To the question "How do you best visit Cinque Terre: by car or by train?" only fits a Jesuit answer: "It depends"!

  • To visit the five villages you preferably use public transport: by train or by boat you can travel from one village to another. The local park buses bring you in the hills, giving you easy access to a whole range of additional trails in the hills, without having to make the climb. However, there are not many trains (one per hour) and at peak times there can be some crowding for a place. On the other hand, the boats sail out only in calm weather.

    Especially if you choose to stay in one of the five villages, La Spezia or Levanto, or even North of Levanto, the train is the most appropriated means of transport.

    When you travel by train, the best Airport is Pisa.

  • For a longer stay in the Cinque Terre area, a car may be useful.  Of course, you will have to pay sometimes for parking, but that cost is compensated  for by the cheaper price of your residence compared to those in the five villages.

    Are you by car, avoid the peak times when traffic can be very heavy: July / August and long weekends in May / June.

    By car you also have more freedom, allowing you to include in your program a number of destinations in the vicinity: Carrara (a must), Portovenere, Portofino, Lucca, Pisa, ...


The best way to visit Cinque Terre is by train. The line between La Spezia and Levanto follows the coastal line, although you do not see much of its beauty, as a large part of the line is going through tunnels.

Every village in Cinque Terre has its station close to the centre of the vilage. One exception : Corniglia, where you have to climb 382 steps to reach the village.

There is about one train per hour in each direction and the price is approx. 2 EUR for a stretch between any of the two villages. For more information :

As from May 8th (2016) there is a new train connection between La Spezia and Levanto : the Cinque Terre Express, which goes back and forth between La Spezia and Levanto with a frequency of 2 trains per hour, including stops in the 5 villages. It is the intention to further increase the frequence to 4 trains per hour. The price of the tickets is considerably higher : 4 EUR for a single trip. The price of the Cinque Terre Train Card has been increased as well : from 12 EUR to 16 EUR.

Click here for the schedule of the Cinque Terre Express.

Vernazza train station Tunnel in Manarola

In our e-book you find

  • the timetable for the trains between La Spezia and Levanto. With the e-book on your smartphone, you'll avoid arriving late for a train and having to wait an hour for the next (as even I experienced).
  • the rail connections with the major airports: Pisa, Genoa, Milan
  • the prices of the tickets, so you can choose the most favorable formula.

A tip that can save you money ! If you take the train in Italy, don’t forget to validate your ticket before entering the train. Especially in Cinque Terre there are frequent controls on the train. If your ticket is not validated, the fine amounts up to EUR 50.


All the villages are accessible by car, but parking spaces are limited. Only in Manarola you will find a large parking. Everywhere you pay approx. 2 EUR per hour. In some places there is room to park along the edge of the road but we recommend not doing so, because in case of control you risk to be fined. At our visits in April, May, June and September we could easily find a (paying) parking, even for our mini-bus.

How to get there ? From La Spezia you simply follow the signs to Cinque Terre. You drive in the direction of Portovenere, but when leaving La Spezia you follow the SP 370, first over the hills and then through a long tunnel. After you have left the tunnel the stunning views of the coast quickly follow each other: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia... This ride is definitely worth it!

After the exit to Manarola the road becomes narrower and also goes a bit up. You pass Groppo and Volastra. The beautiful views follow each other in quick succession. You ignore the exit to Vernazza and you then come to the Soviore and to the exit to Monterosso.

In our e-book you will find

  • a more detailed description of the ride along the SP 370, along with an alternative inland.
  • a number of tips for free parking (in La Spezia, ...) that we would prefer not to put on our website !
  • the roadbook from the airports to Cinque Terre.

The Bus

The park buses bring you from every village into the hills, where you can start your hike without first having to make the climb. The 'green' buses leave at the center of the villages (even there where the cars are not admitted). A ride costs less than 2 EUR. And with the Cinque Terre Card, it's for free.

La Spezia has an extensive bus network to the cities in the area: Portovenere, Lerici, Sarzana, ….
In our e-file you will find

  • tickets and the timetables of the park buses
  • the timetable for the buses from La Spezia to Portovenere, Carrara, ...
  • tips on where you should buy your tickets.


There is also a boat connection between the various villages, except Corniglia which has no harbor. This connection continues to Portovenere and the Levanto. An ideal way to get back to the starting point after a coastal walk, admiring the villages and the hills from the sea.

The boats only sail out in the tourist season (from April to early October) and in calm weather.

In our e-book you will find

  • the timetable of the boats between Levanto and Portovenere.
  • other opportunities to visit the Cinque Terre by boat (from La Spezia, from Portovenere, from Lerici, from Genoa, ...)


You can reach Cinque Terre from several airports:

  • Pisa
  • Genoa
  • Milan
  • Bologna

From Pisa it takes, by car or by train, only an hour to reach Cinque Terre and is by far the best and fastest connection. From the other airfields it takes a little longer, but the journey between the airport and your destination does offer a lot of opportunities for some interesting stops.

In our e-book you will find

  • detailed description for each of the airports with the route by train or by car.
  • numerous suggestions for stops between the airport and Cinque Terre