexible day ticket that allows you to hop on and off was around 35 EUR when we visited. Just keep in mind that ferry takes 2 hours from La Spezia to Monterosso and the same time to get back, not counting any stops. I would suggest to take the ferry just for small parts and use the train for the rest of the journey or you’ll run out of time, I’m afraid (unless you start very early and stay very late).
      Apart from Manarola, I’d say Vernazza is the nicest and also the tiny waterfront area of Riomaggiore.
      As for the weather, it’s really impossible to say. It can be still very and nice and warm at the end of September, but you never know. Just check the weather forecast a few days in advance and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect. I’d take a sweater and a light rain jacket to Italy in September anyway.
      Enjoy your trip!

  4. Going in October 2020. We are staying in Florence for 4 nights. And planning a day trip to Cinque Terre. What’s the best way to get there by train from Florence and should we start as early as possible? And the best way to get back to Florence as I don’t want to count on the last train to Florence Incase it’s cancelled. And I also heard from a friend that a sunset you can eat dinner and listen to someone or a group sing opera? Any idea what village that is? Thanks

    1. Author

      Hi Eric, why don’t you just google Florence to Cinque Terre by train and check the train schedule. You will probably need to switch trains in La Spezia, so maybe it’s easier to just check Florence to La Spezia, but I’m not sure. I can’t really help you with this since we traveled by car… PS Cinque Terre trains got canceled a lot on the day when we visited end of October, so it’s indeed better not to count on the last train…
      And no, I haven’t heard of the opera guy, but I’m sure you can find it on google as well (or ask your friend where it was).
      Enjoy your trip!

  5. Hello! My boyfriend and I are visiting Italy at the end of July 2019 and we will be based in Florence for 5 nights. I really want to visit Cinque Terre and your blog post has only made me much more excited to do so!

    I am really torn between staying a night or making a one day trip. If we stay a night I am thinking that we will stop by Pisa along the way. Perhaps a silly question, but will the Cinque Terre day pass include the train ride to Pisa? I am wondering if the pass includes the whole train line or if it can only be used between villages.

    After stopping by Pisa, we will head to Monterosso then hike to Vernazza and Corniglia. Will call it a day and head back to our AirBnB (thinking either Monterosso or Vernazza). The next day will be used for afternoon leisure (maybe if we stay in Monterosso visit the beach, or if in Vernazza take a walk around) and then complete the day with Riomaggiore and Manarola. Will head back to Florence after dinner in Manarola.

    Do you think spacing it out this way will leave us with too much ample time? I also want to note that we are not the earliest risers (out the door by 10AM is the most realistic knowing us). So if we were to do a one day trip, we will not stop by Pisa and perhaps consider skipping Corniglia or Riomaggiore if we find ourselves short on time on the day of.

    Cinque Terre is one of our top priorities when in Italy. However, if we do have enough time we are considering a day trip to Venice or a Tuscany wine tour. I feel like the benefit of a one day trip to Cinque Terre is that we can do other day trips; however, I don’t wish to rush it and get a poor experience.

    Please let me know what you think. You run a wonderful blog – I get lost in time when browsing your posts! Thank you so much, really appreciate the help you provide to other fellow travelers 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Nikki, Thank you for your kind words and glad you enjoyed reading our blog.
      I think that two days aren’t too much at all, especially if you also want to visit Pisa. Also, you are traveling in July. It will be so hot, so you may want to take it easy, maybe go for a swim, and just spend the warmest hours sitting in the shade and eating gelato.
      If you have some extra time, and since you say you wanted to do a wine tour, there are several wine tours available in Cinque Terre as well (check here). And if you get bored (I doubt that), you can always take a boat and visit Portovenere as well.
      Enjoy your trip!

  6. Hello,

    This article was really wonderful and gave a lot of details. My wife and I will be in Florence and we wanted to do a day trip to Cinque. Now we’ve been advised to do the trip with a guide / company as it will make life easier but I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go. Obviously the limitation of time makes planning somewhat challenging and I’m not sure where to buy train tickets in Cinque to ensure we are back for the last train from La Spezia so a bit confused b/c I really want to experience Nessun but not sure if we would have time.

