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Self Drive to Cinque Terre?

Los Angeles...
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Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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Hello everyone!

We are visiting Italy in summer 2022 and I had a question.

Last time we were there (2009), we based ourselves out of Rome and then Florence and had a rental car, basically drove ourselves everywhere.

This time, we’re doing a longer trip and trying to visit things we missed last time. One of those is Cinque Terre.

Is Cinque Terre easy to tour without a guide and self drive? We prefer having the freedom of having our own car in case someone doesn’t feel well, we want to head back early, etc.

What we would do is drive from Florence early in the morning, explore all day, do a boat ride, and then drive back late afternoon/early evening.

Thank you :)

27 replies to this topic
Munich, Germany
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1. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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Do I understand right: you want to do Cinque Terre as a day trip from Florence? If yes, this is not recommended. It is about 3 hours drive oneway only to reach one of the villages there. And all the village are not driveable by cars, you have to park far outside and walk in, sometimes in very steep roads. Between the villages it is best to take the train, because the road goes far away through the mountains and is very winding and narrow. It takes hours to drive from one village to the other, were the train only takes half an hour or so.

You don't need a guide, but you need at least on night there.

Edited: March 22, 2021, 3:41 am
Los Angeles...
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2. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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Got it. Was definitely planning on taking the train or boat between villages but will look into spending the night there instead of going back to Florence :)

Liguria, Italy
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for Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Italian Riviera
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3. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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I completely agree that driving from Florence for just a day trip here is a bad idea- it takes 2.5 hours each way and the road is challenging.

But to clarify- there is a narrow road that goes from one village to the next and it doesn’t take hours. It takes a long time (30 mins from monterosso to Vernazza, an hour more or less from monterosso to Manarola) whereas the train takes minutes (not a half hour). from monterosso to Vernazza only 4 minutes, from monterosso to Manarola only 12-15. Just to specify:)

Definitely look into spending the night here. That’s when you see our villages at their best, in the early morning and through sunset.

Los Angeles...
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4. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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#3 - did not know that the route there is challenging so thanks for the info :) Definitely planning on staying a night and continuing onto Pisa from there instead of from Florence

Madison, Connecticut
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5. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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If you are thinking about staying a night in Pisa...do yourself a favor and tack on another night in CT and do a quick stopover in Pisa.

Los Angeles...
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6. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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#5 - We visited Pisa on our last trip so it’ll just be a quick photo and lunch stop on the way to Rome this time around :)

South East England...
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7. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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See this very long thread if intending to park in Pisa with luggage: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g187899-i577-k9745620-Parking_in_Pisa_means_Theft-Pisa_Province_of_Pisa_Tuscany.html

mesh

Munich, Germany
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8. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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But hopefully not in one day?? Speeding in Italy could be very expensive.

Madison, Connecticut
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9. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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Ah, I see. Well I will say that of the two times I visited CT, each time when we were packing to leave for our next destination we wished we had another night.

Someone here said that the late afternoons and evening are the most magical times to be in one of the towns and I could not agree more. We arrived mid-morning the last time we were there - 2019 - and transferring from the train we took from Florence to the CT Express was a harrowing experience. It was loud and crowded and we thought we had made a huge mistake. But when we arrived in Manarola it was much more serene and relatively empty when all the day-trippers left.

Los Angeles...
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10. Re: Self Drive to Cinque Terre?
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#7 - thanks for the link! :) Did not realize that theft was so prevalent in that area. I think what we will do is have one person remain in the car with the luggage and then swap for pictures (it's me, my mom, and my dad, so hopefully that should work). For lunch, we can just do takeaway and eat in the car. Hopefully that reduces the chances of theft

#8 - LOL we learned that our last trip. No plans on speeding, just a long day of driving which should be ok between the three of us switching off :)

#9 - We're definitely planning on at least one night at this point. 2 nights would definitely be ideal if we can swing it, which I'm trying to work out :)

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