Right in the heart of Tuscany, its capital city of Florence is one of the best places to be in the region. While there are plenty of great things to do in Florence, the city’s central location offers plenty of opportunities for wonderful day trips and excursions. One of the best places to travel to from Florence is the popular area of Cinque Terre in the northwest, full of coastal towns and bustling with its own culture and lifestyle.
We know what you’re thinking, so what is the best way to get from Florence to Cinque Terre?
In this article, you’ll learn about all the different ways to get to Cinque Terre from Florence these days. You can make the most of your journey by taking a guided tour and learning the most possible about Cinque Terre. Or you could take the more common ways and make the journey on a train, by driving a rental car or taking the bus. No matter which one you’re thinking, you’ll learn all there is to know here.
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about getting from Florence to Cinque Terre during your trip in 2021.
Florence to Cinque Terre by Tour
If you want to get the best experience possible during your journey from Florence to Cinque Terre, there’s no better option than making the trip via a tour. Depending on which tour you choose, you can either explore all of Cinque Terre in one day and then head back to Florence, or you could take a one-way tour to Cinque Terre and then stay in one of the five towns and villages there.
We recommend taking a full-day tour from Florence to Cinque Terre and back. This gives you a full day to enjoy Cinque Terre while also bringing you back to Florence, arguably the best place to be in Tuscany to explore the region. And when it comes to these tours, our favorite is the full-day experience offered by Ciao Florence. This tour will set you back about $130 per person, but for the full-day experience, it’s worth every penny.
This tour will depart from Florence at 7:00 am and you’ll head to Cinque Terre via fully-fitted GT Coach. During the two-hour drive, your tour guide will tell you all the interesting history and facts of Cinque Terre to keep you occupied. Once you arrive, the first stop will be the village of Manarola. Get off the bus and grab some coffee while you explore the region before heading to the train station for a quick 10-minute ride over to Vernazza.
In Vernazza, you’ll have time to walk around and enjoy the harbor before you need to be back at the train station. From Vernazza, you’ll take another short train ride over to Monterosso, where you’ll have lots of free time. Get some lunch, dive into the sea, or simply enjoy the gorgeous surroundings. Lastly, you’ll take a scenic boat trip to Riomaggiore, where you’ll get more time to enjoy this incredible town.
Once the tour is coming to an end, you’ll just need to hop back in the GT Coach and make your way back to Florence. It’s a fun-filled day of adventure and one of our favorite ways to make the trip between Florence and Cinque Terre. But it’s not the only way!
Florence to Cinque Terre by Train
Likely the most common way for people to travel from Florence to Cinque Terre, both visitors and locals alike, is by taking the train. Even though traveling by train isn’t very common in other places of the world (i.e. the United States), it is the most common way to get from one place to another throughout Europe. And that also includes Italy.
Unfortunately, when you journey from Florence to Cinque Terre via train, you’ll find there are no direct routes between the two cities. So, get ready to hop aboard a couple of different trains to get there, but it’s an easy trip overall. The trip’s total length is about 3 hours worth of time and will cost you right around $20 – $30 depending on what time of day you go and which trains are running.
But let’s take a look at the typical journey that you would take. In Florence, make your way to the city’s main train station, Firenze Santa Maria Novella Railway Station. When there, buy your ticket (either to Cinque Terre or Pisa) and get on board. The first leg of the trip to Pisa will take just about an hour, and you’ll arrive at Pisa Central Station, the focal station of the city.
In Pisa, simply purchase your train ticket to Monterosso, one of the five villages that make up Cinque Terre, and hop on the train. After about 1 hour and 30 minutes, you’ll arrive at the Monterosso station, and that’s it! From there, you can go to any of the other five towns with a short walk, train ride, or ferry. Once you’re in Cinque Terre, it’s easy to go back and forth between the towns as you please.
Florence to Cinque Terre by Train and Ferry
Since getting from Florence to Cinque Terre requires going through about a hundred miles of central Italy, it isn’t exactly possible to make the trip between the two cities by ferry. But if you want to explore the different towns and cities of Cinque Terre via ferry, that’s easy! You just need to get there first. And to make it even more fun, you can take a ferry for part of your trip. So let’s take a look at how this all breaks down.
