Itinerary for 2 Days in the Cinque Terre

This is part of my perfect Italy itinerary series – it’s the second stop on the tour. If you missed the first one, go back and see what to do with two days in Venice!

If you’re following along on my suggested 2-week Italy itinerary and you’ve arrived on this page, that means you’ve just left the lovely canal city of Venice and you’re ready for the next stop on the tour: the Cinque Terre. This collection of what seem like cobbled-together villages stuck like so many barnacles to the Ligurian cliffs is a must-see stop for many visitors to Italy – especially anyone who’s ever heard of Rick Steves.

Steves has talked about the Cinque Terre for years, and some credit (or blame, depending on who you’re talking to) him for their popularity. But even though the days when the Cinque Terre were off the beaten path are long gone, that doesn’t mean they’re any less beautiful. So here are my suggestions for how to spend two days in the Cinque Terre.

Quick search for hotels in Vernazza & Monterosso, two of the more popular Cinque Terre towns:
Vernazza Hotels:
Monterosso Hotels:

>> Learn more about where to stay in the Cinque Terre, with details about each town and what to expect from accommodation in the area.

>> Find out all your options for getting around in the Cinque Terre and why you shouldn’t bring a car.

Two Days in the Cinque Terre

2days5t1I have a confession to make at the outset. To be perfectly fair, this itinerary doesn’t call for two full days in the Cinque Terre. In fact, it calls for one full day and another part of a day, and two overnights. Assuming you’re following my suggested 2-week itinerary to the letter, this is what you’ll have in these five tiny villages – and if you’ve got more time in Italy than just two weeks, then you can extend your time here to explore even more of the hiking trails and beaches.

The Cinque Terre, while most often described as one place, are actually five villages on the coast of Liguria that are connected by hiking trails, a slow-moving train, and a ridiculously windy road. The villages are, starting from the northernmost one, Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Monterosso is about 1.5 hours from Genoa by train, and the closest city of any size to the Cinque Terre is La Spezia, just south of Riomaggiore, at about 15 minutes by train.

Thankfully, the Cinque Terre is just remote enough that most people don’t plan on visiting as a day-trip – but some people assume that since it’s a relatively small area they can do it with only one overnight. It’s technically possible to do this, but you miss out on a bit of the quieter elements of these delightful villages if you try to cram too much into 24 hours. By just adding one more night in the Cinque Terre to your itinerary, you get a glimpse of what makes this place so special.




Day One in the Cinque Terre

Whether or not you’re following my 2-week itinerary and coming in from Venice, if you’re coming from further away than Genoa or Florence you’re likely to arrive in the Cinque Terre at least around mid-day (if not a little later). There was a time, even in the high season, when there would be older Italian women on hand greeting most trains with signs declaring they had rooms for rent. Making advance plans wasn’t important, you’d just pick the Italian face you liked best and make yourself at home in your temporary abode.

This is no longer the way things go in the Cinque Terre.

Sure, there may be times when business is slower and you’ll still find a few people bearing “affitacamere” signs (rooms for rent) when you get off your train, but for the most part this little part of Italy is popular enough year-round – and especially during the shoulder and high seasons – that booking in advance is highly recommended. (Also highly recommended? Bringing some kind of mosquito repellent with you.)

So, assuming you’ve booked your room in advance, you’ll arrive in the Cinque Terre town you’ll be staying in for two nights and check in. Unless you’ve gotten an ungodly early start and can get settled before 11am, I’d suggest putting off any of the longer hikes until your second day. There’s one “hike” that’s easy enough that you could do it in sandals before dinner on your first night, however.

2days5t5For the most part, I’d recommend spending whatever time you have on your first day just enjoying the rambling streets of the town you’ll be based in, soaking in the views overlooking the water, and figuring out where you’ll eat dinner that night. It’s also a good idea to sort out the necessary Cinque Terre hiking passes for accessing the trails – the Cinque Terre is now a National Park in Italy, so you’ll need a pass to hike from town to town. You can get passes that also include train and boat rides between the villages, which is really convenient and leaves you mobile enough to not feel forced to have dinner in the same village your hotel is in.

In warmer weather, your first afternoon in the Cinque Terre is a perfect excuse to slip into your swimsuit and wash off the morning’s travel sweat with a dip in the sea. The beach in Monterosso (the northernmost town) is the largest and most typical, but there are smaller, rockier, and more inaccessible beaches in some of the other towns. If you’d like to split up the hikes so that you’re not doing all of them in one day, the hike from Riomaggiore (the southernmost town) to Manarola is flat, paved, and even accessible to baby strollers. It’s called the “Via dell’Amore,” or “Lover’s Lane,” so it’s a lovely option for an early evening stroll before dinner.

Have a leisurely dinner (seafood, of course) in one of the many Cinque Terre restaurants that spills out into the streets and squares of these little towns in nice weather, don’t forget to throw a few scraps (when the watier’s not looking) to the town cats that hover underneath the tables, and then later fall asleep with the windows open and the sound of the water (as well as late-night chatter from the restaurants below) filling your room.