    1. Author

      Hi Karim, if you don’t want to worry about organizing anything yourself, there are plenty of tours that go to Cinque Terre from Florence. Some include Pisa, some go to Portovenere; there are big groups, small groups, and also private tours…
      If you rather go on your own, you’ll have to buy train tickets yourself and I think it’s really doable. As for the train schedules and tickets, just google it – you’ll find all that info on the official websites of Italian railway companies. I think it’s possible to buy all your tickets in Florence already, so no need to worry about that. Also, in La Spezia, the train station isn’t that big and you can easily find your way around if you need to ask for some info or get Cinque Terre day pass (if necessary).
      At least in Cinque Terre, there were plenty of trains till late at night, and I don’t see why there wouldn’t be trains going back to Florence in the evening…

  7. Dear Jurga
    Thank goodness, I discovered your detailed article just in time! We are going from Pietra Ligure to LA Spezia (our base for 3 nights) this Saturday 22 June 2019. Due to your infirmation we will follow your exact itinerary but all by train (me & husband can’t do the hiking, knees and backs!), take the bus up and down to Corniglia. Second day do Portvenere, Third day to Milan, explore a bit and evening fly back to South Africa! Looking forward to do the 5Terre your way!
    Thank you so much
    Kindest Regards

    1. Author

      Ho Johlene, glad you found this useful. Not sure if you saw it already, but we also have articles about Portovenere and also about the best things to do in Milan in one day.
      Enjoy your trip!

  8. Hi Jurga,

    Thank you so much for putting this info together — it’s very helpful to know how short the train ride is, etc. We’re going to be traveling there with my children (young teens) and my parents (70s with some limited mobility). We’re hoping that we can “divide and conquer” with the kids and parents hiking perhaps 1 or 2 trails while the grandparents enjoy the plazas and then take the train. Does that sound doable?

    Also, we’re also wondering whether we can work in a boat trip as part of this (we only have one day, unfortunately). In your recollection, which port might be easiest to access for the grandparents (walking well but with a cane for stairs)?

    Thanks again for all this helpful information — we have a much better idea of what to expect now 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Karen, yes, it’s definitely possible for you to hike between the villages while your parents take a train or a boat. The only place that would be really hard for them is Corniglia because it’s located high on the hill. So maybe it’s best for them to skip it.
      As for the boats, I’m not really sure about all the places, but the harbors in Monterosso al Mare and Vernazza both looked quite ok and relatively easily accessible. I didn’t see where the boats arrive in Manarola or Riomaggiore, so I can’t really comment on that. Another really nice place to visit is Portovenere – the Cinque Terre boat also stops there. The harbor there is well accessible.
      You’ll have to do some planning, but I’m sure you’ll have a great time in Cinque Terre!
      Enjoy your trip!

  9. Hi Jurga,
    My name is Lolita, thank you for your travel tip, my daughter & my granddaughter will be visiting CT 1st week of July, we’re looking forward to this trip. Thank you so much

    1. Author

      Glad to help, Lolita. Have a wonderful time in Cinque Terre!

  10. Hi Jurga, My name is Julius and I would bring my family of 2 children (16 and 10 years old) from Indonesia to visit Cinque Terre by 30th of June 2019. I read your travel story to Cinque Terre and I would follow your route with a small change in routes as follows:
    1. La Spezia to Riomaggiore (by train)
    2 Riomaggiore to Monterosso (by train)
    3. Monterosso to Vernazza (by train) – lunch, we would not take hiking option due to 2 hours time is quite tiring for us, particularly in the summer time.
    4. Vernazza to Corniglia (by hiking) – 90 minutes
    5 Corniglia to Manarola (by train), until sunset and dinner
    6 Manarola to La Spezia (by train)
    What do you think of my plan? Your advice and suggestion are highly appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Hi Julius, your itinerary should be easily doable. I’m not sure about lunch in Vernazza – I guess it depends on what time you start your day in the morning. But there are plenty of restaurants in all villages, so you’ll have no trouble in finding a place to eat. There is also a very good ice cream place by the harbor in Vernazza, so you can always have lunch earlier and buy a gelato once you get there.
      Enjoy your trip!

