HOW TO ARRIVE TO THE CINQUE TERRE
BY CAR :
The car is not the best way to travel around Cinque Terre. High hills above the sea, narrow streets and many curves are the main features. Parking is particularly problematic, as the five villages are closed to non-resident traffic.
Riomaggiore is 14 km from La Spezia, along the national road 370 (S.S. 370). To get to La Spezia, you need to exit at the La Spezia-Santo Stefano Magra tollbooth of the A12 Genoa-Livorno or A15 Parma-La Spezia motorway.
From the motorway exit, follow the signs towards the city center and after 5 km you will meet the first traffic lights. Continue along the seafront towards Cinque Terre-Portovenere. You pass a few crossroads, follow the road that turns right and at the traffic light, turn left, always following the signs. After a while, continue towards Manarola-Riomaggiore, at the top right.
The first town you meet is Riomaggiore 12 km from La Spezia. The road is not difficult and is quite nice, with the city and the port on the left. After a couple of tunnels and a few gentle curves, the problem is finding parking along the road, near the tourist office and a bar. You cannot enter Riomaggiore. It is advisable to arrive in the morning, also to be able to take the shuttle towards the sea, otherwise you can walk down in about twenty minutes.
Continuing, we arrive at Manarola , 14 km from La Spezia, at the end of the S.S. 370. The road remains easy and scenic. In Manarola there is a small paid parking just before the town. In summer, it is difficult to find a place.
Reaching Corniglia on the other hand, means taking a narrow road full of steep curves, even if the view is fantastic. It is located 25 km from La Spezia. Leaving Manarola, follow the signs for Corniglia, pass the villages of Groppo and Volastra up to the Corniglia-Vernazza crossroads, turning left and passing by San Bernardino. Parking along the road is difficult and the car park located a couple of km from the village is not very large.
The fourth village is Vernazza . At the San Bernardino intersection, turn right, again along a narrow road, where only a car passes in many parts. As for Manarola, about fifteen minutes' walk from Vernazza, there are a couple of paid parking, about one and a half kilometers away.
The last village is Monterosso , 35 Km from La Spezia. To get there, follow the clear signs before Corniglia. Going to Monterosso from Spezia is strongly discouraged. Better take the A12 Genova-Livorno motorway and exit at Brugnato-Borghetto Vara, follow on the left of the roundabout the signs for Cinque Terre-La Spezia and after crossing Beverino, turn left for Monterosso, passing through Corvara, Pignone and the sanctuary of the Madonna of Soviore. In Monterosso there is a medium-sized car park by the sea in the Fegina area, near the train station, and another in the Loreto area, before the historic center.
Importantly, there are no petrol stations in the Cinque Terre.
The most convenient and economical means of transport to reach the Cinque Terre is certainly the train, along the Genoa-La Spezia railway line. Each village of the Cinque Terre has a train station and they can all be reached only by taking the shuttle train from Levanto or La Spezia. Especially in the summer the trains are crowded due to the high number of tourists, delays are frequent.
It is possible to buy tickets directly in the different stations, the cost is always the same for any country, 4 euros (updated price 2021) per journey. Tickets can be bought at the ticket offices, but to avoid long queues, it is better to buy them at the automatic cash machines or via the internet, or take the Cinque Terre Card Train which allows unlimited travel in second class on regional trains between Levanto and La Spezia.
Remember to validate your ticket.
Train timetable in PDF
The closest airport is the Galileo Galilei airport of Pisa, about 100 km from Riomaggiore, accessible in an hour and a quarter. Genoa Cristoforo Colombo airport is again 100 km away more or less, but from Monterosso, reachable in about two hours.
From the end of March to the beginning of November, there is a boat service that connects Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore (Corniglia does not have a direct landing on the sea) from La Spezia, Levanto or Portovenere. Tickets can be bought at the ticket office near the boarding points.
The table of updated timetables and routes is available on the Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti website below:
TIMETABLES AND COSTS CINQUE TERRE BOATS
The bus service or better said, shuttles, does not directly connect the five villages, but serves short routes that can be useful if too tired, especially having the Cinque Terre Card, which includes the use of shuttles. The routes are:
Riomaggiore: from the center to the cemetery.
Manarola: from the center to the car park and to Volastra.
Corniglia: from the center to the train station.
Vernazza: from the center to San Bernardino and the sanctuary of Nostra Signora di Reggio.
Monterosso: from the center to the Soviore sanctuary.
You can download the 2021 timetable in PDF from the website of the transport company of the province of La Spezia ATC (Azienda Trasporti Consortile):
TIMETABLE BUS CINQUE TERRE