Cinque Terre are five fishing villages in Liguria, just north of Tuscany. These beautiful colourful villages by the sea are one of the most famous tourist attractions in Italy. Ideally, a visitor would take two or three days to see the Cinque Terre but it can also be done in a day! Here are some ideas for itineraries for sporty and more casual travellers to do in one day.
Cinque Terre itinerary in one day
There are many ways to visit Cinque Terre in a day. If you start your journey from La Spezia (the biggest town near Cinque Terre), take the train to the furthest village, Monterosso al Mare and then gradually make your way back, passing through each village: Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and finally Riomaggiore. The more adventurous and fit travellers can walk on the Sentiero Azzurro that connects all Cinque Terre. Even if you choose not to walk, and use the train to get from one place to the other, bare in mind that the stations are usually at the bottom of the village and there can be many stairs to go up, especially at Corniglia.
Cinque Terre Card
The Cinque Terre Card is a daily pass that allows to take the train as many times as you want over the span of 24 hours. You can acquire it at any station or online for the price of 16 €. I strongly recommend buying your ticket online during peak season to avoid the long queues at the station. The pass gives you the freedom to hop on and off and visit all 5 villages in a day. It also comes with extra benefits such as a free shuttle ride from the Corniglia train station to the center, admission to the Cinque Terre park, access to wi-fi and the public toilets at the stations. The ticket must be validated before being used. Don’t forget to print a copy of the Cinque Terre train timetable to avoid waiting around uselessly.
The Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) was created to connect all five villages with trails that either hug the coast or pass higher up, in the countryside behind the the villages. It is part of the Cinque Terre Natural park and admission isn’t free. If you buy the train day card, the park is included. You can also purchase a separate ticket just for the park for 7 €. Sadly, due to landslides, some of the trails are closed to visitors. If you choose to explore the Cinque Terre on foot, the only accessible trails are from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia. The Monterosso to Vernazza stretch is about two hours long and doesn’t have much leafy coverage. Ideally, do this trail before it gets too hot. The Vernazza to Corniglia trail is higher up and goes through trees and takes about 1.30 hour. It is impossible to get lost if you follow the red and white signs along the footpath. Make sure to carry some water and sunblock! The trail isn’t paved so hiking shoes or trainers are in order.
When to go
The best time to visit Cinque Terre is before or after the big onslaught of tourist. The months of June and September are less hot (especially for trekkers) and the towns less crowded. If you choose to go during the low season, take note that the Cinque Terre Card deal is only applicable from mid March to the end of October and that some trails could be blocked due to adverse weather conditions.
Instead of solely visiting big cities like Florence, take a day away to appreciate the slower pace of the Cinque Terre. It can be easy if you book a one day Cinque Terre private trip from Florence. Caught between sea and mountains, these little villages will surprise and enchant you. There offer something for everyone, from a relaxing beach to hiking trails, from delicious food to amazing views and photo opportunities.