Day Trip from Florence to Cinque Terre: The Ultimate Guide with Everything You Need to Know! (2024)


Well, guess what? I took this dreamy day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre with my family of 5! And let me tell you, it was nothing short of magical!

So, if you’ve been daydreaming about making that picturesque journey yourself, you’re in luck! Because I’m about to unfold the ULTIMATE GUIDE for your Florence to Cinque Terre day trip.

I’m super excited to share with you all the juicy details- like the best ways to get from Florence to Cinque Terre, navigating those stunning cliffside villages, pinpointing those family-friendly spots that keep everyone entertained, and of course where to snap those Insta-worthy shots. ๐Ÿ“ธโœŒ๏ธ

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first time stepping onto the Italian Riviera, fear not! I’ve got your back, and together we will make this adventure truly epic. Let’s dive in, shall we? ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Planning Your Italian Vacation? Use My Favorite Resources Below! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

๐Ÿจ Hotelsโ€“
๐Ÿ  Vacation Rentalsโ€“ Vrbo
โœ… Toursโ€“ Viator
๐Ÿš˜ Rental Carโ€“ Discover Cars
๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Travel Agentโ€“ Kim Swanson, Magical Moments Vacations

Is a Day Trip from Florence to Cinque Terre Worth it?

A Florence to Cinque Terre day trip is well worth it.  Plus, the adventure there is also fun and very scenic.

Any amount of time in Cinque Terre is better than no time in at, so why not?? Some might consider it ambitious, but when it comes to exploring a new destination, count me in for the adventure! ๐ŸšŠ๐Ÿ’จ

While an extended vacation has its perks, you’d be surprised how much magic you can soak up in just one day.

First off, let’s talk about that train ride. As you’re whisked away from Florence, you’re treated to a visual feast of Italy’s dreamy countryside.

Now, Cinque Terre is not just one, but FIVE vibrant, mesmerizing villages, each bursting with its own unique charisma. While you might not delve deep into each village during a day trip, you can still experience a diverse array of sights, sounds, and flavors. Think about it: sipping on a freshly squeezed lemonade in Monterosso, snapping a quick but oh-so-chic selfie in Riomaggiore, and catching the vibrant hues of Vernazza during golden hour! ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ“ธโœจ

So, to all my fellow jet-setters and dream-chasers, a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre isn’t just worth it, it’s a must! ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

How Far is Cinque Terre from Florence?

Florence and Cinque Terre are approximately 170 kilometers (about 105 miles) apart.

When traveling by train, which is the most popular and convenient mode of transportation for this route, the journey from Florence to La Spezia (the gateway to Cinque Terre) typically takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.

From La Spezia, you’ll hop onto a local train that connects the five villages of Cinque Terre, and this can take anywhere from 5 minutes to 25 minutes, depending on which village you’re heading to first.

Map of Florence to Cinque Terre

To give you a better idea of where exactly Florence is in relation to Cinque Terre, here is a handy interactive map.

Getting From Florence to Cinque Terre

Exploring the stunning Cinque Terre from Florence is a fantastic adventure waiting to happen.

There are a few ways to make this journey, each offering its unique charm. Whether you prefer the scenic train ride, a guided tour, or the comfort of a private transfer, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive into the details of how to get from Florence to Cinque Terre.

BY TRAIN (Most Popular Method)๐ŸšŠ

  • Florence to La Spezia: First, you’ll need to board a train from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella station to La Spezia Centrale. This ride typically takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
For a Florence to Cinque Terre day trip the best transportation to take is the train.  You'll leave from Florence's Santa Maria Novella station.
  • La Spezia to Cinque Terre: Once in La Spezia, you’ll switch to the local Cinque Terre train. These trains frequently run and connect you to all five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Depending on your destination village, this can take anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes.
Cinque Terre's train stations are some of the most scenic train stations in the world.

PRO-TIP: When purchasing rail tickets in Italy, consider using Trainline. It’s a user-friendly platform that simplifies the process, especially if you’re not fluent in Italian.


While driving provides flexibility, it’s NOT the most recommended method. The roads are winding, parking is limited, and the villages themselves are car-free. If you do drive, you’ll need to park outside and then take local transport or walk in.


Exploring Cinque Terre from Florence is a breeze with guided tours. Among the options, one tour truly stands out.

The Cinque Terre Day Trip from Florence with Optional Hiking is super popular and has over 5,000 โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ reviews!! My family and I personally enjoyed two tours with this company during our time in Florence: a pizza and gelato cooking class and a day trip to Tuscany. Both experiences were fantastic, making me a big fan of this tour provider.