      1. Thank you very much for your advice, Jurga. It would be definetely useful for us. Hope we could enjoy our trip by 30th June 2019 to see the best of Cinque Terre!

  11. Thanks a lot for this article you really made my research easier :))

    1. Author

      Thanks for taking the time to leave this feedback, Christen. Enjoy your trip!

  12. Thank you for the article, I wanted to visit CT on my trip to Italy this year but was baffled by where exactly I should go, and this makes it all clear! Just wondering how you guys got from Rio to Manarola as that wasn’t stated, also how long it took you, and if you guys took the train do you feel it would’ve been better to take the track (vice versa)? Also if you guys know whether there are lockers available near the beach in monterosso for valuables?

    1. Author

      Hi Tina, we took a train from Riomaggiore to Manarola and the ride itself is just a few minutes (less than 5 min if I remember well). Hiking there wasn’t possible when we visited as the hiking trails between Riomaggiore and Manarola have been closed due to landslides. I think they are still closed now, but you can always ask at the tourist info center when you visit. If Via dell’Amore reopens, then indeed that would be a beautiful walk and I’d suggest that over taking the train.
      As for the lockers in Monterosso, I don’t know. There is a tourist info center at the train station there, so ask them or leave anything you don’t absolutely need at your hotel.

  13. Thank you so much for your tips. I went to Cinque Terre yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there as early as I wanted, but because of your comments, I really feel like I was able to make the most of my trip. I went to Monterosso first by train. Then I hiked to Vernazza. You are absolutely right that the best view is from above. Absolutely breathtaking! I went the rest of the way by train, skipping Corniglias. I also went to Riomoggiore before ending the evening in Monarola. I was even able to be there for sunset, sitting in Nessun Dorma in Manarola. WOW! Despite my limited time in Cinque Terre, I am thoroughly impressed. It would have not been as amazing without having read this first. The only thing I would have changed, would have been eating fish in Riomoggiore. The smell of the food was mouthwatering. Nessun Dorma in Manarola is definitely worth the experience, but I didn’t realise I wouldn’t get a proper meal there. There is mostly cheese, meat and bread…and wonderful drinks.

    1. Author

      Thanks for sharing your experience in Cinque Terre and glad that you managed to make the best of your time there with our help.
      Yes, indeed, Nessun Dorma isn’t the best restaurant for food, it’s all more snacks and bruschettas, etc. When we visite, the food was simple but excellent. I would give up any warm meal for that view, so to us, it was still absolutely worth it! I am sure you’ll find other great places to eat fish, but you won’t quickly find a view like that one… 😉
      Once again, thanks for sharing your experience. It might be very helpful to our other readers.
      Happy travels!

  14. Hi Jurga,

    I came across your site when googling for a trip to Cinque Terre. This site is very helpful to me since I plan to stay only 2 nights and 2 days exploring the area. I wanted to travel in the fall but since our anniversary is in July (and my wife really insisted), we decided to go for it in the hot season. I’m putting together our itinerary now and hope to enjoy CT during that time. We’ll take a train from Florence to Pisa and spend a few hours there (Tower of Pisa) before moving on to La Spezia and check-in at a hotel there. I think we’ll take a local train to Manarola that evening to enjoy the sunset and dinner. We’ll take a train to Monterosso the next day and do some hiking up to Corniglia. Then a train ride to Riomaggiore and a boat ride to Portovenere for dinner. The next day we’ll catch a train back to Florence.

    Hope this is going to be fun. I’ll read more of your article for the rest of Italy travel. Just wondering, how do the locals manage the walk up inside the flats. Do they have elevators? How do they handle if there’s a fire up there? It would be hard for the seniors to live up there. I tried to google the inside everyday lives of the locals there but couldn’t find anything.

    1. Author

      Hi Fred, sounds like a great trip you have planned!
      Cinque Terre is indeed a very hilly area and I think locals are used to it. There are many places in the world like that (we just came back from Croatia where many towns have countless narrow steep streets accessible only via staircases). I think that people who grew up there don’t really mind the stairs, they’ve never known any other way.
      I’m sure some (few) hotels in bigger towns around 5terre have elevators, but if you are staying in Cinque Terre itself, you’ll need to do lots of stairs, there is really no way around it.
      Enjoy your trip!