Day Two in the Cinque Terre

I know you’re on vacation, and I am the most anti-morning person on earth, but I do recommend getting up bright and early on your second day in the Cinque Terre to get on the trail. If you’re visiting in cooler weather, this isn’t as critical – but in warm weather the hike can get extremely hot and uncomfortable at mid-day and the early afternoon. Even if you’re only planning to hike between a couple of the towns, it’s still a good idea to get up early so you don’t get stuck on a cliffside with no shade for protection from the noon-day sun. Trust me – I speak from experience.


2days5t3Since you’ve bought your Cinque Terre hiking pass the day before, you’re all set to get hiking as soon as you’ve had your morning coffee and pastry at the nearest corner bar to your hotel or rented room. You’ll find more information about doing the hike between the five villages on my Cinque Terre hiking guide – it also includes information about less-well-known hikes through the area that may tempt you into staying longer, which is never a bad thing in my book.

Whether you’re a hard-core hiker who wants to just keep going once you’ve started or more of a slow-paced walker, I do think it’s well worth it to stop in each town along the hike and poke around to see what’s different about that one. The towns are similar, to be sure, but each one has a unique feel. I like to get something to eat – even if it’s small – in each town, and scope out which one I might want to stay in next time I visit. I also keep my eye out for people selling things along the trail – like homemade olive oil. I have a very soft spot for buying things like that from the people who made them.

Starting the hike early means that even if you’re hiking all four trails connecting the five towns in one day you should be done by around lunchtime. So even if you’ve stopped in each town for a bite to eat, reward yourself post-hike with a feast in another of the Cinque Terre’s many restaurants. Then indulge in an early afternoon glass of Sciacchetrà, the local sweet wine (with a biscotto cookie for dipping), before heading back to your room to get cleaned up.

This leaves you with the rest of the afternoon and evening to relax. Head back to the beach, find a sunny rock from which to read or write or just stare at the sea, explore the towns a bit more fully (using the slow train to get from one to another, thanks to that train-plus-hiking pass you bought), pick up a few souvenirs, or take a nap. Then it’s time for another dinner, more scraps for the cats, and a good night’s rest. You’ll head out the next morning, back to the train station and on to your next stop on your tour of Italy.

>> Following along on my recommended route through Italy? Then that next stop is four days in Florence! Find out how to get from the Cinque Terre to Florence, including a brief stop in Pisa. It’s a great train trip, and by booking train tickets in advance using the box below you can get Trenitalia’s best rates.

More Useful Information for Visiting the Cinque Terre

2days5t4Here’s a bit more information you’ll find handy in planning your trip to the Cinque Terre, regardless of how long you’re spending there.

photos, top to bottom, by: Allie_Caulfield, travellingtamas, Lee Coursey, Allie_Caulfield

76 thoughts on “Itinerary for 2 Days in the Cinque Terre

  • David Porter


    We spent a day in the Cinque Terre area, a few years ago, and I can tell you it was WAY to little time. We definitely plan a return longer stay in the coming years.

  • Jessica Post author

    I agree, David, one day just isn’t enough. Two days (or almost two) is pushing it, but at least there’s a little time in this itinerary for some lounging/relaxing.

  • Víctor

    Hi, Jessica. I didn’t know where to put this… Well, I’m travelling soon to Italy with a friend. We are going to “andare in giro” through the Tuscan hills, and then to Bologna, Parma, Portofino and Milano. We are pretty anxious, looking forward for the trip.

    The thing is, I’ve been told -by many people- that Italians can be sometimes rude or that they may made tricks on you: for example, you booked for a room with a view but it turns out when you get there they don’t want to give you a room with a view, or they cheat you selling you things more expensive than they usually are because they see you’re a tourist… I don’t know if I’m being clear on this, the point is that some people are spreading the idea that it’s not a good idea to trust in Italians and that they usually do things that will make you have a bad time.

    I’ve been in Rome and never had a bad experience with Italians but never had to directly treat with them since I was staying with locals and they look after me.

    Do you think this true? And most important, if it’s true but not always, what one could do in Italy to cope with this kind of Italians? Is there a way to make Italians don’t try to fool you?

    Thank you, Jessica, love your website. Totally agree with the “10 best things to do in Rome”, those are exactly my 10 things as well.

  • ER

    In addition to the seafood, don’t forget the pesto! Liguria is the birthplace of pesto, and the first meal I had in Monterosso was one of the best I’ve even had. And the focaccia is excellent as well. Great post!

  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Victor:

    There are people who will try to take advantage of hapless tourists in every country, and Italy is no different in that regard, but in my experience the Italians aren’t any worse about this than other countries (and they’re better than many). Savvy travelers who do things like pay attention to their receipts and get guarantees of a “room with a view” in an email (which they can then use upon check-in) aren’t likely to have problems.

    I don’t know who’s telling you these things, but if they haven’t traveled much in Italy I’m not sure they’re the best people to be taking advice from. I think you’ll find most travelers in Italy don’t have these kinds of issues.


  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Christian:

    Unfortunately, July is definitely high season for flying to Italy – so the tickets are going to be more expensive than they are in the shoulder season. I noticed ticket prices on one route I was looking at yesterday went from $830 in April & May to $1100-1500 in June… And that’s pretty normal.

