We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Geneva to Cinque Terre

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
1,139 posts
53 reviews
Save Topic
Geneva to Cinque Terre

For my upcoming trip to Geneva - I was looking at things to do at the end of the work trip. thursday to monday trip.

Loved what I saw of Cinque Terre.

Question 1: If we do not want to drive, is the train via Milan the fastest way to get there?

Genève - La Spezia Centrale

Via Milano Centrale

Thu, 14.06.18, 07:39 - 15:21 Hour

Duration: 07:42, 1x Change(s)

Question2 : Is La Spezia a good halt to visit the villages?

18 replies to this topic
Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
Level Contributor
5,325 posts
656 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

I am going there next week... While I do my utmost not to drive, I keep this policy within reason. Driving from Geneva to Cinque Terre takes 5 hours. Since a car is needed there, it makes more sense to drive from Geneva.

Now if for any reason, you don't want to drive, you could fly to Pisa (3 flights a week with Easyjet), that is 70ish km from Cinque Terre (taxi or bus to Pisa Centrale then one our train ride).

Train is indeed an almost 8 hours ride. And changing at Milano Centrale can be hectic (it is a huge station).

La Spezia is a military and commercial harbour. So you might be somewhat disappointed if you expect the charms of Cinque Terre... So you'd be better off staying in a village or a neighbouring city or resort. Which brings us back to step one: You will need a car...

Wengen, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
8,579 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

I’ve been in the Cibque Terre, and my observation was that if there was one place in Italy you shouldn’t bring a car it’s that place. Sure we’re talking the same place, Swissdiver?

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
Level Contributor
5,325 posts
656 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

I am sure we are, Krist :-)

Now, how did you get there? Where did you stay? How did you move around?

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
1,139 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

thank you for your feedback Swissdriver and Krist.

Swissdriver, which village\ town would you recommend as a base? Also, is the 5hr drive through a flat terrain or winding roads(as that would rule out the 5 hr drive).

Krist, any recommendations on how to move around and where to stay would be helpful.

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
Level Contributor
5,325 posts
656 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

Just for the record, it is Swissdiver! No “r”. I prefer sharing time with fishes rather than cars :-)

5 hours is given by Apple Map. I do it generally in less as I find it difficult to read these round signs with numbers on it :-). Most of the trip is on highways. One hour to go to the Mont-Blanc tunnel (last part is a large mountain road, with trucks, but it takes about 10 minutes). Then there is the tunnel itself where the traffic is regulated. Once in Italy, highway again. The first bit, until Aosta, is not that straight but is gorgeous. After, this is the best part, until Genova (via Alessandria): straight and beautiful. From Genova (i.e. the last 100km), it is one hour with lots of tunnels and turns.

I rather go by hotel than by village. This time actually, I will stay just outside of Cinque Terre, in Montemarcello.

Edited: 05 May 2018, 10:52
San Francisco...
Level Contributor
1,139 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

Sorry about the r :)

I found a great place in Monterosso just now and thinking of changing our return flight from rome instead of heading back to geneva and taking 2 flights (found a direct flight from rome).

Thank you for the details on the drive. It does sound lovely. Will check if I can return the car in Rome.

Will also look at the other option of Easyjet to Pisa and train from there.

Wengen, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
8,579 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

@swissdiver: We stayed in Monterosso. What I remember from most Cinque terre villages is that:

a) They are mostly not accessible by car. People coming by car have to leave it at a car park outside the village, and then hike down (and then back up) again.

b) They are connected by frequent train services. There is now a "cinque terre express", which links all the villages and runs every 15 minutes. Faster than hiking up to the car park and driving around... You can buy a pass that gives you unlimited travel on these trains.

c) Walking is why you go there.

So I am puzzled as to why a car would be "necessary", where it is in my observation even rather impractical.

We walked, took trains, and on occasion even a water taxi.

We choose Monterosso because it has a direct IC service from Milan. That train was full with Swiss btw...

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
1,139 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

thank you for the details. "We choose Monterosso because it has a direct IC service from Milan." - this is even better.

One more great option to my confused mind :) Do these trains have any luggage wt restrictions?

Edited: 05 May 2018, 12:28
Wengen, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Switzerland
Level Contributor
8,579 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

No luggage restrictions. You do have to carry it yourself though.

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
Level Contributor
5,325 posts
656 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Geneva to Cinque Terre

@Krist: I was not aware of the direct IC train. That said, 7 1/2 hours (best time from Geneva) on a train is too much for me. And staying in one village for a week is challenging when I know life is nearby... Plus I am a scuba diver and need to go to the dive sites. So I'll go for the 5 hours drive and the local freedom... As would anyone meeting just one of these criteria.

@loverhodeisland: Limit it what you can carry! But large pieces might have to be left in the dedicated area, unattended, possibly far from you.

Reply to: Geneva to Cinque Terre
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted