How To Get From Genoa to Cinque Terre — ALONG DUSTY ROADS (2023)

Flying into Genoa and want to know how to get to the Cinque Terre? This guide has all the information, including advice on buses, train journeys, car rental and transfers.

How To Get From Genoa to Cinque Terre — ALONG DUSTY ROADS (1)

Genoa (Genova in Italian) is one most sensible and convenient start points in Italy for onward travel to the Cinque Terre, whether you’re going straight from Christopher Columbus Airport / Aeroporto di Genova-Sestri Ponente or from the city centre by public transport.

In this short guide, we've shared the essential information on how to make the onward journey from Genoa to Cinque Terre by train, bus, rental car, or taxi.

Where To Go in Cinque Terre?

We provide more Cinque Terre trip advice in this guide, but the first thing you need to know before planning your journey from Genoa is that there are five villages in the Cinque Terre National Park: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.

Each has a train station, with frequent connections between them and to other parts of northern Italy. From Genoa, you'll be able to reach all of the villages via public transport with only a slight difference in total cost and travel time.

There’s no ‘Cinque Terre’ train station, and you instead need to search schedules using the specific village you’re looking to end up in.

If you're going to stay for in the Cinque Terre for a few nights, we recommend you have your accommodation booked well in advance and that village will be your end destination from Genoa. If planning a day trip, then you can arrive and begin at any of the villages.

Read Later | 13 Wonderful Things to Do in the Cinque Terre

How To Get From Genoa to Cinque Terre — ALONG DUSTY ROADS (2)

Genoa Airport to the Cinque Terre

As with several airports in Italy, Genoa’s goes by a number of names (which is wonderfully confusing if you’re checking your ticket information for the umpteenth time). Christopher Columbus Airport, Genoa Airport, Aeroporto Cristoforo Colombo, Aeroporto di Genova-Sestri Ponente - they’re all the same place!

It’s situated just 10 kms outside the small city (Google Maps), and from the arrivals terminal you have a few different options to reach the Cinque Terre.

FlyBus + Train

Catch the Flybus service in front of arrivals, which will bring you to Genova Sestri Ponente-Aeroporto train station (Google Maps). The bus service operates from 6 am to 10 pm and costs €1.50 for a single ticket, with departures every 15 minutes. It only takes about 5 minutes to shuttle between the two stops.

Note that it may also be possible to walk from the arrivals to the station, but we haven’t done this.

From Genova Sestri Ponente-Aeroporto train station, you’ll be able to hop on several regular trains to bring you to any of the five villages in the Cinque Terre National Park in 2-3 hours. Your options are:

  • A train from Genova Sestri Ponente-Aeroporto station to either Genova Piazza Principe (15 mins) or Genova Brignole station (26 minutes), and then transferring onto a train to your final destination in the Cinque Terre. This is the quickest option with a travel time of just under 2 hours in total, and costs €7.90 per person.

  • A train from Genova Sestri Ponente Aeroporto station to the lovely little beach town of Sestri Levante (1 hour 35 mins), and then connecting to a train onward to your final destination in the Cinque Terre. Travel time is going to be 2 to 2.5 hours depending on the train service and your final stop in Cinque Terre, with tickets also costing €7.90 per person.

  • A direct train to your specific village in the Cinque Terre in 2.5 hours, but this is not a frequent service.

It’s important to note that options with two connections may sometimes be about 15 minutes quicker than those with only one. The TrenItalia schedule may also bring up a few options with two connections or tickets which are double the usual €7-9 cost per person - there’s no point paying extra for these unless the timing makes a big difference for you.

Volabus + Train

Alternatively, you can opt to take the VOLABUS service. This shuttle bus transfers passengers from the airport to either of the main train stations in the centre of Genoa - Piazza Principe or Brignole stations - from which you’ll find trains to your final destination in the Cinque Terre. The VOLABUS runs 7 days a week from 5.20 am to just after 11 pm, with departures around about every 45 minutes.

One-way tickets cost €6 (children under 8 travel free) and can be purchased from machines at the airport or on board. Travel time to the final stop, Brignole, is about 30 minutes.

As you can see, the FlyBus option works out a bit cheaper overall but just involves a bit more work.

Taxi + Train

If you’re really in a rush, then you could opt to take a taxi from the airport to the city centre train stations; it’s a flat fare of per person (min. 3 persons) for rides from the airport’s official taxi rank to and from Principe railway station (€7 per person) or Brignole railway station (€8 per person). The journey will take 15-20 minutes.

