How to get to Cinque Terre Italy? There is no Cinque Terre airport but I help you find flights to Cinque Terre and the closest airport to Cinque Terre. I discuss the trains and driving to Cinque Terre. Read this practical guide with budget tips for getting to Cinque Terre!
This post is focused on people who want to reach Cinque Terre and stay overnight. If you want to visit Cinque Terre on a day trip from another city, this post also offers valuable information. Or you can skip ahead to the specific section, by clicking here.
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Cinque Terre Italy
The problem with Cinque Terre is that it is lovely and popular. But what is Cinque Terre? There is no place in Italy called Cinque Terre, so how would you know what the best way of getting there is?
Cinque Terre is Italian for: five lands. It is also referred to as the Cinque Terre (translation: the 5 lands.) The area of Cinque Terre consists of 5 villages and the natural park. The villages are:
- Monterosso el Mare
These 5 villages are super small, they are all edged on the cliffs in a small strip of land between Levanto in the north and La Spezia in the south. The Cinque Terre Unesco World Heritage area is part of Liguria province in Italy.
Cinque Terre is a major tourist attraction in Italy. You can hike from one village to the next. Each village oozes cuteness with pastel-colored houses and the water is an emerald blue I have never seen before. Oh, and not to forget the food! I eat my belly full of pasta, pizza, and gelato!
How to get to Cinque Terre?
No wonder people want to visit Cinque Terre! Some opt for a day trip from Florence or Milan but I strongly recommend staying overnight and explore all 5 villages of Cinque Terre. But how to get to Cinque Terre? I decided to fly into the area, then drive to Cinque Terre where I took the train to Cinque Terre. So that makes me an expert to explain to you the best way of getting to Cinque Terre.
Flights to Cinque Terre
Depending on where you come from, you will be looking at flights to Cinque Terre. As mentioned before, there is no such thing as Cinque Terre airport, so you have to weigh your options for the best intercontinental or domestic flights for getting to Cinque Terre.
As there are no shuttle buses from the closest airport to Cinque Terre, you’ll have to take a bus from the airport to the train station and from there take the train to Cinque Terre. I’ll discuss what is the closest airport to Cinque Terre and give you several options.
The closest airport to Cinque Terre
Depending on where you’ll stay in Cinque Terre, you’ll either will travel to Levanto train station (in the north) or La Spezia train station (in the south). I calculated the distance from the different airports and give you options on how to get to Cinque Terre from there.
The closest airport to Cinque Terre is either Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA) to the north of Cinque Terre. From GOA airport to Levanto is 86 km (53,4 miles).
Another great option is Pisa Airport (PSA), situated 85 km (52,8 miles) from La Spezia, south of Cinque Terre.
Both airports require a shuttle bus from the airport to the train station, where you can take the train to Cinque Terre.
Other airports that are still reasonable for getting to Cinque Terre are:
- Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP). Further away but has more intercontinental options. Milan is 259 km (161 miles) from Levanto.
- Florence Airport (FLR). Only 142 km (88 miles) from La Spezia
- Bologna Airport (BLQ) to La Spezia is 208 km (129 miles)
- Parma Airport (PMF) to La Spezia is 116 km (72 miles)
The last airports are closer to Cinque Terre than Milan but might serve less international flights. They might be good options if you’re already in Italy or Europe.
Getting to Cinque Terre by Train
As you can see from above, I calculate the distance to Levanto or La Spezia near Cinque Terre. Although you’ve booked flights to Cinque Terre, you still need other modes of transport for getting to Cinque Terre!
(Nobody said it was easy!)
Luckily, the train network in Cinque Terre is really good. Strike that, it is actually the only really good way on how to get to Cinque Terre. As the villages are closed for traffic, the roads meander across the mountains, there are no reliable bus services, the train in Cinque Terre is your best option!
Each of the 5 villages of Cinque Terre have train stations and they are connected on the Cinque Terre railway.
But how to get to the Cinque Terre train stations? The Italian railway services are all connected. For more details on times and prices, check the Trenitalia website.
How to get to Cinque Terre from Pisa?
But for demonstration purposes, I’ll show you a sample itinerary on getting to Cinque Terre from Pisa airport.
When you arrive at Pisa airport, you collect your bags and go outside the passenger terminal. There you’ll find an automated shuttle service which will bring you to Pisa Centrale Railway station. This is 1km and will take a few minutes.
At Pisa Railway station, you’ll buy your train ticket to your village in Cinque Terre. I choose Riomaggiore. There are several trains a day, most take 1,5 hours and require 1 change at La Spezia Centrale Station. If you book ahead, you’ll pay less than 10€ (8,60€ at the moment) for this train journey.
So if planned smoothly, you can be in Cinque Terre in less than 2 hours from your arrival at Pisa airport.
Train from Milan to Cinque Terre
As you see how simple it is, I’ll give you another example. How to get to Cinque Terre from Milan airport? Simple!
At Milan Malpensa Airport you can take the airport bus to Milan Railway station (this will take 50 minutes). Or you take the train from the airport to Milan Railway station (depending on the terminal 50 minutes to an hour.)
Once at the railway station take a direct, high-speed train from Milan to Cinque Terre. For example, from Milan Centrale to Monterosso al Mare on a direct train will take 3 hours (and costs less than 20€). Although it takes longer and costs more to get to Cinque Terre, this might be a good option for intercontinental flights from the US to Cinque Terre.
Driving to Cinque Terre
Are you dead set on driving to Cinque Terre? Then you want to know how to get to Cinque Terre by car. You can’t. No sorry. I don’t want to be rude, but it is nearly impossible. Although the villages of Cinque Terre have parking lots, they are overcrowded, overpriced, and have a maximum time you can stay there. Not ideal for your overnight stay in Cinque Terre.
But how is it that I drove to Cinque Terre then? Well. I was stubborn. I noticed my mistake early on and searched for other options for getting to Cinque Terre with our rental car. Here is my tip for driving to Cinque Terre:
Depending on where you’re coming from, take the A15 into La Spezia. Put the following address into your navigation: Piazza d’Armi, 19121 La Spezia. This is an outdoor “park and ride” parking lot in La Spezia.
In high season, there is a shuttle bus to the center and the La Spezia train station, but we walked. It took us 5 minutes in a straight line (so really not hard to find) to the train station. We left our rental car at the free parking lot in La Spezia for 5 days and found it exactly as we left it. The site is monitored by video camera surveillance, but don’t leave anything valuable in the car when you leave.
Join a Tour to Cinque Terre
All the above tips are focused on people who will stay overnight in Cinque Terre or need to reach the villages on their own for some reason or another. If you’re staying in Italy, and you want to visit Cinque Terre on a day trip, your options are similar to the above. Added bonus is, you can also take a tour.
Most of the tours to Cinque Terre depart by mini-bus or coach and they bring you to the surrounding villages. From there, you’ll either take a boat or train to one or two of the villages of Cinque Terre. Make sure to check terms and conditions and see how much free time you’ll have once you get to Cinque Terre. Below are a few options, depending on where you’re staying.
What is the best way of getting to Cinque Terre?
So, after we covered flights to Cinque Terre and driving to Cinque Terre, you see there is only one true way for getting to Cinque Terre. Even if you fly into the closest airport to Cinque Terre, you’ll still need to take the train. Even if you drive to Cinque Terre, the best way of getting to Cinque Terre is to leave your car in La Spezia and take the train to Cinque Terre. To round things up: if you want to get to Cinque Terre, take the train!
Have you been to Cinque Terre? How did you get to Cinque Terre? What are your experiences with flying into Cinque Terre or driving in Italy? Let me know in the comment section below!