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Best Day Trips From Cinque Terre, Italy

AMAZING CINQUE TERRE DAY TOURS

So, you are headed to Cinque Terre and want to see a bit more of the stunning surroundings? So, basically, you are wondering about the best day trips from Cinque Terre, Italy? Then this post is for you – here are my favorite day trip ideas from Cinque Terre.

One of Italy’s main tourist destinations is Cinque Terre, located on the Ligurian coast in the northwest part. This means that it is often overrun with tourists, and despite consisting of five distinct villages, it is quite small.

However, it is a good base to stay and discover other nearby gorgeous places that are just as stunning, if not more so. Actually, I recommend staying in La Spezia, which is a small town just before you reach the first village.

You can’t really drive in Cinque Terre in your car. This means that you will have to get from La Spezia to Cinque Terre by train. Of course, you can stay in Cinque Terre, but it is cheaper and more convenient for traveling to the other places mentioned here if you choose La Spezia instead. 

Okay, let´s get started with the best day trips from Cinque Terre, Italy.

Day Trip to Genoa

  • Getting to Genoa from Cinque Terre takes a little more than an hour by train.

Genoa is a significant city, as it is the main port in northern Italy and the Ligurian region’s capital. Personally, I did it as a day trip from La Spezia, and it was one of the highlights of my trip in Liguria.

While not as famous as Rome, Venice, or Florence, Genoa is so rich in attractions and activities that it is one of the best day trips you can take from Cinque Terre.

Best hidden gems in Italy, Genoa
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Well known as Christopher Columbus’s birthplace (you can visit his house of birth), there’s more to Genoa than just this. Via Garibaldi, a historic street, holds some impressive baroque buildings, the old harbor, palazzos, Porto Antico,  and many cafes, restaurants, and more beautiful buildings.

The Cathedral of Saint Lorenzo is a stunning church, both inside and out. You will also find my favorite place – Villetta di Nergro – an uphill park with a waterfall! Hardly anyone knows about this gorgeous location that gives you elevated views of the city – for free! You also have great views from Spianata di Castelletto, which is a now-dismantled fort. 

Best secret places in Italy, Genoa or Genova
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One day is almost too little for this amazing city. But a day trip to Genoa from Cinque Terre is better than missing out on this great city.

Day Tour to Porto Venere

  • You can reach Porto Venere by boat from Cinque Terre or by bus from La Spezia. A round-trip bus ticket only costs about 5 euros. 

Porto Venere is a little village off the Ligurian coast and a great day trip from Cinque Terre. 

Best hidden gems in Italy, Porto Venere
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Best hidden gems in Italy, PortoVenere
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This is one of the most beautiful places in the region. It is quite small but still has several attractions – the Castello Doria fortress that sits on a cliff, San Lorenzo Church, the medieval Church of Saint Peter, and the fun promenade with its colorful houses. There is also the Porto Venere Regional Natural Park, a protected piece of land with a beach area, hiking trails, and dive sites. 

Personally, I think 4-6 hours is enough to enjoy Porto Venere. So, you can combine your visit with a walk to La Chiglia, which is about 1-2 km away on foot. Or, if you are feeling energetic, you can also walk to Le Grazie. I saw it on my way in, and it looked exciting and lovely. Sitting right on the coast also has a harbor – you could spend some time here and make it a full day.

Day Trip to Portofino

  • The best way to get here is to take a train from La Spezia to Santa Margherita and then take a boat or bus the rest of the way.

Another great day trip idea is Portofino, a little fishing village along the Italian Riviera. 

Portofino Harbor approahing by boat, a good day trip from CInque Terre
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Colorful promenade in Portofino
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Portofino is Instafamous for its amazingly colorful houses. This is a destination for the rich and famous, and it’s not unusual to see yachts lined up in the summer months. 

The village is tiny so you can see quite a lot within a few hours. You can hike up to Castello Brown, a 16th-century fortress with a museum inside and panoramic views of the city and the Ligurian Sea. 

This is not a full-day trip unless it’s summer and you want to swim. I suggest combining this trip with another town, like where you’re staying – La Spezia. Though Portofino is the favorite of many – it was not mine. It can’t compete with many of the other places mentioned. However, if you have a couple of days in the region, visit Portofino for a day.

Trip to Santa Margherita

  • Santa Margherita has a train station, so it’s easy to reach from Cinque Terre and takes about 40 minutes.

Of all the day trips in Italy, this is one of my favorites  – Santa Margherita. It is located near Portofino and is rather underrated. I had not heard of it before, but when I visited, I was pleasantly surprised – it is a beauty!

Best hidden gems in Italy, Santa Margeherita
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Santa Margherita in Liguria, colorful houses
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This town is different from the other places in Cinque Terre – it has lots of shops and a long promenade to walk along.

You should definitely see the Villa Durazzo, which is beautifully maintained and offers lovely views of the sea, and the Santuario di Nostra Signora Della Rosa, a stunning church on the outside, but even more so on the inside – one of the most impressive churches I have ever seen. 

