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Advice One day Trip from Florence to Cinque Terre

Would like input whether it is best to visit towns by train stations once you get to one of the 5T or how can you visit towns by boat and how do you do it? Which is the best town to begin in so taht you can cover the others most easily. How long does it take to visit each town? Which are the most common and favorite to cover? Going in June this year.

Posted by
15268 posts

Are you driving from Florence or taking a train all the way from Florence?
You can visit them by train all the way from Florence if you want. Change trains in Pisa and La Spezia. Then there are lots of trains going back and forth between La Spezia and Genoa and most stop in all 5 towns.
There are also boats that go back and forth. They stop in all towns except for Corniglia (which is on top of the hill).
You can even walk through the vineyards on one of the trails connecting the towns. That is a very popular thing to do. You may not be able to walk all of them in a day, since it takes many hours, do walk the paths from Monterosso to Riomaggiore (or viceversa) but you could do from Monterosso to Vernazza, or Vernazza to Corniglia or any (the easiest is the Via dell'amore from Manarola to Riomaggiore).

Posted by
16894 posts

It does not much matter in which order you see the towns, since they're all so close together. I always started with the easy part of the walking path, from the Riomaggiore end, but serious hikers start with the hardest part first, from Monterosso. The boat ride from Monterosso to Riomaggiore (or vice verse) takes about 40 minutes, making all the stops. The train takes 15 - 20 minutes, making all the stops. You don't need a particularly firm plan before you arrive; you can confirm trail openings/closings and train and ferry schedule locally.

Posted by
32222 posts

Viv,

You may find it helpful to have a look at this Thread....

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/florence-cinque-terre-day-trip

It's very easy to visit all five of the towns on a day trip, provided you get an early start. I'd suggest starting in Riomaggiore and working north, although the trip can also be done in the reverse direction. You can easily get between the towns using the excellent rail system, or take the boat (weather permitting). The boat stops at all the towns except Corniglia as I recall.

If you'd like to walk the famous Via dell' Amore from Riomaggiore to Manarola, that's very easy as it's mostly flat and paved. There's a small Bar close to the Manarola end where you can stop for a "cool one" and enjoy the incredible views. Note that a Park Pass is required to hike the trail, which you can buy at the start of the trail or at the rail station. Continuing north from Manarola, take the train if you want to see Corniglia or the boat if you want to skip ahead to Vernazza. After that take the train to Monterosso. I'd suggest allowing a bit of extra time for exploring Monterosso as it's larger and has both a "new town" and "old town" area. Plan to be there in time for a fine meal at one of the local restaurants, and then return to Florence.

Happy travels!

Posted by
993 posts

The easy path from Riomaggiore to Manarola is still closed, right? We will be there in early June and I am trying to find info, but from everything I see it seems that all the coastal trails are still closed. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Please, please! :)

Kim

Posted by
32222 posts

@Kim,

The official park website seems to indicate that the No. 2 trails are still closed. However they've redesigned the website recently and it's not as easy to follow so I'm not sure? I'll try and find some current information and post another note here if I find something.

This website has some current information.....
http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g187817-d2304645-Reviews-Cinque_Terre_Trails-Cinque_Terre_Italian_Riviera_Liguria.html

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks to all for your input. I plan on going by train from Florence to Cinque Terre. I have the link to park and think it is the best place to get update on trails. Also, I have the website to boat you can tke to travel between islands. I need further input on clarifying what you need to buy to visit Cinque Terre.
Here is the confusion.
Do you simply buy train tickets or pass to travel from one town to other and stamp at each train station etc and do you only have to buy a Park pass to do the trails from one town to the other?
Can you visit towns just by train and what do you need to purchase if you are not hiking or taking trails. Only travelling by train or boat to each town?

Posted by
32222 posts

Viv,

I'll try to sort out the confusion......

  • Train travel from Florence to the Cinque Terre....

I'd suggest checking the Trenitalia website to determine which trains and departure times you want to use for that trip. Either the day of travel or the day prior, go to the station in Florence and buy your return tickets either from a Kiosk or from the ticket office (usually long queues). For example, your journey TO the C.T. will be from Firenze SMN to Riomaggiore and FROM the C.T. will be from Monterosso to Firenze SMN. There will likely be one or two changes.

If you choose to deal with the ticket office, it might help to have the details of your trip written on a piece of paper, which you can show the agent (try to list the details in the same way they're shown on the Trenitalia website). You'll likely be given separate cards (tickets) for each leg of the trip. If any of the trains will be a Regionale, you MUST validate the ticket prior to boarding the train on the day of travel. Failure to do so will likely result in a hefty fine, which will be collected on the spot. If any of the trips is on a "premium" train such as a Freccia or InterCity, you'll have assigned seating, which will be specified on your ticket, and you can ONLY use the train listed on your ticket.

  • Hiking the trails in the Cinque Terre......

If you want to hike any of the Sentiero Azzurro (blue path) trails, a Park Pass is required which you can purchase at the station when you arrive there. This has to be validated prior to first use. There is an extensive network of trails in that area, but only the S.A. trails require a pass. You can freely hike the others (although most of them take quite awhile so not something that's practical on a day trip). *NOTE - I'm not sure which of the S.A. trails are currently open, so they may not even be available during your visit.

  • Visiting the towns by train.....

You can easily travel from one town to the next via the frequent local trains. The travel time between towns is only a few minutes each and tickets range from about €1.80 to €2.20 each, so not a huge expense. Not all of the trains stop in each town, so it's important to check the large charts at the stations to determine times.

  • Travelling by boat......

You can also travel by boat between the towns (weather permitting), although I don't believe the boat stops at Corniglia. If you're starting in Riomaggiore, it's very easy to access the boat. When standing in front of the Riomaggiore station, you'll see a tunnel that parallels the tracks. If you go through that and turn to the left, that's the main street of the town. Just at the end of the tunnel, you'll see some stairs leading down to the harbour. If you follow those and follow the path to the left that goes around the bluff, you'll find a ticket booth, where you can buy tickets for the boats. If you continue past the ticket booth and around the corner, you'll see the rocky pathway that leads down to the place where the boats dock. THIS photo shows the crowds waiting for the boat to dock in Riomaggiore (bottom right corner). The boat usually comes in bow first, and then drops a ramp for passengers to get on and off.

If you go to Monterosso by boat, the dock is in the "old town" area. When you disembark, walk along the small dock and explore the old town and then go through the tunnel to have a look at the new town (which is where the station is located). If you're planning to have a fine meal in Monterosso before returning to Florence, I can suggest some good restaurants (at least I think they're good).

Hope this helps.

Posted by
32222 posts

@KIM, et al.

I just received some updated information on the current situation of the Sentiero Azzurro trails in the Cinque Terre, and wanted to pass this on.

This is the current status, as of today......

  • Riomaggiore to Manarola (Via dell' Amore) - is "officially closed until 2015".
  • Manarola to Corniglia - it wasn't mentioned but I'm assuming it's also "officially" closed, as that's been the case for about the past two years.
  • Corniglia to Vernazza - it was described as "passable since maintenance work is almost finished".
  • Vernazza to Monterosso - currently open and available.

Keep in mind that there's an extensive network of other trails in that area, so if you have the time and the energy, I'm sure you'll be able to do as much hiking as you want.

Hope this helps.