Cinque Terre, with the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, has become one of the busiest tourist attractions in recent years and is in great danger of being trampled by the mass of tourists. The damage done daily to this unique piece of land by the heavy human footprint is irreparable unless we treat it more carefully in the future. Our first and most important piece of advice is therefore: Don't visit Cinque Terre in high season, but pick a quieter and often more beautiful time, such as autumn or spring. For those who have to travel in high season, we have some good tips to prepare your trip.
Summer heat and Cinque Terre - These are the facts
Temperatures in Cinque Terre are regularly above 35°C this summer (2022), with the heat starting as early as mid-June. Even though the region is located in a hilly area close to the sea, the hikes can be tough with these temperatures, especially without the right information. If you travel by train, be prepared for a train that is jam packed, both on the way there and back from La Spezia and Genoa. Occasionally the newer (Siemens) trains run on this route, where you can even take and recharge an electric bike (however, consider the stairs and steep hills in Cinque Terre). Unfortunately, they also use the older trains with poor air conditioning, let alone the ability to recharge your phone. If you arrive late, you may not be able to get a seat and will have to stand all the way. The problem with the older trains is that only the seating traincompartments usually have air conditioning, so when the doors close and you have to stand in the aisle (near the door and next to the toilets) it can be very hot and unpleasant. If you want to be sure that you are travelling on a new train, just look for the the symbol of a bicycle at the 'dettagli' or 'details' of your train. I would advise everyone not to walk between 11.00 and 16.00 hours. And if you are thinking of taking the boat between the villages, book it now. Parking in Levanto is an option, but be aware that the car will be in the sun all day, so don't leave anything in it that can melt, click here for options and rates. Bring enough water with you on a hike, wear a hat, and buy extra water locally. If you feel unwell despite precautions call the emergency number 112. A heat stroke is called a 'colpo di calore' in Italian , just so you know.
Much has been written about Cinque Terre, but those looking for a brief answer to the most frequently asked questions please stay with us. On this page we give you the best and most reliable tourist information from our experience. We aim to do our best to keep this information updated as well.
The most frequently asked questions about Cinque Terre
- How to get to Cinque Terre?
- Where is the best place to stay around Cinque Terre?
- Are there waiting times when visiting Cinque Terre?
- How long does an average visit to Cinque Terre last?
- How many tourists visit Cinque Terre per day?
- Do I need to buy a ticket to visit Cinque Terre?
- What does a Cinque Terre Walking ticket cost?
- How much does a Cinque Terre Railcard cost?
- How does the train ticket work?
- What is the best time to visit Cinque Terre?
- What are the opening hours of Cinque Terre?
- What is my Cinque Terre Card valid for?
- Until when is the path Via del Amore closed?
- What is the official website of Cinque Terre?
Cinque Terre can be reached by car from La Spezia (14 km) via the SP 370. Or take the exit S.Stefano Magra from the A12 Genoa-Livorno. You can also get there by train from La Spezia or Genoa or by boat from various ports along the coast between Genoa (Nervi) and La Spezia. The Cinque Terre Express train runs every 15 minutes from mid-March to mid-November. It is not recommended to go by car, as there is very little parking.
If you are touring the area by car then we recommend not staying in Cinque Terre, because a hotel or B & B in one of the villages usually means lugging your luggage far and wide, unless your host comes to pick you up. In this case, it would be better to stay in one of neighbouring towns. Consult this article for accommodation tips in and near Cinque Terre, Portofino and Camogli.
The villages are all close to each other and I recommend you choose a place that you can use as a base for your walks. Monterosso is the largest of the five and has the most hotels. Although you can reach some streets of the centro storico by car, most of the hotels are in a pedestrian zone. The smaller villages have some B&B's and apartments for rent.
Hotel Porto Roca is one of the better hotels and offers unobstructed views from all balconies and terraces, it is just outside the center of Monterosso, and the hotel has a shuttle service to and from the train station and parking lots.
La Terrazza sul Mare, on the other hand, is centrally located and directly across from the beach. The rooms are not very big, but the location and the view make up for it. Bed and breakfasts in the villages of Cinque Terre range from super simple to ultra chic. Donna Barbara, in lovely Vernazza is right by the harbor in a fantastic location.
It should take 5-10 minutes at each station, but the trains don't usually run on time so sometimes it can take a little longer. If you prefer to take the boat (an excellent idea), usually has no delays and they are less crowded than the trains, especially in high season. There is no waiting time on the trails or in the towns. If you want to buy a Cinque Terre Card in one of the tourist offices there might be a short waiting time, it is always better and faster to buy your card online in advance (see below this article for information on purchasing the card).
The villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are among the most famous tourist attractions and monuments in Italy. The villages receive around 7,000 tourists per day and in high season this can go up to 10,000.
Cinque Terre Card for Trekking: This is a walking access card, it gives you access to the Cinque Terre National Park and you may also use the buses inside the park. The card is available for 1 or 2 days and there are discounts for young people and families. You can buy your card online or at the park entrance. You validate the card by writing your name and a date on the back of the card.
The Cinque Terre Train Card: This card includes unlimited train travel from the La Spezia train station to Levanto, the train connects to the train to the 5 towns. This card also offers the possibility to use the hiking trails. The Train Card comes as a 1-day, 2-day and 3-day pass with special discounts for young people, elderly and families.
A Cinque Terre Walking Pass costs €7.50 for 1 day or €14.50 for 2 days. All trekking cards are valid until 24.00 hours on the last date of validity.
From March 26 to October 6, 2022: 1 day: €18.20 - 2 days: €33 - 3 days: €47
Children: €11.40 per day (4-12 years) and 70+ years: €14.80
A family card is available for: €48.00 (2 adults + 2 children 4-12 years) per day
Children under 4 travel are free and may also enter the park for free when accompanied by a paying adult.
The card is personal and be used only by the name bearer and may not be used by others. Before using the card for the first time, the name of the user (or the head of the family in the case of family cards) must be written on the back. Cards must be shown to inspectors along with a valid ID. To validate a card, you must do that in the Trenitalia's machines. The cards entitle you to unlimited travel between Levanto and La Spezia on regional trains in second class and the use of the Park's facilities. For example, if you are staying in Genoa you buy an additional card between Levanto and Genoa cost: € 7.10 (2022) with the regional train (stopping train 6-16 stops 1-1.5 hours) and with the Frecciarossa or Intercity (a little less than 1 hour) about € 10.00 per person.
You buy the train ticket on Treniitalia's website or through their app. https://www.trenitalia.com/en/purchase.html?
The villages Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are inhabited and therefore always open. The residents are very proud of their villages, but as you might imagine, the mass amount of tourists may sometimes become a bit overwhelming. Just like in Venice, some people call for closing times or access to the villages to tourists during certain times. It is therefore important to treat their space with care and respect the privacy of the residents. On the other hand, local people depend on the tourist industry for a living or on fishing and agriculture, sometimes a combination of all three.
If you visit the villages by boat, bus or car, you can visit all 5 villages within a day, even if it is a bit of a stretch between the villages. If you visit the National Park on foot, you will definitely need a few days. The routes between the villages are slightly longer then they used to be, as the walkway along the Via del Amore, is still closed until April 2023. Per village I would reckon you spend on average one hour, unless you stay for a meal.
The region is most beautiful in spring, I would say until the end of June or thereabouts, when it is still cool enough and with the spring blossoms the area is simply gorgeous.
From mid-September through October, when the trees take on their beautiful fall colors, the place is also breathtaking.
But even in winter, on a bright sunny day it can be fantastic, I visited last in January, a clear blue sea and the waves hitting the rocks like explosions of snow white foam.
The services offered with the Cinque Terre Trekking Card are:
- Access to the park area;
- Guided tours based on the official program;
- Poetic and naturalistic trails ´Cultural Park Eugenio Montale and Cinque Terre´ based on the official program;
- ATC bus services in and between all villages;
- Restrooms (fee) in the municipalities of Riomaggiore, Vernazza and Monterosso;
- Access to the workshops of the Park Environmental Education Center, based on the official program;
- Internet WI-FI through the Park's Hot Spots;
- Discount for admission to the Civic Museums of La Spezia (Amedeo Lia, Castello San Giorgio, CAMeC, Sigillo, Palazzina delle Arti, Etnografico, Diocesano).
The services offered with the Cinque Terre Train Card are:
- Everything that the Trekking card offers
- Access in second class to all regional trains (IC / ICN / FB not included) between Levanto and La Spezia, in both directions;
From time to time there are processions and sagras such as the Sagra dell Acciughe, Festa della Limone in Monterosso al Mare, the Holy Week in Manarola and the feast of Corpus Christi in Monterosso. The presepe (nativity scenes) during Christmas through mid-January are well known, the nativity scene of Manarola being the most famous of these with 15,000 lights.
According to the authorities, the Via del Amore path will not reopen until April 2023.