The Perfect 10-Day Italy Itinerary: For First Timers & Repeat Visitors
Italy is one of those places that’s on everybody’s bucket list. I don’t care where you’re from, I’ve never met somebody who doesn’t either rave about Italy or dream about wanting to visit. And let’s face it – it’s for a good reason. Italy is full of historic sites, friendly people, gorgeous coastlines, and delicious food. Whether it’s your first time or your tenth time, whether you want to be slow paced or super fast paced, I’ve compiled the absolute best 10 day Italy itinerary for you!
How Long To Spend in Italy
If the title of this post doesn’t give it away, I think 10 days is the perfect happy medium amount of time for a trip to Italy. You could definitely spend less time and you could definitely spend more time. I think 10 days is enough to see the best of Italy without being too overwhelmed.
For U.S. travelers, 10 days is also a perfect amount of time to be able to take a trip away from work without blowing all your vacation time. If you’re strategic, you can use these 10 day Italy itinerary options to take almost half the amount of time off at work. I highly suggest working around 2 weekends to optimize your time off. Leave on a Thursday night, so that after the 10 days it’ll be the following Sunday. Now you’ve only taken 6 days off of work but you’ve gotten an incredible 10 day trip to Italy.
Best Time of Year to Visit Italy
Since Italy is in the southern part of Europe, it stays a fairly mild temperature throughout the year. Of course, the further north you get closer to the Alps it’ll be colder, but Sicily can be warm-ish even in the middle of winter.
The high season in Italy is from May-September, with the exception of August. The weather in Italy can be exceptionally hot in August, so all the Italians leave the country for vacation and while prices might still be high, the crowds die down a little bit. If you’re stuck on a summer schedule and don’t mind the heat, August might be a nice sweet spot to avoid the mega crowds in the other summer months.
So take notice that I said the high season in Italy is May-September and didn’t say the best time of year is May-September. Late March until early May and October through November – the shoulder season – is the best time to visit Italy. These months are right before and right after Italy’s high season. The crowds are considerably smaller, the prices are a lot better, and the weather is cooler, but not cold.
While I love shoulder season the most, you want to be careful of a couple things. First, avoid Easter in Italy unless you want those crazy summer crowds. Easter falls in March or April during shoulder season, but is a very busy time in much of Italy, especially Rome. Another thing to consider is the beach areas of Italy. These areas might be crazy crowded during high season, but they will transform into a ghost town outside of high season too. We’ll talk more about that later.
How to Get to Italy
Unless you’re coming from somewhere else in Europe, you’ll be flying into Italy instead of taking a train or driving. It’s very possible when you’re searching for flights to Italy, you’re looking at roundtrip flights to Rome or Venice, for example. I highly recommend looking into a multi-city ticket when visiting Italy. This allows you to not have to backtrack to get back to the place you started in order to leave.
For the itinerary I’m giving you, I highly recommend doing a multi-city ticket flying into Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport (airport code: FCO) and flying out of Venice’s Marco Polo Airport (airport code: VCE). You can also do this opposite by beginning in Venice and ending in Rome. If you’re coming from Europe, you also might be able to fly into the smaller airport in Rome, called Rome-Ciampino International Airport (airport code: CIA). You’ll find mostly budget airlines flying into this airport.
If it’s going to save you a ton of money to do a roundtrip in and out of Rome or Venice, you can definitely do it. Just know you’ll have to give yourself an extra day to return back to the city your flight is coming out of.
How to Get Around During your 10 Days in Italy
The hands down best way to get around Italy is by train. Europe as a whole has an incredible rail system. If you’re spending a long time in Italy, you can look into rail passes, but for a shorter trip it usually costs more money than just purchasing your train tickets ahead of time.
My favorite place to search for and purchase rail tickets is Rail Europe. Their website is really easy to use and straightforward. Pricing for rail tickets can range quite a bit. There are two types of tickets you can buy: flexible price tickets and fixed price tickets. Some smaller routes like Florence to Siena will have a fixed rate for the ticket. Other larger routes like Rome to Florence will have a range of prices, similar to airline tickets, where the price could change for today versus tomorrow and the 8 am train versus the 10 am train.
