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How to Get to Cinque Terre from Florence

Cinque Terre is a World Heritage Site and no wonder, because these five villages are worth a visit if you are in Florence. Are you going to miss them?

María Cano

María Cano

8 min read

How to Get to Cinque Terre from Florence

Cinque Terre, Florence | ©Chait Goli

There is a region not to be missed if you travel to Florence Cinque Terre. Made up of five villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare) located in the Liguria region, this area is of unique natural beauty. Believe me, you can't miss it, as it is only 180 kilometers from the Tuscan capital.

Cinque Terre has road and rail connections, so you have no excuse to reach this Italian treasure. Of course, depending on the comfort you are looking for it will be better to opt for an organized tour, although if you do not mind making transfers you can always take a train or a bus.

1. An organized tour, the most comfortable way to go from Florence to Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre| ©JAYAKODY ANTHANAS
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre| ©JAYAKODY ANTHANAS

You are in Florence and you want to go to Cinque Terre? No wonder, it is a very beautiful area of the Italian coast. If you allow me to give you an advice, the best thing to do is to get to Cinque Terre with an organized excursion. Not only will you have a comfortable and direct means of transport to get there in just two hours, but you will also have an easier way to move between the villages, as these tours include the intermediate routes.

The truth is that the Liguria region was declared a World Heritage Site for one reason: its beauty, ranging from culture to nature. I would not miss the opportunity to visit these five villages with an organized tour that also includes the presence of a specialized guide who will explain the most important things about each one. Also, depending on your preferences and budget, you can choose one type of tour or another.

Organized excursion to Cinque Terre by private transport

Can you imagine a tailor-made trip through this scenic treasure? Easy, you can book a private and exclusive tour. Although the price is somewhat high (around 700€) you can enjoy a personalized tour of the Cinque Terre from minute one, since a car or minivan will pick you up at your hotel in Florence to accompany you during the excursion through the villages. In total, about 11 hours to get to know this place comfortably.

The great advantage of this type of excursions is that you set the time and the places you want to visit. Many times they even offer the possibility to extend the trip and go also to Pisa from Florence. Of course, check if the transfer from one town to another is included, since many times it is done by boat and you have to pay for it separately.

Useful information

  • Price: about 700€.
  • Duration: about two and a half hours (about 12 hours of excursion, no overnight stay).
  • Disadvantage: higher price than other options.
  • Recommended if you want to enjoy a fully personalized visit to Cinque Terre.

Another aspect to take into account is that your driver becomes the best companion, since he knows the region and will be able to tell you all its secrets. On the other hand, he will be aware of what you need and will adapt to your needs. The truth is that it is a luxury to visit Liguria without rushing.

Organized excursion to Cinque Terre in shared transport

Visiting Cinque Terre| ©Gary Bembridge
Visiting Cinque Terre| ©Gary Bembridge

A more affordable option for all budgets (approximately 70€) is a tour also organized but shared with other tourists. Don't worry, groups are usually 20 people or less, so that the experience remains unique and feels personal.

The best thing about these activities is that you travel in a comfortable and air-conditioned vehicle (very necessary in hot months like August in Florence), which sometimes includes other facilities such as WIFI on board. In addition, the guide who accompanies the group enriches the visit with his explanations.

These excursions are very good value for money, since the journey from Florence to Cinque Terre is direct (no intermediate stops) and you will be picked up at a common and central point in the city. Once in the region you can move between the villages by train or boat, which is most of the time included in the price. If you are worried about always having to follow the guide and the group, you shouldn't be, as they leave you free time to explore each location at your leisure.

On the other hand, if you want to forget about finding a place to eat, you can book lunch. It usually costs extra (approximately 20€) but it is worth it, as it includes drinks and typical local products.

Useful information

  • Price: 50€ approximately
  • Duration: about two and a half hours (approximately 13 hours of excursion, no overnight stay).
  • Disadvantage: you share the trip with another group of people.
  • Recommended if you want to go directly to Cinque Terre without transfers or intermediate stops.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre

2. The train, a fast and affordable alternative

Florence Fast Train| ©Steve Collis
Florence Fast Train| ©Steve Collis

If you are in Florence and want to go to Cinque Terre, you should consider the train. It is a means of public transport and connects both regions quite well. The price of the full journey is about 14€ (one way) and it takes about two and a half hours, so you can see that it is worth it. Of course, keep in mind that the train leaves you in La Spezia, although it is easy to get from this city to the Cinque Terre.

From Florence to La Spezia

The first thing you have to do is to go to the Santa Maria Novella station in Florence and take the train that leaves from there. It runs every two hours, so if you want to secure your place it is best to buy your ticket in advance on the official website.

It may happen that the train forces you to change trains in Pisa. Keep this in mind to buy a ticket that is direct, but if it is not, don't worry because the journey will only take about 15 minutes longer.

From La Spezia to Cinque Terre

Once you get to La Spezia, if you travel between March and October, I recommend you to take the Cinque Terre Card ticket; this ticket costs about 15€ and includes all the routes between the two places, so you can use it all day long to move around the five towns. If you are only going to go to one or two or you are out of the tourist season, you will have to buy the tickets individually (about 4€ each way).

The other option is the boat; the price is higher (about 30€) but if you buy it to go from La Spezia to one of the Cinque Terre villages then you can also use it to move between Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore and Monterroso. Please note, it is only available between April and October.

Interesting facts

  • Price: about 30€ (in total)
  • Duration: about three hours
  • Disadvantage: transfers required
  • Recommended if you are looking for good value for money.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre

3. The bus, a slower option

Florence bus| ©Ateleus
Florence bus| ©Ateleus

If you were waiting for a public bus to go from Florence to Cinque Terre, I am sorry to tell you that there are no lines that cover this route. Still, you always have the option to buy a ticket from one of the private companies that depart from Piazzale Montelungo (a few meters from Santa Maria Novella Station in Florence) and drive to La Spezia, the closest town to Cinque Terre. The trip costs about 20€ (round trip) and takes about three to four hours, although with traffic it can be even more.

When you arrive in La Spezia by bus you will have no choice but to take a regional train to one of the five villages (about 4€ each way). If you prefer, you can buy the Cinque Terre Card and, for about €15, you will be able to go from one village to another in the spring and summer months.

Interesting facts

  • Price: between 10€ and 20€ approximately
  • Duration: about three hours
  • Disadvantage: only local and private companies operate.
  • Recommended if you want to save on your trip

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre

4. The rental car, an impractical alternative

By car in Florence| ©Dan Gold
By car in Florence| ©Dan Gold

I do not recommend renting a car just to make the three-hour drive between Florence and Cinque Terre, although if during your trip to the capital of Tuscany you are going to have a rental car (approximately 30€ per day), you can take advantage of it to make this trip. Remember that you will need a driving license from a European Union country.

Although visiting the Liguria region by car has the great advantage of being able to adapt the trip to your time, you must keep in mind that you cannot enter with the vehicle to any of the five villages (Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore). Therefore, you will have to park along the roadsides. Another option is to look for a parking lot in La Spezia, which is a larger town, and then take the regional train there to go to Cinque Terre.

Interesting facts

  • Price: about 30€ (one day rental)
  • Duration: about three hours
  • Disadvantage: driving and parking is complicated by the quality of the roads.
  • Recommended if you want to move freely around Cinque Terre

5. Cab or VTC, a somewhat expensive option

Cab| ©Rodolfo Clix
Cab| ©Rodolfo Clix

Are you thinking of taking a cab from Florence to Cinque Terre? It is indeed an option, although it is more expensive. The price of the ride will be about 200€ one way, and the price of an Uber type VTC is similar. However, you can consider it if you travel with a group of friends and share the cost, since you can adapt the departure times to your needs.

How to call a cab in Florence? There are several companies, but the main thing is to make sure that it is an official cab, one of those with a city license number on the body. If you are traveling with children in Florence, remember to book in advance in case you need a car seat. In case you prefer to use a VTC, the Uber app works perfectly.

Interesting facts

  • Price: about 200€ (one way)
  • Duration: about two and a half hours
  • Disadvantage: high price
  • Recommended if you are traveling with a group of people and do not want to depend on schedules.

6. We compare all the alternatives to go from Florence to Cinque Terre

  • Organized excursion (private vehicle)
  • Duration: two and a half hours (approx.)
  • Price: from 700€.
  • Highlight: chauffeur and customized route
  • Organized excursion (shared coach)
  • Duration: approximately two and a half hours
  • Price: from 70€.
  • Highlight: good value for money
  • Train
  • Duration: approximately three hours
  • Price: starting at 30€.
  • Featured: fast alternative
  • By bus
  • Duration: approximately four hours
  • Price: starting at 20€.
  • Highlight: cheapest option
  • Rental car
  • Duration: approximately three hours
  • Price: from 30€/day
  • Highlight: direct trip at your own pace
  • Cab or VTC
  • Duration: approximately two and a half hours
  • Price: from 400€.
  • Highlight: departure times can be adapted to your needs.

Have you already planned your visit to Cinque Terre? If you leave Florence you can see that you have several options to complete the tour, some of them quite comfortable and fast.