    Having said that, I don’t know if you’ve already looked through my suggestions for finding cheaper airfare to Italy: – there are some tips further down that page that may help you. You might also try giving the BootsnAll international airfare department a call (BootsnAll is the parent website for WhyGo Italy) – they sometimes find excellent deals with consolidators:

    Good luck!

  • Monica

    Hi Jessica,

    First of all, thanks for all of this great Italy advice! I stumbled on your website earlier today, and have been reading page after page — I was already looking forward to my trip, and now even more so!

    I’m planning on going to Milan/Cinque Terre for the weekend in May (I live in Prague, and got an awesome deal on WizzAir). I already have my flight booked, and I arrive to Milan Bergamo at 725 am. I’ve been looking at train schedules, and there are trains that would get me to Levanto around 12, but the website won’t let me select them. Is that because they’re already reserved? Or is it only possible to buy these tickets in person? Any advice you have for getting to Cinque Terre from Milan Bergamo airport is much appreciated, as I don’t know much about the Italian train system!


  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Monica:

    The Bergamo Airport isn’t in Milan – it’s closest to the town of Bergamo (they call it Milan Bergamo so people will consider it a Milan airport, and it’s roughly as close to Milan as Malpensa, but it’s still not in Milan), so the transportation route you’ll need to look at is Bergamo Airport to Bergamo to Milan. Bergamo-Milan is about a one-hour trip on the train – you can read more about Bergamo here:

    As for the trains, I’ve never bothered to buy tickets on the Trenitalia website before – I always just buy them in person. I have heard of people having trouble with the online system, and others who have no problems at all… Which leads me to believe it’s a bit fickle. When you get to the Bergamo train station, you should be able to buy tickets for your whole journey – to Milan, and then on to the Cinque Terre (Levanto isn’t in the Cinque Terre – it’s in the area, but it’s not one of the Cinque Terre towns). You can read more about train travel in Italy & the Cinque Terre at these links:

    I hope that helps!

  • Georgia

    We are taking our first trip to Italy and I am afraid it may be my only trip there so I am trying to see and do as much as possible in two weeks time. We are really not museum people. We want to see some of the most obvious museum/gallery must sees but we are more interested in the countryside and meeting people in villages and inter-acting with them. We want to see Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice and then a little town in central Italy near Terimo where my husbands family comes from. We also would like to see Capri and then down to Calabria where my fathers family is from, the Sersale, Andaly area. Catch a ferry over to Sicily to spend a day or so because more relatives are from Santo Stefano DeCamastra (sp?) and then fly from Palermo back to Rome airport and home. Does this sound do-able? If so, in what order would you suggest we travel. I would really appreciate your input. We will be traveling in late Sept of this year.
    Thanks, Georgia

  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Georgia:

    I understand the desire to see the entire country in two weeks, but I have to say that the itinerary you lay out doesn’t sound do-able at all in just two weeks. If you’re intent on seeing all the places you listed, I would double the amount of time you’re planning. Otherwise, you’re looking at spending one day in each place, and then spending a day in between some of them to travel from one city to another. And even if you manage to do it, I can’t imagine how that’s an enjoyable trip at all. You certainly won’t have time to see anything or soak up any of the culture…

    It’s critical that you look up travel times between each place on your wish list as you’re making your dream itinerary so you have a realistic picture of what’s possible. Get out a good Italy map and look up how long it takes to get from city to city, and then you’ll see why two weeks to cover everything from Venice to Sicily just isn’t realistic.


  • Daniel

    Hi Jessica,

    My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy in August this year. I’m not sure if our itinerary is realistic.
    We are flying into Rome and plan to stay 4 nights. After Rome we will take a train/bus to Positano (Amalfi Coast) – stopping off at Naples for a Pizza! – staying in Positano for 3 nights. Then take a train/bus from Positano to Florence and stay 5 nights in Florence. Whilst in Florence we plan to take a train to Pisa for the day. From Florence we will hire a car and stay at a farmhouse in Chianti for two nights. From, Chianti we will drive up to Bologna and stay 2 nights (visiting Modena for a day). From Bologna we plan to take a train to Venice and stay 3 nights. Finally from Venice, we plan to take a train to Cinque Terra and stay 3 nights. All in all 22 days in Italy.

    What you think of the itinerary and is it realistic?
    Also – is there anywhere else you think which might be worth seeing?

    Thanks Kindly,


  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Daniel:

    I think that’s a pretty good itinerary, actually. You’ll be doing a bit of back-tracking here & there (south to Positano & then north again, north to Venice & then south-ish to the Cinque Terre), but all in all I’d say it’s quite good. And I assume you’re flying out of Rome again? You’ll want to investigate your options for getting from the Cinque Terre back to Rome, and may want to go a day early to stay at an airport hotel or something, depending on your flight.

    I’d also suggest that you make sure you know the transit times for each of the journeys you’ve got in mind – your itinerary is do-able, for sure, but if you find out one of the trips will take longer than you’d anticipated it’s easier to adjust your schedule before you’ve got it set in stone.