  15. Thank you so much for a detailed description of Cinque Terre! Great article of value to travelers!

    1. Author

      Thanks for your kind feedback, Maria. Enjoy your trip!

  16. Excellent – travelling here for 1 day with friends and was wondering how to fit it all in – going to follow your route. Can you tell me do you have to purchase a pass to go into Cinque Terre on the day you are visiting – i thought i had heard this as they only allow so many visitors a day? Great article!

    1. Author

      Hi Jill, I’m not sure if they have any restrictions now. I know that there were talks about imposing some kind of limits in the high season, but I really don’t know if it’s actually been decided and how it works.
      When we visited, we just bought the Cinque Terre card at the train station in La Spezia the evening before (just because we were passing by – you can easily get it on the same day).

  17. Extremely useful for person like me who will be visiting CT on 30th March. Thanks a lot

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Anil. Have a great trip to Cinque Terre!

  18. Thanks a lot for this!

    I’ll be in Europe for work in about a week and decided on making a quick 2-day, 1-night pit stop-trip to Cinque Terre after hearing such great things about it from friends (and also because of my love of hiking, particularly in Europe).

    This pretty much took care of all my planning! Very appreciative of the time and effort you put into this.

    Best!
    JM

    1. Author

      Glad this helps, Johnathan. Enjoy your trip!

  19. Hi there!
    I’ve been in Cinque-Terre, mostly in Moterosso and saw the rest by boat. I find this page very instructive and interesting!
    You really give me the hope I’ll go back and do exactly your trail. Thanks a million!

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Eileen. Enjoy your repeat trip to Cinque Terre!

  20. Hi, planning a trip next summer! On your day hike did you start and finish in the same town? If not what did you do with your luggage? Also, how soon in advance do you recommend making reservations for accommodations? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Author

      Hi Kelsey, no, we didn’t start and finish in the same place – if you read the post all the details are there. We started in Monterosso al Mare and walked to Vernazza and on to Corniglia. We did the rest by train as the hiking paths are closed.
      We stayed in La Spezia for a few nights and our luggage was at the hotel. If you are just going to Cinque Terre for a day, I’d see if you can leave your luggage at the train station in La Spezia or at your accommodation where you’ll spend the night before or after. You really can’t hike in Cinque Terre with any luggage except for a small day backpack.

  21. Wow! Great post!! Great insider’s information!!! Timely, too, from my perspective. Many thanks!

    I am just now planning my Cinque Terre visit of October 2019, so your guidance and tips are most helpful, welcome and appreciated. I’m sure I’ll be well prepared for my visit, after following and soaking up all your advice. Now, I just need mother nature to cooperate by providing a back-drop of sunny days and clear blue skies.

    1. Author

      Glad you found it useful, Keith. We also visited in October (on the 30th to be more precise) and had an amazing weather, so fingers crossed for you too!

  22. I would love to buy or print this guide for my upcoming trip to cinque terra. How can I get the guide without having to print 43 pages with all the ads?
    Thank you

    1. Author

      Hi Nancy, at the moment we don’t offer a printable version of this (and most other guides) on our website. Creating content takes lots of time and effort and ad income helps us run the blog and continue to offer quality travel advice to our readers.
      I could make a printable guide for you, but that would require so much of my time that I wouldn’t feel comfortable charging my hourly rate for something that you can now get for free.
      I have been thinking of offering our guides for sale, but I found that most people weren’t prepared to pay and didn’t mind seeing some ads instead…
      You can still print the text if you like – just copy it to a word document first and then delete all the ads and pictures to make it shorter. Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!

  23. We want to stay for a few days. My husband doesn’t do a lot of hiking He is turning 70 although very healthy and can do some but not a lot. Any suggestions?

