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How to Get to Cinque Terre from Milan

Is there anything better than going on vacation to Milan? Yes, making a stop in Cinque Terre, a magical place with 5 villages that combine delicious gastronomy, the blue sea and a location that can be explored in a single day trip.

Carla Yaquer

Carla Yaquer

10 min read

How to Get to Cinque Terre from Milan

Cinque Terre | ©Damiano Pappadà

The Ligurian coast has five municipalities considered the most appreciated jewels of northern Italy: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. They are locations nestled in about twenty kilometers between cliffs and vineyards. Visiting them is one of the best things to see and do in Milan and you can reach them by different means of transport.

in more, let's see how to get to the locations from the Lombard capital, the prices and the most convenient recommendations.

The best option to go from Milan to Cinque Terre: a guided tour

Cinque Terre, Italy| ©Gary Bembridge
Cinque Terre, Italy| ©Gary Bembridge

Guided excursions are usually more feasible when time is limited. This way of getting to know Cinque Terre and its wonders has several alternatives that are adaptable to your budget and the length of the tour.

So, if you want to close your trip to the Italian Riviera on a high note, here are a couple of alternatives that are ideal for you.

Option I: Group tours to Cinque Terre from Milan

Through group tours you can get to know the most emblematic locations of this paradise. Yes, all five: Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso and Riomaggiore.

The tour starts with the bus transfer service from Milan to the Mediterranean coast of Liguria, about 241.9 km. Depending on the route of each excursion, the itinerary includes activities such as: visiting Manarola, exploring the town's famous vineyards and strolling along its quays or taking a train to Monterosso al Mare to enjoy the old town.

In some cases, your excursion could include a 2-hour paradise cruise.

Details of interest

  • Price: between 120 € and 140 €.
  • Duration: between 13 - 14 hours.
  • Advantages: this type of excursions usually include full transfer service, bilingual guide, train tickets and tickets for the cruise.
  • Disadvantages: as it is a group excursion, the maximum number of passengers is 30 people, which is a bit high. It is not adapted for people in wheelchairs and often meals and drinks have an extra cost.
  • Suggested activities during the tour: there are semi-independent group excursions that allow you to go hiking leading into the Cinque Terre national park, as well as making stops at restaurants to taste the real Italian cuisine.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre from Milan

Option II: Private tours to Cinque Terre from Milan

Traveling to Cinque Terre is love at first sight. And without a doubt, the perfect option if you want personalized attention, are the private excursions. Believe me, you won't regret it.

Through private tours, you will be able to get to know in greater depth all that Cinque Terre has to offer. Although this type of experience has a higher value, the convenience of deciding the activities is a huge advantage.

These private tours offer an even more flexible itinerary so that you and your companions can explore the Italian Riviera without worry.

Details of interest

  • Price: available from 300 € - 400 € per person. Some prices may include discounts depending on the group of people you choose.
  • Duration: between 13 - 14 hours. Time varies according to the itinerary.
  • Advantages: private driver, specialized guide, full transfer services, train tickets, wifi service.
  • Disadvantages: not adapted for wheelchair users, no meals or drinks.
  • Suggested activities during the tour: this kind of experiences are flexible, so you can enjoy every stop and do other tours such as visiting the Castle Tower in Vernazza, exploring the Via di Mezzo in Manarola, tasting the best focaccia ligure in La Cambusa and visiting the Church of St. John the Baptist in Riomaggiore.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre from Milan

The most flexible way: by car

Milan| ©mi chiel
Milan| ©mi chiel

Whether by private or shared car, the most flexible way is to travel by car, I show you how you can do it.

By private car

People who choose to travel by car do so largely for the flexibility to stop whenever and wherever they want. This may be your case, however you should know that between the towns of Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare, you are only allowed to stop and park in one town: Monterosso al Mare.

In the rest of the towns you will have to park in the surroundings of the town, generally at the highest point, from where you can see the valley and walk down to get to know it. To make this route you have two alternatives:

From Milan to Monterosso al Mare

You can start from the east, there are 225 km of road. This route passes through Genoa. For this route on the A7 and A12, you will need about 3 hours and 20 minutes.

