Nate & Kristen travel from Rome to Cinque Terre to hike & explore the magical cities of Cinque Terre & visit historic Rome!
5 city hike – the blue path
Cinque Terre translates to “5 lands” and the 5 villages are only connected by paths and that path is a famous hiking trail. It’s an all day hike, but definitely worth the trek! The hike was my favorite thing we did on our trip from Rome to Cinque Terre! You can also train or boat between the cities, so you can plan any combination of hiking/boat/train between them, but there are no cars. The cities are magical, and my favorite part of Italy, so it’s well worth taking a day to explore them all.
We started in the southern most city, Riomaggoire, and worked our way north:
Riomaggoire to Manarola to Corniglia
The first 2 sections of the hike are easy, flat, paved, and run alongside the coast. Because of this, they’re the most crowded with tourists.
Corniglia – the middle point – is a cute city. Small shops and restaurants line the narrow cobblestone streets. We stopped for a pizza lunch here overlooking the view.
Corniglia to Vernazza to Monterosso
Leaving Corniglia the trail enters the Cinque Terre National Park and there is a small fee (about 5 euro) to enter. The fee covers trail maintenance so make sure and have cash with you.
This also begins the more difficult part of the trail. The trail is more narrow and starts to ascend up into the mountain. If you’re in a fairly good shape, and are wearing good walking shoes, you will be fine. The views at the top are well worth it!! Make sure and have water with you because there is nowhere to stop once you’ve left a city.
We started the hike mid-morning and reached Monterosso, at the end, late afternoon. Though we did not rush – we stopped for a long lunch, wandered through each of the cities, and stopped for lots of pictures. Give yourself all day.
The Cinque Terre High Trail is the more challenging trail at the top of the ridge. It’s better for those who really want a big hike/more of a workout. We took one section of this trail on a previous trip and the views are breathtaking. It takes about twice as long, so plan to start early in the morning to make the entire route before dark.
Check the trail conditions before you start. Unfortunately there are often mudslides or rock slides that close parts of the trail. If that happens, you can take the train to the next city to skip that stretch of the hike.
There is a dive shop in Riomaggiore, 5 Terre Diving, that takes groups out scuba diving. They also rent snorkel equipment and kayaks. From the center of town, walk downstairs, through the tunnel leading to the fishing harbor, and you’ll find their shop there. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get in the water in this trip, but it’s a must-do when we go back. I believe you can also rent kayaks in Vernazza and Monterosso.
You cannot go wrong with any restaurants! Try the pesto because Cinque Terre is the home of pesto. We also loved buying a bottle of wine and sitting on the water soaking in the view.
Edi Apartments and Rooms
We stayed with Edi Apartments and Rooms in Riomaggiore. It’s in a great location, just up the main path to a beautiful spot overlooking the harbor. The view of sunrise and sunset from our room was awesome! We had a full kitchen, though we didn’t use it. All that amazing Italian food only steps away was just too tempting. There are no big hotels in Cinque Terre, only small B&Bs, hostels, and apartment rentals.
Camere La Torre
On a previous Cinque Terre trip, we rented a room at Camere La Torre in Vernazza. We enjoyed wine and cheese on the big balcony overlooking the water. It was a nice room, no kitchen. Note you have to climb up a steep spiral staircase to access it, so keep the luggage light!
If I went back, I would try to stay in Corniglia. It’s the quietest and least-tourist ridden of all the cities.
It’s easy to get from Rome to Cinque Terre, or Cinque Terre to Rome. We flew into the Pisa airport, from Paris, and took the train to get to Cinque Terre. Pisa is the closest airport, but it’s small, so really only services flights if you’re connecting from somewhere within Europe. We had to switch trains in La Spezia to get on the small train that hops between the cities. Once you’re in Cinque Terre, it’s pretty much free of automobiles. The towns are small enough to walk everywhere, and you can train or boat between the towns.
When we left, we took a train in order to get from Cinque Terre to Rome. We had to switch trains in La Spezia, and then again in Florence. Depending on the route, some trains also switch in Pisa. You can buy tickets at the automated machines in any train station. There are options to view the information and time tables in English and pay by credit card. You can also utilize Google Maps to give you the train time tables and train switches. If you were traveling the opposite direction, and took a train from Rome to Cinque Terre, it would be the same stops.
St Peter’s Basilica
WOW! I’ve seen a lot of churches in Europe and St Peter’s Basilica still remains my favorite. This is so impressive – definitely worth waiting in line to walk through. Admission is free, but wear appropriate clothing. Make sure your knees and shoulders are covered or they’ll deny you entry.