On this guided tour, an air-conditioned bus takes you from Florence to Cinque Terre. You can choose between train travel or hiking to explore the five villages at your own pace. The itinerary ensures you see all five villages, with time for a dip in the Mediterranean Sea and, weather permitting, a boat ride for a different view of these coastal gems. It’s a stress-free way to experience the best of Cinque Terre


For a more luxurious experience, you can hire a private driver to take you from Florence to Cinque Terre. While pricier, this offers comfort and convenience.

Check out this private transfer option to get you from Florence to Cinque Terre and back.

Which Village or Villages Should I Visit?

Your day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre can take various forms, depending on your adventurous spirit or how you prefer to spend your time. You might opt for a relaxed visit to just one village or aim to explore all five in a single day.

To help you make an informed choice about which village or villages to include in your itinerary, here’s a brief overview of what each of these five gems – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore – has to offer.

No matter which you choose, get ready for a treat, as each of these picturesque villages is like a postcard brought to life. ๐Ÿš†๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐ŸŒ…


A visual feast awaits in Riomaggiore, with vivid houses stacked like a colorful dream, creating a mesmerizing skyline that’s perfect for your camera’s lens. ๐ŸŒ†โœจ

Start your Florence to Cinque Terre day trip in the colorful village of Riomaggiore.


Dive into pastel perfection in Manarola, where a serene harbor beckons and the famous “Via dell’Amore” pathway oozes romance, making it a must-visit spot for couples. ๐Ÿ’•๐ŸŒ…

Manarola is another must see village on a Florence ot Cinque Terre day trip.  It has some of the most scenic views in Cinque Terre.


Lace up those comfy shoes in Corniglia for a hike to panoramic vistas atop this elevated gem. The sweeping views will take your breath away, making every step worth it. ๐Ÿž๏ธ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

Corniglia is known for it's elevated, sweeping panoramic views.


Immerse yourself in the lively bustle of Vernazza’s harbor, where fishermen work their nets, and ancient tales come alive in its historic castle. The village’s charm will captivate you. ๐Ÿฐ๐ŸŒŠ

Vernazza is known for it's beautiful harbor and amazing sunset views.


If you’re a beach lover, Monterosso al Mare is your paradise. Golden sands, sun-drenched shores, and the shimmering Ligurian Sea are all here, inviting you to unwind and soak up the sun. ๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐ŸŒž

Looking for a beach on your Florence to Cinque Terre day trip?  Head to Monterosso al Mare.

Must-Do Experiences on a Day Trip in Cinque Terre

The following is a list of must-do experiences while on your Florence to Cinque Terre day trip.


In Cinque Terre, one of the most popular and loved foods to enjoy is pesto. Cinque Terre is renowned for its exceptional pesto sauce, made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. It’s traditionally served over trofie pasta, a local specialty, creating a simple yet incredibly flavorful dish.

Delicious food and drinks served at the famous Nessun Dorma.

Additionally, being a coastal region, seafood plays a significant role in the local cuisine. You’ll find a variety of seafood dishes, including fresh fish, calamari, anchovies, and more, prepared in various delectable ways.

Another must-try is the focaccia, a savory flatbread that often comes with various toppings like olives, onions, tomatoes, or herbs. It’s a popular snack or side dish.

Lastly, don’t miss out on trying the local Ligurian wines, particularly the white wines like Vermentino and Sciacchetrร , which pair wonderfully with the regional cuisine.

These culinary delights are a must for any visitor to Cinque Terre, offering a taste of the region’s rich and delicious food culture.


Cinque Terre offers a network of well-marked scenic hiking trails that connect the five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. The most famous trail is the Sentiero Azzurro or “Blue Trail,” which is actually a series of paths connecting the villages. The entire trail can take several hours to complete, but you can choose shorter sections depending on your time and fitness level.

For a day trip, consider hiking a portion of the Blue Trail. A popular choice is to start in Monterosso, hike to Vernazza (or Corniglia if you’re up for a more challenging hike), and then take the train or boat back to your starting point. This allows you to experience the magic of the trails without feeling rushed.

Looking to hike on your Florence to Cinque Terre day trip?  Start in Monterosso and hike to Vernazza.


My favorite activity in Cinque Terre is undoubtedly the boat tour! There’s no better way to experience the beauty of Cinque Terre than from the water. Whether you opt for a two-hour tour or a full-day adventure, you’ll find a variety of excellent Cinque Terre boat tours to choose from.

A boat tour is a must on a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre.