  • Daniel

    Thank-you Jessica for your response. Nothing is set in stone, I will definitely review train schedules. Are you able to tell me what is the difference from 1st class and 2nd class rail travel? Also, if I was to purchase an italy rail or global pass how do I also reserve a ticket for a train ride – especially for the venice to cinque terre leg of the journey. We are also planning on taking a train from cinque terre to nice and then travel through France. Is that realistic?

    Thanks for your help,


  • Jessica Post author

    Here’s my article about the difference between first class and second class:

    And the rail pass is actually your ticket – you won’t need to buy tickets for any route that the rail pass is good for (which is most of them). For routes/trains that require it, you would need to buy a reservation to go along with your rail pass. There’s more information about all that here:

  • Andrew

    Hi Jessica,
    I took my parents to Cinque Terre this past Easter. It was really great and well worth the trip for them. The whole region I find is fascinating. We stayed in La Spezia and got a chance to see some of the places out away from the classic 5.In fact, I enjoyed Portovenere more than any single Cinque Terre town. It had the same style architecture and such, but without the teeming hordes (if you don’t count a bus of Italian school children.) I think if I did the trip again, I would spend more time hiking around the peninsula of Portofino.
    Not to discourage anyone from Cinque Terre, but there certainly is more in the area to see than just those 5.


    • Jessica Post author

      I agree, Andy, there’s definitely more to the area than just the Cinque Terre – and really, visiting other towns helps lessen the burden on the 5T infrastructure, so you’re doing the land a favor by diversifying a bit, too. 😉

  • maddy

    Can you suggest a good stopping place for a day between Rome and Florence where we can
    rent a car from a train station for a day and drive to Seina. I just want to touch a little on
    Tuscany because I plan to go back in a couple of years to just do that region. We plan
    on drving to Cinque a Terre for a night before driving to Milan to catch our flight home.
    Any suggestions on where to pick up a car outside of Florence. We are a little nervous about driving in Florence and Rome.

  • Jessica Post author

    Hi, Maddy:

    I’d suggest looking up the locations of car rental agencies in/around Florence – some of them are likely to be on the outskirts of the city, which would mean you wouldn’t have to drive in the center at all (a good thing to want to avoid). Airports, of course, always have car rental agencies, but I would think there would be a place outside Florence’s city center that wouldn’t require you to go all the way to the airport. If you use the Europe side of this car rental booking site – – and choose “All Locations” for both the pick-up and drop-off options, you’ll see all the places in and around Florence where you can rent a car. To see exactly where they are on a map, just plug the addresses into Google Maps.

    And as for driving into the Cinque Terre for just one night, I’m not sure that’s going to give you the experience you’re looking for. It takes way longer to drive in/out of the 5T than you think based on distances, because the roads are tiny and winding and you can’t drive into the towns themselves anyway. Look into drive times a little more closely before you decide to do this, lest you end up with only a couple of hours in the 5T and a too-early departure time for Milan the following day.


  • Alicia

    Hi Jessica,

    Great info on Cinque Terre, just what we’re looking for! My fiancee and I are going to be visiting Cinque Terre for 3 nights in October as part of our honeymoon trip. Following your suggestion, we are coming in to Ci Terre from Venice by train and planning to stay in Vernazza and going out from Cinque Terre by train again to our next visit, Rome.We decided that we may not need a car for our 4 days in Cinque Terre as it is easy to get to anywhere by train.
    In Cinque Terre, we are planning to do the hike between the towns, as well as anything relaxing, eat with the locals and take in the beautiful view of Cinque Terre. I’m a bit confused about the different Cinque Terre rail passes and unsure which one to get. Would it be useful to buy the train+train+ferry, or just the train+train, as we are unsure if we’re going to ever use the ferry pass?
    Also, my future husband loveeesss fishing. Are there any activities related to fishing that we may be able to do in Cinque Terre?

    Thanks for your help. Looking forward to hear your reply 🙂

    • Jessica Post author

      Hi, Alicia:

      First off, congrats on your upcoming wedding! Second, I think you’re wise to skip the car option in the Cinque Terre. Whether you get the trail/train pass or the trail/train/ferry pass, however, is really going to be up to you. I’ve not taking ferries between the towns (I always hike or take the train), but if your husband is into fishing he might like being out on a boat whether or not he’s actually fishing for anything.

      Keep in mind that the trail/train/ferry pass is only good in one-day increments, as opposed to the multi-day passes you can get that are the trail/train combination. If you think you’d only take one ferry trip, then you might be better off getting the trail/train pass and paying for a ferry ticket when you took that boat ride. Look at the prices for an individual ferry ticket when you’re looking at the various 5T passes, that should help you decide. (There’s more information on the various passes at the bottom of this page –

      As for doing some fishing, I’m not sure what options there are for tourists to go out on the fishing boats in the 5T – but Megan of Bella Vita Italia vacation planning lives in the 5T area and may know of something – – just tell her I sent you. 🙂


  • sham

    hi jessica,

    I was told most of the restaurants along amalfi coast will be closed during winter. will it be the same for cinque terre? planning to be there end of october. we will be coming from florence and then headed back to milan. where should i stay in terms of convenience for transport.


