Milan is the capital of fashion and the financial centre of the Italian peninsula. It is a very popular destination from Europe, located in the northern part of the country close to France and Switzerland.
If you want to get a good sense of the Italian culture and people you definitely should book a few days in a big city like Milan and then a few days in the coastal area.
The best coastal area close to Milan with wonderful sceneries and turquoise waters is Cinque Terre.
I definitely recommend you to spend some days in Milan and visit this wonderful city and then head to Cinque Terre to explore the area and its surroundings.
Where to sleep
For the days spend in Milan I recommend you to sleep at Hotel Spadari Al Duomo. It is a wonderful hotel located just 150 metres away from Duomo di Milan and within a walking distance from the shopping area.
As for the time spend in Cinque Terre, we propose you two beautiful accommodations, in Riomaggiore and Manarola, two of the most beautiful towns from the coast.
If you would like to sleep in the first of the 5 towns from the Cinque Terre area, then book a room at Alla Marina Affittacamere. It is a very nice hotel located just 5 minutes away from Riomaggiore train station.
The hotel was completely refurbished in 2011 and it looks awesome!
For those of you interested in sleeping in Manarola, we suggest Hotel Al Terra Di Mare. The rooms are clean and spacious overlooking the sea and the valley. The breakfast is tasty and good quality and the coffee is very good!
Now let me tell you some words about how to get from Milan to Cinque Terre!
There are three simple ways to get to Milan from Cinque Terre: by train, by car or with a guided tour.
1. Cinque Terre from Milan by train
There are some direct trains from Milan to Monterosso, the first of the five towns from the Cinque Terre area and some that require connections. Usually, the trains are exchanged in Genoa station.
Now let’s talk a little bit about the time spend on the train.
With direct trains in about 3 hours, you reach Monterosso from Milan.
It is a relaxing and beautiful trip which gives you the opportunity to admire the Italian countryside and its coastal area.
When speaking about connection trains, the travelling time increase depending on the number of connections and the time spend between trains.
The ticket price starts at 18 euros (19 USD) and might vary depending on train type and the fare chosen.
Once you reach Monterosso take the 5 Terre Express train which leads you to al the 5 towns from the area.
Buy a daily ticket and stop in each town to visit it and take some memorable photos.
The price for a daily train ticket is around 8.5 euros (9 USD) and you can stop in each town for one time on that day.
2. Milan to Cinque Terre by car
If you don’t like to stick to a fixed scheduler and to depend on trains and public transport then you should think about renting a car.
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It is the best way to travel if you like to have the freedom to stop wherever you want, to stay in a place for how long you want without depending on a fixed scheduler.
Renting a car in Italy is not very complicated.
You need a valid international driving licence, an ID, a credit card and some renting companies might ask for some additional documents.
Check the renting conditions before you land in Italy just to be sure that you will not have any surprises once you get there.
Roughly there are around 240 kilometres from Cinque Terre to Milan and it took you about 3 and a half hours to reach your destination, La Spezia.
Bear in mind that in all the Cinque Terre towns cars are forbidden so you will have to leave your car in a designated area from La Spezia town. From there take the 5 Terre Express Train to visit all the 5 towns in the area.
3. Guided tour Milan to Cinque Terre
Guided tours might look expensive but you don’t have any other worry, except for admiring the view and taking wonderful photos.
You don’t have to run after trains or to rent cars and drive in a foreign country. All you have to do is to sit down, relax and enjoy the view.
Cinque Terre Day Tour from Milan is a wonderful tour which lasts from about 13 hours, so be prepared for a long day!
There are no more than 10 participants, so it is a small group tour which starts at 7 a.m with a professional guide and in the ticket price you have included: transportation from Milan to 5 Terre protected area, a boat trip from Monterosso to La Spezia and a train trip from Manarola to Monterosso.
BONUS Flights or buses from Milan to Cinque Terre
There is no airport in Cinque Terre so you can not take a straight flight from Milan. You might fly right into Pisa as well as take the train or drive from there, but also for that you might also take the train.
There is a bus service on FlixBus from Milan’s city bus incurable to Sestri Levante, which is near Cinque Terre, but it runs only once a week (Sundays at 8AM from Milan) as well as it takes more than 6 hrs each means.
From Sestri Levante, you still need to take the train right into Monterosso. You don’t save any kind of cash this way so it’s not worth the headache.
Essential things to know before you go
1. Taxis are virtually non-existent, so don’t bring a great deal of bags with you as you’ll be responsible for dragging them through the cobblestone streets.
2. There is plenty of trekking tracks in Cinque Terre, however, you can still locate amazing sights without needing to do a 2-hour walking. One excellent image place is Riomaggiore, by the harbour. It’s just a five min stroll to the water from the train station.
3. These are Mediterranean coastline! This means that while the water is lovely the beaches are rocky as well as black, a sharp comparison to the yellow sand of the Caribbean.
4. While you can drive to Cinque Terre, you can’t drive around the towns. When you reach the location, your trip will need to be by train or on foot.
5. If there’s something you consume in Cinque Terre, there is for sure gelato. It is one of the best I have ever seen!
So, pack your bags and take your most comfortable shoes and get ready for a great experience!
No matter which of the 3 ways to get to Cinque Terre from Milan you will choose, the most important thing is to go and visit that area.
It is incredibly beautiful and you will come back with many wonderful memories from there!