La Spezia will be the port town gateway to Cinque Terre (Chink-qwe Ter-rray), the shining gems of the Italian coast. Cinque Terre means 5 towns and is a Unesco World Heritage site. It attracts hikers and tourists from around the world. Cars were band over a decade ago, so you can easily get around by train (or bus). This La Spezia cruise port guide will have you bouncing around these colorful little town in no time.
Getting from the port to Cinque Terre
Once docked, you will need to get to the La Spezia train station to make your way to the fabulous five. This is about a 1.2 mile (2km) walk from the port, or about 25 minutes. From the port, head left along the water until you enter the community park, then turn right and walk up that road until you reach the train station. When you reach a point that looks like a bit of a split, keep right. Then there will be a roundabout when you need to get to the opposite side. But you should see the station by then. There should be signs along the way to guide you as well.
We have included a printable map to help you find the train station.
Traveling by train
Once at the train station, you can go to the tourist desk to purchase a full day ticket for 16 euros (10 euros for children 4-12). This will give you access to all of the towns by train (and bus use) as well as WIFI. You can also purchase individual train tickets instead for 4 euros (2 euros for child up to age 12, free up to age 4). This is a single one stop ticket.
Once you have your ticket, you only need to validate it once before catching the train. Find a kiosk on the platform and insert your ticket until you hear it punch. The train to the first town is about 8-12 minutes, so it is very close! Personally we took it all the way to the furthest town and made our way back through the towns from there.
The Towns of Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre has 5 unique towns that you can stop off in. From La Spezia, the train stops at:
The journey between each town only takes a few minutes, you should easily be able to see all towns during your one day stop.
Riomaggiore and Manarola are most notable for being photographed for their tight clusters of colorful buildings tucked away into steep hillsides. Check out the map the tourist desk gave you to see if the hiking trails are open along the whole area. Between these two is the shortest path if you have time for it in the afternoon.
From the train stop for Corniglia, you will need to walk along a path towards a cliff where you will have to walk up a tall zig-zag staircase to get to the town itself. This is the only town not at sea level, towering at 300 feet above sea level.
You probably have already seen photos of Vernazza any times. It’s mini port front will be flooded with tourists taking in the picturesque scene from the pier.
And finally Monterosso is the more open of the towns. It has more beach space and less clustered into tight canyons.
Be sure to try some of the delicious focaccia in one of the towns, originating from this region of Italy, as well as the gelato.