The Cinque Terre is a succession of five villages perched on the Ligurian cliffs of Italy, overlooking sapphire seas, lush vineyards and groves of lemon trees. The only sound of traffic is of footsteps and the scrape of boats being hauled up into the streets, and the villages are filled with picture perfect piazzas and pastel coloured buildings – Cinque Terre is a slice of paradise! Getting to Cinque Terre isn’t difficult – your options are by plane, car or train.
How to get to Cinque Terre by plane
The closest airports to Cinque Terre are Pisa, Genoa or Milan. In terms of which have the best rail lines, choose either Pisa or Genoa – you’ll be able to get into Cinque Terre almost directly, whereas the airport in Milan is located further away from rail connections.
How to get to Cinque Terre by rail
This is the best (and only!) option to really experience the five towns that make up Cinque Terre. There are rail connections from Rome, Milan, Venice, and Florence to La Spezia, the main connecting station to the Cinque Terre line. Visit Trenitalia to find out your best route. You’ll need to input your starting point and the name of one of the five villages – Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza or Monterosso – to map your route.
How to get to Cinque Terre by car
Driving to Cinque Terre is possible but not advisable, but the road twists and turns and can be a challenging drive for the less experienced. If you are coming in from Genoa, go south on the A-12 route on the autostrada, towards Livorno. From Pisa, go north instead of the same A-12 route. Take the Carrodano-Levanto exit and follow the signs.
Most people take the train to Cinque Terre; those who drive usually leave their car at Levanto, then change for the train. If you do decide to drive to Cinque Terre, be aware that vehicles are not allowed beyond the villages entrances. There are designated car parks (approximately €20 per day) but these can be located almost 1km away from the village centres, which entails a steep walk – though mini bus shuttles are available in some car parks.
The best way to experience the Cinque Terre is via the approach by train. Once there, by all means purchase the Cinque Terre Card, which allows you unlimited rides on the Cinque Terre line for 1, 3 or a week’s stay, but do at least one of the many beautiful hikes that criss-cross the region. The beauty of Cinque Terre is best seen by foot. Happy trails!