The stunning coastal region of Cinque Terre is among the most popular destinations in Italy. The deep blue of the ocean and sky, the lush green of the man-made terraced gardens and the multi-color pastel hued houses, all form the picture perfect postcard. The five villages of the region draw more than 2.5 million tourists per year, who visit to explore the unique architectural, natural, and cultural wealth of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just 180 km away, a Cinque Terre day trip from Florence is one of the best things to do while in Northern Italy.
What Makes Cinque Terre Special
An inspiration to artists, the scenic views of Cinque Terre have mesmerized visitors for years. Every view is a painting in motion, be it the picturesque pastel-colored houses crowding in the valleys, the lush green grapevine terraces; or the striking sea battering the cliffs that form the Cinque Terre region. Literally translating to ‘Five lands’, Cinque Terre in Liguria is a part of the beautiful Italian Riviera.
The villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso form the five lands of the Cinque Terre. The entire region is given the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also protected as a national park. Known for its unique wines and food, Cinque Terre is an ideal vacation spot, where tourists enjoy hiking the iconic trail connecting the villages, swimming in the sea, and relaxing at the waterfronts.
Florence to Cinque Terre Tour
Cinque Terre Excursion with Classic Lunch
- Discover the architectural and natural treasures of Cinque Terre, and all its five villages
- Savor a classic Italian lunch in a quaint restaurant with a panoramic view of the hills and sea
Day Tour of Cinque Terre from Florence with Visit to Portovenere
- Explore three of Cinque Terre's five villages
- Take a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Monterosso
- Visit Portovenere and discover its architectural masterpieces
Escorted Full Day Tour of Cinque Terre from Florence
- Explore Cinque Terre's five villages
- Swim in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and enjoy local food in Monterosso
- Visit Vernazza in a comfortable train along a scenic route
Full Day Semi-Guided Tour of Cinque Terre
- Explore Cinque Terre's five villages, and take train rides along beautiful routes between some of them
- Enjoy a scrumptious lunch and buy souvenirs
- Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
The Villages of Cinque Terre
Riomaggiore: The pastel colored houses of Riomaggiore rise from the tiny wharf into the steep valley, creating a precarious illusion. The village of Riomaggiore is among the largest of Cinque Terre and often the first stop on a Cinque Terre day tour from Florence. The main street known as Via Colombo has cafes, restaurants, and guest houses, where visitors can enjoy the charm of this 13th century village. The Riomaggiore castle overlooks the entire village, and offers the best views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Cinque Terre Riviera.
Manarola: Round the corner of Riomaggiore is the picturesque village of Manarola. Both the villages are connected by the Via dell’Amore or ‘The way of Love’, one of the easiest and most spectacular stretches of the Cinque Terre trail. The village appears to almost spill over into the sea and creates a dramatic effect with the colorful houses stacked on top of each other. A must-visit on the Cinque Terre day trip from Florence, Manarola is the best place to savor the legendary Sciacchetra wine that was popular even in the Roman era!
Corniglia: The tiny village of Corniglia is the only one that doesn’t open out to the sea. It is nestled high up on the cliff with a steep drop down to the sea. The highlight of the village is the ‘Scalinata Lardarina’, or the staircase of 337 steps that connects the railroad to the village. The view from the stairs is amazing and one can view the wide panorama of the sea. It is also possible to see all the other villages of Cinque Terre from Corniglia.
Vernazza: Vernazza is among the most popular pit stops on the Cinque Terre tour from Florence. The village is the only one with a semblance of a natural harbor and is a fishing village. The history of the Cinque Terre is visible here, especially in the Castello Doria with its tower that was used to look out for raiding pirate ships. There are also some churches with a rustic beauty. The harbor is ideal for sunbathing and frolicking; it is one of the best villages to spend overnight.
Monterosso al Mare: Monterosso is the only among Cinque Terre with a wide beach and has a truly modern resort vibe. If you have to choose only one of the villages on your Florence to Cinque Terre day trip, then spend your time here. The town is well-known for the Convent of Capuchin Friars, which can be seen from the Cinque Terre trail. The other visit-worthy places are the Genoese Castle and the Statue of the Giant on the beach. But most of all, the real beauty of Monterosso is in its streets and alleyway that transport one back to the past!
Planning Your Visit to Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a spectacular region and no matter how long you stay, you will never tire of the beauty. Most travelers who wish to explore the best of Cinque Terre have to consider these factors before booking a trip to Cinque Terre:
- Time: Cinque Terre is a concentrated region and all the five villages are spread about 30 km by road. The region is about 180 km from Florence and you can easily cover Cinque Terre in one day. If you are in Italy for longer, then you can consider staying at any of the villages which have a variety of accommodation including home stays, guest houses, and hotels.
- Cost: A Florence to Cinque Terre tour is very affordable and you can even do it on your own. However, if you are short on time, you can go on a guided tour of the area. There are many transport options to explore the area including hiking, rail, and road, and a guided tour will ensure that you get the quickest and most hassle-free transport option. You can also get the right advice and find the best places to shop and visit the best restaurants in town.
- Season: The sea and the winds decide the fate of weather in Cinque Terre. Ideally, the best time to visit Cinque Terre is from mid-May to September when the weather is perfect for both hiking and swimming in the sea. If you are not keen on either and just want to soak in the beauty of the region, then other months are fine, but November to February is generally wet with frequent rainfall. It is not ideal for either hiking or swimming in the rough sea, and is generally a low tourist season.
- If you are visiting Cinque Terre between June-August and wish to hike, make sure you start early in the day. The weather gets very hot mid-morning, the trails are also steep and uneven, and also, this is the busiest season making the trails really crowded.
- Pesto is a popular pasta sauce and it originated in the Ligurian region where Cinque Terre is located. Make sure you sample the fresh basil pesto here coupled with the famous local wines – Rossese, Ormeasco, Pigato, and Vermentino.
- The best photographs of the villages of Cinque Terre are taken from the hiking trails and the water. You may need to carry a long lens to capture the entire village from the boats.
- The Cinque Terre region is very hilly and not the best for those with mobility issues. You will have to spend a lot of your time walking up and down the stairs and hills. The best village for those looking for a relaxed outing is Monterosso, which is fairly flat and wheelchair/stroller accessible.
Other Day Trips from Florence
Florence to Pisa
The Leaning Tower has become synonymous with the city of Pisa and put it on the world tourist map. The medieval city has more to offer than just the leaning tower! Explore the ancient city of Pisa on a day trip from Florence and discover its architectural beauty. Enter the city through the Porta Santa Maria and soak in the views of the Piazza Dei Miracoli and its Romanesque architecture. Marvel at the genius of the Cathedral of Pisa and ponder in the serene environs of the Pisa Baptistery and Camposanto Monumentale. End your day trip with exciting photo-ops at the Leaning Tower!
Florence to Rome
No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to the ancient city of Rome. From the grand history of the Romans, to the art and architecture of medieval ages, Rome is a treasure box waiting to be explored. A day to trip to Rome from Florence will allow you to explore the majestic Vatican City and take in the sights of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museum. Discover the ingenuity of ancient Romans and marvel and their architectural might at the Colosseum and the ruins of Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
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