    • Jessica Post author

      You’ll certainly find fewer people in the Cinque Terre in the winter, but at the end of October I wouldn’t think you’d really be in “winter” season yet. Some restaurants may be closed, yes, but there will still be places open – you won’t go hungry. 🙂

      If you’re really concerned about it being too quiet, you could stay in nearby La Spezia and take the train in to visit the Cinque Terre each day – but you don’t get the full impact of what it’s like to stay in the Cinque Terre that way.

      As for where to stay, any of the five villages has a train station that will connect with larger cities in Italy, so that’s not a problem.

  • Aufidia Kirwan

    Hi Jessica,
    Do you think 2 full days in Cinque Terre is enough time to see the 5T??
    Which town to you recommend to stay in?
    How far is La Spezia from CT?
    Thank you.

  • Aufidia Kirwan

    Hi Jessica,
    Which airport in Milan is the best to fly into for train connections to Cinque Terre?

    • Jessica Post author

      Hi, Aufidia – I’ll answer all your questions in one reply…

      * Obviously you’ll see more of the Cinque Terre the longer you stay, but yes – I think two full days is enough time to get the highlights. That’s why this post is about a two-day itinerary in the Cinque Terre as part of my perfect two-week trip in Italy.

      * I don’t specifically recommend one town over the other – I think you need to read about what each town is like (they’re very similar, but slightly different) to see which one appeals to you most. You can read about each town here:

      * La Spezia is only a few minutes by train from Riomaggiore, the southernmost town of the Cinque Terre.

      * It doesn’t matter which airport you fly into in Milan, you’d still have to get to the same train station in the city center. Linate Airport is closer to the city center, but Malpensa has great transport connections into the city (including some directly to the train station), so either one is fine.


  • Hanna

    My hubby and I are staying for 3 days in Cinque Terre – he is a mad fisherman and would love to get out and do some fishing while we’re there. Do you know if there is a company that does fishing tours for a half day or full day? or do we just try and hook something up when we are there? Any help is appreciated. Ta!

  • Hanna

    Thank you so much!! Im loving looking around the site and getting ideas for our trip. I cant wait to visit!

  • Heather

    Hi –
    my husband and I are visiting Italy Dec 16-19 this year and have been to other spots on a previous trip but did not get to Cinque Terre. I have been getting alot of negative response to our visiting there this time of year – but we don’t have a choice of months and I REALLY want to see it. My plan would be to be there for two full days – the 17 and 18 of Dec.

    Any advice is appreciated. I have had several people try to steer me to Verona – which we also did not visit and which looks simply lovely, but the CT is what I am most wanting to experience.

    Lack of people does not really bother me – but I don’t want to be stuck indoors and it be rainy the entire time I am there.

    Thanks for any help….

    • Jessica Post author

      Hi, Heather:

      I understand the desire to see a place – and if you don’t mind bad weather then a visit to the Cinque Terre in December is fine. You might get lucky with decent weather (decent enough to go out without an umbrella, but still not beach weather!), but the chances are very good that it will be quite cold and raining most (if not all) of the time you’re there.

      If you can be flexible with your travel plans, you could keep checking weather in both the Cinque Terre and Verona right up until you leave and make a last-minute decision of which to visit depending on what the forecast is in both.

      The challenge with the Cinque Terre in bad weather is that there’s not really much to do in the area besides hiking or going to the beach – and in December, those don’t tend to be things most people want to do. In a city like Verona, there are churches and museums to visit when the weather is bad.


  • Cindy

    Hi Jessica,

    I have been reading your site for my upcoming trip to Italy in late Jan next year; it is really useful and enjoyable to read. In fact, I’m going to use the 2-week itinerary you have proposed as it fits my needs quite well.

    I’ve met some problems during my planning and I would like to have your help on these:

    I’m currently looking at the train schedules at trentalia, but they only displayed 1 train timing per day, and only on the euro-night(EN). For example, when I checked Venice to Florence, only 1 train timing (3am) was shown. Is it too early to check for the schedules now? or did i do it wrongly?

    • Jessica Post author

      You should be able to look this information up, although you might want to use a date that’s closer to now. I just looked up Venice-Florence on Dec 28th, for a starting point, and got lots of results. It may not be identical to the date you eventually want to travel, but it’ll be close. Pick a sample date that’s the same day of the week as when you want to travel, that will help.

  • Cindy

    Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve managed to see the timings.

    Another question though, I”ll be traveling from Venice to Cinque terre as what you’ve suggested. As I’ll be transiting in Florence, I’m thinking of depositing my 29″ luggage at my Florence’s hotel (which is quite near to the train station), before proceeding to Cinque Terre with a light bag.

    In order to do so, do i need to buy separate train tickets, eg. Venice to Florence, Florence to Vernazza? Which i hope not, as I found from the website that it’s more costly to do so. Instead, can i buy the full trip, Venice to Vernazza? Would i be able to choose the timing to board for the transit?

    • Jessica Post author

      First off, I recommend you read the beginning of this article, as it explains the difference between tickets and reservations on trains in Italy:

      Essentially, if you have a ticket that requires that you change trains in Florence, that’s basically the same as having two separate tickets – one from Venice-Florence, and one from Florence to wherever you’re going in the Cinque Terre. As long as you don’t also have reservations for trains that are only a few minutes apart in Florence, you can get on any train in Florence that’s headed for the Cinque Terre and of the type of train for which you hold a ticket.

