Lucca is a beautiful city with well-preserved Renaissance architecture and cobblestone streets. But the charm of Lucca goes beyond the architecture of the city’s walls as it’s the perfect home base for travelling to other nearby towns, including the stunning area of Cinque Terre. In this article, we will share how to get to Cinque Terre from Lucca and what to do in the five seaside villages.

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Lucca to Cinque Terre - A Journey from Historic Streets to a Coastal Paradise

Along the Italian Riviera, the 5 towns of Cinque Terre have earned UNESCO World Heritage status. The towns are made up of pastel-coloured houses, vineyards, and harbours filled with little fishing boats. Truly, an image straight out of a postcard.

How to Get There: Transportation Options

Travelling from Lucca to the Cinque Terre, a picturesque part of the Ligurian coast known for its five iconic villages, can be a scenic journey. Here are the main transportation options:

By Train

The train is the most convenient and common method to travel from Lucca to Cinque Terre. The journey involves one or two changes, usually in Viareggio and La Spezia. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Departure: Take a regional train from Lucca to Viareggio, then transfer to another train to La Spezia.
  • Connection: At La Spezia, switch to the Cinque Terre local train that stops at all five villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso).
  • Duration: The total journey time can vary from 2 to 2.5 hours depending on the wait times for connections.
  • Frequency: Trains run frequently throughout the day, but it’s advisable to check current schedules on the Trenitalia website.

By Car

Driving from Lucca to Cinque Terre offers flexibility but can be challenging due to limited parking and restricted vehicle access in the villages.

  • Route: The fastest route typically goes via the A12/E80 motorway towards Genova, exiting towards La Spezia.
  • Duration: The drive can take about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic.
  • Considerations: Parking in the Cinque Terre is scarce and expensive. It’s often recommended to park in La Spezia or Levanto and take the train into the Cinque Terre.

Best Time to Vist Cinque Terre

The best time to visit Cinque Terre can vary, depending on the type of holiday you desire. If you want to experience the beach, the best times to visit are of course in the summer months, but be aware that the end of June until the end of August is high season, which means that prices are higher, temperatures are much hotter and crowds are larger.

Our suggestion is to aim for late spring (May-June) and early autumn (September to October). The weather is still pleasant but you are not overheated or spending top dollar for your holiday.

Things to Do in Cinque Terre on a Day Trip

Exploring the Villages

The meaning of Cinque Terre translates to “five lands”, appropriately named as this area is made up of the 5 villages. Here is an overview of each town:

  1. Monterosso al Mare: Known for its beautiful beaches, ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Make sure to visit the Church of San Giovanni Battista.
  2. Vernazza: A natural harbour and is considered one of the most beautiful villages. Visit the Doria Castle for some breathtaking views.
  3. Corniglia: The town sits on top of a cliff, it’s the only village that isn’t directly by the sea. It is accessible by a long staircase but has a rewarding panoramic view once you reach the top…we promise!
  4. Manarola: Famous for its colourful houses perched along the cliffs, there are no words to express how lovely this village is.
  5. Riomaggiore: Known for its historic buildings and vineyards, this village is a great starting point for the hiking trails.

Hiking Trails Between the Villages

As mentioned before, the Sentiero Azzurro (Blue Path) is the most famous trail connecting the 5 towns, with stunning coastal views.

*warning* some parts of the trail are a bit more difficult, so please consult before beginning the hike. We also suggest purchasing the Cinque Terre Card for unlimited access to the trails and local trains, facilitating your journey from village to village!


Local Cuisine

What else is better than to eat in Italy? Some must-try dishes are pesto pasta, fresh seafood, focaccia, and farinata (a thin pancake made of chickpea flour). One not-to-miss local wine, perfect for dessert, is Sciacchetrà.

Luckily, all of the villages have some amazing seaside restaurants and bars so there are plenty of options for you to enjoy some local eats.

Beaches and Swimming Spots

If you are after a day at the beach, then the beaches in Monterosso are your best bet. The largest and most accessible beaches are located here and have amenities like umbrella and chair rentals during the summer. Make sure to claim your spot early to avoid crowds!


Tips for Making the Most of Your Day Trip

  • Wear comfortable shoes as many paths, trails and streets in Cinque Terre are steep and cobbled.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the journey and bring a refillable bottle as refill stations are available in the villages.
  • Download relevant apps and utilize them for train schedules (like Trenitalia‘s official app) and hiking trails (such as the Cinque Terre National Park app) to stay informed on times, delays, and trail closures.
  • Respect the environment by sticking to the marked trails to preserve the natural landscape. Make sure to throw out trash properly and avoid picking plants and flowers, no matter how beautiful they are!

Come Visit Cinque Terre When in Lucca

From the streets of Lucca to the breathtaking vistas of Cinque Terre, you are surely in for a beautiful trip to Tuscany and the Ligurian coastline. Lucca is the perfect home base for anyone looking to explore Cinque Terre, and Lucca Apartments and Villas offer the ideal starting point. With multiple accommodations in Lucca and its surrounding areas, you are bound to find the perfect location to call home while visiting Italy.

Book your stay with Lucca Apartments and Villas and embrace the culture, cuisine and beauty that awaits you from Lucca to Cinque Terre and beyond.