One of the main draws of a boat tour in Cinque Terre is the chance to admire the colorful villages, terraced vineyards, and dramatic cliffs from the perspective of the sea. The views are absolutely breathtaking, and you’ll have the opportunity to capture some of the most stunning photos.

What made our boat tour of Cinque Terre truly special was the chance to swim in the crystal-clear, sparkling waters and even venture into a cave. It was an unforgettable experience for our entire family and undoubtedly one of the highlights of our Italian vacation.

Check out my number #1 pick for a Cinque Terre boat tour here! ๐Ÿšค๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒŸ


If you’re looking for a beach day head to the village of Monterosso. Monterosso boasts the largest and most famous beach in Cinque Terre. It’s divided into both public and private sections, with opportunities for renting beach chairs and umbrellas. The fine sandy shores are perfect for lounging and building sandcastles. The clear waters are also great for swimming. It’s an ideal spot for families and those looking for a classic beach day.


Wandering through the charming alleys of Cinque Terre is an absolute must! These narrow lanes are like a journey into a colorful storybook world!

First and foremost, the villages’ colorful architecture is like nothing else I had ever seen! Seemingly perched on the cliffs, the houses are painted in the most charming colorful hues. It’s hard to resist snapping countless photos as you wind your way through the maze-like streets.

Wandering through the charming alleys of Cinque Terre is an absolute must.

While you explore the winding alleys, you’ll come across a treasure trove of quaint shops. These little gems offer everything from local products to handcrafted souvenirs, making them perfect for finding one-of-a-kind gifts and keepsakes to remember your visit. In the villages, you’ll also find small cafes, gelato shops, and cozy restaurants.

Adding to the overall storybook atmosphere are the vibrant potted flowers and greenery adorning many of the alleys. The pops of color against the backdrop of colorful buildings create a picture-perfect setting, ideal for capturing Instagram-worthy moments.

While wandering around, you’ll often catch glimpses of local life unfolding around you. Whether it’s fishermen tending to their nets, artists at work, or residents engaged in lively conversations on their doorsteps, these authentic encounters add depth to your exploration.


Cinque Terre is a paradise for Instagram-worthy shots, with stunning coastal landscapes and charming villages providing a picturesque backdrop. Also, make sure to stay in sunset, to witness the villages glow. ๐ŸŒ…๐Ÿ’›Here are some of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Cinque Terre:

Cinque Terre is a paradise for Instagram-worthy shots.  This view is absolutely stunning.
  • Manarola’s Harbor: The colorful boats in the harbor against the backdrop of pastel buildings make for a classic Cinque Terre shot. The sunset is especially magical here.
  • Via dell’Amore: This scenic walking path between Riomaggiore and Manarola offers romantic views of the sea and cliffs. It’s a must for couples and Instagrammers alike.
  • Vernazza: The view from the castle tower in Vernazza is iconic. It offers panoramic vistas of the village and the sea, making it a prime spot for photos.
  • Corniglia: The terraced vineyards and charming village streets of Corniglia are incredibly photogenic. Hike up to the viewpoint for stunning shots.
  • Monterosso Beach: Capture the essence of a beach day in Cinque Terre with shots of Monterosso’s sandy beach and colorful umbrellas.
  • Boats in the Harbor: Photograph the vibrant fishing boats and rowboats in the harbors of any of the villages for a touch of local charm.
  • Nessun Dorma: A charming restaurant in Cinque Terre, is a very popular Instagram spot. Perched on Manarola’s cliffs, it offers stunning panoramic views and vibrant photo opportunities, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring this coastal paradise.

Cinque Terre Day Trip Itinerary for Families with Kids

If you happen to be exploring Florence with the family and looking to take a day trip to Cinque Terre, get ready for an unforgettable adventure! ๐Ÿš†๐ŸŒ„๐Ÿ–๏ธ

Created and tested by me ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ, this itinerary reflects exactly how my family of 5, including a 9-year-old and 2 teens, spent our day in Cinque Terre. It ensures that both adults and kids have an incredible day!

Morning: Rise and shine early as you depart from Florence to Cinque Terre by train. The journey itself promises breathtaking views that will leave you in awe. Arrive in Cinque Terre with a stop for a late breakfast/early lunch in the charming village of Riomaggiore. ๐Ÿฝ๏ธ

Take a stroll through Riomaggiore’s streets adorned with colorful houses and indulge in some local shopping. It’s a wonderful way to start your day full of fun!

Late Morning/Early Afternoon: Brace yourselves for an exciting family adventureโ€”Cinque Terre by boat! ๐Ÿšค๐ŸŒŠ This unique perspective offers a whole new level of excitement as you explore the coastal villages from the shimmering waters. Whether you prefer relaxing and taking in the scenery or a more adventurous activity like swimming, snorkeling, or exploring caves, a boat tour in Cinque Terre has something for everyone in the family.

