Thinking of taking a trip from Bologna to Cinque Terre but not sure how to get there, what to expect, or even if it’s worth it?
In this article, we not only give you everything you need to know about visiting Cinque Terre from Bologna, but we provide you with all the information and instructions needed for the perfect trip.
After having visited Cinque Terre and Bologna multiple times, we know a thing or two about visiting both of these incredible Italian destinations.
Whether it’s finding out about what transportation options are available, creating an unforgettable itinerary, or discovering how to navigate each village, you’ll find it all in this guide!
Can I do a day trip from Bologna to Cinque Terre?
While it is possible to do a day trip to Cinque Terre, we do not recommend it.
For starters, it’s over 3 hour’s drive (and even longer by train) between Bologna and Cinque Terre. So after the journey out and back, it would leave you very little time to truly explore the area.
We’d only suggest doing a day trip if you’re restricted by time and you only had a single day to see this region.
If you do opt for this, then make sure you do your research in advance and take note that it can be a more challenging day trip than other places in the area due to the mountainous terrain and limited transportation options available. Travel can be slower than anticipated!
Arriving from the Bologna International airport?
Guglielmo Marconi airport, also known as Bologna International Airport, is the most popular airport to fly into this part of Italy.
After arriving at Bologna International Airport, the most efficient way to get to the Bologna train station is by the Marconi Express.
Although there are other transport options, the Marconi Express is by far the quickest way to get to Bologna Centrale station. It takes around 8 minutes to make the journey. Once you arrive at the train station, you can hop on the train to get to to Cinque Terre.
The cost to ride the Marconi express train is €11 one-way, or €22 round-trip. You can purchase your tickets online here or at the airport.
For more information on all transportation options, check out our complete guide on getting to Bologna Centrale from the Bologna airport.
Read also: Emilia Romagna Travel Guide
Bologna to Cinque Terre by train
Taking the train is one of the most popular ways to travel from Bologna to Cinque Terre.
The shortest train journey takes around three and a half hours and goes through Florence and Pisa.
There are numerous connections per day. However, the travel time varies depending on which type of train and route you choose. Some routes go via Milan and take around 5 hours!
Train prices start from around €25 for a single journey if booked in advance.
We recommend pre-booking your tickets online via Trenitalia to get the best prices. However, you can also purchase them at the station. Just be aware that if you purchase them on the same day of travel, you’ll pay a heavily inflated price.
It’s best to book your train tickets in Italy at least 3 weeks in advance for the best prices.
From Bologna, you’ll want to book your tickets to either the La Spezia train station or the Monterosso station. These stations are on either end of Cinque Terre.
To access the five coastal towns, you’ll need to get on the local train from La Spezia or Monterosso. Tickets for the local express train must be booked separately.
We recommend getting the Cinque Terre card, which includes tickets for the local train. We’ve provided more information on later in the article.
Private transfer from Bologna to Cinque Terre
Another option you may want to consider if you’re traveling from Bologna to Cinque Terre is by private transfer.
The downside is that it’s a pricier option. However, it could be particularly beneficial if you’re in a large group or prefer more comfort and convenience.
You can book your private transfer here.
Bologna to Cinque Terre by bus
If you’re on a budget, then an option you may want to consider is traveling from Bologna to Cinque Terre by bus. A regular daily service is offered by Flixbus.
The route goes from Bologna to La Spezia and takes just over 4 hours to make the 276 mile/ 172 km journey.
The schedule is limited with just one bus departing from Bologna central station in the afternoon. If booked in advance, prices start at around €20 for a one-way journey.
Bologna to Cinque Terre by car
Another way to get from Bologna to Cinque Terre is by car. Although this is doable, we do not recommend it. Honestly, the easiest and most convenient way to get around is by train!
However, if you’re adamant you do want to drive, then you’ll be able to rent a car in Bologna to make the journey.
The main reason we don’t recommend self-driving is that it can be difficult to drive in Cinque Terre. The roads are narrow, with plenty of bends and narrow pass points. It can be stressful. Also, parking is not only expensive but difficult to find once you get into Cinque Terre.
If you do choose to rent a car, then drive to either La Spezia or Monterosso. Park here and then take the local express train to visit the other towns.
The drive from Bologna to La Spezia is 213 km and takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. If you’ve opted to leave the car in Monterosso al Mare then it’s a slightly further drive at just over 3 hours to make the 249 km journey.
What is the best option?
The best option for getting from Bologna to Cinque Terre is by train.
While driving may be the quickest option, the train is definitely the most convenient option. You won’t have to worry about parking and the train drops you off right in the center of La Spezia or Monterosso.
This makes it easy to access the five coastal towns without a hassle.
Quick guide to Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a stunning coastal region located on the Italian Riviera. It’s made up of five picturesque villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
Known for its breathtaking views and unique charm, Cinque Terre is a popular destination for travelers looking to explore Italy’s charming towns and countryside.
The Cinque Terre Card
If you’re planning to visit all five towns in the region, plus do a little hiking, then you’ll want to make use of The Cinque Terre Card. It’s the easiest way to get around Cinque Terre without having to worry about buying tickets each time you use public transportation.