    1. Author

      Hi Katerine, for most villages in Cinque Terre you don’t really need to hike in order to see them. Except for Corniglia – it’s the only village that is on top of the hill and it’s a very steep climb from the train station. I think there is a local bus as well, but I’m not sure if/when it operates.
      Hiking between the villages is nice, but can be easily substituted by taking a train or a boat. Please check this post for more practical information for visiting Cinque Terre.
      That being said, there are always some stairs to negotiate in towns themselves, but nothing extreme. Just beware that if you decide to stay in one of the Cinque Terre towns themselves, often accommodations are somewhere high up the hill (as all villages are built against the mountain). Better is to stay in a bigger town like La Spezia, but also Portovenere is a beautiful place. From La Spezia you have boats and trains to Cinque Terre. From Portovenere, taking a boat is your only option. Once you get to any of the Cinque Terre villages, you can take the train between the villages, but not to Portovenere.
      Hope this helps.

  24. How did you get from Riomaggiore to Manarola? That part was left out.

    1. Author

      Hi Victor, we took a train from Riomaggiore to Manarola. It’s just a short trip, less than 5 minutes if the train comes on time :).

  25. Hi Jurga ..
    I read your post and it seems quite Helpful to me . As i am going to cinque terre on 12th of november and I probably be having 2 days in cinque terre . I have decided to take my accommodation in “ Riomaggiore “ . I don’t know whether it will be okay or not . Will you please help me with the route like if i will take my hotel in Riomaggiore so what will be the sequence of villages i have to follow . I will be alone and traveling alone for the first time . I’ll be very thankful to you if you give a proper guide .
    Thanks alot in advance

    1. Author

      Hi Siya, I really have no time to suggest individual itineraries for our readers – I’d be doing nothing else. I’m sure you’ll understand.
      This post contains so many suggestions, including the time that it took us to hike between the villages, so I’m sure you can make your own perfect Cinque Terre itinerary. A lot depends on your interests, whether you hike, and how the weather will be.
      I honestly think that 2 days is a bit much for Cinque Terre in November, so maybe try to visit something else nearby as well. Portovenere is a great option, but in November you won’t be able to easily get there I think as, normally, the boats don’t run anymore. So you’d probably need to take a bus from La Spezia.
      Anyway, here are practical tips for visiting Cinque Terre, and here you can read more about Portovenere. Hope this helps.

  26. Hi,

    Just a question, so the total itinerary spans from about 8am to ~6pm or so? (That being the total time in CT, excluding travel into and out of La Spezia?)

    1. Author

      Yes, that’s about right, Nick. Not counting the dinner. Also, we visited Cinque Terre with 3 kids, so hiked slower than most people do AND we had several cancelled trains which made the whole trip longer, otherwise we would have had at least an hour extra in Riomaggiore.

  27. Loved this as my daughter and I are travelling to Italy for 10 days in Mid Sept and will be going to CT for a day and 2 nights. We will be coming from Venice. Not sure where to stay.

    1. Author

      Hi Fauzia, I think that La Spezia might be the best option. Whether you come by train, or by car, you can easily get there. It’s also much cheaper to stay there (and there are many more options, also for restaurants) than in Cinque Terre.
      Then either take a boat or a train to explore Cinque Terre the next day.
      If you rather stay in 5terre itself, then I recommend Manarola. Portovenere is also very nice, but a bit more tricky to get to, unless you have a car and book a hotel with a parking (here you can read more about visiting Porto Venere).
      Here you can find all the practical information for visiting Cinque Terre.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you so much Jurga,
        You are amazing.
        This is our first visit to Italy, and I am already certain, I will return and stay longer and visit other parts of Italy. We will be visiting family in Turin and fly back to Toronto Sunday 30th September.
        Will keep coming back to this forum during our trip to find nuggets.

  28. Hello Jurga! Super thank you for this absolutely helpful article!! we are planning to go to CT this weekend for my birthday and didn’t had any clue until we saw this article. Thank you for sharing! Really!

    And by the way, congrats for the stunning pictures!!! i love them all!! you are truly blessed with talents in writing and photography! keep it up!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your kind feedback. Enjoy your trip to Cinque Terre and if you have a few hours to spare I really recommend to visit Portovenere as well.

  29. Hi! This was so helpful as I am planning a trip to CT next weekend. Just one question… did you pay for a CT rail pass for the day or pay as you went? / if you did buy the pass is it included in the hiking ticket since some of the trail is not open?

