Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region in Italy. It is famous for being the home of many Renaissance art and architecture masterpieces. In fact, Florence is known as the birthplace of the Renaissance as many early writers and artists of the period sprung from here. It is also located some 185km from the stunning Cinque Terre. This area of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline comprises five towns; Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. It is famous for its colourful houses that cling precariously to the hillsides. Today, more than 2.5 million people visit Cinque Terre every year. Visitors often make the journey from Florence. So, if you’d like to do the same, there are four ways to get from Florence to Cinque Terre.
How to get from Florence to Cinque Terre
It is not really recommended to take the bus from Florence to Cinque Terre as this mode of transport takes the longest and involves the most changes. However, if you believe the journey is just as important as the destination, you can take a bus from Porte Nuove in Florence to P. Dante and then take another bus to Giardini Sud. From here it is one hour and fifteen minutes in a taxi. The whole journey will take around 5h 39m. You could also take the bus from Florence to La Spezia, which takes around two and a half hours 30 and costs around €8. Then in La Spezia, take the train to Cinque Terre, just like the train option below.
Renting a car gives you the most flexibility as you can depart when you like and stop off along the way. There are many car hire firms around Naples, but finding the best deal is the first step. Florence and Cinque Terre are 185km away from each other, and the drive should take about two hours and thirty minutes. From Florence, you just follow A11/E76 Autostrada in the direction towards Lucca and La Spezia. During high season the traffic can be very heavy and can make the journey much longer, so it is often only worth your while driving if you are planning to spend more than a day in Cinque Terre. Also, the villages of Cinque Terre are not car-friendly, with many streets closed to motor vehicles.
Train and Ferry
Start your train journey at Florence SMN Train Station and board the direct Regionale train to La Spezia. You’ll reach La Spezia train station in about two hours. Once at La Spezia, head to the port where a number of boats and ferry companies connect the city of La Spezia with four of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre. The village of Corniglia cannot be reached by boat as it is located up on a hill. The ferries and boats are only operational between the 1st of April and the 1st of November.
The boat trip from La Spezia can take up to two hours, but it also offers the best views of all the transport options.
The most convenient way to get to Cinque Terre by public transport is to take the train, but it does require a few transfers. Start your train journey at Florence SMN Train Station and board the direct Regionale train to La Spezia. You’ll reach La Spezia train station in about two hours. Once at La Spezia, climb onboard the Cinque Terre Express train. This fast-regional train runs every 15 minutes and connects all five villages. To save money when visiting all five villages, buy a Cinque Terre Train Card. This gives you unlimited train travel and access to the hiking trails within the Cinque Terre National Park.
For a trip with the most convenience from Florence to Cinque Terre, book a full-day tour with one of the many tour operators available in the city. Sit back, relax on your comfortable, air-conditioned coach, and enjoy the two-hour ride to Cinque Terre. Your professional English-speaking guide will spend some time telling you about the area and the five different fishing villages of Cinque Terre. Some day tours also include a hike through the national park. Make sure you check what is and isn’t included before you book.
Most tours will factor in some free time in each village for shopping and eating. You will then catch the train or a boat between the villages. You’ll have time to explore the villages at your own pace until it’s time to return to Florence.