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Traveling Cinque Terre

I have never been and I don't know the best way to travel it. I want to be able to go to all 5 cities and I know that we can bike ride to all but I'm not sure the best way to travel if I only have 2 days. Should I book each night at in a differnt town or stay in the same place and just travel up and down the coast each day?

Any advice?

Thanks so much!

Posted by
31464 posts


Travel in the Cinque Terre is not difficult. It would help to know a bit more about your plans, such as where you'll be travelling from?

There are two rail "gateways" to the C.T. - Genova and La Spezia. There's a small local rail line that runs between the two cities. Depending on which village you choose to stay in, the rail trip can be very short (ie: from La Spezia to Riomaggiore is only about 8 minutes).

I'm not sure it will be possible to bike between the villages? Some of the trails are quite steep. Hiking is the normal activity. One can hike from one end to the other, and then take the train back to their "base" location.

I would recommend staying in just one village. Have a look at Rick's Italy guidebook (or others) to get some idea on the different character of each place. I stayed in Riomaggiore and had a great time! You could also check the C.T. website.

If you need any further info, post another note.


Posted by
80 posts

My husband and I will be in Cinque Terre for 2 days in September. This is our first time in Europe, but we plan on staying in one city both nights and just traveling in between during the day. I have heard that hiking between cities is great, and taking a boat is beautiful. I don't know if there are restrictions on bikes because it is a national park, you might need to find out. Have fun!

Posted by
1589 posts

Keep in mind that you can not use bikes on the hiking trails between the 5 towns. The steps leasing down (or up) from one of the towns features about 600 roughly cut stone steps.

I suggest staying in one town and hiking to see the others. Two days will give you an adequate peek at a beautiful area.

Have fun!

Posted by
23 posts

I'm about 99% sure there is not a road that runs north / south, parallel to the railroad line (at least not anywhere near the tracks) so I don't think your assumption ~~ "I know that we can bike ride to all" ~~ is correct.

This is an area where the Alps simply spill into the Mediterranean Sea. The five villages are connected by the railroad like pearls on a string, and cling to the side of very steep hills.

The railroad tracks are more or less level, but moving left to right, i.e. closer to and farther away from the water, will result in lots of elevation change.

I suggest you lodge in one place, hike to the other towns and take the train back to your starting point.

Posted by
27 posts

We were there for 3 nights a couple of weeks ago. We stayed in Manarola, which we were glad of because it really seemed to have the best combination of beauty, charm, and not overcrowded. I think staying in one place and taking the train and/or hiking to the other towns is definitely the way to go.

Posted by
1130 posts

We, too, had two days and stayed in Vernazza both nights. We arrived from Rome at 2 pm and had reservations in Vernazza. We hiked to Monterosso that afternoon, had dinner in Monterosso and took the train back to Vernazza. The next day, we hiked through Corniglia, Manarola, and into Riomaggiore. It only took a couple of hours, and you can extend it with coffee or lunch in each of them. We took the train back into Vernazza and sunbathed, shopped, and ate. The next day, we took a boat into Santa Margherita and Portofino. The entire coastline is amazing and a "must-see".

Definitely choose one spot for the two nights. Vernazza was great, but we have heard that Monterosso has a "younger" nightlife crowd. You can hike all five villages in just hours, and still have time to bike.

Posted by
313 posts

One town is fine. I forget the interval of how often the train comes through, but it's quite often. We stayed in Vernazza, and it seems like you could catch the train one way or the other about every 10 or 15 minutes, and it's just minutes to the next town. It's not worth moving your belongings if all you're worried about is travel times.