Florence is the epitome of art and architecture, and Cinque Terre boasts colorful Cliffside villages that seem too real to be true.
If you are reading this post, I assume you plan to head from Florence to Cinque Terre during your time in Italy.
We recommend taking this journey if you have 3 days in Florence or longer.
It is worth your time!
Well, don’t fear. We have done more than our fair share of travel in Italy, so you are in good hands.
We have several options, including the Florence to Cinque Terre train, guided tours, and self-driving.
Keep reading to hear the pros and cons of each to make the best decision for your Florence to Cinque Terre travels.
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Florence to Cinque Terre Train
Train travel is one of our favorite things about Italy and Europe in general.
Traveling by train in Europe is generally convenient, comfortable, and economical.
It is important to note that if you are taking the Florence to Cinque Terre train, you can plan about 3-4 hours for the one-way journey.
You will likely have to change trains in Pisa if you choose this route, which may also affect your travel time.
To take the Florence to Cinque Terre train, travel from the Firenze Santa Maria Novella station to the La Spezia Centrale station.
There are a couple of direct trains, and if you get lucky, you might get one.
If not, you can plan on changing trains in Pisa, as we mentioned above.
If you are changing trains, take note of the connection times and ensure you have plenty of time between trains.
Once you arrive at La Spezia Centrale station, your journey isn’t over just yet.
From here, you must buy a ticket to the regional Cinque Terre train to continue your journey to the five villages.
You can purchase a single-ride ticket or a daily train pass with the Cinque Terre Card to accomplish this.
We recommend getting the Cinque Terre Card so you can “hop on and hop off” the train at your convenience.
The nearest village is Riomaggiore, about an 8-10 min train ride from La Spezia.
You can start your journey in Riomaggiore and work your way up through the villages, or start at Monterosso, the village furthest away from La Spezia, and work your way back.
The choice is entirely up to you.
Spending at least a night or two in the Cinque Terre would be best.
Staying in Cinque Terre will allow you to experience the villages more slowly.
We were amazed by how different the villages become in the evening when most of the tourists have left, not to mention that making the trip from Florence to Cinque Terre in one day feels very rushed.
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Day Trip from Florence to Cinque Terre With a Tour
If you choose to do the Florence to Cinque Terre journey as a day trip, we highly recommend booking it with a tour group.
With this option, you can leave the transportation and planning to someone else as you sit back and relax.
Taking a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre with a tour group not only takes care of your transportation options, but most tours also give you an expert guide that ensures you have the inside scoop to enjoy your time in the villages fully.
While a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre is jam-packed, we understand that this might be the only way some people can fit Cinque Terre into their Italy Itinerary.
Several tour options are available, so be sure to read the description and reviews to find the best one that suits your needs.
Here are some of our recommendations.
Florence to Cinque Terre by Car
Another option for a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre is to rent a car for the day.
Renting a car will allow you to trek from Florence to Cinque Terre at your own pace.
Remember that if you plan to spend a night (or more) in Cinque Terre, the train is definitely a better option than renting a car.
The drive from Florence to Cinque Terre will take a minimum of 2.5 hours, depending on traffic and the number of stops you choose.
So keep this in mind as you are planning your day.
Note that the roads are narrow, and there is minimal parking in the villages of the Cinque Terre.
Due to this, I would recommend driving into La Spezia, parking at the train station, and then hopping on the train to go into the Cinque Terre.
What to do In Cinque Terre
Once you arrive in the Cinque Terre region, we feel that you will be amazed by the beauty and charm of this area.
Take your time exploring the five villages, as each is unique.
Most people visiting this area want to hike between the villages to see the beautiful scenery.
If you choose to hike between the villages, check the Cinque Terre National Park’s website, as trails sometimes close.
If you are just on a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre, you might want to hike a small portion and see the rest of the villages by train to save time.
Whatever you decide, I am sure you will love this area.
We spent several days in the Cinque Terre when we visited.
This allowed us to explore the villages at our own pace, enjoying each as we went along.
I was mesmerized by the view when we stepped off the train in Riomaggiore.
We loved hiking through the vineyards in Manarola to get to the most incredible views I have ever seen.
We ate, drank Spritz in Corniglia, and explored Vernazza’s small beaches and church.
Then we spent a day on the beach in the fabulous village of Monterosso.
You can head to our Instagram page to view this and many more photos from our fabulous trip to Cinque Terre.
Final Thoughts on Getting From Florence to Cinque Terre
As we always say, travel is such a personal choice.
Taking a train to Cinque Terre was the best option for us as we wanted to spend several days slowly exploring this area.
If you only have one day to go from Florence to Cinque Terre, I would opt for a guided tour to avoid the hassle of a rental car.
Again, this is a personal choice. If you prefer the freedom associated with driving yourself, then by all means, a rental car is a great way to enjoy Cinque Terre, even if it is only for a day.
No matter your choice, I don’t think you will regret devoting some of your time in Italy to this wonderful region.
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Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight:
We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best flight prices. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines worldwide to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.
Book Your Vacation Package:
If you want to book an entire vacation package, we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use, and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.
Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!
For full guided vacations, including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all your needs while ensuring a great experience.
Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop shop.”
Book Your Accommodations:
We always begin our search by checking out honest reviews on TripAdvisor hotels. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it offers a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.
Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!
If you want a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.
Tour Companies We Trust:
We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!
CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.
Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.
Looking to Save Time and Money?
Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!
About the Author
Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.