The Traveling Swansons snorkeling in the beautiful turquoise Mediterranean Sea.

A boat tour in Cinque Terre was one of the highlights of our trip to Italy. So, I highly, recommend you do one too. I promise you won’t regret it!!

Late Afternoon: After your exciting boat tour, head to the village of Manarola and head to the renowned restaurant, Nessun Dorma. This restaurant not only serves mouthwatering dishes but also boasts breathtaking sea and cliffside views. And guess what’s waiting just above Nessun Dorma? A hidden gemโ€”a playground where your kids can have an absolute blast! While they enjoy some playtime, you can sip on a drink and soak in the mesmerizing scenery.

For those traveling to Cinque Terre with kids, head to the scenic playground above the renowed restaurant Nessun Dorma.

Pro Tip: Download the Nessun Dorma app to conveniently add yourself to the waitlist when you’re nearby.

Evening: Depending on your family’s energy levels, you have a choice: explore another enchanting Cinque Terre village or begin your journey back to Florence. If you’re up for more exploration, consider visiting Vernazza or Monterosso, both offering additional opportunities for beach time and savoring delightful Italian gelato. ๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐Ÿฆ

This well-balanced itinerary ensures that the whole family will have an incredible day in Cinque Terre, filled with thrilling sights, scrumptious food, outdoor play, and an adventurous boat tour. It’s a family adventure that will create unforgettable memories for everyone! ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

What to Wear & Pack for a Day Trip to Cinque Terre

For any day trip in Italy, comfort is key, but you’ll also want to be stylish for those picture-perfect moments in the charming coastal villages!

Here’s a guide on what to wear and pack. (And make sure to save this post so you don’t forget any of these items!)


๐Ÿ‘Ÿ Footwear: Sturdy and comfortable walking shoes or sandals are crucial for those village explorations.

๐Ÿ‘š๐Ÿฉณ Clothing: Opt for lightweight and breathable clothing, perfect for that Mediterranean warmth.

๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘’ Hat & Sunglasses: Look chic while shielding yourself from the sun.

๐Ÿฉฑ๐ŸŒŠSwimsuit: Pack or wear a swimsuit for those tempting turquoise waters.

๐ŸŒ…๐Ÿงฅ Jacket or Wrap: For the gentle sea breezes that might surprise you in the evening.


๐ŸŽ’ Backpack: A lightweight backpack to comfortably carry your essentials.

๐Ÿ’ง Bottle: Hydration is key, especially with all the exploring!

๐Ÿ๐Ÿฅœ Snacks: Always good to have a bite on hand, even with the tempting local eateries.

โ˜€๏ธ๐ŸงดSunscreen: Protect that gorgeous skin from the sun’s rays.

๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ“ฑCamera & Phone: Capture every breathtaking moment!

โ˜”๐ŸŒฆ๏ธ Umbrella or Rain Jacket: Because Mother Nature can sometimes be unpredictable.

๐Ÿ’Š๐Ÿฉน Medications & First Aid: Stay prepared for anything!

๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ๐ŸšŠLocal Map & Train Schedule: Navigate like a pro!

๐Ÿ’ณ๐Ÿ’ถ Cash & Cards: Ready for all those spontaneous purchases.

๐Ÿงป๐ŸงดTissues & Hand Sanitizer: Essentials for on-the-go cleanliness.

๐Ÿ–๏ธ๐Ÿชž Travel Towel: Quick-dry and compact for those beach moments.

๐Ÿ’„๐Ÿ’ฆ Chapstick & Moisturizer: Stay refreshed and glowing all day long.

Embrace Cinque Terre with open arms and a well-packed bag, and let the magic of the place sweep you off your feet! ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿท๐Ÿ๐ŸŒŠ

Tips for a Day Trip From Florence to Cinque Terre

If you’re considering a day trip to the Italian Riveria, here are some handy tips to make your adventure smooth and memorable:

Kim and Ethan enjoying the stunning view in Riomaggiore.

