Italy is filled with wonderful cities and amazing landscapes, and many visitors to this incredible European country quickly find themselves wishing for more time in order to see all the different sights and visit the many towns and locations on their wishlist. If you don't have too much time but want to make the most of your vacation and see as much as possible, day trips can make everything easier.
With decent transport links all around the country, Italy is a prime location for day trips, and you might be surprised to learn how quickly you can actually get from one location to another, even when they seem to be quite far apart. For example, a day trip from Florence to the Cinque Terre is actually highly possible. Here's how to do it.
Getting to The Cinque Terre from Florence
A beautiful series of historic seaside towns along the Italian Riviera, the Cinque Terre is an incredibly picturesque location and the sort of place that deserves at least a few days of exploration, but if you only have one day to spare, you can still get a lot done. The Cinque Terre is around 110 miles away from Florence, so it's not too far of a journey to make, and you can get there by either car or train.
Getting To Cinque Terre From Florence By Car
The drive to the Cinque Terre from Florence can take up to two hours, but can be done a little faster on good days with minimal traffic. However, the problem with driving to the Cinque Terre is that these villages have very narrow roads and severely limited parking.
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Most of the people who live in the Cinque Terre don't even make use of cars at all, relying on their own two feet and the local train system to get around. So, if you do plan on driving, the best option is to stop off at La Spezia, park your car somewhere safe, and then take the 5 Terre Express train or even the ferry around to the various Cinque Terre villages.
Getting To The Cinque Terre From Florence By Train
If you choose to make the entire journey to the Cinque Terre from Florence by train, you'll be traveling direct into La Spezia first of all. The journey can take up to two and a half hours, so it's slower than the drive, but it's a lot easier and more convenient for most travelers.
Once you arrive in La Spezia, you'll need to take the 5 Terre Express train around to the villages, or catch the ferry. The simplest and cheapest option is to simply hop on the express train and then jump off at the various stops at each village if you’d like to see them all.
Important Information And Things To Do At The Cinque Terre
- Admire and Appreciate - The Cinque Terre is a beautiful place, well-known for its colorful homes and extraordinary views. Our top tip for anyone planning a day trip to the Cinque Terre is, surprisingly, to take your time. On day trips, you can often feel like you need to rush around and fit as much in as possible, but the Cinque Terre isn’t like Rome or Paris; it’s not the sort of hectic, busy place where you need to feel rushed. Instead, it’s a place for rest and relaxation, so really take the time to admire the scenic beauty and unique charms of each of these villages without feeling like you quickly need to snap a few photos and then run off to the next one.
- The Best Time To Visit - There's no bad time to visit the Cinque Terre, but some times of year are certainly better than others. Like most touristic areas in Italy and elsewhere around Europe, the Cinque Terre can get very busy during the summer months when the weather is warm and sunny, so if you'd like to avoid the crowds, visiting the Cinque Terre in spring or fall is a smart idea. In winter, the place feels almost empty when compared to the crowds of June and July, so it can be quite peaceful and romantic, but is obviously a lot colder and windier too.
- Visit The Landmarks - The Cinque Terre is comprised of five small seaside villages, but the area does have a few notable landmarks to check out along the way. Be sure not to miss out on 'Il Gigante', a large statue of a giant carved into the side of the cliff at Monterosso. And don't forget to check out the 'Piazzale' in Riomaggiore, where you'll see one of the most impressive churches in the whole area. For shopping, be sure to roam the streets of Vernazza, while those looking for good food or drinks should explore Manarola or the Old Town of Monterosso.