Doing a Cinque Terre day trip from Florence is an absolute must! If you’re already in the “neighbourhood” why not treat yourself to a day full of exploring one of the most beautiful coastlines in Italy. The pastel coloured houses towering over the Ligurian Sea is simply a view that takes your breath away. So here goes:
The best way to do a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre
The distance from Florence to Cinque Terre is only about 150 km. You can travel from Florence to Cinque Terre by train or car, but due to the narrow streets of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, I highly recommend you go by train. It’ll take you anything between 2,5-4 hours to cover the distance from Florence to Cinque Terre by train, and if you want to avoid wasting time on a train, remember to check Italiarail’s timetable. And remember to book a ticket. The five villages of Cinque Terre have become immensely popular, and there’s no reason to get stranded at the train station in Florence (Firenze Santa Maria Novella railway station). I tried it in Pisa, and trust me – it’s no fun.
Travelling by train in Italy is very comfortable. The trains are clean, safe and easy to use. And the ticket price is also fair. Going from Florence to Cinque Terre by train will set you back € 17 (the cheapest fare). All trains stop at the station La Spezia Centrale. Here you jump on the Cinque Terre Express – the train that runs between La Spezia and the five villages of Cinque Terre.
The Cinque Terre Express
The Cinque Terre Express runs from before sunrise till 1 a.m and is a really reliable and cheap mode of transportation between Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. An adult ticket costs € 4 and children under the age of 13 cost € 2. If you want to go back and forth between the five villages several times (more than three times) you should consider buying the Cinque Terre Card. An adult ticket will set you back € 16 and gives you unlimited use of the train for a whole day. If you want to hike the Blue Path, you also need to buy the Cinque Terre Card.
If you decide to take the train from Florence to Cinque Terre, remember to stamp your ticket. That also applies if you buy a Cinque Terre Card. Every time you jump on a train, you have to stamp the ticket. You’ll find the stamping machines on the train platforms.
Getting from Florence to Cinque Terre by car
As I wrote earlier – don’t bother with a car if you don’t have to when doing a Cinque Terre day trip from Florence. The roads are narrow, it’s hard to find a place to park and it’ll take you a lot longer to go from one village to another if you go by car instead of train. In fact, it’ll take you at least one hour to get from Riomaggiore to Monterosso by car, and by train, it’ll take you 20 minutes.
If you have to go by car, I recommend parking your car in the underground garage beneath La Spezia Centrale train station and jumping on a train to one of the five Cinque Terre villages.
All the villages have a parking area, but it’ll set you back around € 30 to park your car a full day.
Florence to Cinque Terre by Bus
If you don’t want to go by train or car you can always join a tour group and travel with them by bus. It’s an easy way to travel as someone basically serves Cinque Terre on a platter for you. You don’t have to do any research, and a guide will be sure to tell you all the interesting things there is to know about Cinque Terre. I guess it’s a good choice if you don’t like the hassle of planning things yourself.
Going back: Trains from Cinque Terre to Florence
During the high season, you can catch a train back to Florence from Riomaggiore, the southernmost village, as late as 22:00. And if you’re really eager to get as many hours in as you can, you can take a train there as early as 4:30 in the morning.
A Cinque Terre itinerary
What to do in that picturesque part of the world? Enjoy the sea breeze, drink a cold, crisp glass of white wine, take a swim in the Ligurian Sea? I think so! It would be a crime to rush in Cinque Terre. Don’t arrive with a huge “Things to see in Cinque Terre-list”. Instead, choose a few things to see, and if you want to do a hike, plan that. All the villages of Cinque Terre are beautiful, but you can’t fit them all into one day if you want to relax and take in the atmosphere as well. Breathe out, chill out and lean back – you’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and just do as the Italians – enjoy life!!!
I hope you have a great trip!!