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The best months to visit Cinque Terre are Sept and Oct when summertime tourists have came and went.
Cinque Terre is on Central European Time (CET) during most of the year. If it’s 3:00 pm in New York, it’s 9:00 pm in Cinque Terre.
Cinque Terre is part of the Schengen Agreement, meaning that entering Italy from most other parts of the EU is pretty easy. There are no border checkpoints or customs. Document and customs checks remain standard if arriving from (or departing to) a non-Schengen country.
If you are an EU or Swiss citizen, you can travel to Cinque Terre with your national identity card alone. All other nationalities need a valid passport. Visas are not generally required if you are staying less than 90 days (or at all for EU citizens), for citizens of countries including, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA.
If you are entering Cinque Terre for more than 90 days or for any reason other than tourism (such as study or work) you may need a specific visa. See vistoperitalia.esteri.it or contact an Italian consulate for details.
Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your departure date from Cinque Terre.
Trains in Cinque Terre run from all 5 fishing villages with local stops in Levanto, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore and La Spezia. The trains run in each direction about 4 times an hour. A Cinque Terre Card will allow access to National Park hiking trails. Click here for the train schedule for the 5 villages.
Walking trails are the main mode of transportation. The “blue path” is very common. Click here for access to the major hiking paths in Cinque Terre.
The ferry/boat season starts in late March and closes early November. The unlimited pass for 1 day in Cinque Terre riding the ferry is about 35 euro. Click here for the ferry schedule.
Cinque Terre is known to be quite safe. Many women have completed solo backpacking trips here and felt generally very safe. Although the streets are curvy and narrow, there are many safe hiking opportunities as well as beach activities. Be sure to wear proper footwear–stilettos would be tricky to walk here. Be careful in large crowds, and always keep your belongings in front of you tucked away.
The hottest temperatures in July in Cinque Terre have an average of 83 degrees F, and the coldest temperatures in January have an average of 52 degrees F. The best time to visit Cinque Terre is in September and October when summer tourists are gone, with cooler temps to swim and hike in. The rainiest months are the end of October through January.
Italian is the main language of Cinque Terre, although many locals here understand and speak English well, especially in restaurants and shops. Here are a few words to get you through a trip.
Hello/Goodbye = Ciao (informal)
Good morning/Hello = Buongiorno
Good afternoon/Good evening = Buonasera
Goodbye = Arriverderci
Goodnight = Buonanotte
Yes = Sì
No = No
Please = Per favore
Thank you = Grazie (grah-tsee-eh)
You’re welcome = Prego
I’m sorry = Mi dispiace
Excuse me/I’m sorry = Scusa
Do you speak English? = Parla inglese?
I don’t speak Italian = Non parlo italiano
Coffee is practically an art form in Cinque Terre, just like with the rest of Italy. Coffee comes with its own etiquette: For example, Italians usually drink their big frothy lattes for breakfast and save black espresso during other parts of the day. Additionally, always wait to be shown to a table at a restaurant, and the waiter will not bring the bill unless asked for it.
Cinque Terre uses Euros (€) as its currency. You can exchange dollars for euros at exchange booths in most airports. Travelers also choose to take out money from ATMs with their bank cards. Most places will accept credit cards but prefer you pay with cash. They also don’t like splitting the bill with multiple cards so keep that in mind if you’re with a group.
Tipping! It’s not necessary, as many places have a service charge already included in the bill. If your service was excellent though, generally 5% of the total bill should do.
Like the rest of Europe, Cinque Terre uses one of the two European standard electrical socket types, with voltage of 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts.) Your converter should look like this:
Tap water is safe to drink in Cinque Terre (unless it says it’s not potable). Be sure to bring a water bottle or two when hiking in the summer!
Most hotels and restaurants in Cinque Terre offer free wifi. When you purchase the Cinque Terre card, free wifi hotspots at train stations are also included. Make sure you know roaming costs throughout Italy and Cinque Terre before leaving, and ask your phone provider any questions about data charges while abroad. Most people buy Italian SIM cards if they are staying longer than two weeks, but there are no SIM card dealers in Cinque Terre.
Uber is currently unavailable in Cinque Terre, so take the train or public ferry to access surrounding areas. Regional trains generally run every half hour. Click here for more taxi numbers and information.
People in Cinque Terre are generally friendly to gay couples, although LGBTQ+ pride is not at the forefront like festivals in Florence or nightlife in Milan.
Cinque Terre is currently struggling with limiting the overwhelming amount of visitors every year, as to not harm local villages or wildlife in the area. In terms of eco-friendly activities, there are over 100 km of hiking available in Cinque Terre with breathtaking views. You can also rent bikes for biking along the coast. Kayaking, fishing, and boat tours are common as well. Although the Cinque Terre National Park is Italy’s smallest national park, it boasts natural richness and beauty in diverse flora and fauna.