Santa Margherita is a wonderful place to see, and I would definitely recommend adding it to your Cinque Terre or Italy itinerary. You can combine this day trip with a visit to Portofino, taking the boat between the two.

Day Tour to Pisa

  • The city of Pisa is accessible by train and less than an hour away from La Spezia.

Take a day trip to one of the most famous regions in Italy – Tuscany. This beautiful part of central Italy is extremely popular with tourists.

Day trip to Pisa, The leaning tower of Pisa
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Day trip to Pisa, stroll the river
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Mostly known for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, other attractions are less busy – since everyone else is trying to get the perfect picture of themselves leaning against the leaning tower. So, skip the picture and spend your time with all of the wonderful attractions Pisa has to offer.

The Leaning Tower is 65 meters wide and has always been tilted, and this mistake only added to Pisa’s fame. Other attractions include Piazza del Duomo, where the Leaning Tower is located; Cattedrale di Pisa, a marbled, medieval cathedral; and Camposanto Monumentale, a cemetery that features frescoes – and pay attention to one of the unique churches in Italy: Santa Maria Della Spina (see pic above).

Pisa makes a good day trip from La Spezia. 

Day Trip to Lucca

  • Lucca is less than an hour from La Spezia by train.

Another easy day trip from Cinque Terre is to the town of Lucca. Although located in popular Tuscany, it is not overrun with tourists.

Secret places places in Italy, Lucca in Tuscany
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Most underrated places in Italy, Lucca in Tuscany
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There is a well-preserved city wall that you can walk along and lots of churches and towers to admire. The towers, like Guinigi Tower, offer great views that are not to be missed.  I climbed two of the towers and think the Guinigi Tower offers the best views.

The churches are mostly free to visit, and there are plenty to choose from here.

You could combine it with a trip to Pisa. This might make your day a bit busy, but it is still doable.

Day Trip to Lerici & Tellaro

  • I got there by car, but it’s just as easy to get here by bus or boat from La Spezia, Porto Venere, or Cinque Terre

Lerici is another great option for a day trip from Cinque Terre. This lovely town on the Ligurian coast is as beautiful as Cinque Terre – maybe even more so.

Lerici

Lerici is an absolue gem! It is just 8 kilometres southeast of La Spezia and a must-see.

Best hidden gems in Italy, Lerici
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Underrated places in Italy, Lerici in Liguria
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Lerici piazza in Liguria
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My tip is to walk along the harbor and get lost wandering through the streets – so, wear comfortable shoes. There are many steps to be taken if you want to enjoy the city’s best views from Castello di Lerici.

It is one of the most off-the-beaten-path places in Italy I have visited.

Tellaro

Also, visit Tellaro when you are in Lerici – it is “just around the corner” and quite pretty.

Most underrated places in Italy, Tellaro Liguria
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Underrated places in Italy, Tellaro Liguria
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From Lerici, head to Tellaro, which is about 4 km away – you can either walk (though it’s not a flat road) or take a boat or car. Tellaro is one of the prettiest little hamlets in Italy. Although it is quite small, it reminds me of the towns in Cinque Terre.

It is definitely lesser-known and has fewer attractions, but I suggest getting lost in its streets, sitting at the marina, and enjoying the relaxed Italian life on this day trip.

Day Trip to Florence

  • It takes some time to get there – but with the fastest train, it takes less than two hours. 

Florence! This beautiful and gorgeous city deserves more of your time but if the Cinque Terre is your base and you are short on time, visit one of the most impressive European cities.

Day trip to Florence, view from Michaelangelo Piazza
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Day trip to Florence, Duomo
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Although Florence is not that big (it actually has less than 400,000 inhabitants), there are many attractions. So, a few of the highlights of this city are:

  • Enjoy amazing views from Piazzale Michaelangelo
  • pay a visit to the Porto Vecchio – a medieval stone bridge with many shops on it
  • visit one of the most important art museums in Europe
  • see art at the Uffizi Gallery
  • admire the impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
  • visit the Basicilia of Santa Croce
  • and do not forget to visit the lively and fun Piazza Della Signoria (which also houses the David statue’s replica).

If you are in Florence for a day, it is even more important to book tickets in advance in case you want to visit any place and see it from the inside (like the Cathedral or a museum) because the lines are crazy and with such a short time you in Florence you want to skip those lines. Here is my 1- or 2-day Florence itinerary if you want to find out more about this beautiful city!

PIN ME FOR LATER – DAY TRIPS FROM CINQUE TERRE

Best and easy day trips to take from Cinque Terre, Italy. Where to go and what to see
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There are so many amazing places to see on day trips from Cinque Terre.

I hope this list will give you some great ideas of the places to see and things to do while in Italy. Depending on how long you stay, you can see many gorgeous Italian landmarks and towns and get a real feel for the country and its people.

Safe Travels, Arzo
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