Cinque Terre towns are served only by local train runs. Coming from Florence or Rome, you will likely have to change trains in nearby La Spezia (one or two per hour; 6–8 min.) at the coast’s south tip or in Pisa (about six daily; 1 1/4 hr.). There are one or two direct trains per hour from Genoa to La Spezia that stop in Monterosso (1 hr., 40 min.) and sometimes Riomaggiore (15 min. further south).
The fastest driving route is via Autostrada A12 from Genoa; get off at the Corrodano exit for Monterosso. The trip from Genoa to Corrodano takes less than an hour, while the much shorter 15km (9 1/4-mile) trip from Corrodano to Monterosso (via Levanto) is made along a narrow road and can take about half that amount of time. Coming from the south or Florence, get off Autostrada A12 at La Spezia and follow cinque terre signs.
Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti (www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it; (tel) 0187-732-987) runs ferry service from the Riviera Levante towns, April to November, though these tend to be day cruises stopping for anywhere from 1 to 3 hours in Vernazza before returning (though you can usually talk them into not picking you up again for a day or three).
The best way to see the Cinque Terre is to devote a whole day and hoof it along the trails.
Local trains make frequent runs (2–3 per hr.) between the five towns; some stop only in Monterosso and Riomaggiore, so check the posted partenze schedule at the station first to be sure you’re catching a local. One-way tickets between any two towns are available, including one version that is good for 6 hours of travel in one direction, meaning you can use it to town-hop—or you can buy a day ticket good for unlimited trips.
A narrow, one-lane coast road hugs the mountainside above the towns, but all the centers are closed to cars. Parking is difficult and, where available, expensive.
Riomaggiore and Manarola both have small public parking facilities just above their towns and minibuses to carry you and your luggage down. The cheapest option is the big open dirt lot right on the seafront in Monterosso. The priciest is the garage in Riomaggiore.
From the port in Monterosso, Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti (www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it; (tel) 0187-732-987) makes 8 to 10 trips a day between Monterosso and Riomaggiore (25-min. trip), all stopping in Vernazza and half of them stopping in Manarola as well.
The tourist office for the Cinque Terre is underneath the train station of Monterosso, Via Fegina 38 (www.turismoinliguria.it; (tel) 0187-817-506). It’s open Easter through September daily 9am to 5pm; hours are reduced the rest of the year. Even when it’s closed, you will usually find posted outside the office a display of phone numbers and other useful info, from hotels to ferries.
Additional useful websites for the region include www.cinqueterre.it and www.parconazionale5terre.it.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.