It is not easy to find accommodations in the Cinque Terre (Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia, Riomaggiore) unless you book ahead. You can try to arrive without reservations, but from June to September it is almost impossible to find a free bed in these little villages. The only chance you have is to arrive early in the morning and see if anything is available.
The town of Levanto is bigger and has a lot of accommodations: Hotels, camping areas, Bed & Breakfasts, vacation rentals. You can select from a great choice of places and prices.
Remember: Make your reservation months before your arrival. Then make a confirmation call some time before your arrival. If the hotel thinks you will not show up, they will give your room to somebody else!
A double room will cost between 40 and 80 Euro.
Look at our Favorites page to find accommodation links.
You can reach the Cinque Terre by train or car. Since the train service is good in this region, it is not necessary to rent a car for your vacation here.
Arrival By Train
Faster trains are Eurostar (ES), Intercity (IC) or Direct (D). The Regional (R) is a local train - stops in every station.
From the south, take the train to La Spezia, where you change to a regional ("Regionale") train that makes all the local stops in the Cinque Terre. All the Cinque Terre towns have their own train station. Almost all the trains from La Spezia stop in Levanto. Check your train schedule carefully - some trains that stop in La Spezia, also stop in Levanto, so you do not need to change in La Spezia. Some trains from La Spezia may only stop in Levanto or Monterorsso, not all the Cinque Terre towns.
See below for more about trains.
From the north, take the train to Levanto (you may have to change trains in Genoa for a train to Levanto). Change trains in Levanto to a regional ("Regionale") train that makes all the local stops in the Cinque Terre. All the Cinque Terre towns have their own train station.
Use www.fs-on-line.com for train information.
Arrival By Car
From Genova (north) take the A-12 Autostrada south in the direction of Livorno (Genova - Livorno).
From Pisa (south) take the A-12 Autostrada north in the direction of Genova (Livorno - Genova)
BEWARE: From November to May near Milan and in all the northern part of Italy far from the sea you will find FOG!
From the A-12 Autostrada, either coming from the north or south, take the Carrodano - Levanto exit. Follow the signs to Levanto or to the Cinque Terre (Monterosso).
CAUTION: Take care on the road between the hamlet of Montale and Levanto because there are lots of blends. After the tunnel you will see the wonderful Levanto Valley that includes the 16 hamlets and the Levanto Gulf. (Recently a music video was made here for a hit song of an Italian singer, Eugenio Finardi.) From Levanto you will easily find the road to Monterosso and the other villages.
The road to the Cinque Terre is very narrow and has lots of blends. Only a few tourists visit the Cinque Terre by car. Almost all leave their car in Levanto and use the train or even the boat to arrive to the Cinque Terre.
Some people say that the nearest exit is La Spezia/S.Stefano Magra: false!!! It is 35 km from the La Spezia/S.Stefano Magra exit to the Cinque Terre town of Riomaggiore and you have to drive through busy La Spezia. The Carrodano - Levanto exit is only 15 km from Monterosso and is an easy drive.
Below are some useful maps of the Autostrada. Click on the image to see a larger version.
Use www.viamichelin.com for driving directions and times.
Arrival from Nearby Airports
Nearby airports are: Milan, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Pisa, Genova. From any of these airports, you can read the Cinque Terre and Levanto by train or car.
Times From Nearby Airports to Levanto
Train times depend on the type of train. Times quoted here are for the fastest trains from the airports to Levanto.
To find your way by train, go to the self-serve ticket kiosk in any station, name your destination, and the earliest time you might want to depart. The machine will tell you all the connections from that time on. You can choose the quickest, the earliest, the cheapest, whatever you want. You can also name a departure point other than the one that you're in.
From Florence a 90km ticket works to get you to the Cinque Terre.
Try the Cinque Terre day pass to travel all day between the Cinque Terre towns (specify 2nd class, La Spezia to Monterosso).
Don't be fooled; your pass says "24 hours", but expires at midnight (remember to write your name on it and stamp it).
You need a 30km ticket to go from La Spezia to Levanto.
Click here to go to Ferrovie Italiane web site (Italian Railways).
Read our information about the new Cinque Terre Card - a ticket that pays for both the hiking trails and the train.
In the Cinque Terre towns there are small pay parking lots in Monterosso and Riomaggiore. During the summer, from May to August, the car park is usually full and the roads to Monterosso and Riomaggiore are closed because there is no parking available. The other villages are always closed to cars, except for the residents.
There is a Taxi service In Monterosso, Vernazza and Manarola.
Levanto has many parking areas. You can find two good parking lots in Levanto: one near the railway station and the other near the sea. However, in August, even Levanto is crowded and you will need good luck to find a parking spot.
When you are parking, be sure that you do not park in areas reserved for residents (these are marked by a blue sign with the words Parcheggio Residenti).
To call somewhere in Cinque Terre from the United States, dial 011-39, then the local number (e.g. 011-39-0187-555555). The area code for this area is 0187. Unlike for other European countries, when calling Italy from another country, you must dial the zero in the area code.
Breakfast in an Italian hotel or B&B will be some slices of bread and a croissant, butter, jam and coffee. Orange juice if you are lucky. This is a typical Italian breakfast. If you have a choice, get a room without breakfast and head down to the nearest cafe where there is a larger choice.
Still, scrambled eggs and waffles cannot be found anywhere. Instead try Italian Caffe and Cappuccino, milk and coffee, the Italian way. If cappucino is too strong for you, try caffe latte. Note that if you ask for coffee, you will be served an espresso. If you want American style coffee, ask for an "American coffee". It will taste different from the usual coffee in the US because the coffee beans are roasted differently.
Pesto, the classic Ligurian Pasta sauce
In Italy, spaghetti is a first course. You can find spaghetti with tomato sauce, with mussels (very good), or other seafood. You can try Spaghetti al Pesto. Pesto is a classic Ligurian sauce, made with basil, garlic and pine kernels: you will love it!
Read more about Ligurian cuisine in our Food & Wine Corner.
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