Plan a Cinque Terre National Park visit and purchase the Cinque Terre Card in Italy

Our view from the hiking trails above the villages of Corniglia and Manarola, Cinque Terre.
Pastel buildings are set against the Mediterranean sea.
Pastel buildings are set against the Mediterranean sea.

Why should I visit the Cinque Terre?

The Cinque Terre area of Italy offers a variety of attractions in a vacation destination:  beauty, nature, hiking, beaches, accessible transportation, history, and culture. The Grans on the Go stepped into the Cinque Terre National Park and purchased our Cinque Terre Card.

The jumping rock n Vernazza provided us with entertainment from brave visitors.
The jumping rock in Monterosso provided us with entertainment from brave visitors.

The three days hiking and touring village-to-village are forever etched in our minds. This Cinque Terre Guide will help you determine the best way to experience the Cinque Terre and purchase your Cinque Terre Card.

View the charming, colorful buildings along the mountainous area when you visit.
View the charming, colorful buildings along the mountainous area when you visit.

The Cinque Terre is a cluster of seaside villages, clothed in pastels, that cling to their steep mountain roots like babies clutching their momma’s embrace. Known for its hiking trails, 12 kilometers of coastline include everything from leisurely walks in olive groves to steep, rocky paths overlooking the sea.

 Visit the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista Church in Monterosa.
Visit the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista Church in Monterosa.

Non-hikers as well will love the area’s quaint authentic restaurants, small churches, and local shops around every corner.

The train travels beneath the village of perched on the mountainside.
The train travels beneath the Cinque Terre with picturesque houses perched above.

What and where is the Cinque Terre?

Cinque Terre (cheeng-kwe ter-re), meaning Five Lands, represents the five small coastal villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. It is located in the Italian region of Liguria in northern Italy on the Italian Riviera.

A map of Cinque Terre National Park and UNESCO Site area

The Cinque Terre area is now a National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The five villages are accessible by a quick train ride, by hiking trails from village-to-village, or arriving by ferry. Road travel to the area is discouraged.

One of many olive groves along the paths of Cinque Terre
One of many olive groves along the paths of Cinque Terre.

We delighted in the surprise restaurant along the path above Vernazza offering us freshly-squeezed lemonade. It was a welcome oasis located about the midpoint of our steep, three-hour hike that day.

Lemonade Bar along the Cinque Terre Trail above Vernazza
Stop for freshly squeezed lemonade along the trail above Vernazza.
Picturesque beaches are tucked into coves that line the Cinque Terre.
Picturesque beaches are tucked into coves that line the Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre local shops provide gifts and hours of fun.
Cinque Terre local shops provide gifts and hours of fun.

What is the Cinque Terre Card?

Our group of three ladies over 50 purchased the Cinque Terre Card, which comes with benefits. This included access to public toilets, which can be highly significant at our age. The Cinque Terre Card allows visitors access to main attractions and services. See more at https://www.incinqueterre.com/en/cinque-terre-card.

What benefits are included in the Cinque Terre Card?

  • Free entry to some museums in the Cinque Terre.
  • Toilets at the stations are free of charge. The regular price is €1.
  • Bus services. Travel to each of the five villages by bus connecting the communities with the nearest places of interest. More details at “Modes of transport.”
  • Unlimited travel by train (costs about €8 extra).
  • Usage of wi-fi (find current details at the time of purchasing your Card).
The ferry brought us from La Spezia to the Cinque Terre.
The ferry from La Spezia to the Cinque Terre is not included in Cinque Terre Card.
View the village of Porto Venere from the ferry en route to Cinque Terre.
View the village of Porto Venere from the ferry en route to Cinque Terre from La Spezia.

How much does the Cinque Terre Card cost?

Usually, it costs from €5 to €8 for one day, which is valid from the moment of the purchase until midnight. The current cost is €7.50 (August 2019). The cost can vary up to €41 for a three-day pass that includes unlimited train travel.

The cost continually varies depending on the number of trail sections open on the Blue Path. Access to online tickets is now available before you arrive. Buy your Card online here. See more at https://www.incinqueterre.com/en/cinque-terre-card

Where should I stay when visiting Cinque Terre?

Our trio of ladies chose to stay in the nearby city of La Spezia because it is only a 20-minute train ride away.  La Spezia is a busy port city. After Genoa, it is the second-largest city in the province. La Spezia is home to a large Italian naval base and is considered a gateway to the Cinque Terre.

La Spezia train station provides access to many hotels in the area.
La Spezia train station provides access to many hotels in the area.

Our arrival in La Spezia by train was smooth, and taxis were waiting right outside the train station to take us to our apartment, rented through HomeExchange.  The location was in easy walking distance to local shopping, coffee shops, and grocery markets. One evening we stopped by a bakery at closing time. The owner insisted there was still time to fill the cannoli with delectable fresh cream.

The cannolis in the area were outstanding.
The cannolis in the area were outstanding.

Hotels in La Spezia are plentiful, and the city gives you a multitude of restaurants from which to choose.  We especially enjoyed taking back food from the central market for snacks.

Wholesome, delectable treats await you at the open market in La Spezia.
Wholesome, delectable treats await you at the open market in La Spezia.

Hotel prices are especially reasonable in La Spezia. You can find many four and five-star accommodations through TripAdvisor for under $100 for two people. Now, that’s value!

While visiting the Cinque Terre, we noticed travelers pulling suitcases up the steep hills to some lovely small hotels and apartments. We were glad our lodging was in the flatlands of La Spezia.

Below is a list of TripAdvisor hotels in La Spezia that offer good ratings as well as price value:  

Hotel Firenze e Continentale La Spezia

Hotel Birillo

The Poet Hotel

Albergo delle Spezie

There are also many Airbnb apartments and rooms available in the area.

Plan your Cinque Terre visit

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit these Cinque Terre villages steeped in history, culture, ambiance, and nature. My favorite memory is of the bells ringing out from a church hidden from our view above the trail as we hiked along the mountain. I envisioned the local people leaving their olive groves to go and worship.

Wholesome, delectable treats await you at the open market in La Spezia.
Our view from the hiking trails above the villages of Corniglia and Manarola was stunning.

Each day in the Cinque Terre was my perfect day. This type of nature and hiking, combined with learning about another culture, is a dream come true. And if you can’t travel to Italy, I wish for you the same sense of wonder, excitement, and fulfillment when you experience a place of your choice.

A resident going about her daily chores.
A resident going about his daily chores.

In addition, Florence is just a short train ride from the Cinque Terre. You can read about how to save money on a trip to Florence in Travel on a Budget to Italy in a Florence Airbnb.”

Happy travels and ciao! It’s a big world, so go see it!

Comments

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply or Ask a Question