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 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.
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.
Non-hikers as well will love the area’s quaint authentic restaurants, small churches, and local shops around every corner.
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.
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.
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.
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?
- Entrance to the Blue Path #2 connecting the Cinque Terre’s villages.
- 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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!