If you’re travelling to Italy, Cinque Terre is a place not to be missed. With a collection of five coastal villages along the Italian Riviera, village hopping to each of the picturesque villages is definitley an unforgettable experience.
The best way to get to Cinque Terre is by train. From Pisa it’s only about an hour away, but there’s also connections there from Florence, and other major cities like Venice and Milan. The Italian national railway is called Trenitalia. It’s a bit confusing but it’s great for searching for connections beforehand and even buying your tickets online.
*Remember to get your ticket validated before you go on the train!*
Depending on where you’re traveling from, you might have to travel to La Spezia and take a connecting train to the villages. Luckily I travelled there from Pisa, where there are a good amount of direct connections! A single way train ticket from Pisa is aprrox. 8 euros.
The villages of Cinque Terre in order of closeness to Pisa are:
Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso
Something I would recommend is taking a train to the last (and also biggest) village – Monterosso, and working your way to Riomaggiore, where you can take a train back to Pisa, or elsewhere.
One thing to keep in mind is that since Cinque Terre is considered a national park, cars are restricted from most parts of the villages!
There’s a travel office in each village, so I would recommend getting a timetable printout of the train schedules for the villages. The trains come to the villages about once every hour or so, and the distance between each village is really short – only about 2-5 minutes!
You can buy the train ticket for the villages at these travel offices as well, and they start at 4 euros, which gives you a basic single journey in one direction to each of the villages. You can also get a Cinque Terre card that allows access to unlimited train travel and all the hiking trails which starts at 12 euros for a one day pass.
Additionally you can also travel to each village by boat! There are ferry boats that take you to every village except Corniglia.
Riomaggiore basically has one main street and is the closet village to La Spezia. There’s some restaurants, little shops and harbour and a beach.
Manarola is the smallest village but I think has the best view. When you search up photos of the Cinque Terre, the images of the houses on the hill are all taken there! There’s also lots of boats and swimming areas.
Coniglia is the hardest to get to since when you arrive, you have to walk up the 365 steps to actually get to the village centre! It feels quieter than the other villages but it’s worth the trek!
Vernazza has an amazing waterfront piazza and a harbour with a beach. There’s lots of tiny streets that lead to a main street and supposedly has the best night scene!
Monterosso is the largest village and has an old and new part of town, a sandy beach and a long seaside promenade. It has a resort like feel and has lots of beach-side restaurants and cafes.
Cinque Terre is a popular destination for hiking, and there are definitely some breath-taking views hiking from one village to another. It’s important to check the weather especially if you’re only in Cinque Terre for a little while, since the hiking paths aren’t always open.
A good pair of shoes are also a must for hiking since some of these trails take 2-3 hours and range in levels of difficulty.
I’ve never stayed overnight in Cinque Terre, but there are a good amount of sleeping options. The fanciest hostels are in Monterosso, but there are also B&B’s and hostels, as well as apartments that you can rent. For hostels, they start at around 16-20 euros a night.
It’s important to book early especially in the summer, since places fill up really fast!
Pesto is a Ligurian specialty and you’ll see tons of shops selling them as well as a popular dish called Spaghetti al Pesto. Some other great foods to try are: vegetable pies (torte di verdura), rice pie (torta di riso), egg frittate, and farinata. Of course seafood dishes are a must as well!
Hope you guys find this mini guide helpful!