One of the most popular day trips from Florence is an excursion to the Italian Riviera, specifically the Cinque Terre, the five little towns famous for their view and old charm. But how do you get to Cinque Terre from Florence? Is there more than a way to reach the Italian Riviera from the Tuscan capital?
You can reach Cinque Terre from Florence in two ways: by train and by car. If you have rented a car and are planning a road trip to Italy, you will probably pick the car option. But if you are relying on public transport, I suggest you stick to it for this leg of your trip, too.
Let’s find out here in detail how to get to Cinque Terre from Florence and some of my tips to decide which one is best for you.
Cinque Terre from Florence – How to get there
The distance from Florence to the Cinque Terre is roughly 200km (124 miles) and the journey takes about 2 hours and a half whether you are going by train or by car.
This is calculated on average, but after my experience, I can safely say that it’s usually more than that for a number of reasons. If you are driving, you can definitely expect some traffic both on the highway and in the towns you are to cross. If you are going by train, you can encounter some delays, if not an outright strike.
In normal conditions, however, you are likely to reach Cinque Terre from Florence between 2 and a half and 3 hours.
This is my favorite way to reach Cinque Terre from Florence. While there is no direct train, the journey involves a few changes and the trains are quite frequent so you won’t spend the whole day traveling or waiting in the station.
This is the best option because once you reach Parco delle Cinque Terre, by train is the only way to travel from one town to the other since non-resident cars are not allowed in the protected area.
This means that either your hotel includes a private parking spot, or you will have to park your car in the street, with the risk of having to pay the blue-line parking for your whole stay.
If you have rented a car in Italy, you will probably want to drive from Florence to Cinque Terre. It’s an easy drive as much of it it’s along the highway, but once in the Italian Riviera, you will need to park your car because only residents are allowed in the five small villages of Monterosso sul Mare, Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, and Riomaggiore.
From Florence, you need to take “strada statale” SS67 to merge into the A1/E35 highway following the signs to Bologna. Take the exit Firenze Nord and merge onto the A11/E76 towards Pisa Nord/Genova/Livorno.
After some 63 km (39 miles), you will take exit Lucca Ovest toward Lucca Ovest/Viareggio/Genova and merge onto A11. Take the exit onto A12/E80 toward Genova/Parma and after some 67 km (42 miles), take the exit toward SP566dir and follow the signs to the Cinque Terre.
The whole highway fee from Florence to Cinque Terre will be around 15€. To this, you have to add the fuel expense. I suggest you leave Florence with a full tank because the fuel price on the highway is usually higher.
The drive is spectacular because getting close to the Italian Riviera, you will travel through a panoramic road of olive trees and vineyards. But if you are not a fan of driving around bends and curves, I suggest you opt for the train.
Once in the Cinque Terre, you need to find a spot to leave your car outside of the area of the villages. To travel between the five towns, you can either hike or use the local regional train, which is quite frequent.
If you don’t want to fully rely on public transport to travel around the region, you can take your car to visit places like Levanto, La Spezia, Lerici, Portovenere, and the quaint town of Le Grazie.