One really important thing to remember about purchasing train tickets is that the tickets often don’t become available until 60-90 days before travel. If you’re planning far in advance, don’t be worried if your date isn’t showing up. It’s not sold out, it just isn’t available yet.
Book your train tickets on Rail Europe by clicking here.
Driving in Italy: I want to make a quick mention about driving on your trip to Italy. Generally speaking, I don’t recommend doing it for the itinerary I’m giving you here. Roads are really tight, parking is often hard to find and expensive, the roads are full of speed traps, and it’s mostly just a huge hassle. Plus, the trains are so great that it’s just so much easier to travel by train.
10 Day Italy Itinerary: Where to Visit
So now that you have a better understanding of why you want to spend 10 days in Italy and what time of year you want to visit, let’s move onto the where. Let’s face it: Italy has a lot to offer as far as different itineraries go. What I’m going to focus on is a classic Italy itinerary that’s going to show you the best Italy has to offer.
That all being said, I understand that some people like to take things slower than others and some really just need one day to see a place and then are comfortable moving on.
The first itinerary I’m going to give you is a classic, slow-paced Italy itinerary. This is only going to visit a few cities and it’ll give you at least two full days in each destination. The second itinerary I’m going to give you is a more fast-paced, see everything you can Italy itinerary. This is going to visit a few more places and is going to involve a lot more moving from place to place. This itinerary will have you spending about one full day in each place, meaning you’re going to have to pack it all in, but you’ll get to see a lot more of the country.
Classic 10-Day Italy Itinerary: Slow & Steady
Let’s start off with a classic Italy itinerary that takes things slow. This itinerary is definitely my recommendation for first timers to Italy or inexperienced travelers. It’s more slow paced, allowing more time to soak in bits and pieces of each city without rushing through.
Days 1-4: Rome & the Vatican
[Fly into Rome]
Rome is a perfect stop on a classic Italy itinerary. It’s the capital city and one of the most visited cities in Italy. Rome can be gritty at times, but definitely deserves its place as the first stop on this itinerary.
The city of Rome is a really easy to fly into as it’s one of the largest airports in the country. Make sure to make your arrival easier by arranging an airport transfer to take you to your hotel upon arrival, like this one here.
Find out everything you need to know about where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in Rome below.
— Where to Stay in Rome —
I most recommend to stay in the area near the Via Veneto, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain. It’s the most central area in Rome and close to lots of public transportation for things that are a further walk away. If you’re looking for a more local feel, I recommend Trastevere. This area is popular with younger people, has lots of delicious restaurants, and is closest to the Colosseum.
- Hotel Santa Maria ($)
- Hotel Modigliani ($)
- Baglioni Hotel Regina ($$)
- Palazzo Naiadi, Autograph Collection ($$)
- Hassler Roma ($$$)
- St. Regis Rome ($$$)
— What to Do in Rome —
Rome is the home of some of Italy’s most classic tourist sites. I highly recommend booking tours to the most popular sites in advance. Remember to book tours that have “skip-the-line” privileges to avoid long waits, especially during the high season.
- Tour the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Even if you’re not religious, a visit to the Vatican is a must-do while visiting Rome. Plus, you’ll be visiting the smallest country in the world, Vatican City! Book a skip-the-line tour here.
- Walk the footsteps of the Gladiators in a visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum together is super common. Make sure to book a tour that allows you access to the arena tour to really feel like a Gladiator. Book your fast track tour here.
- Eat your way through Rome with a street food tour or a pasta making class. It’s no secret that the food in Italy is to die for. Whether you just want to eat or you want to get in the kitchen and learn how to make pasta, there’s no shortage of food related tours in Rome. Book your street food tour here or a pasta making class here.
- Make a wish at the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain is a must-see during your trip to Rome. You don’t need a tour, but I would highly recommend visiting as early as possible as it gets absolutely packed.
- Walk the Spanish Steps. Talk a walk up the famous Spanish steps. Be careful, you’re no longer allowed to sit on the steps or eat on the steps and doing so could result in a fine.
— Where to Eat in Rome —
There’s no shortage of delicious food in Rome. The general rule of thumb for all dining in Italy is to stay away from the touristy areas to eat. Everything right by the huge attractions like the Colosseum and the Vatican will be overpriced and might have even been frozen and reheated. Keep an eye out for restaurants with the words Osteria or Trattoria in the name. This means it’s a restaurant with homemade food.
