home > 5 Travel tips to travel in the Italian Riviera in Liguria

5 Travel tips to travel in the Italian Riviera in Liguria

 print -  send to a friend - share
Looking for some ideas for your next trip to the Italian Riviera? We'll disclose you 5 tips that only locals known!

Looking for some ideas and tips for your next trip to Italy, you will surely come across some wonderful pictures of the Italian Riviera...small, perched and colored towns overlooking the sea.
The Italian Riviera is not strictly an off the beaten path place to be discovered, but usually it is not included in the "places not to be missed" for a first time tourist coming in Italy.
Planning your travel to the Italian Riviera can be confusing if you don't know how to move around Italy, but trust me...it is a travel experience not to be missed!

Italian Riviera

The Italian Riviera is really different and for this reason is a "must" of your Italy tour: you cannot find famous monuments and ancient ruins like in Rome, Florence and Venice, but you can explore unspoilt landscapes and enjoy the sun, sea, beaches, Italian food and lovely towns.

Follow our 5 tips to make your holiday in the Italian Riviera unforgettable...and if you need help in planning your next Italy tour just drop us a line!

1.    First reason to visit the Italian Riviera: the beauty of Cinque Terre
Manarola, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Monterosso are five charming towns, renowned also as Cinque Terre....yes, you have well understood: Cinque Terre is not one place but a group of five towns!

cinque terre maps

As you can see from the picture, the 5 towns are really close one each other, so it is easy to visit the whole area in just few days and the bravest can reach them by foot in only one day...a long but absolutely worthwhile hike! I suggest to the hiking lovers to monitor the opening of the trails: some of them are actually closed (May 2014), as Via dell'Amore (Love Trail). For updated information look at the official website of Cinque Terre
But if you... like me!... are not used to walk for long distance, the easiest way to tour the Cinque Terre is by train or boat.
Leaving aside the technical aspects, let's focus on the beauties of Cinque Terre. I love to say that Cinque Terre is the land of 'S': Small towns with Splendid Sun and Sea, and it is not a coincidence that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site!! Once quiet fishing villages frequented by poets and artists, today Cinque Terre are glitzy, picturesque and glamorous towns perched on lush green mountains and overlooking crystal clear waters.
The village of Monterosso is the oldest town of Cinque Terre. It is the town of lemons and grapevine, but also the town of artists: still today you can admire a Van Dick's painting in the Capuchin monastery. It is also the right place for swimming on the clear blue sea, thanks to its sandy and big beach.
Vernazza is famous for its lovely square, its tower-houses and porches dating back the Genoese domination, but above all for its breathtaking natural port...googling for Cinque Terre you have certainly seen hundreds of picture of this charming town as it is one of the most beautiful!
The town of Corniglia, instead, is the only one without a natural connection to the sea that can be reached only with a steep downhill. The heart of the village is Largo Taragio, but to take unforgettable pictures you have to stop in the terrace behind the Oratorio dei Disciplinati.
Manarola is probably the most famous town of Cinque Terre: a cozy, colorful and tasty village. And tasty is also the perfect adjective to describe its famous wine! The breathtaking 'Via dell'Amore' starts here: actually closed, maybe it will reopen in 2015.
Last but not least, Riomaggiore, another charming town characterized by tower-houses with a typical double entrance, an essential defense function in the past against the Saracen's attacks.

Italian Riviera Tour

2.    Beyond Cinque Terre: discover the whole Italian Riviera

The Italian Riviera is not only Cinque Terre, but has much more to offer, as the charming towns of Portovenere, Levanto, Rapallo, Portofino and the cities of Genoa and San Remo.
If the small towns are a perfect home base to visit the Cinque Terre and can be visited in few days, things are different for the cities, which are farther and perfect for those planning a longer stay in the Italian Riviera.
Portovenere, Levanto, Rapallo and Portofino are really small towns, with a long row of brightly colored houses on the waterfront. Among them, Portovenere is the most famous and it is included in the UNESCO world heritage sites, thanks to its unique combination of natural beauties and of buildings of special historic interest. Among the most evocative places of Portovenere are the Byron's Cave and the small church of Saint Peter, perched on the small island of Palmaria.  
If Portovenere is famous for the "VIP" of the past that stayed there, like Byron, Portofino is nowadays famous for hosting the international jet set. During the evenings on weekend the main square (called Piazzetta) is full of people taking an Italian aperitif and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. Not to be missed is the walking of 30 minutes until the lighthouse, with a stop at the Brown Castle, on the same road, to take fantastic pictures.
Levanto is the right place for those that love swimming and sunbathing, thanks to its beach, one of the largest of the area. But Levanto offers more to those who like to bike and walk: 3 km of disused railway tunnels have been transformed in equipped trails offering breathtaking views and leading to several intimate beaches.
Rapallo is the biggest town among those mentioned and offers a charming promenade and a sandy beach. Not to be missed are the Castle and the Church of Montallegro: at the beginning of July these two monuments are the protagonists of a unique event in honor of Our Lady of Montallegro. The religious event lasts 3 days and the key moments are the impressive procession of the Crosses, the fire of the Castle and the fireworks on the sea.
If you are planning to spend one week in the Italian Riviera, I suggest you to spend some hours discovering San Remo and Genoa. During a tour in Genoa you cannot miss to visit of the ancient city center with the Rolli Palace and the historic port. If you are traveling with children the Aquarium of Genoa is really a must.