    1. Author

      Hi Mallory, hope I’m not too late with my answer. You can buy the Cinque Terre day ticket at a railway station. It includes all the train rides for the entire day (so you can hop-on and off at any village) and also the hiking fee is included. It’s by far the best option if you plan to take a train and also hike.
      You can find more information and answers to many other questions in our practical guide to visiting Cinque Terre.
      Enjoy your trip!

  30. Very informative. Going to CT in Oct 1st week. This article of yours will help a lot. shall update you once am back

    1. Author

      Great, please let us know how it went. I’m sure our readers will appreciate to hear any tips you may have after your trip.
      Enjoy it!

  31. Hello Juga,
    My husband and I are visiting Cinque Terre in early September. and are staying in Santa Margarita. We will have one day to explore Cinque Terre. Should we take the train all the way down to Rioggiomare and start there? If so, I think you are suggesting that hiking in that direction is more difficult so we probably will not hike. What villages would you recommend that we take the boat to? Should we hire a guide or explore ourselves? Thank you.

    1. Author

      Hi Ann, I think you can follow our itinerary from this post or do it in the other direction – it doesn’t really matter. The distances between the villages are really small and only takes a few minutes by train. If I were to do it again, I’d do it exactly the same way as we did. We left Manarola for the very end of the day because it’s a really beautiful place to be at sunset. Just keep in mind that the trains sometimes get cancelled, so your planned 5 minute ride between the two villages can turn into an hour waiting for the next train…
      You can also take a boat, but then again – keep in mind the schedule.
      If there is one village that is really nice to see from the water it’s probably Riomaggiore; the rest are actually more impressive from land. But then of course from the boat you also see the beautiful coastline…
      Here is my idea of an itinerary you could do (just a suggestion). You could take a train to Monterosso, explore the village. Then take a train or hike to Vernazza, explore it. From there hop on a boat to Riomaggiore (skip Corniglia if you don’t want to walk up the steep stairs – you’ll see it from the boat). Then take a train to Manarola in time for sunset. After dinner, take a train back to Santa Margarita.
      There is no need to take a guide, unless you really don’t like to have to deal with any practical aspects of your trip. For more practical information, train tickets, etc. please check our practical guide to visiting Cinque Terre.
      Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip!

  32. Thank you! I was desperately looking for a post like this. We are planning on being in Florence in the first week of October but have a day to do CT and did not know how and yes we are open to a hike but only if it is worth it. Your plan gives us everything we were looking for.

    Question: Our plan is that after Florence/CT we go to Venice. So once we do our 2 days in Florence should we move to another town (La Spezia?) do our day trip to CT from there and stay the night in this town and then next morning take the train to Venice or after our day in CT go back to Florence an from there go to Venice?

    We are hoping to spend only a day in Venice. Stay the night and the next morning head to Rome.. So where do we spend the night? In Venice or some nearby town?

    Thank you

    1. Author

      Hi Shahid, glad this post helped you with the planning. I’m not sure how you are planning to travel from Venice to Rome, but your itinerary looks very rushed to me with lots of time traveling and little time for sightseeing. Which I understand; many first-time visitors want to see the highlights in a short time. If I were you, I’d look into options for the flights between Venice and Rome… Even Florence to Venice is already a long trip.
      In Venice it’s nice to stay right in the heart of the city. However, the best option for you would probably be an area close to the train station – at least you don’t have to carry your suitcases through half the town that way, and it’s easy enough to walk to the main landmarks from there. Try the area around Hotel Adriatico – you can see all the available accommodations on the man when you use booking.com
      Now back to Cinque Terre. If you had more time there, I’d recommend to stay nearby, but based on your plans, I think you better base yourself in Florence (again, close to the train station, area around C-hotels Joy) – it will save you lots of hassle with the luggage, looking for separate hotels, and then also traveling to Venice from Florence will be easier than going from La Spezia.
      There are organised day tours from Florence to 5terre and they take about 12hrs (7AM-7PM), so it’s possible to do it as a day trip, just plan well if you plan to do it individually. TIP: check the train schedule and don’t count on the last train – quite some trains got cancelled when we were in Cinque Terre leaving us and many passengers waiting for an hour for the next train…
      Enjoy your trip!