      If you buy reservations all the way through to the Cinque Terre, then you need to tell the person at the ticket window in Venice that you intend to stop in Florence for a half hour or so before going on to the Cinque Terre so they book you on a train with enough time to get to your hotel and back (if a half hour isn’t enough time, make it longer – just let them know how much time you need).

      You can read more about train travel in Italy here:

  • june

    Hi! My husband and I will be in Cinque Terre in March. He is afraid of heights and I am worried about the Northern 2 trails. He has gotten much better with heights over the years-we have hiked the Samaria Gorge in Crete as well as the trail in Santorini (easy) and I am wondering how they compare.

    • Jessica Post author

      I’ve not been to Greece, so I can’t compare those hikes, but I’m afraid of heights and have hiked the whole Cinque Terre trail. There are definitely parts that will make him nervous, if he’s at all like me, because there’s a drop-off right next to the trail with no railing in a few places. Most of the trails, although there isn’t railing for the majority of them, aren’t so bad. The best thing you can do is avoid doing the hikes when they’re crowded, since two-way traffic at narrow railing-free points is particularly heart-stopping!

  • june

    Thank you Jessica- we will be going in the middle of March-so we should be ok-we are flexible in our plans so we will be able to watch the weather.

  • joe

    Jessica, outstanding information. Any thoughts on; three nights in Rome, three nights in Florence, two nights in Cinque Terre, two nights in Venice, two nights in Varenna, then to Milan to fly home. All by railroad. Too much for two couples? Thank You!!!

    • Jessica Post author

      I think that itinerary sounds fine, assuming you’ve already looked up train schedules – it’s important to know how long it will take to get from place to place, so that you don’t end up spending more time in transit than you wanted for your vacation.

  • Lynn and Don

    Jessica, Love your tips and advice for this itinerary. We are going to be in Asti for a wedding in July 2011 and will go over to Cinque Terre from there and were thinking of staying in Levanto vs. La Spezia. Your opinion on this and/or tips for staying in Levanto? La Spezia is not out of the question, we’d just would like to know the difference between the two spots. Also, and how they may effect the hike. Lastly, would you recommend a visit to Santa Margherita? Thanks!!

    • Jessica Post author

      I’ve not actually been to Levanto or Santa Margherita, so I can’t comment on the differences between Levanto & La Spezia or what Santa Margherita is like. La Spezia is a more workaday city than the towns of the Cinque Terre (which are pretty even though they’re very heavily touristy), and some people prefer it in order to get away from the tourist crush of the Cinque Terre.

      I’m not sure how different the beaches are there from the Cinque Terre, or how those differ from the ones in Levanto or Santa Margherita, but if you’re just looking for a coastal holiday then skipping from town to town along the edge of Liguria is a perfectly good reason to compare them. If you’re looking for several places that will be different from one another, I think you’ll have to head inland to get anything that’s markedly different from the towns on the coast.

      Were you planning to stay in the Cinque Terre at all, or looking at staying in Levanto or La Spezia instead of the Cinque Terre?

      • Lynn and Don

        Thanks! I was thinking about Levanto, just because it’s north and we will already be north in Asti, so it would be closer. That said, I think we’ve pretty much decided to stay in Vernazza. It sounds interesting and somewhat similar to where we stayed in Santorini n the Greek Islands a few years ago. Trying to now figure out how to get from Asti, or perhaps Turin, to Cinque Terre. I think we will go into Monterosso, correct?

        • Jessica Post author

          If you search for routes on the Trenitalia site, you can plug in ‘Asti’ as the starting point (or ‘Torino’ if you’re starting in Turin) and ‘Vernazza’ as the end point. The site will tell you whether you’ll need to change trains in Monterosso or whether there’s a train that continues on to and stops in Vernazza after stopping in Monterosso.

  • lisa

    thank you for the info! that was very helpful! my friend and i are visiting this spring. where do you recommend we stay in cinque terre that is safe, beautiful, and not too expensive?

    • Jessica Post author

      All of the 5 towns in the Cinque Terre are safe and beautiful, so I recommend reading a bit about what each town offers to decide which one you prefer. You can read brief descriptions of each of the towns here – – and there are also links on that page to help you find a place to stay. Accommodation isn’t as cheap in the Cinque Terre as it used to be, but if you’re sharing a room rental with a friend you can sometimes find very good deals.

      • lisa

        thank you! we found a place based on the info you gave! thank you very much for a great perfect trip agenda!!

  • Ravi

    I just stumpled upon your site and love it. My wife and I are planning a trip to Italy with our 6 year old daughter this May. Having been in Rome, Florence and Tuscany previously we are looking to combine a visit to Venice(3 days) with a a relaxing stay for 4 to 5 days at some place that has great natural beauty combined with history. I am considering Lake Garda, Cinque Terre or the Dolomites but am not quite sure. Do you have any suggestions given the limitations we will undoubtedly have with a 6 year old? Thanks.


    • Jessica Post author

      Great natural beauty + history sort of describes most of Italy, so that’s the easy part. In May, any of the places you mentioned could be great options – higher up in the Dolomites there will likely still be snow (depending what part of May you’ll be there), so keep that in mind.