Genoa City to Cinque Terre by Train

If you’re currently in Genoa, or you’ve opted for the VOLABUS from the airport, then the best options start from either of central Genoa’s two train stations: Genova Piazza Principe station (Google Maps) or Genova Brignole station (Google Maps). The former is the city’s main station, but from each you’ll find regular trains to each of the five Cinque Terre villages, including a few direct options.

However, you’ll usually have to change train in either Sestri Levante or Levanto, and these routes are often quicker overall.

Total travel time from either station varies from 1 hour 15 minutes to about 2 hour 15 minutes depending on route, train service, and final stop, and costs are €6.60 - €7.10. You’ll see a few more expensive routes when you search (usually in the €9 - €13 range) due to part or all of the service being on the ‘Intercity’ network rather than the ‘Regionale’ - but you don’t have to take this option unless you’re happy to pay more.

As always in Italy, make sure you validate your train ticket before boarding or you may be fined.

Book | You can buy your train tickets at the staffed kiosks in the station, from one of the multiple ticket machines (multiple languages available), or find schedules and book tickets on TrenItalia.

Tip | If you’re arriving early or connecting in Levanto or La Spezia, then consider purchasing the Cinque Terre Express train travel card. This allows unlimited train journeys between the five villages for the day - find out more in 23 Things to Know Before You Visit Cinque Terre.

How To Get From Genoa to Cinque Terre — ALONG DUSTY ROADS (4)

PRIVATE TRANSFER OR TAXI

From the official taxi rank outside Genoa Airport or book a private transfer service in advance.

If going for this option, we would 100% recommend booking a private car in advance so that you have certainty on price, service and collections (Italian taxis always have quite a convoluted fee structure with luggage usually charged for in addition too).

Also remember that in the Cinque Terre, you’ll still have to walk quite a bit with your luggage to most accommodations.

Time | 90 minutes / 100 - 115 kms

Cost | €200+

Book | You can find further information here.

How To Get From Genoa to Cinque Terre — ALONG DUSTY ROADS (5)

BUS FROM GENOA

As far as we know, and from all our research, this option doesn't exist. Given the train is regular, affordable, and a more pleasant mode of transport, just go for that instead! If you find out about an alternative though, just let us know in the comments.

Also, there is not a public boat service between the two destinations.

How To Get From Genoa to Cinque Terre — ALONG DUSTY ROADS (6)

HOW TO GET TO CINQUE TERRE BY CAR

Some of you may be reading this as you plan for a longer Italian road trip, incorporating Cinque Terre and other highlights of northern Italy.

We're huge fans of road trips but the truth is that a rental car is not only unnecessary for accessing and enjoying the Cinque Terre, it's going to end up being an expensive burden for the nights you spend there (we've explained more in 23 Things To Know Before You Visit Cinque Terre).

However, if you're already planning on picking up your rental car at Genoa Airport and including a few nights in the Cinque Terre on your way elsewhere, then that is definitely understandable.

In this case, the 90 minute / 100 km drive along the coast is straightforward enough, but you'd be advised on only considering staying in Monterosso al Mare or Riomaggiore as they have parking for non-locals. However, spots are limited and expensive, and your car will only sit there for the days you're exploring the Cinque Terre on foot or by train. Further, the narrow, winding roads which lead to them ain't fun. If you do this option, please do further research to confirm parking availability and costs.

Therefore, we'd actually recommend those of you with a rental car travelling from Genoa to consider basing yourselves in one of the larger towns outside the Cinque Terre i.e. La Spezia (1h 20 mins, 110 kms from Genoa) or Levanto (1h 10 mins, 90 kms). Both these towns have more ample and affordable short and long-term parking, are much easier to navigate with a rental car, and they're also included within the Cinque Terre Express train network, which makes travelling to and between the villages quick and straightforward.

Less stress is always a good thing on road trips!

Time | 60 - 90 minutes

Cost | Varies depending on where you park.

Book | We use and recommend AutoEurope when looking for an affordable car rental in Italy. Also, make sure to read 9 Car Rental Tips for Travellers before you book anything online or in person - it’s guaranteed to save you money.

How To Get From Genoa to Cinque Terre — ALONG DUSTY ROADS (7)

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