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. to the smaller towns) at the coast’s south tip. From Pisa there are about six daily trains to La Spezia (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 half an hour. 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 (2€) between any two towns are available—or you can buy a day ticket good for unlimited trips for 12€, meaning you can use it to town-hop; however, you’d have to use it six times in one day to make it worth your while, so evaluate whether it makes more sense to buy individual tickets.
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.Some people park along the side of the road, and there are areas where parking is free for a few hours (you will need to have a “parking disk” to show the time you arrived), but if you overstay your time, you risk a hefty fine. Riomaggiore and Manarola both have small public parking facilities just above their towns and minibuses to carry you and your luggage down. In Monterosso, try to find parking in the so-called “Loreto” garage, where Strada Provinciale 38 meets Via Roma just before the beginning of the pedestrian zone (there is another lot in an area of town called Fegina, but it’s farther away); the price is 2€ per hour or 18€ per day, though prices go down for longer stays. The garage in Riomaggiore, at the beginning of the town’s ZTL area (limited-traffic zone where the pedestrian area starts) is even pricier, at about 23€ per day—and there’s no guarantee you will find a space.
From the port in Monterosso, Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti (www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it; (tel) 0187-732-987) makes 8 to 10 boat trips a day between Monterosso and Riomaggiore (25-min. trip), all stopping in Vernazza and half of them stopping in Manarola as well. A daily ticket for all of the Cinque Terre is 25€, so that you can take as many boats as you like over the day. One-way tickets tend to cost around 5€ and roundtrip tickets for the different villages cost 7€. Children 6 to 11 get a bit of a discount depending on the type of ticket.
The tourist office for the Cinque Terre is underneath the train station of Monterosso, Via Fegina 38 (www.prolocomonterosso.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.