To get from Florence to Cinque Terre via a combination of train and ferry means you’ll have to split the tip up into two main legs — take a train from Florence to Pisa and then take the ferry from Pisa to Cinque Terre. This trip’s first leg is super easy, just head to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella Railway Station in downtown Florence and buy a ticket to Pisa (usually about $10). Hop aboard, and in just over an hour, you’ll arrive at the Pisa Central Station.
To get from Pisa to Cinque Terre, use the ferry tour from Bella Italia Tour. Once you book your tour, they will direct you to the nearest location that offers free pickup, and they’ll come and get you. After everyone is on board, the tour will start, and off you’ll go. After about an hour and a half worth of incredible scenery and a knowledgeable tour guide, you’ll arrive in Cinque Terre.
Throughout the day, your tour guide will take you from town to town via ferry and help you explore each town and all the nuances that come with them. After a day of exploring the rest of Cinque Terre, you’ll end up in Monterosso as your final location. From there, you can either get back on board the ferry back to Pisa or just stay in Cinque Terre if that’s your directive. No matter what, it will be a trip that you’ll never forget!
Florence to Cinque Terre by Car
If you’re more into just taking care of business by yourself and not having to worry about making stops you don’t want to make or spending too much time on public transportation, you can rent a car to go from Florence to Cinque Terre. This is one of our favorite ways to explore Italy in general.
With rental cars in Florence able to be had for less than $10 per day plus the cost of gas, we recommend renting a car for your whole trip no matter what. Just for the freedom it affords you. And if you choose to travel from Florence to Cinque Terre, great! You can do so on your own schedule and make stops anywhere along the way that you want. Let’s take a look at what your route will look like along the way.
Keep in mind there will be tolls on your drive from Florence to Cinque Terre, which will raise the cost of the trip slightly. From Florence, hop on Via Ghibellina and SS67 towards Via Marco Polo, driving for about 10-12 minutes. Then look for the appropriate signs and Follow A1/E35, A11/E76, and A12/E80 to SP566dir in Carrodano. Then, take the exit toward Carrodano/Levanto from A12/E80. This is the longest portion of the trip and will take a little under two hours.
As you’re getting closer to Cinque Terre, Continue on SP566dir before taking Località Albero d’Oro to SP38 in Monterosso al Mare, one of the five towns that make up Cinque Terre. And once you arrive in Monterosso after about 30 minutes, that’s it. You’ve arrived! Spend time there or drive to any of the other villages. In total, the drive will take you about 2 hours and 35 minutes, with gas and tolls being the only extra costs on top of the rental car.
Florence to Cinque Terre by Bus
If you don’t want to drive yourself from Florence to Cinque Terre and the thought of a train or ferry (or a combination of the two) for the entire duration don’t sound like a good idea to you, the last option you have is to make the trip via bus. However, keep in mind that there are not any bus routes that go directly to Cinque Terre because the roads in the region are far less direct and straightforward than buses typically take.
So with that in mind, if you want to make the trip via bus, you will have to split it up into two legs yet again. First, you’ll need to take a bus for the main part of the journey, going from Florence to Pisa. And once you’re in Pisa, you can then head to Cinque Terre by train or ferry. For the sake of this guide and what will make the most sense for more people, we’ll go over taking a train from Pisa to Cinque Terre to finish off your trip.
In Florence, head to the Firenze Santa Maria Novella Railway Station in the city’s center. From there, you can purchase a bus ticket straight to Pisa. The great thing about this bus ride is that there is no need to switch from bus to bus. One will take you straight from Florence to the Pisa Central Station. But this drive will take roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes due to all the extra stops that buses have to make along the way, and it will cost you around $14.
Once you arrive at Pisa Central Station, luckily the same place where the trains depart from, you can buy a train ticket to Monterosso, and that’s about it. The train ride will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and it will cost you around $10 – $15 more on average. Once you get to Monterosso, it’s relatively simple to hop between the other four Cinque Terre towns and explore however you want to!