Even if you haven’t visited Cinque Terre you’ve probably been enchanted by those images of pastel coloured houses backed by green vineyards, packed closely on the rocky coastline with their windows looking out to sea. This string of five small villages in Liguria seems to be on everyone’s bucket list, epitomising the charm and beauty of the Italian coastline. Of course you could take a week to see everything, but for those with limited time there is a way to see if you take a day tour from Florence, like the one offered by Ciao Florence.
How to get from Florence to Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre villages date back to Roman times and were later part of the Republic of Genoa, but until the construction of the railway line, they were inaccessible and could only reached by mule tracks or from the sea. Now designated a UNESCO heritage site, it’s unsurprising that this beautiful region attracts crowds of visitors, especially in the high season of July and August. Many travellers in Italy will want to combine Cinque Terre with a visit to Florence which is around 2 hours by road or rail, but it’s best to avoid driving between the Cinque Terre villages as the roads can be narrow and parking is limited.
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To visit Cinque Terre in one day, one of the best options is to take a Florence day trip to Cinque Terre, such as the one offered by Ciao Florence. It’s a full day with an early start, but with the help of your group’s expert guide, you’ll be able to make the most of your visit to explore the villages without having to worry about the travel arrangements or practicalities. Here are some of the places you’ll visit as you travel through the Cinque Terre villages on your day tour from Florence.
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Visit Manarola in Cinque Terre
The village of Manarola sits on a rugged promontory, where the pastel painted houses cling on to the cliff, with the sea washing the rocky shore below. The main square of Piazza Papa Innocenzo IV is at the top of the village, where you can see the church of San Lozenzo with its campanile bell tower. A maze of narrow cobbled streets will lead you down to the sea, past cafés and craft shops, until you reach the small marina with its boat ramp. There’s no beach here but you can swim and snorkel off the rocks and then find a shady restaurant to try some of the region’s fresh seafood and a glass of the local Sciacchetrà wine.
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Ciao Florence customer Josey said; “My favorite town was Manarola because of the beautiful panoramic views it offered. When we visited this town, I spent most of my time wandering around taking pictures from the various viewpoints.”
Visit Riomaggiore in Cinque Terre
At Riomaggiore, the houses crowd together in shades of watermelon and peach, tumbling down the hill from Piazza Vigniaioli to the tiny harbour. Higher up on the hill, you can take in the view from the medieval castle, which was built in the 13th century to protect Riomaggiore from pirate attacks. There are no shortage of pretty shops, bars and restaurants along the village’s main street of Via Colombo where you can relax and enjoy the local speciality of musculi cin; mussels stuffed with bread, eggs and parmesan, washed down by a glass of wine from the vineyards surrounding the village.
Ciao Florence customer Roger said; Riomaggiore was my favourite of all time. It had such amazing views and delicious foods. I didn’t wanted to leave. It is a place where you want be become old.
Visit Monterosso in Cinque Terre
The old fishing village of Monterosso has one of the best beaches in Cinque Terre, in summer packed with colourful sun umbrellas, sunbathers and swimmers. In the older part of the village you can still see the walls of an ancient fortress and tower, while in the newer part of town (Fegina) is the beach with a lively seafront promenade, overlooked by a giant statue of Neptune. There are plenty of restaurants where you can try famous Monterosso anchovies and a glass of Sciacchetrà, the sweet white wine that is produced locally.
Visit Vernazza in Cinque Terre
The most northerly village of the Cinque Terre, Vernazza is also one of the prettiest, with pastel houses surrounding the natural harbour. The village is free of cars, making for a more peaceful atmosphere, except for on Tuesday when there’s a weekly market. From the railway station, walk down the main street of Via Roma towards the sea, passing plenty of cafés, wine bars and souvenir shops. The small beach by Piazza Marconi does get quite crowded in summer so you may want to walk through the rock passage to discover another more secluded pebble beach for a refreshing swim.
What to bring for your day in Cinque Terre
While you won’t want to too heavily weighed down for your day in Cinque Terre, it’s worth bringing a few things in a small daypack or tote bag.
- Although there are numerous places in all the villages to buy a gelato or something delicious to eat, it’s worth making sure that you have a water bottle especially in hot weather as there are taps to fill up in each village.
- One of the delights of Cinque Terre is the possibility of a refreshing swim in most of the villages, so bring your swimsuit and a lightweight towel.
- You’ll want to take lots of photos of these picturesque villages, so be sure to pack your camera or mobile plus any chargers and memory cards that you need.
- You’ll probably be travelling by a combination of bus, train and ferry boat, so be sure to wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes so that you can stroll the cobbled streets and hilly terrain with ease.
- In sunny weather apply your sun screen and wear a hat as the sun and reflections from the water can be very strong.
About the Ciao Florence day tour of Cinque Terre
If you decide to take the Ciao Florence tour of Cinque Terre from Florence, you’ll have an early start departing Florence at 7am. By 9.30am you’ll arrive at the first stop of Manarola where you’ll have around an hour to explore at leisure, before taking the train to Riomaggiore. You’ll travel between the villages of Riomaggiore, Monterosso, Vernazza by ferry or train, with free time to explore in each and a lunch stop in Monterosso. Finally you will arrive at La Spezia, where your coach will return you to Florence by 7.30pm. The day tour costs from €90 per person. Book the Ciao Florence Cinque Terre day tour from Florence.
About Ciao Florence
Ciao Florence is a leading operator of tours from Florence, where the company was established ten years ago. The company organise city tours, excursions and transfers using their fleet of luxury cars and minibus. Ciao Florence offers tours all over Italy, but the Cinque Terre day tour from Florence is one of the most popular, operating from April to November to give travellers a taste of the delights of Cinque Terre.
If you’re visiting Florence
This article is brought to you in partnership with Ciao Florence.