The card gives you access to all of the buses, trains, and trails in the region. You can purchase a 1-3 day pass, depending how long you are spending in the area.
Cinque Terre Card Prices
- 1-day pass: €18.20 per adult
- 2-day pass: €33 per adult
- 3-day pass: €47 per adult
You can book your card online at the official website.
We highly recommend purchasing the Cinque Terre card in advance. Since this is such a popular tourist destination, the lines can get very long and you will potentially have to wait for up to an hour.
If you decide to purchase the card in person, then you can purchase it at the La Spezia train station
It’s also useful to know that the Cinque Terre card gives access to two of the most famous hikes in the area. Although you don’t need to pay an entrance fee for the general Cinque Terre National Park, you do have to pay a fee to access certain trails.
If you’re planning to stay in Cinque Terre for at least a day, then it’s definitely worth investing in a Cinque Terre Card!
The 5 towns of Cinque Terre
The Cinque Terre is made up of five small towns that each offer their own unique charm.
- Monterosso al Mare has beautiful beaches and a picturesque harbor dotted with colorful fishing boats
- Vernazza is known for its picturesque views, historic castle, and scenic bay
- Corniglia is perched high atop the cliffs with stunning views of the coastline
- Manarola boasts a charming old-town atmosphere, with pastel-colored buildings, winding alleyways, and postcard-perfect vistas
- Riomaggiore offers an authentic Italian experience with quaint cobblestone streets and vibrant art galleries set against a backdrop of lush green hills
Hiking in Cinque Terre National Park
Going hiking in Cinque Terre National Park is a great way to explore the area and discover some more off the beaten track places.
There is an abundance of trails that featuring stunning views of the coast, lush foliage, and terraced vineyards. Hikes range from easy strolls to more challenging treks that lead you along clifftops or paths through villages and towns. Many of the trails are part of the national park, so they’re well-maintained and safe.
One of the most popular easy hikes is the one from Vernazza to Corniglia. This gorgeous 4 km trail takes you along the stunning Cinque Terre coastline.
Leaving from Vernazza, you follow the picturesque trail passing terraced vineyards, olive groves, and fragrant herbs before arriving at Corniglia.
Along the way, you’ll also be able to stop off and enjoy a quick bite to eat or try an orange and lemon granita at a local restaurant called Bar Il Gabbiano.
How many days in Cinque Terre is enough?
If you’re looking for the perfect amount of time to spend in Cinque Terre, one or two days is plenty. One full day will give you enough time to quickly see all five towns, plus squeeze in a hike or two.
However, with two full days, you’ll have more than enough time to explore each village, go hiking, and spend some time swimming at the beach in Monterosso al Mare.
Final thoughts: Getting from Bologna to Cinque Terre
Traveling from Bologna to Cinque Terre is an easy journey that is worth doing if you’re looking to visit one of Italy’s most popular coastal destinations. Whether you’re after the most affordable option or prefer more comfort and convenience, there’s an option for everyone.
Overall, we recommend taking the train and staying in Cinque Terre for at least one night. This will save time and money on travel while allowing you to enjoy all five towns along this stunning coastline at a comfortable pace.
No matter how long you decide to stay, we’re sure you will love Cinque Terre as much as we do!
We hope this transportation guide from Bologna to Cinque Terre was helpful! Leave us a comment below and tell us about your experience visiting the iconic coastal towns, or let us know if you have any questions.
More Information for your trip to Bologna & Cinque Terre
- Bologna has some of the most delicious gelato in all of Italy. Check out our guide to the best gelato shops in Bologna.
- Looking to do a day trip from Bologna? There are so many incredible day trips from Bologna, including a food tour in Modena and a visit to the Ferrari factory in Maranello. Take a look at our article about the 23 best day trips from Bologna.
- For a full a list of all of the things to do in Bologna, read our article on the best things to do in Bologna.
- Wondering how to get from the Bologna airport to the train station? We have an entire guide to help you get to the city from the airport.
- If you’re only planning to visit Cinque Terre for one day, check out this Cinque Terre day trip guide.
ITALY TRAVEL PLANNING GUIDE
Italy Travel Insurance – Should you get travel insurance for Italy? YES! We always get travel insurance before all of our trips for peace of mind. Check out Travel Insurance Master to find the best plan for you.
Italy Rental Cars – Is it safe to rent a car in Italy? Yes! We’ve rented a car in Italy too many times to count, and it’s definitely the most convenient way to get around the countryside. We rented our car through Discover Cars (our go-to rental agency), which helps you find the best rates no matter where you are traveling.
Italy Phone Plans – If your phone plan does not offer free coverage in Italy, then we suggest getting an eSIM. We used Airalo during our trip to Italy, and we had fantastic coverage the entire time. It’s easy to download and you can even top up via the app if needed.
Italy Hotels – Wondering where to book your accommodations for Italy? We’ve been reserving all of our hotels through Booking for years. Their messaging tool makes it easy to communicate with the hotels, and there are endless options to choose from.