  33. What a great post!! I am visiting Rome in Aug and hadn’t even considered going to Cinque Terre until I came across this post. I am definitely adding this on to my trip and you certainly mapped it out for other travelers. This will be my first time “across the pond”, I live in MIA and never been to Europe. I want to get the most out of my 10 day vacation.
    Being from Florida, I am pretty accustomed to HEAT… so how hot is it in August? Does it compare to Miami or would you say its worse (temps are usually 92-95 degrees during August).
    Thanks for the post!!

    1. Author

      Hi Yoe, good to hear you found inspiration for your Italian trip. Cinque Terre is certainly worth a visit, but expect it to be really busy too… As for the weather, you never know, but in general it’s really hot in Italy in August. Too hot for us Belgians to go and explore towns and cities, but if you are used to Florida and the humid heat you have, then I think you’ll find the dry heat of Italy quite bearable. Temperature-wise it will probably be anywhere between 30-40°C (86-104F) – in Rome and other towns it will be really hot. Cinque Terre, on the other hand, is by the sea, so it shouldn’t feel half as bad with the wind there.
      Enjoy your first overseas adventure! I’m sure it will leave you wanting for more.

  34. Great article. Beautiful photos. Is there a train from Vernazza to Corniglia? Since we will be there in August, we may want to complete the first hike and skip the second due to the afternoon heat. Thanks so much for your help.

    1. Author

      Hi Michelle, yes, the train stops in each of the 5 villages (the boat only does 4 – all but Corniglia). Just note that the train station in Corniglia is at the bottom, by the sea, whereas the village itself is high on the hill. There is a nice wide staircase going up, but it’s a tough climb. I think the hike is easier. 🙂 Alternatively, I think you can also take a bus from the station to the village, but I’m not sure how it works or how often it runs. Most people seem to be walking up, so it’s definitely doable. All the other villages are by the sea and don’t require any climbing.
      If you haven’t seen yet, please also check this post for more practical information for visiting Cinque Terre.

  35. Thanks for the information. We are planning to come over to the Cinque Terre in the first week of August. We will drive to La Spezia and take the train to visit the places. Most probably we will not be doing the walking trails due to the hot weather. So do you still think we should buy the Cinque Terre Treno card to go from one place to another. Also is it possible to use the ferry boat as well with the card or do we have to pay extra.?

    1. Author

      Hi Moira, the train card is separate from the boat. If you don’t plan to do any hiking, taking a boat and hopping off at 4 villages might be a really nice way to spend your day. Or take a train to the furthest village and then buy a one way boat ticket. But I think it’s only the full day boat ticket that gives you an option to leave the boat and join the next one during the day, so it might be better to just do that. Or just the train. Combination of both will be the most expensive, but it’s not like it’s overly expensive. So I would say plan the day the best way it suits you; after all you probably want to get the most of your short visit rather than save a few euros and miss something.

  36. Thank you thank you thank you for all of these tips!!! We just arrive in Cinque Terre today and only have 2 full days to explore. This hike itinerary helped so much! Much love and happy travels!

    1. Author

      Good to hear than, Nichole. Hope you had a great time in Cinque Terre. Now that you visited it, do you have any (additional) tips for our readers? Much appreciated.
      Happy travels, Jurga

  37. Great article! This will serve our guide. My husband and I will be going on a day trip to Cinque Terre on a Saturday in May. We may not do it all and I wish we have more time. Can’t wait.

    1. Author

      Hi Lilibeth, glad to hear this helped you plan your trip to Cinque Terre. You can do a lot in one day, more than you think, just start early to avoid the biggest crowds and the heat.
      Make sure to also check this post if you are looking for more practical information about visiting Cinque Terre. And enjoy your trip!

  38. I perhaps go there this year , then it is very interresting. Nice pictures. Thank you.

  39. Beautiful Pics. I was wondering if one day was enough time or not, as I plan on stopping through there in the summer so this was very helpful!

    1. Author

      Good to hear that, Gina. Enjoy your trip!

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