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How To Get From Florence To Cinque Terre – Train, Tour And Car


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Annice Horne



Journeying from the enchanting city of Florence to the picturesque coastal region of Cinque Terre is a must-do for any traveler exploring Italy. Located in the Liguria region, Cinque Terre is famous for its colorful cliffside villages, scenic hiking trails, and breathtaking views of the Ligurian Sea. While there are several ways to reach Cinque Terre from Florence, three popular options include traveling by train, joining a guided tour, or renting a car. Each option offers a unique experience and provides an opportunity to discover the beauty of both Florence and Cinque Terre.


Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a food lover, the journey from Florence to Cinque Terre promises a delightful adventure. While Florence boasts of its Renaissance art and architecture, Cinque Terre brings together a combination of natural wonders and traditional coastal charm. From exploring ancient Renaissance masterpieces in Florence to hiking along breathtaking coastal trails in Cinque Terre, this journey is sure to leave you with lasting memories.


While Cinque Terre is indeed a paradise, it can be a challenge to navigate the logistics of getting there from Florence. However, rest assured that there are convenient and efficient options available that will ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Whether you prefer the convenience of public transportation, the insights of a guided tour, or the freedom of driving on your own, this article will guide you through the various options and help you choose the best way to travel from Florence to Cinque Terre that suits your needs and preferences.


Option 1: By Train

Traveling from Florence to Cinque Terre by train is a popular and convenient option. The train journey takes you through the stunning Tuscan countryside and offers breathtaking views along the way. The train station in Florence, Santa Maria Novella, is well-connected and has frequent departures to the Cinque Terre region.


There are two types of trains that you can take: regional trains and Intercity trains. Regional trains are slower and make multiple stops, while Intercity trains are faster and make fewer stops, making them a more time-efficient option. However, the frequency of Intercity trains is lower compared to regional trains.


It’s important to note that there are no direct trains from Florence to Cinque Terre. Instead, you will need to transfer at either La Spezia or Pisa. La Spezia is the gateway to Cinque Terre and has more frequent train connections. Pisa is an alternative transfer point, and if you have time, you can explore the iconic Leaning Tower before continuing your journey to Cinque Terre.


Once you reach the transfer station, you can catch a local train to any of the five villages of Cinque Terre – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, or Riomaggiore. The train ride from the transfer station to the first village, Monterosso al Mare, takes around 15 minutes, and from there, you can easily reach the other villages by train as well.


It is advisable to check the train timetables in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure that you have ample time to explore each village and catch the return train. The train tickets can be purchased at the train station or online, and it’s recommended to validate your ticket before boarding the train.


Traveling by train offers the benefit of enjoying the scenic views during the journey and having the flexibility to explore each village at your own pace. It is an efficient and cost-effective option, making it a popular choice for many travelers.


Option 2: By Tour

If you prefer a hassle-free and well-guided experience, joining a tour from Florence to Cinque Terre can be an excellent option. There are various tour operators that offer day trips or multi-day tours, allowing you to explore the beauty of Cinque Terre with the expertise of a knowledgeable guide.


These tours typically include transportation from Florence to Cinque Terre and back, eliminating the need for you to worry about logistics. Depending on the tour, you may travel by bus or by train, and some tours even include a boat ride along the coast, providing a unique perspective of the picturesque villages.


One of the advantages of joining a tour is the opportunity to learn about the history, culture, and local traditions of Cinque Terre from a knowledgeable guide. They can provide valuable insights, take you to the best viewpoints, and recommend the must-visit spots in each village. Additionally, some tours may include visits to local vineyards, where you can sample the renowned wines of the region.


When choosing a tour, take into consideration the duration, itinerary, and group size. Some tours offer a full day in Cinque Terre, allowing you to explore multiple villages in depth, while others may only focus on one or two villages. Consider your preferences and the amount of time you have available to make the most suitable choice.


It is worth noting that joining a tour can be a more expensive option compared to other modes of transportation. However, the convenience of having a well-organized itinerary, a knowledgeable guide, and transportation provided can greatly enhance your experience and make your visit to Cinque Terre memorable.


Before booking a tour, read reviews from previous travelers to ensure the tour operator is reputable and reliable. Also, check the cancellation and refund policies in case of any unexpected changes to your travel plans.


Overall, joining a tour from Florence to Cinque Terre is a great option for those who prefer a guided and stress-free experience. It allows you to sit back, relax, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the coastal region while gaining valuable insights from a knowledgeable guide.


Option 3: By Car

For travelers who enjoy the freedom of exploring at their own pace and wish to have more flexibility in their itinerary, renting a car is a great option to travel from Florence to Cinque Terre. Renting a car allows you to have complete control over your journey and gives you the opportunity to explore the stunning countryside between the two destinations.


The drive from Florence to Cinque Terre takes approximately two hours, depending on traffic conditions and the route you choose. The most common route is via the A11 and A12 highways, which offer a direct and scenic drive to the coastal region. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to admire the rolling hills, vineyards, and charming Tuscan villages.


Having a car in Cinque Terre also allows you to easily explore the smaller towns and hidden gems in the surrounding areas. You can venture off the beaten path and discover lesser-known viewpoints or visit neighboring towns like Portovenere or Portofino.


However, it’s important to note that driving in Cinque Terre itself can be challenging. The villages are characterized by narrow, winding streets, limited parking options, and restricted access to non-resident vehicles. It is highly recommended to park your car outside the villages and use public transportation or walk to explore the villages on foot.


Parking facilities are available at the entrance of most villages, and it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a spot, especially during peak travel seasons. Alternatively, you can park in La Spezia and take the train or ferry to the villages to avoid parking hassles altogether.


When renting a car, ensure that you have a valid driver’s license, familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and regulations, and consider the cost of fuel and tolls. It’s also advisable to rent a smaller car, as the narrow roads in Cinque Terre can be challenging to navigate with a larger vehicle.


Overall, traveling from Florence to Cinque Terre by car offers the flexibility and freedom to discover the scenic beauty of the region at your own pace. However, be prepared for the challenges of parking and navigating the narrow streets of the villages once you arrive.



There are multiple options available to travel from Florence to Cinque Terre, each offering its own unique advantages. Whether you choose to take the train, join a guided tour, or rent a car, you are sure to have an unforgettable experience exploring the stunning coastal region of Cinque Terre.


By train, you can enjoy the scenic views of the Tuscan countryside on your journey to Cinque Terre. The convenience and cost-effectiveness of train travel make it a popular choice among travelers. Just be sure to plan your transfer at La Spezia or Pisa to reach the enchanting villages of Cinque Terre.


Joining a tour from Florence to Cinque Terre provides a hassle-free and well-guided experience. With a knowledgeable guide leading the way, you can immerse yourself in the history, culture, and beauty of the region. Choose a tour that suits your preferences, whether it’s a day trip or a multi-day adventure.


Renting a car offers the freedom to explore at your own pace and allows you to discover hidden gems along the way. While driving in the villages of Cinque Terre can be challenging, having a car gives you the flexibility to visit neighboring towns and venture off the beaten path.


Ultimately, the choice of transportation depends on your preferences, time constraints, and level of comfort. Consider what matters most to you – whether it’s the convenience of a guided tour, the freedom of driving, or the scenic train journey. Whichever option you choose, make sure to plan your itinerary in advance, check transportation schedules, and be prepared to embrace the beauty and charm of Cinque Terre.


So, embark on your journey from Florence to Cinque Terre and get ready to be captivated by the colorful villages, breathtaking coastal views, and the perfect blend of history, culture, and nature that this Italian gem has to offer.