      If your daughter is active enough that you wouldn’t struggle to keep her enthusiastic about walking, some of the hikes in the Cinque Terre could be really fun. There are some parts of the hikes between the towns that might not be as good for a kid (very narrow paths on cliffsides with no railing), but a few of the hikes are fine for all ages.

      There are hikes around the lakes, too, and they’re closer to Venice – so you’d have less transfer time to get from your first stop to your second. And for 4-5 days the lakes could be the better choice – there are more towns to visit and you don’t necessarily feel as hemmed in as you might in the Cinque Terre, which I find to be a great spot for 3 days or so (after that I tend to want different scenery).

  • Ronda Hall

    My husband & I would like to do a 3 day trip to Cique Terre in August. We are not good walker as one of us has a chest condition. Is there a great deal of hill walking or can we catch trains & a bus in the villages? Would appreciate some input. We will be coming in from Rome & then we thought we would catch a train to La Spezia where the hotel is that the tour stays at. It is a “Do it yourself package”
    Kind regards
    Ronda Hall

  • Ronda Hall

    Thank you Jessica for you reply. Much appreciated.
    One more Question.
    We come in from Madrid to Rome Fiumicino T 2. Is it possible to catch a train from the airport to Cinque Terre or would we have to go into Rome to the main station? We arive around 0.9.40 hours. would that give us time to get to LaSpezia for the afternoon.? Is there a fast & slow train?
    Thank you ,
    Ronda From Australia

  • Melanie

    Hi Jessica
    Thank you for your wonderful site and your responses to everyone’s questions. I’m also traveling with a 6 year old (just my son and I) in April and I really want to go to the Cinque Terre, preferably staying in Riomaggiore or Manarola as I like the look of the villages and the easier, kid-friendly walks leave from these towns. I’m having a hard time finding somewhere to stay though. Are you able to provide suggestions? Nearly every hotel/B&B in my price range (under 120 euros) has bad reviews and/or is a steep climb or has steep, narrow staircases inside of the building. I’m worried I may not be able to cope with a 6 year old and a suitcase in tow. Perhaps one of the other town would be better?

    Someone further up this page mentions Porto Venere – perhaps this is a better place to visit with a child? Another idea I’ve had is to stay is Pisa for 2 nights so we can see Pisa + Lucca and travel to the Cinque Terre for a day trip. What do you think? Any advice would be most appreciated. Thank you!

    • Jessica Post author

      The Cinque Terre is very hilly, so pretty much any of the towns will likely have climbs and staircases to get to and from the entry of hotels and apartment rentals. Most of the accommodation in the area is apartments, actually, rather than hotels – the town with the most traditional hotels is Monterosso, which is also (in my experience) the least hilly in the center, so you might try looking there.

      I’ve not visited Portovenere personally, but a blogging friend has included it in a series he’s doing on “near but not in Cinque Terre” destinations – you can see all of the posts in that series here:

      You can learn more about accommodation in general in the Cinque Terre here:

  • Daniel

    Hi Jessica,

    Great job on the itinerary, it is a wonderful site full of information.
    I have read through it all and I am planning on using parts (Cinque Terre, Florence, & Rome) of it during my stay in Italy through the 1st to 9th of September this year.
    As Sept 3rd & 4th is during the week-end, which would be better to spend the week-end in Cinque Terre or Florence?


    • Jessica Post author

      There isn’t much difference between the two as far as a normal weekend goes – it would only be if it was a big holiday weekend that I’d suggest Florence, just because there would be more things going on and more restaurants/shops open in a bigger city. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter much.



    • Jessica Post author

      Will you be in the Cinque Terre for two whole months?

      The towns are very close together. You can hike to all five villages in one day – so there’s no need to transfer your luggage from one town to another, unless you’re changing hotels. You’ll just leave your bags in your room in whatever hotel you choose, do the hikes during the day, and return to the same hotel each night.

  • Diane

    We are traveling to Italy this fall and plan a two day stop at Cinque Terre. We are renting a car and driving through the country. What is the situation for cars at Cinque Terre? Is there parking right outside of the villages and bus transportation in to the village? Can you drive to the villages? How long of a walk would it be from our car to the village if there is parking outside the villages?

  • keith Grubman

    Hi Jessica,
    Okay, here goes. I’m going with my wife and two kids, 13 and14, arriving 7am August 2nd (Tuesday), leaving on a cruise of the eastern Mediterranean from Rome on Sunday, August 7th at 2pm I’d like to see as much of Italy as possible in only what amounts to five days. Please tell me what you think of this itinerary. Keep in mind, we can relax on the cruise.
    Tu.–pick up car at airport, head to Cinque Terre, hike, stay overnite
    W–hike some more; leave in late afternoon for Florence
    Th–leave Florence early afternoon; drive through Tuscany, arrive late in Sorrento/Capri
    Fri–tour Pompei, Naples, arrive back in Rome center late Friday
    Sa-tour Colisseum in the morning/Vatican in the afternoon or vise-versa
    Su-not sure if Catacombs or anything else is open in the morning. Return car to port, board cruise
    Advantages: car I’m pretty sure is cheaper than setting up in Rome for five days and taking trains or tour buses for four to the abovementioned places. Plus I don’t even think we could see the Cinque Terre from Rome.
    Disadvantages: we’d have to book all our tours on our own in advance, wouldn’t we, or could we get the park pass to the Cinque Terre and use it the day we arrive and get the Pompei ticket tour there too? Also, I’m not crazy about driving, but couldn’t we just park the car upon arrival at each of these places and reclaim it the next day after doing all our touring on foot?
    Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated and I’m betting it would help other families. Also, do you recommend stopping in Tuscany and cutting out Sorrento/Capri and if so, what is there to do in Tuscany?
    Thank you so much, I promise to provide feedback from our trip.

