Day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre - Best Places to Visit in Spring in Europe

If you’re planning to visit Florence, save one day to discover one of the most beautiful areas of Northern Italy: Cinque Terre, in the Liguria Region!

You’ll need around 2h30 to get there and you can either drive or choose a train. Trains are the best option because they are relatively fast and cheap. 

Cinque Terre is an area including five picturesque villages and a few scenic trekking trails overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The villages are: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore and they are close to La Spezia, which is one of the main cities in Liguria. The countryside and the surrounding hills offer some amazing views and the chance to hike and enjoying many outdoor activities all year long. The traditional colorful buildings can be fully appreciated by boat to discover the coastline from an original point of view.

How to plan a day-trip to Cinque Terre from Florence

Plan a day trip to Cinque Terre independently 

Option 1

The fastest way to reach Cinque Terre is by train. You can go to Campo di Marte train station in Florence and catch a Frecciabianca train to reach La Spezia. From there, catch another regional train to reach Monterosso al Mare. The whole journey will take you about 2h15 and it will cost about 30 euro.

To check the timetables and book your tickets visit https://www.trenitalia.com/en.html

Monterosso is the largest town in Cinque Terre, but it can be visited in about 1 hour.

Monterosso - 2 days in Cinque Terre
Monterosso

What to see:

  • Francesco Church and the Convent of the Capuchins: you can reach this religious complex by climbing some steep steps starting from the marina. Here you can admire some beautiful works of art dating back to the XVII century and enjoy the view from S. Cristoforo hill.
  • Old Town: its narrow alleys and its main square with the statue of Garibaldi are definitely worth a slow walk.
  • Fegina Beach: it’s one of the most popular beaches in Cinque Terre and you can enjoy its rocky coast with a short walk.

From Monterosso train station you can reach Vernazza in less than 5 minutes for a total cost of 2 euro.

Vernazza is the most appreciated village in Cinque Terre, especially by photographers and by Instagram-lovers! It is famous for its dry-stone walls and its beautiful countryside.

Vernazza - 2 days in Cinque Terre
Vernazza

What to see:

  • Old Town: have a walk and take your time to admire its historic buildings and its unexpected views from the cliffs overlooking the sea.
  • Church of S. Margherita: this church was built in the XIII century directly above the sea and it’s one of the best panoramic spots in town.

From Vernazza train station you can reach Corniglia in less than 5 minutes for a total cost of 2 euro.

Corniglia is the smallest village of Cinque Terre and the highest one too (105m). For this reason, it’s the only one that doesn’t directly face the sea, but it’s entirely built upon a promontory.

The train station is below the actual village and you’ll have to climb several steep steps to get there! Consider at least 20 minutes for the climb or take the local shuttle. Corniglia is really tiny, so 30 minutes are enough for a quick visit and then you can choose a typical trattoria for lunch!

What to see:

  • Old Town: you’ll have to be prepared for a steep walk but the view from the top is definitely worth it! Head to the belvedere of Santa Maria for your pictures!

Where to eat:

  • Cecio Restaurant in via Serra 58 to eat outdoor and enjoy the view
  • Terra Rossa in via Fieschi 54 to taste some local bruschettas
  • Er Posu Café in via Fieschi 52 with a great view of the sea below

What to eat:

  • Pasta with pesto sauce
  • Pasta with fresh seafood
  • Anchovies (fried, marinated or salted)
  • Farinata
  • Focaccia
  • Fried fish

From Corniglia train station you can reach Manarola in less than 5 minutes for a total cost of 2 euro.

Manarola’s train station is separated from the actual town by a tunnel. Spend at least 40 minutes visiting this picturesque village and enjoy its buildings painted in bright colors.

Manarola - where to stay in Cinque Terre
Manarola

What to see:

  • Old Town: the entire village is narrow and perched on the rocky coastline and its streets are steep and winding.
  • Lorenzo Church: it was built in the XIV century in the gothic style. Don’t miss its beautiful rose-window!

Have a walk in the countryside to reach Riomaggiore: it just takes 1 hour! The most famous path is the “Love Trail”, but it will be closed for maintenance until 2021. The other trail is called “Beccara” and it is more difficult, but feasible if you wear suitable and comfortable shoes.

