The nearest international airport is Pisa (100 km – 62 miles), with around 80 destinations towards the main European countries, many of them operated by low-cost airlines. Very close to Cinque Terre, although with fewer connections, is also Genoa airport (115 km – 71 miles). As an alternative, you can choose one of three airports in Milan: the intercontinental hub of Malpensa and the international of Linate and Bergamo-Orio al Serio, the latter the largest Italian airport for low-cost flights. Also Rome, less tha four hours away and with direct rail links, offers two options: the intercontinental hub of Fiumicino and the international airport of Ciampino, specialised in low-cost flights.
HOW TO GET TO THE CINQUE TERRE
The train is the best means of transport to reach Riomaggiore and visit the other villages of the Cinque Terre. The major train station is La Spezia, located on one of the main Italian railway lines, the Ligurian-Tyrrhenian coastal Turin-Rome. It provides direct connections with many important Italian cities: it takes one hour from La Spezia to Genoa and Pisa, two to Florence, three to Turin and Milan and less than four to Rome. From La Spezia regional trains, leaving every twenty minutes, reach Riomaggiore in just eight minutes. As an alternative, coming from the North, it’s also possible to take regional trains in Sestri Levante, Levanto or Monterosso.
For those who prefers coaches, there are several low cost services connecting Italian cities among themselves and to the main European cities. Travel times are longer than railway one but prices are usually cheaper. The nearest terminal to the Cinque Terre are located in La Spezia and Genoa: the first has direct connections to Rome and other Italian cities, the latter also with some European cities. Still more links, especially international, are available from Milan.
We recommend exiting at La Spezia-Santo Stefano Magra on the A12 Genoa-Livorno or A15 Parma-La Spezia motorway. Coming from Genoa, as alternative, it’s possibile to exit at Brugnato and continue towards La Spezia on SS1 Aurelia, the national route following the ancient Roman road. Either way, once in La Spezia, follow the signs for the Cinque Terre/Portovenere until you take the coastal SP370, that will give you breathtaking views, before on the Gulf of Poets and Apuan Alps, then on the coastline. After about 10 km and two tunnels, you will find directions to turn right and come down to Riomaggiore.
The closest public taxi service is located in La Spezia, with the main terminal in front of the central raiwaly station. In the Cinque Terre, however, there are private companies offering services such us luggage transport inside the villages and transfer from the main airports and railway stations.
If you want to relive the emotion of the geographers and voyagers who first, between the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, discovered the Cinque Terre and their amazing landscape, you can also choose to arrive by sea, travelling by boat the final leg of your journey. In this case, take advantage of the boat service connecting during spring and summer Riomaggiore with Monterosso and Portovenere, the latter reachable by boat or bus from La Spezia. Boats are also a pleasant and charming means to visit the other villages of the Cinque Terre during your stay.
Finally, the last chance, even more romantic and unconventional: to reach Riomaggiore on foot, by the extensive network of trails crossing the Cinque Terre. The main route follows the ridge – winding along the watershed that divides the coastline from the Valley of Vara – and was already walked by the ancient Ligurian, as evidenced by the stones and menhirs along the way, testaments of remote pagan cults. The trail, which is a branch of the Alta Via dei Monti Liguri, is known under the name of Alta Via delle Cinque Terre and marked as AV5T. As alternative, the more crowded coastal path, known as Sentiero Verde Azzurro and marked as SVA, passes through all five villages, becoming the famous Via dell’Amore in the section between Riomaggiore and Manarola. It is a part of a route crossing the whole region, called Sentiero Liguria. The coastal route meets the ridge one in locality Telegraph, after having reached the sanctuary of Montenero. The two paths are also connected by a series of transverse routes, including the 501 and the 502–532, respectively following the hillside of Canpión and of Corniolo.