I’m not a big museum person, but I did really enjoy seeing the art and gardens here. There are multiple galleries of classical & Renaissance art. My favorite parts were the hallway of painted ceilings and The Sistine Chapel. So impressive. The same dress code applies – knees and shoulders covered.
The Colosseum was built in the early AD years. Wow! One of the few places in the world to experience something that old. There are several areas to walk through with artifacts telling about the history of the Colosseum over the years. It’s surreal to stand in the amphitheater imagining the gladiatorial games that once took place there. It’s a top tourist destination so try to visit at off times to miss some of the crowds.
The tradition goes, if you toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, it will guarantee your safe return back to Rome! Who doesn’t want to toss a coin in to ensure they’ll be back!? It’s beautiful to see too.
Campo de Fiori
This is a well known piazza with a lot of restaurants and bars. We have enjoyed hanging out there, eating and people watching on both this trip and previous trips. During the day they set up stands to sell produce – like an Italian version of an American Farmer’s Market.
Another popular piazza to eat gelato and people watch, this has restaurants, bars, and street artists. On either end are large fountains, both sculpted in the 1500s.
Pasta, gelato, and wine….you can’t go wrong anywhere! We were once given the tip to walk away from the main tourist attractions to the small streets to find the more authentic Italian food and it’s so true! For instance, right outside of the Vatican, you’ll find overpriced, less-average food compared to what you’ll find elsewhere.
We were happy with our room at Bellesuite Rome hotel. They bring breakfast into your room in the morning on a tray, at a time pre-designated by you. It was a big breakfast of meats, cheeses, croissants, pastries, yogurt and coffee. (This was probably the best breakfast we had on our trip from Rome to Cinque Terre!) The location was right off Piazza della Repubblica, so it was probably a 15 minute walk from Roma Termini station.
On a previous trip we stayed at Casa Romana, which was only blocks from Roma Termini. They set up a small breakfast of muffins and juice out in the hallway for everyone to enjoy, and we were happy with our room.
Rome Fiumicino airport is the biggest airport (so therefore often the best flight deals) to fly in and out of Italy from elsewhere in the world. From the airport, you’ll take a train called the Leonardo Davinci express to go straight into the city. The main train station is Roma Termini, and you can get anywhere in Italy from here. If you’re traveling from Rome to Cinque Terre, you’ll leave through Roma Termini (and can buy your train tickets here!)
Within the city, there is a metro system, and we found it easy to figure out, and especially useful to get across the city. For instance, the Vatican is too far to walk to from most areas in the city, but the closest metro stop was only a few minute walk away. There are 2 main lines – red and blue – that run in an X shape across the city. There is also a public bus system that we found easy to use. I would not rent a car in the city because I have no idea where you’d park it, and the tiny streets are congested.
Rome to CInque Terre: Italy Travel tips:
Packing – Pack lightly! As I’ve mentioned above, you do not want to be lugging big suitcases down cobblestone streets, on/off trains, and up the stairs of hotels. And you’ll be on/off a lot of trains traveling from Rome to Cinque Terre. A large backpack or carry on sized suitcase is so well worth it.
Voltage – Bring a wall adapter for your phone charger; the little white box on the iPhone cable will convert the voltage for you. Most laptop charging cords have that black box that converters the electricity for you too. However you’ll need an adapter AND voltage converter for your hair appliances and other electronics.
Trains – Validate your train ticket! You’ll buy a general train ticket from one city to another, but you must stamp it with the date and time in order for it to be valid. If you get on the train without validating, and the conductor comes through to check, you could get fined. Look for little boxes on the train platforms near where you get on the trains to punch your ticket.
Don’t be afraid to take the train. It’s a fun experience and they’re so convenient and easy to use. It’s the best way to travel from Rome to Cinque Terre or vice versa.
Public Restrooms – A lot of public restrooms cost a few coins to use, so have coins on you. Also, bring your own travel toilet seat covers, if that’s important to you.
Other Travel Guides you might Like:
Rome, Tuscany, Naples & Sicily, Italy – 2 Weeks in Italy: Rome, Tuscany, Naples & Sicily
Tuscany, Italy – Must See Towns & Things To Do in Tuscany
Oia, Santorini, Greece – Guide to Oia: Where to Stay in Santorini
Follow the rest of Nate & Kristen’s Europe trip here:
Paris, France – 3 Days in Paris: Experience Paris City Life
Save this info for later? Pin it!
This page contains some affiliate marketing links. If you book a hotel through the hotels.com links above, we might earn a small commission, literally at no extra cost to you. Any commission we earn from the links purely helps to keep this site running. If you’re planning to book through hotels.com anyways, we would really appreciate if you use these links. We wouldn’t promote anything on the site that we don’t genuinely support.