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Chrissem Jun 14th, 2005 10:42 AM

HELP! Getting to Cinque Terre
Hi All! I'll be traveling to Italy in July and have a limited amount of time. I would like to take a day trip to the Cinque Terre from Florence. Has anyone ever done this? How is the train transportation to get there? Are there any tour operators that conduct day trips to Cinque Terre that depart from Florence? I would love any advice you could give me.
Many thanks!

Eloise Jun 14th, 2005 10:45 AM

"Any advice," you say. OK, here's mine: forget the Cinque Terre in one day from Florence.

PalQ Jun 14th, 2005 10:52 AM

Don't know bout tours but no doubt are some but can tell you rail info: about 2.5 hours optimal each way - best link is to take the 7:51am direct Florence-La Spezia train, change there at get to Riomaggiore at 10:14 or lv Florence at 9:03am (Rifredi station in Florence, not main station) change in Pisa reach riomaggiore 12:10
similar return times for afternoon
It's 7 miles by foot between the five Cinque Terre villages - each has a train station and boat service so you can return from any to Florence - usually have to change at LaSpezia - take Cinque Terre 'milk train' to La Spezia to get mainline trains to Pisa and Florence (may also have to change at Pisa)

PalQ Jun 14th, 2005 11:33 AM

As for efficacy of day trip - i did day trip my first time in 5 Terre and was glad i did, rather than not having done at all. I walked between all five villages and really saw no reason to linger in any of them - cute old towns but not my cup of tea as to stay - i prefer larger cities and their multi-faceted offerings - but loved the hike and wouldn't want to spend more than a day there personally - would be boring to me (i know that others revel in staying in old towns - but the incredible tourist crush in these villages negates any romance they might once had). Rather do it as a day trip than not at all - if you love it you'll go back next trip for more leisurely approach. Plus the few hour train ride each way let's you see the countryside in between - you'll even get a glimpse of the Leaning Tower just after Pisa. Go for it!

eroz Jun 14th, 2005 12:45 PM

it'll be packed. Can you stay overnight? Get an early train and it gets you right out there. This is the train ride we almost got our bag pickpoceted bz. of the huge crowds!

quinn1 Jun 14th, 2005 02:56 PM

You don't need a tour operator for CT, it's so easy to get around. We were there 3 days in late May and went between the 5 villages easily by foot, rail and boat. Just get the train from Florence to Monterossa, walk around there and go to the next one. They get to be pretty much the same but fun if it's your first time. The most fun we had was on a small boat that comes into the Monterossa harbor about every 30 minutes. It says on the side Monterossa-Vernazza. ( which I think is 2 down ). The water is beautiful and it's fun to see the villages from the water as you approach. The boat goes back and forth all day but you can catch the train back to Florence from wherever you are when you're ready to go back. It's real easy.

kfusto Jun 14th, 2005 03:11 PM

I am in agreement with Eloise. If you really want to see this area, a daytrip from Florence is not the right way.

I tried this last year, taking the 630am train to Vernazza from Firenze. I was so disappointed in Vernazza - totally overrun with tourists and all that brings - that I got on the next train north and spent the day is La Spezia. It was a great spot and I stayed for the remainder of the day before returning to Florence.

PalQ Jun 14th, 2005 05:26 PM

kfusto: I'm perplexed -you went to one of the five lands and were so repulsed that you fled to La Spezia yet you suggest that if you really want to see this area you should spend some days here - meaning that you're suggesting to spend several days in small towns overrun by tourists would be better? You seem to contradict yourself - you couldn't stand a few moments here but you recommend staying days? Perplexing!

kfusto Jun 15th, 2005 10:56 AM

PalQ: Seems I struck a nerve with you!

Just because CT is not for me does not mean that others will not enjoy it. I do not care for Venice either and am definitely in the minority on that!

Two hours was more than enough as I was totally turned off and chose to get out quickly.

There are many posters who think CT is great and do not have the same issues as I. It is quite a haul from Florence and IMHO is a wasted trip for one who really is set on visiting the area.

I tend to go to a place and stay awhile. I only do day trips when they are very convenient and involve limited travel, as in Florence to Siena. This is my preference.

Brian_in_Charlotte Jun 15th, 2005 11:37 AM

We went in March a few years ago, stayed for 3 nights and loved it. Having said that, there's no way I'd do it as a day trip from Florence and no way I'd visit in peak tourist season (even if I stayed overnight). I'm sure it mostly loses its charm when overwhelmed by people.

christy1 Jun 15th, 2005 01:42 PM

I'd really discourage a day trip. It seems most day trippers hate the place, and I can sort of see why. I was just there for my second visit last week, and there were so many tour groups-mostly elderly Europeans, moving soooo slowly-in the towns during the day, doing what, I don't know (it's not like there are sights, museums or shopping in these little towns), that it made these places feel quite crowded. But mornings and evenings are sleepy and wonderful, and if you hike/kayak/horseback ride/swim/etc, during the day, you'll never encounter these groups, and your CT stay will be terrific. You just don't have time this trip-do it some other time.

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