- Trattoria Da Enzo al 29. Make sure you get a reservation here well ahead of your trip. It’s extremely popular and only seats 25-30 people at most. There will definitely be a line out the door and you’ll be waiting for hours without a reservation!
- Ristorante Al 34. This place came to me with a high recommendation about their pumpkin gnocchi.
- Alex Restaurant & Cafe. This restaurant located on the Via Veneto was one of my favorites during my entire trip to Italy. Plus, the burrata was to die for.
- Osteria Bonelli. Despite its distance outside town, this is supposed to be an incredible restaurant.
— Getting Around Rome —
Rome is very easy to get around as it has a great public transportation system. The best ways to get around are by tram, bus, or the metro. Click here for a more detailed overview of the Rome metro system.
Taxis are available, but beware of taxi drivers trying to rip you off, especially near big tourist sites. They will try to give you a flat fee, but insist on the driver running the meter. Uber is also available, but only Uber Black, Uber Lux, and Uber Van.
Days 4-7: Florence & Tuscany
[1.5 hour train from Rome]
The next stop on your Classic Italy itinerary is Florence. Florence was the biggest surprise to me during my visit to Italy. Despite being a city, Florence feels very homey and much more intimate than the bigger cities like Rome.
One of the other great things about Florence is that it’s nestled in the heart of Tuscany. This makes it an easy home base if you want to venture out to some of the quaint towns in Tuscany.
Here’s everything you need to know about where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in Florence.
— Where to Stay in Florence —
The Duomo is the center of town in Florence and definitely the best area to stay in. One of the great things about Florence is that it’s not very big and super walkable, so it makes it a lot easier to find a hotel. Being in close proximity to the train station can be super convenient to for those days you want to hop on a train and head into the Tuscan countryside.
- Palazzo Castri 1874 Hotel ($)
- The Market Urban Hotel ($)
- Hotel L’Orologio ($$)
- Brunelleschi Hotel ($$)
- Plaza Lucchesi Hotel ($$)
- J.K. Place Firenze ($$$)
- Portrait Firenze ($$$)
- Four Seasons Hotel Firenze ($$$)
— What to Do in Florence —
There are tons of things to do in Florence and the surrounding areas. I would even suggest just walking around Florence to get a feel of this romantic and quaint city. It’s such a walkable city so this is the perfect activity for the day you get there. Similar to Rome, for the more “touristy” things to do, I would absolutely pre-reserve “skip-the-line” passes everywhere.
- Marvel at Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia Gallery. Florence is the home to Michelangelo’s famous David sculpture. This is one of the most popular things to see in Florence, so make sure you get a tour with priority access. Book your fast-track tour here.
- Visit the monuments of the Duomo Complex and climb to the top of Duomo. There are several different monuments within the Duomo Complex, like Santa Reparata, the Baptistery, and Giotto’s Belltower. You can even climb to the top of Florence’s famous Duomo. Make sure to spend some time just walking around this area too to marvel in the charm of Florence’s heart. Purchase your all-inclusive tickets to the Duomo Complex here.
- Immerse yourself into art and history at the Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the oldest museums in Europe. Taking a tour is the only way to visit a museum, otherwise you’ll miss out on the lesser-known artwork that only a guide would know is special. Book a priority access tour here.
- Make your own pizza and gelato at a cooking class in Tuscany. One of the best pizzas I had was in Florence, but you can take a trip to a Farmhouse in Tuscany and learn to make your own pizza and gelato. I’m hungry just thinking about it! Book your pizza and gelato cooking class here.
- Take a walk down Ponte Vecchio. Ponte Vecchio is a famous medieval stone bridge that’s now home to a bunch of jewelry shops. Watch your wallet! I fell in love with a gorgeous ring that was very expensive. Make sure to walk down the river a bit to get a view of Ponte Vecchio from a distance.
- Venture out into the Tuscany countryside. Florence is the gateway to Tuscany. A trip out into the Tuscan countryside will likely take up a full day, but it’s totally worth it. Visit towns like Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, and Chianti and to eat good food, walk through the streets of these charming towns, and drink lots of wine! Book your full day tour to Tuscany from Florence here.