From Milan to La Spezia

From west to east though you travel the same amount of km (225 km) and flank Parma. The A1 and A15/E33 are in better condition, which can save you up to half an hour in your car. In 3 hours you will reach your destination.

Interesting details

  • Price: in addition to the price of gasoline, if you decide to rent a car, at Hertz for example, prices start at 30 € per day.
  • Duration: between 3 hours and 3 hours and 20 minutes.
  • Advantages: this type of excursion allows you to manage the itinerary to your liking. Photo stops, breaks... you control the agenda.
  • Disadvantages: the fatigue of the trip due to driving the narrow, winding road around the mountains, plus the cost.
  • Suggested activities: once you reach the northern or southern end of Cinque Terre, connect to the rest of the towns via the regional trains. Average times are 4 to 6 minutes from one to the other.

Carpooling

Carpooling or car sharing continues to gain popularity in Italy, the prices are cost effective, particularly on long routes, you meet other people, you collaborate with the environment by reducing the footprint left by numerous cars and you enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Interesting details

  • The price of the shared cars, starting from 10 €.
  • The duration of the tour ranges from 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours.

The most popular carpooling company in Italy

The companyBlablacar enjoys the greatest popularity. They offer long and short trips to almost every city in Italy. In the case of Milan-La Spezia, for example, you can get a ticket from 10 €.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre from Milan

Another option by road: the bus

FlixBus| ©Antonio Vera
FlixBus| ©Antonio Vera

Usually this alternative enters into my transport recommendations because of its cost-benefit ratio and the variety of lines, but the Milan-Cinque Terre connection has only one option: connection Milan - La Spezia with one transport line.

If you decide for this option you should know that the route is not direct. You will have to take a bus from San Donato M3 and change at Genova Fanti d'Italia, Principe. The waiting time is 2 hours to 5 minutes. After that time, you will take the bus to Via Carducci in La Spezia. This stretch will add up to 1 hour and 35 minutes.

In conclusion, you need 5 hours and 35 minutes. The transport company that manages is Flixbus.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 19 €.
  • Duration: 5 hours and 35 minutes
  • Advantages: it is economical.
  • Disadvantages: only one line operates on this route and requires a stopover.
  • Suggested activities: rest and maybe make some videos along the way, it is very beautiful.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre from Milan

The most attractive option: a boat or enjoy a cruise on the Italian Riviera

Cinque Terre.| ©Gary Bembridge
Cinque Terre.| ©Gary Bembridge

Getting to Cinque Terre by boat is one of the most attractive options. Just imagine enjoying the entire Ligurian coastline while strolling along its beaches. Sign up for this way of touring it, check out the available options.

Option I: group boat to tour the beaches

The first thing you should know about this option is that it only runs from late March to early November due to weather conditions and safety issues. But par excellence this is one of the best tours and excursions from Milan.

Although Milan does not have the best location for boat trips to Cinque Terre (because most depart from La Spezia, Portovenere and Genoa), it is still a viable option.

From the Lombard capital you can take a bus to La Spezia, then buy a ticket to board the boat and continue the route through Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. The only town you would miss would be Corniglia because it is landlocked.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 20 €.
  • Duration: it all depends on the route you choose, but about 6-7 hours.
  • Advantages: it is an ideal option if you want to avoid crowds and prefer to enjoy the beaches. Groups are around 20-30 people maximum.
  • Disadvantages: it is not suitable for people who suffer from seasickness and if you choose to take the bus, you will have to spend the night in one of the villages.
  • Suggested activities during the tour: there are complementary activities such as snorkeling or scuba diving.

Option II: day trip and mini-cruise from Milan to Cinque Terre

Now here is the luxury option you were waiting for to get to know Cinque Terre in a more private and relaxing way.

As we saw, Milan does not have a direct ship to Cinque Terre, but through these tours you can make your dream come true. These tours have a route that departs from Milan by bus to Manarola, one of the towns that make it up.

There you can stroll through the streets and then get on the train that will take you to Monterosso, where you will take a mini-cruise of about 90 minutes. The tour usually ends in La Spezia, and from there, you can take the bus back to Milan.

