How to get to Cinque Terre from Rome
Visiting Cinque Terre by train
The Cinque Terre National Park is one of Italy's most iconic sites. It's a collection of colourful old fishing villages built into the rugged hillside. The dramatic cliffs and compact cobblestone villages are what make the Cinque Terre a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But they also make it incredibly difficult to drive, and especially to find parking. Luckily, a heritage railway line cuts through the hillside to connect all five villages. The train station in each village is right in the town centre. You'll easily walk to the waterfront and reach the main attractions within a few minutes, saving time otherwise spent walking into town from some far-flung car park.
Taking the train from Rome to Cinque Terre
A day trip from Rome to Cinque Terre is easier than you think. One of the best ways to do it is to simply take a Frecciabianca train to La Spezia Centrale, where you can hop on the Cinque Terre Express, the fast-regional service operated by Trenitalia which stops at all five Cinque Terre villages along the way. You'll need to have a separate ticket for each stop, but you can get off and on whenever and wherever you like. So whether you want to focus on one village, or visit all five towns as quickly as possible, you can do it. For example, trains from Rome to Monterosso make the journey in just 4h 8m.
If you want to make your journey even more exciting, you can add an extra stop and take a Frecciarossa train to Florence, from which you can easily reach La Spezia on a direct regional train and then continue your journey on the Cinque Terre Express. This way, your trip will be a bit longer, but you’ll surely get the chance to enjoy stunning views and, why not, have time even for coffee and a pastry – on Frecciarossa trains a catering service called FrecciaBistrò is available and offers drinks and snacks, as well as gourmet breakfast and lunch menu options. Is there any better way to have your delightful Italian cuisine experience while travelling?
Rome to Cinque Terre - day trip
If you'd like a bit more guidance on what a day trip from Rome to Cinque Terre might look like, here you are. We've included all five villages in this sample itinerary, no matter how many of them you cover. We've also put in train journey times and distances, so you can see just how easy and fast it is to move between the “Five Lands”.
Once you arrive in La Spezia, why not take the train to the town of Riomaggiore to start exploring Cinque Terre? The journey time from La Spezia to Riomaggiore is only 7 minutes. What strikes the most about this village is the natural harbour which comes from a sharp gorge cut into the rocks and above which brightly-coloured houses cling impossibly over the water. If you're feeling in the mood, keep walking up Via Colombo to get stunning ocean views from the top end of town. Or take a terrace seat at a waterfront cafe and sample Riomaggiore's famous local wine.
Connected to Riomaggiore via the “Lover’s Lane” path, Manarola is one of the smallest towns of Cinque Terre. Don’t worry, that path is not the only way to get to this picturesque village – from Riomaggiore, you can be in Manarola in just 2 minutes on the Cinque Terre Express. One of the highlights of this gorgeous village is the Church of San Lorenzo, with its Gothic façade and Baroque interior. Walk down to the harbour and take unique shots – you won’t need to use any filter on your Instagram.
Hop onto the next train and your journey from Manarola to Corniglia will last as little as 2 minutes. Corniglia is the smallest town of Cinque Terre and the only one that doesn’t have direct access to the sea – it’s located on a clifftop, about 100 metres above sea level. As a result, it's less busy than its seaside neighbours, even though it's connected by a long staircase. It goes without saying that the views are fantastic. But the real highlight of Corniglia is strolling its narrow, winding old streets. Life rolls along a bit more slowly here. So don't rush. Pop into a cafe on Via Fieschi. See artisans at work in their shops or take a seat at the pretty piazza and watch local life go by.
The train from Corniglia to Vernazza takes just 3 minutes. So however long you want to spend in Vernazza, don't worry about travel times cutting into your itinerary. Vernazza is a classic Cinque Terre fishing village, and it’s probably the most photographed. With its porticoes, steep alleyways and a pretty main square, this magical town attracts thousands of tourists every year. Make sure you visit the Church of Santa Margherita, a jewel of Gothic architecture, Doria Castle for stunning views, and Torrione di Vernazza, which is right opposite the castle before moving onto your next destination.
Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso al Mare is the biggest of the five villages, and it has the largest beach and number of shops, facilities and amenities. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, this beautiful town has a fascinating cultural and artistic heritage, which is best represented by the Churches of San Giovanni Battista and San Francesco and the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Soviore. Don’t forget to stop by at one of the many cafes or restaurants dotting the area and enjoy fresh seafood dishes and local Ligurian specialities.
This is by no means a prescribed itinerary. It's just an outline of what you can fit on your trip with trains to Cinque Terre. Of course, you can mix and match the routes any way you like. The choice is yours! If you're ready to start planning, have a look around our trains in Italy page for more information on times, tickets, and fares.