Genoa Acquarium

San Remo is a must see for lovers of worldly life, Italian music and events: here each year is held the Music Festival of San Remo. The main attraction of this small and lovely city are the Casino, Villa Nobel, the Gardens of Villa Ormond and the medieval city center, called also La Pigna.

3.    How to get in the Italian Riviera
The Italian Riviera is located in Liguria Region, in the northern Italy. The closest airports are Florence, Milan, Pisa, Bergamo and Genoa. From each airport you have to reach the closest train station, rent a car or book a private transfer to reach the Italian Riviera.
The easiest way to reach this area is by train: all the regional trains that cross the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre departs from La Spezia, so you have to consider at least 1 train change during your journey. The regional trains departs every 40-50 min?but pay attention: some trains from La Spezia doesn`t stop in all towns, going regularly only in Monterosso, the biggest town of Cinque Terre.
If you are coming by car, I should warn you that it is not a good idea! The roads are narrow and twisted, parking is very difficult and between Cinque Terre there isn't any petrol station, indeed the city center of several towns is closed to private traffic. If you can't give up the car, I suggest you to parking it at La Spezia and then take the train!

4.    How to move around
The first thing to do when planning your stay in Italian Riviera is to figure out in which town you want to stay in. The average price for a hotel or better an apartment is 100 euro per night, maybe something more in Monterosso, because it is one of the best-connected towns by train.
Both if you are planning to stay in the Cinque Terre or in the nearby villages, the best way of transportation is the train. There is a regional train departing from La Spezia that in few minutes connects the towns of Manarola, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Monterosso and the nearby charming town of Levanto. Don't mind about the train schedules for the Cinque Terre, as they are never updated! Usually the train stops near the city center, with the exception of Corniglia: here you have to choose between walk 382 steps or take a bus (free for Cinque Terre Card holders). If you are planning to stay more than 1 night, I suggest you to buy the Cinque Terre Card with transportation: you can get access for free to some paid trails and to the train!
You can also explore Cinque Terre by boat: there is a boat service active during summer departing from the northern Tuscany (Viareggio, Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Massa and Marina di Carrara) and reaching the Cinque Terre and the nearby villages. This is the right solution for those planning a day trip to Cinque Terre from Tuscany: it can be a long excursion and if you are not in a hurry I suggest you to stay at least 2 nights in the Italian Riviera?it is really worth it!
There are also other ferry connections between the various towns of Cinque Terre and the nearby villages: for update information on the scheduled times and prices, please click here
Finally, why not plan a sports holiday in Cinque Terre? The area is plenty of trails that connect in few hours the villages of Cinque Terre. Depending on your level of training, you can arrange some hiking excursions between two villages or you can venture in one big day hiking covering all the Cinque Terre.
Some trails require the payment of a small fee, to help maintain the park, but if you hold the Cinque Terre Card all the paths are free!

5.    What to wear when traveling in the Italian Riviera
Winter and autumn are not the right season to plan your stay in the Italian Riviera. From October until mid April the weather is cold and many seasonal businesses are closed.
It is better to plan your tour from April to September.
The spring months are perfect for hiking lovers and I suggest you to wear comfortable clothes and trekking shoes. As the weather can change without notice, it is preferable to dress in layers?in Italy we say "vestirsi a cipolla". Here below an outfit thought for you!

hiking trekking cinque terre

The summer season is perfect to combine sunbathing and to explore the surroundings. I suggest you a comfortable and chic outfit?but never miss your bikini: the wonderful beaches and the clear blue sea are always a temptation!!!

what to wear when traveling in Cinque Terre

And you have never visited the Italian Riviera or are you planning your next trip to Cinque Terre? Share with me your memories and your holiday plan!!

tag: Cinque Terre - Italian Riviera - Italy tour - hiking cinque terre


List of hotel, activities and package tour in fashion tour has selected for you:

Skype Me™!
fidelity card fashion tour