Cinque Terre is one of those places you just have to go once. The magic of the Italian coast mixed with the aroma of pizza and pesto makes you feel like maybe you could stay forever. I went to Cinque Terre twice while I studied abroad, once as a day trip and once for a weekend. Both times were equally as magical, and both times were on a SERIOUS budget. I feel like Cinque Terre is one of those places that look as though it costs a lot more than it actually does to travel there, if you do it right that is. Here are all of my budget tips for traveling to Cinque Terre.
GETTING TO CINQUE TERRE
This is one of my top money saving tips. Get a flight to one of the Rome or Milan airports, it doesn’t matter which. Just choose whatever is cheapest! These two airports are some of the cheapest in Europe, and the train ride from here to Cinque Terre is beautiful and very affordable. If you fly into Rome Fiumicino specifically, there is a train station located at the airport. This will make for a quicker overall travel time. Make sure to budget some time between your flights arrival and your trains departure to leave room for any flight delays, or getting lost in the station/airport.
STAYING IN CINQUE TERRE
For cheaper housing options, stay in an airbnb in La Spezia. La Spezia is the adorable town outside of Cinque Terre that the train stop is in. We stayed in a reasonably priced airbnb near the train station so we could quickly walk there in the morning and head into town. I loved the town of La Spezia, and it was interesting to experience it since we were spending all day on the cliffs. If you’re on a budget this is a great option because housing in Cinque Terre can be limited and pricey.
GETTING AROUND CINQUE TERRE
Hike, or take a 4 euro train between each cliff. The 4 euro train rides do add up – but make sure you are paying AND validating your tickets. I saw a young couple get fined a whole LOT of money because they didn’t validate their ticket. In all honesty, they usually don’t check your tickets, but you don’t want to take the risk on hundreds of euros. Hiking is cheaper obviously, but takes a lot more time. It may be smart to hike a few of the cliffs and train the rest – but it just depends on your budget and what you want to see.
CHEAP THINGS TO DO
Have a picnic instead of eating out. The beaches are perfect for this. Or eat at home in your La Spezia airbnb and grab a gelato instead.
Avoid the souvenir shops – take home some memorabilia in other ways. Photos, receipts, random misc. items or train ticket stubs all made it in my travel journal. And they were all free!
Hike! Even if you don’t want to hike between cliffs, there are SO many gorgeous walking paths throughout the cliffs.
Go to the “secret” beach in Riomaggiore. If you walk far enough down Riomaggiore, you run into a beach that not many people are usually at! It’s a breathtaking place to look out at the ocean and see the boats coming in and out of town. And of course it’s free!
You can read my post about preparing to travel to Italy here.
You can read my Florence Italy travel guide here.
Studying abroad? Read my 20+ tips here.
I hope these tips help you!