Details of interest

  • Price: between 120 € - 170 € per person.
  • Duration: between 12 - 13 hours
  • Advantages: enjoy a private boat trip along the coast of the Cinque Terre.
  • Disadvantages: not suitable for people with heart disease.
  • Suggested activities during the tour: You can complement it with snorkeling and diving.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre from Milan

The cheapest option: the regional train

Milan Central Station| ©Mike B in Colorado
Milan Central Station| ©Mike B in Colorado

Cinque Terre has several ways to get around, but one of the best is by train. The main reasons are its low price, the location of its stations and the ease in reaching any of the other locations.

The journey time between Milan and Cinque Terre by train is around 3 to 4 hours for a distance of approximately 216 km, including an average layover time of 23 minutes. Of course, you can also opt for express train tickets.

Trains usually depart from Milano Centrale every 4 hours. If you board early, you can spend the day exploring Cinque Terre and return to Milan where you can spend the night. If you want to get the most out of your trip along the Italian Riviera, be sure to check the routes in advance.

Details of interest

  • Price: from 12 €, you can even get tickets for 4 € when they offer special promotions.
  • Duration: the train from Milan to Cinque Terre is between 3 - 4 hours.
  • Advantages: you can travel in peace and quiet, adapting your itinerary to your needs. It is free, safe and an accessible option for everyone.
  • Disadvantages: the exposure to being surrounded by other tourists, since, being an economical option, more people opt for it.
  • Suggested activities during the tour: if you choose the train is the time to visit Corniglia, the third village walking from north to south that makes up the Cinque Terre. This village breaks with the stereotype because it has no direct access to the sea. It is an ideal option for those who prefer a calmer, more serene and less crowded tour. Just be sure to wear comfortable clothes to climb the many steps.

Book your excursion to Cinque Terre from Milan

The longest option: by plane

Galileo Galilei Airport| ©Hugh Llewelyn
Galileo Galilei Airport| ©Hugh Llewelyn

You can travel by plane to Cinque Terre, however, you can only get as close as about 80 km because there is no airport in these towns. You have two options.

From Genoa-Cristoforo Airport

Genoa Airport (GOA) is located 114.2 km away by road. Once your plane lands, you will have to travel approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes by road via E80. If you decide to take the train from the airport, you have a couple of options:

  • Via Levanto. It takes 2 hours and 35 minutes. Tickets start at 6 €.
  • Via Sestri Levante. It lasts 3 hours and 10 minutes. You can buy your ticket at the same price as the previous one, from 6 €.

From Galileo Galilei International Airport

Pisa Airport is located 112,7 km from Cinque Terre. Once you arrive there you can drive to the town via A12/E80. The drive takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

In case you decide to take a train, you will need a bus from E25 or E3 to via Crispi 93/95, from there a 500 meters walk to Pisa Centrale station and if you arrive on time (trains run every 30 minutes), in 48 minutes you will reach your destination. You can get a ticket from 5 €.

Frankly this alternative is not my favorite, but it is an alternative.

Details of interest

  • Price: available from 200 € round trip.
  • Duration: between 13 - 14 hours. Time varies according to the itinerary.
  • Advantages: private driver, specialized guide, full transfer services, train tickets, wifi service.
  • Disadvantages: not adapted for wheelchair users, no meals or drinks.
  • Suggested activities during the tour: this kind of experiences are flexible, so you can enjoy every stop and do other tours such as visiting the Castle Tower in Vernazza, exploring the Via di Mezzo in Manarola, tasting the best focaccia ligure in La Cambusa and visiting the Church of St. John the Baptist in Riomaggiore.

Transportation comparison from Milan to Cinque Terre

  • By plane
  • Available starting from 200
  • 13 to 14 hours
  • By car
  • From 10 €
  • Between 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours.
  • By bus
  • From 19 €
  • 5 hours and 35 minutes
  • By boat
  • From 20 €
  • From 6 to 7 hours
  • By train
  • From 12 €.
  • From 3 to 4 hours.