โœ… Start Early

Rise and shine from Florence to catch the most of Cinque Terre’s daylight hours. ๐ŸŒ…

โœ… Pack Light, But Smart

Opt for a lightweight backpack with essentials. For beach and boat plans, remember to pack a towel, sunscreen, and perhaps swimwear. ๐ŸŽ’๐Ÿ‘™๐Ÿ•ถ๏ธ

โœ… Travel by Train

Trains are the go-to transport from Florence to Cinque Terre. Check train schedules and don’t forget the Cinque Terre Train Card for unlimited village-to-village rides. (You can purchase this card at any of the Cinque Terre train stations) ๐ŸšŠ๐Ÿ’ณ

โœ…Comfy Footwear is Key

With cobbled streets and scenic trails, your feet will thank you for choosing comfort! ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ

โœ… Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Especially during the sun-drenched months, always have water on hand. ๐Ÿ’ง๐Ÿถ

โœ… Choose Your Villages

With limited time, prioritize 2-3 villages to explore thoroughly. ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ๐Ÿ“

โœ… Boat Tours

Experience the villages from a different angle with a boat tour, offering spectacular views from the sea. ๐Ÿšค๐ŸŒŠ

โœ… Savor the Flavors

Treat your taste buds with fresh seafood, delightful pesto, focaccia, and of course, local wines. ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ

โœ… Power Up

Keep your devices charged for capturing those postcard-perfect moments. ๐Ÿ“ธ๐Ÿ”‹

โœ… Offline Maps

Offline maps can be a lifesaver in areas with spotty reception. ๐Ÿ“ฑ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ

โœ… Tread Lightly

Preserve the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site; always be respectful and mindful. ๐ŸŒบ๐Ÿƒ

โœ… Weather Wise

Coastal weather can throw surprises. Be prepared with a light jacket or umbrella. โ˜‚๏ธ๐Ÿงฅ

โœ… Plan Ahead

High tourist seasons can be busy. Ensure any tours or activities are booked in advance. ๐Ÿ“…๐Ÿ‘ฅ

With these spruced-up tips, you’re all set for a mesmerizing day trip to Cinque Terre, where every moment promises to be a cherished memory. Adventure awaits! ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒผ


Kim enjoying her time on a boat tour in Cinque Terre.
Which is better Amalfi Coast or Cinque Terre?

The Amalfi Coast, situated on Southern Italy’s Sorrento Peninsula, is known for its upscale glamour. With dramatic cliffs and terraced lemon groves, towns like Positano and Ravello stand out. While accessible by car, it can get busy, and its cuisine highlights are seafood and limoncello.

On the other hand, Cinque Terre in Northern Italy exudes a rustic, old-world charm. It features terraced vineyards and colorful cliffside homes. The area is best explored by train, and it’s famed for its seafood and pesto.

So while the Amalfi Coast offers luxury and historical richness, Cinque Terre promises a relaxed, authentic Italian vibe. Both are amazing in their own right, and the choice depends on personal preferences. ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐ŸŒŠ๐Ÿ.

Is Cinque Terre closer to Milan or Florence?

If traveling by train, which is a common mode of transportation to Cinque Terre, the journey from Milan usually takes about 3 hours, while from Florence it takes roughly 2.5 to 3.5 hours, depending on the specific train service and connections. It’s always a good idea to check current train schedules to get an accurate estimation of travel times.

Can you do Pisa and Cinque Terre in one day from Florence?

Yes, you can do Pisa and Cinque Terre in one day from Florence. However, I wouldn’t recommend it. While it’s doable, you’ll likely feel rushed, missing out on truly soaking in the charm and essence of each location. Cinque Terre has so much to offer, and squeezing both of these into a single day will not give you the experience you’d hoped for.

What is the most picturesque town in Cinque Terre?

In my opinion, while each village in Cinque Terre has its unique allure, I personally find Riomaggiore and Manarola to be the most picturesque. Their vibrant houses, perched on rugged cliffs, overlooking serene harbors offer breathtaking views. These two villages truly capture the quintessential beauty of Cinque Terre.

The Wrap-Up

Manorola offers stunning views all throughout the day, but also make sure to view the sunset while here.

In wrapping up, it’s clear that a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre is a decision you won’t regret. It promises to be an unforgettable adventure filled with stunning landscapes, charming villages, and amazing experiences.

Whether you choose to explore just one gem or all five of these coastal treasures, each village offers its own unique charm and captivating beauty. From the golden sands of Monterosso al Mare to the romantic allure of Manarola, the panoramic vistas of Corniglia to the lively harbor of Vernazza, and the quaint charm of Riomaggiore, you’ll find yourself immersed in the enchantment of Cinque Terre.

And if you want to take your adventure to the next level, don’t forget to include a boat tour in your itinerary. It’s the perfect way to experience these coastal wonders from a different perspective, with the shimmering waters as your backdrop.

So, set off on your day trip, create cherished memories, and let the allure of Cinque Terre sweep you off your feet. Adventure awaits, and this coastal paradise is ready to captivate your heart! โค๏ธ

Ciao! ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

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