Ah, Florence and Cinque Terre, two beautiful places in Italy that are probably on everyone’s couples bucket list, and rightfully so as they are both marvelous places.
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, then I assume that you are planning 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 really 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 for you including the Florence to Cinque Terre train, guided tours, and self-driving. Keep reading to hear the pros and cons of each so that you can 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 not only Italy but also 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. More than likely you will have to change trains in Pisa if you choose this route as well, which may affect your travel time also.
In order to take the Florence to Cinque Terre train, you will need to 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 then you might be able to get one. If not, then you can plan on having to change trains in Pisa as we mentioned above.
If you are changing trains, take note of the connection times and be sure that you have plenty of time in between trains.
Once you arrive at La Spezia Centrale station, your journey isn’t over just yet. From here, you will need to buy a ticket to the regional Cinque Terre train to continue your journey to the five villages.
To accomplish this, you can purchase a single ride ticket or a daily train pass with the Cinque Terre Card. We recommend getting the Cinque Terre Card so that you can “hop-on and hop-off” of the train at your convenience.
The nearest village is Riomaggiore and is about an 8-10 min train ride from La Spezia.
You can choose to start your journey in Riomaggiore and work your way up through the villages, or start at Monterosso, which is the village furthest away from La Spezia and work your way back. The choice is entirely up to you.
Honestly, we feel that you should spend at least a night or two in the Cinque Terre. Staying in Cinque Terre will allow you to experience the villages at a slower pace.
We were amazed by how different the villages become in the evening when the majority of the tourists have left. Not to mention the fact 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 do make the choice to do the Florence to Cinque Terre journey as a day trip, then we highly recommend that you book it with a tour group. With this option, you can leave the transportation and planning to someone else as you just 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 the majority of the tours also give you an expert guide that ensures that you have the inside scoop to fully enjoy your time in the villages.
While a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre is jam-packed, we completely understand that this might be the only way that some people can fit Cinque Terre into their Italy Itinerary.
There are several tour options 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 make the Florence to Cinque Terre trek at your own pace. Keep in mind that if you are planning to spend a night (or more) in Cinque Terre, then the train is definitely a better option than renting a car.
The drive from Florence to Cinque Terre will take you a minimum of 2.5 hours, depending on traffic and the number of stops that 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 and 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 are want to hike between the villages to see the beautiful scenery. If you are choosing to hike between the villages, then be sure the check the Cinque Terre National Park’s website as trails sometimes close.
If you are doing just a day trip from Florence to Cinque Terre, then you might want to just hike a small portion and see the rest of the villages by train to save time.
Whatever you decide, I am sure that you will fall in love with 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 remember that 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 apertivos and drank Spritz in Corniglia, and explored the small beaches and church in Vernazza. 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 of our 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. For us, taking a train into Cinque Terre was the best option as we wanted to spend several days slowly exploring this area.
If you truly only have one day to go from Florence to Cinque Terre, then personally, I would opt for a guided tour just so I didn’t have 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 what option you choose, I don’t think you will regret devoting some of your time in Italy to this wonderful region.
While You Are Here, Check Out These Other Italy Posts:
25 Awesome Things to do in Rome
3 Days In Venice: A Great Itinerary
25 Roman Ruins In Rome That You Have To See
21 Things To Know Before Visiting Rome
50 Things to do in Venice on a Budget
6 Reasons to Take a Food Tour in Rome
Capri, Italy: The Ultimate Guide To The Isle of Capri
50 Italian Drinks & Cocktails To Try In Italy (Including Recipes)
85 Quotes About Italy To Inspire Your Wanderlust
6 Reasons To Take a Food Tour In Rome
Taking the Naples to Capri Ferry: All You Need To Know
Sorrento To Capri: All You Need To Know
20 Incredible Things To Do In Sorrento, Italy
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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 prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world 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, then 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 of your needs while ensuring that you have 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 the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. 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 as well!
There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you 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!
HotelsCombined is another cool site. They allow you to compare all of the top travel sites with one search to ensure you are finding the best deal out there. Kayak works in this way as well.
If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then 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!
For a guided city tour, check out City Sightseeing and BigBus Tours. These bus tours are so much fun and easy to hop on and hop off at top attractions in cities around the world.
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 her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel. Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region. She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.
Friday 17th of July 2020
We would do the train and stay for a night. That's always the best way in Europe!Thanks for all the tips!
Friday 17th of July 2020
Yes! We completely agree. Only, we stayed for several nights and still didn't want to leave. :)
Tuesday 14th of July 2020
I think train travel is the way to go in Italy!
Monday 13th of July 2020
I'm going to Italy in September - one week Rome and one week Florence. I'm actually thinking about some daytrips. Maybe I'll go back to Cinque Terre for a weekend. Thanx for the inspiration :-)
Tuesday 14th of July 2020
Cinque Terre is an amazing place. I would highly recommend it.
Monday 13th of July 2020
I have only been to Italy once and spent lots of time in Tuscany, but would love to go back and visit the coast. Your photos are beautiful and these are all great tips for getting there!
Tuesday 14th of July 2020
Thank you so much, Kelly. I hope you get to visit!
Wednesday 8th of July 2020
You're right, these are on my bucket list! There are so many places to visit in Italy, this is a great option! Pining for later :)
Thursday 9th of July 2020
Thank you so much, Laurel!! It is such a beautiful area. We will definitely be going again.