Riomaggiore has a popular and picturesque marina that is perfect for your pictures and for a stop at a bar to rest after the hike. Its charm is made by its colorful buildings that are tall and narrow since the entire village looks like it’s been “squeezed” between the mountain and the sea.

What to see:

  • Old Town: it is similar to the ones you’ve already visited and it is worth the climb of its many steps.
  • Church of S. Giovanni Battista: it is located on the upper part of the town and it dates back to 1340.

To come back to Florence you shall catch a train to La Spezia or to Pisa and the entire journey will take you about 2h30 for a total cost of about 25 euro.

Itinerary Sample:

H 7.28 Campo di Marte train station – Florence: Frecciabianca train to La Spezia

H 9.11 La Spezia train station: train to Monterosso al Mare

 H 9.40 arrival in Monterosso al Mare

H 9.40 -11 visit Monterosso

H 11.20 train to Vernazza

H 11.30 – 12.15 visit Vernazza

H 12.24 train to Corniglia

H 12.30 -14 visit Corniglia and have lunch

H 14.28 train to Manarola

H 15.15–16.15 trekking on the Beccara trail to reach Riomaggiore

H 16.15 – 17.15 visit Riomaggiore

H 17.35 train to La Spezia

H 18.16 train from La Spezia to Pisa

H 19.12 train from Pisa to Florence

H 20.00 arrival at Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence

Practical tip: buy a Cinque Terre Treno Ms Card. It is a prepaid card allowing you to take any regional train you want without purchasing a single ticket each time. You can choose a card valid for 1, 2 or 3 days. To get your card visit here. If you want to experience some hiking trails, you’ll need a Trekking Card and at least 2 days.

Vernazza - where to stay in Cinque Terre
Vernazza

Option 2

You can visit the 5 villages starting from Riomaggiore instead!

Itinerary Sample:

H 7.28 Campo di Marte train station – Florence: Frecciabianca train to La Spezia

H 9.11 La Spezia train station: train to Riomaggiore

H 9.25 arrival in Riomaggiore

H 9.25-10.20 visit Riomaggiore

H 10.24 train to Manarola

H 10.30 -11.20 visit Manarola

H 11.27 train to Corniglia

H 11.30 –13.20 visit Corniglia and have lunch

H 13.30 train to Vernazza

H 13.33 – 14.30 visit Vernazza

H 14.34 train to Monterosso

H 14.38 – 15.30 visit Monterosso

15.30 – 16.30 you can either enjoy the beach and sunbathe or rent a kayak to have a 1hour tour 

H 17.07 train to La Spezia

H 17.40 train from La Spezia to Pisa

H 19.12 arrival at Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence

Pros of an independent trip:

  • Your schedule will be flexible as the general organization of your day. You can also change your mind during the day and visit other places that grab your attention on the way.

Cons of an independent trip:

  • You’ll have several trains to catch so that the general logistic of your day could be a bit complicated and tiring.

Visit Cinque Terre from Florence on a guided tour

If you are searching for a guided tour taking you to discover Cinque Terre from Florence,

check these ones out!

beach in Vernazza - best area to stay in Cinque Terre
beach in Vernazza

Option 1

You’ll visit Monterosso, Riomaggiore, Vernazza, and Manarola but not Corniglia. The plus of this trip is the boat tour allowing you to admire the coastline. 

Click here for more information and to book this tour. 

Riomaggiore from the water

Option 2

Corniglia remains out of this itinerary, but you’ll have time to enjoy a swim and take a boat tour. Moreover, this tour also includes a typical lunch.

Click here for more information and to book this tour. 

Portovenere

Option 3

This boat tour also includes the nice town of Portovenere. You’ll have to reach La Spezia to join it, but you can get there either by train (2h30) or by car (2h).

Click here for more information and to book your trip. 

Pros of a guided tour:

  • You can simply enjoy your trip without thinking about the schedule and the general arrangements
  • You can choose a tour including some nice experiences like tastings, boat trips, swims, etc.

Cons of a guided tour:

  • No flexibility
  • You’ll see many things but very rapidly so that you won’t have the chance to completely immerse yourself in the local atmosphere

 

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