Located on the west coast of Italy, a part of the Italian Riviera is the ever increasingly popular National Park of Cinque Terre. Millions visit the area every year from Florence and Rome, making it a top destination for travelers.
The appeal of The “five lands” is its sweeping landscapes, rich views, and unique adventures.
Here are my tips for visiting this enchanting location.
- Catch an early train
- Most people start from Florence, catch a regional train from Santa Maria Novella to La Spezia. At La Spezia you can buy your day or multi-day pass to the National Park and access to the train network in the region
- If you are renting a car, park in La Spezia, and buy your pass just the same.
- A small train network links the five villages (lands) running approximately every 20 minutes in each direction (north or south). This is the easiest way to get from city to city.
- Note that there are no cars allowed in the cities and that there is a bus line that also connects the region but it’s less consistent and requires more walking.
- The earlier you go, the better! This will help you avoid crowds and heat.
- Bring your hiking shoes
- There are over 70 miles of trails that links the five villages are region. The views from these trails are magnificent and offer amazing photo opportunities.
- The trails are tough, but you do escape the crowds and enjoy some fantastic nature along the way.
- Check trail conditions before you go, as wash outs are common.
- Check your trains
- Train schedules are more of a guideline than a rule in Italy. Therefore, make sure you read the schedules and allow extra time to get back to La Spezia and then your “home base” if you’re doing a day trip.
- Allow time
- If you can, stay a couple nights and truly take in the cities!
- Off season or bust
- If you can, go right at the end of summer (September/October) or right at the beginning of summer (March) so that you can enjoy the region sans millions of tourists. This allows a local connections that is often missed in June and July!