Cinque Terre day trip from Florence

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Visiting Cinque Terre was high on my list because I heard so much about this place. As much as I loved spending time in Florence, getting out of town and exploring the seaside was just too irresistible. Turned out, that the Cinque Terre day trip from Florence is a doable and easy day trip with awesome public transport opportunities and the experience was just unforgettable!

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What is Cinque Terre?

Cinque Terre is the name of 5 fishing villages along the coast of the Italian Riviera in the Liguria region. It is also a national park and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. One thing that makes this place so special – it almost feels like time has stopped here. The villages are built over rock terraces and have very few signs of modern development. Paths, trains, and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside.

How to organize Cinque Terre day trip from Florence?

Just like all other train tickets, we booked a return trip from Florence to La Spezia via the Trenitalia website. We left our beautiful hotel Bellavista early in the morning and took a short walk to the train station to catch a train to La Spezia. Don’t forget this awesome (#ad) Rick Steve’s Cinque Terre Guide for lots of insights and tips! Once you arrive at the train station, go to the train ticket office and buy a Cinque Terre Card for the park. The pass allows you to travel between all 5 towns via train and local bus. Moreover, it contains a park pass (you won’t be allowed on the hiking trail otherwise). Price for 1 day pass – 18.20€ (in 2023).
Now, take the local train to Levanto get off at any of the towns, and enjoy Cinque Terre!

 Cinque Terre day trip from Florence

Hiking trails

Experiencing Cinque Terre by train or bus may be a great way, however, not the best. The best way is to hike one of the trails between these cute little towns. In fact, most people do just that. Among the best hikes, in my opinion, is the trail from the furthest town – Monterosso, to Vernazza. I’m not going to say it’s easy hike – took us around 3 hours. But it was so worth it! By the way – that was the only hike we did that day. If you are only planning to do one hike – this one is the best. Just don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes – my favorite for this kind of hikes are among others (#ad) Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 22 thanks to their amazing cushion. 

Generally, this hike was comparable to Nitsche path in Eze, France.

Cinque Terre day trip from Florence

Monterosso al Mare

The furthest village from La Spezia is Monterosso al Mare. It has a great beach, a few bars and cafes, and most important – it’s a starting point (or ending point) of the hiking trails. For us it was the beginning of a long hike, so we took our time to drink quick espresso, have a really delicious pastry, and buy some water for the hike. If you have more time or come in summer, I’m sure you could spend some lovely hours on the beach and go for a swim.

Cinque Terre day trip from Florence

Monterosso-Vernazza hiking trail

The trail starts off with many-many steps. I read some suggestions to do it the other way around, but, in my opinion, it’s far better to climb up than down (easier on the knees). Anyway, once you pass the first ~500 steps, it gets more even with occasional ups and downs. The view is stunning all the way up! You will see wineries, wildflowers, olive trees.

Cinque Terre day trip from Florence

The trail is rather narrow and you will see many people coming your way, so need to be extra careful. We didn’t see many railings and by the end of the hike, your feet will be very tired and start to get wobbly. Good shoes are a must, although I did the whole hike in very light Sketchers.
By the time you start feeling sick of all the walking, you will soon see Vernazza from the distance. It is a view of a million dollars and the main reason we took exactly this trail! So beautiful, that you just stand and stare for a while.

Cinque Terre day trip from Florence

Tips for the hike

A lot of water is a MUST! We went in mid-May and it was already quite hot (+25C). I had about 1 liter of water with me and it was barely enough, had to spare it by the end and drink less. Generally, I wouldn’t do this hike in summer, because it will be crazy – very hot and lots of people!

Good shoes – preferably hiking shoes with good ventilation. Honestly, I can’t imagine how some girls were moving around in what we call “winter boots”. I’m not saying flip-flops are okay – but simple sneakers will do just fine. Also – bring a cap to cover your head and good sunscreen (SP 20 and up). The sun is quite aggressive and even though the trail has some occasional shade, many times you will be out in the sun.

Cinque Terre day trip from Florence


Upon arrival in Vernazza, the first thing we did was dipping our tired feet in the water. Then – start looking for food. And believe me, there is no shortage of that here! Little town Vernazza is a tiny little paradise with different dining options, gelato (ice cream), souvenirs, and other Italian goodies.

We didn’t feel like eating too much because it was so hot outside so went for a quick snack and drink – stuffed mussels taste heavenly!

Cinque Terre day trip from Florence

Final thoughts

Visiting Cinque Terre was a big highlight of our Italy trip. I’m so glad we did the hike too – you can only truly appreciate the whole beauty of this place from above. I imagine it also looks great from the water (you can take a boat between towns as well). We didn’t see other villages due to lack of time. Sadly, that’s a problem if you are not staying overnight somewhere nearby.

However, one hike and two villages will give you a good perspective and certainly a wish to come back someday!

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Cinque Terre day trip from Florence Italy

Cinque Terre day trip from Florence by public transport

cinque terre day trip



2 Responses

  1. Lynn

    We are going to Florence in September and would love to do a day trip to Cinque Terre. We thought it was best to book a tour? Is there a direct train from Florence? Good schedule for return times? Thank you for this info!

    • Tigrest

      Hi Lynn, thanks for stopping by! Tours are quite expensive, I always try to master it myself. I don’t think there is a direct train from Florence, but it’s easy to switch trains in Italy. You can book a ticket to La Spezia and buy the day pass for the park at the train station. With this day pass you can travel between cities by trains and local buses. Just have a look at the schedule on Have a great trip!

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