Cinque Terre National Park (Italian: Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre) is a protected area inducted as Italy's first national park in 1999. Located in the province of La Spezia, Liguria, northern Italy, it is the smallest national park in Italy at 4,300 acres, but also the densest with 5,000 permanent inhabitants among the five towns. In addition to the territory of the towns of Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare), the Cinque Terre National Park encompasses parts of the communes of Levanto (Punta Mesco) and La Spezia (Campiglia Sunsets). Cinque Terre was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
The collection of five cliff-side towns on the Ligurian Coast linked by a series of trails highlights a delicate relationship between man and the environment. As modification of the landscape has been so vital for the area's development and tourist industry, the National Park is an essential tool in preserving and maintaining the natural landscape while promoting sustainable tourism that vital to the economic success of Cinque Terre. To achieve its objectives, the Park Organization encourages the development of responsible tourism, able therefore to invest in the identity of the places and the territory's products, and thus save its immense heritage of terracing, now endangered.
The closest larger airport is Pisa. There is a closer airport in La Spezia. However, you won't find many flights to this airport. And they might be expensive. Another option is to fly to Florence and travel the remaining part of the way by train, bus or car.
It is the ideal means of transport to go to Cinque Terre. The runs are very frequent, especially during the summer, and the trains stop in all the stations of Cinque Terre: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. The terminus is in La Spezia, on the Pisa-Genova railway line, where all the long-distance trains stop.
In spring-summer there are daily connections by ferry from La Spezia, Lerici, and Porto Venere. Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore are also connected during the day by inner navigation lines, with terminus Monterosso.
Departing from La Spezia, "Explora 5 Terre" bus lines take visitors to Riomaggiore, Manarola, Volastra, San Bernardino, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso and all the Cinque Terre sanctuaries.
When to visit
The Cinque Terre National Park is one of the more popular parks in Europe. Summer can sometimes be quite crowded. However, this is also the best time for warm waters near the coast. You will find less people in the park in spring and during the fall.
Map of Cinque Terre National Park
Image gallery of Cinque Terre National Park
Sights in Cinque Terre National Park
Some national parks contain more than just natural wonders. This list shows you some of the sights that are located in the national park. This includes museums, cathedrals, bridges, dams and much more.
Visitor/Information centres in Cinque Terre National Park
Most national parks have an associated visitor centre to help visitors. They are usually open most of the year but some close in the off-season. You will often be able to find information on all the activities in the national park. A visit to the visitor centre is often recommended before venturing into the park.
Hiking trails in Cinque Terre National Park
Almost all national parks have some opportunities for hiking. You can see some of the more popular trails here. You should get local information for detailed information on all trails of the national park.