    • Jessica Post author

      Oh my goodness, I’m tired just looking at that proposed itinerary… In other words, I think it’s too hectic. 🙂

      Unfortunately, I don’t do trip consulting, so I won’t be able to create a detailed itinerary for you – but I strongly recommend that you look at my tips for creating your own Italy itinerary:

      The biggest thing is to find out how long it takes to get from place to place – it’s easy to forget that it’s not a quick journey from city to city in Italy, and then you may spend your entire trip in a car or a train (which isn’t fun). I understand the impulse to see as much as possible in 5 days, but it’s critical that you factor in travel times.

      Make a priority list for what you really want to see/do, but know that at some point you’re going to have to draw a line and you’ll miss whatever’s below it. That stuff will have to wait for another trip – and if you never get back to Italy, you’ll need to be happy with what’s above that line! 🙂 I know it’s not ideal, but I really think making the most of your time where you are is a better way to spend time in Italy than by racing from place to place.

  • Joe

    Want to visit Cinque Terre in June 2012, but heard of the mass devastation to some of the Towns and areas this past October. How bad is it and do you advise including it our itinerary?

    • Jessica Post author

      The damage is extremely bad:

      There’s no telling how much repair work will have taken place by June 2012, but considering that the winter is ordinarily a very slow time anyway (partly due to inclement weather) it’s unlikely to be business as usual by June. I’d suggest checking on the progress of repairs in the spring, seeing if things are open. If the region is to bounce back, it will be partly through tourists returning – so I’m sure your visit would be appreciated, but only if they’re prepared to have visitors by that point.

  • Ann

    Hi Jessica,
    Our family plans to visit the CT in July, and we will be staying 2 nights in Levanto. We enjoy snorkeling, but I have been unsuccessful in finding any info. Do you know if snorkeling is do-able there, and what one might see? How is the water temp at that time of year? Thanks so much for your informative articles– they are a treasure trove!

    • Jessica Post author

      I don’t know about snorkeling in the Cinque Terre – I’ve seen people fishing, but I don’t know whether it’s a good area for snorkeling, unfortunately. People are definitely swimming in the sea in the summer, so the water is warm enough to be comfortable! You can certainly ask when you arrive to find out whether there are good snorkeling spots – once you get there, it should be easy information to come by, at the tourist information office or simply by asking around.

  • Laurie

    Hi Jessica,
    February is the on time we can visit Italy and cinque Terre is on our list…we’ll be staying in Barga for two nights and wanted to use our full day to visit CT. Is it a bad idea to plan this? How inclement is the weather bound to be? We are used to harsh winters in the Northeast of the US, so cold won’t bother us, just hoping things will be open?
    We are following your itinerary for 2 weeks but cutting a day here and there to make it 10 days…looking forward to it.

  • Webby

    Hi Jessica,
    We have just recently returned from Italy and Cinque Terra, and pretty much followed your itinerary of 2 weeks of Italy to the letter and the advice you gave was spot on. As for the closures in the hikes mentioned above between villages due to the unfortunate mud slides last year, the town of Vernazza was affected the worst, they have come a long way and they have large photos displayed in the town showing the damage the mud slide caused to their small village.
    Between Corniglia and Manarola the path is closed so you can either bus that leg or chose to hike over the mountain , which we did and is very strenuous but highly rewarding with breath taking views from high up, walking through small subsistence farms and should take you about 2.5 – 3 hours just to do that part of the leg.
    As for hiking passes they can be easily purchased on route between town from the local rangers.
    We stayed in Monterosso which was our favourite village of the 5.
    For us if you are on a time constraint 2 days and 2 nights was a perfect time for Cinque Terre.

  • Laurie

    I am going to Italy around Thanksgiving and following your suggested two-week itinerary, except for spending a little less time in Rome at the end. I have always heard about the Cinque Terre and wanted to go… However, I know it is not beach weather and have encountered a few hotels that will be closed. Is it just silly and a waste to visit this area at the end of November? Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Merran

    Hi Jessica!
    Ive just spent 4hrs reading as much as i can on your site, i love it! (especially all the gelato pages!)
    we are spending 4 weeks in italy in february, flying in and out of Rome. we want to visit rome, cinque terre, florance, venice, pompei and the almalfi coast. i was just wondering if there is a order you suggest doing this in?
    or any where else we should fit in?
    my partner is a massive history buff but im there for the food and gelato! 🙂
    thanks in advance and im sure ill spend many more hours on your site!

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