- Barter for some leather souvenirs in the leather district. Obviously not everybody agrees with leather, but I’d be doing you all a disservice to not mention the massive leather district in Florence. You can barter for some really reasonably priced, high quality leather pieces here. This area also has a bunch of other types of souvenirs, so if you’re in the market for souvenirs, this is the place to go!
— Where to Eat in Florence —
During my time in Florence, I was surprised at how incredible the food was. Obviously, Italy is known for its food, but dang, the food was good in Florence! Below are some suggestions for great eats in Florence.
- Livio Pizzeria Napoletana. This unsuspecting pizzeria had one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. And that says a lot from a self-diagnosed pizza addict. It’s super small inside, but I was able to walk in and easily get a table during lunch.
- Trattoria Mario. Unsuspecting spots seem to be the best in Italy, because this is another one that you’d never expect from the outside. However, this one comes highly recommended across the board.
- Osteria BruciaTegami. This spot is a little bit outside of town, but definitely worth the visit! And since it’s a bit far outside of town, you may not have to fight with crowds to get a table.
- Trattoria Sostanza. This is another one of those widely popular spots that’s a must visit during your trip to Florence. Make sure to make a reservation so you don’t have to wait for a table!
— Getting Around Florence —
Generall speaking, Florence is very walkable. Plus, the city is so quaint that it’s worth the extra walking around just to take in every little street. If you’re going a bit of a further or your legs are getting tired, the public transportation in Florence is excellent. Taxis can be expensive, so unless you’re going to the airport or with a group of people late at night, I would avoid taxis.
Days 7-10: Venice & the Venetian Islands
[2 hour train from Florence]
The last stop on this slower-paced, classic 10 day Italy itinerary is the beautiful city of Venice. There’s nowhere in the world like Venice. This city on the water will definitely blow you away with its charm. I mean, how many places in the world is your standard method of transportation boat?!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in Venice!
— Where to Stay in Venice —
The central fixture in Venice is undoubtedly St. Mark’s Square. I highly recommend staying within walking distance of this area. Because Venice is surrounded by water and instead of major streets, you have canals, being in close proximity to the heart of Venice is crucial.
In this area of Venice, you’re going to have hotels that are right on the Grand Canal and have sweeping views of the water. Likewise, you’re going to have hotels that are tucked away on side streets. The hotels that have the great view of the Grand Canal tend to be the pricier option, so definitely keep that in mind.
- Rosa Salva Hotel ($)
- Ruzzini Palace Hotel ($)
- Splendid Venice Hotel ($$)
- Corte di Gabriela ($$)
- Baglioni Hotel Luna ($$$)
- Hotel Londra Palace ($$$)
- Belmond Hotel Cipriani ($$$)
— What to Do in Venice —
There’s so much to see and do in Venice. Just walking around the city or taking a water taxi around the city will fascinate you because, let’s be real, Venice in itself is just fascinating. Always make sure to get skip-the-line passes when you can so you don’t waste your time.
- Marvel at St. Mark’s Basilica & Doge’s Palace. These two sights are the most popular in Venice. Don’t forget your skip-the-line and priority entrance tickets. You can get those plus access to the usually-closed-off terrace for epic Venice views with this tour here.
- Visit the Venetian Islands. There’s more to Venice than just Venice! Take a day trip out to the Venetian Islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. You’ll see the colorful houses of Burano and visit a glass factory in Murano with this tour here.
- Get lost walking through the streets of Venice. Venice is a really unique city, so I highly recommend just spending some time to walk around and soak it up. Walk through St. Mark’s Square, take in the views of the Grand Canal, and walk over some of Venice’s famous bridges – the Bridge of Sighs and the Rialto Bridge.
- Take a gondola ride around the Venice canals. You can’t leave Venice without being serenaded on a gondola as you float through the canals! Book a private gondola ride here, or if you want to save some money, you can book a shared ride here.
- Make your own Carnival mask. This was surprisingly one of my favorite things I did while I was in Venice! Venice is known for their epic yearly Carnival celebration where everybody wears masks. You can create your own Venetian mask in a workshop, like this one here.
— Where to Eat in Venice —
Since Venice is on the water, you can expect to find some excellent seafood restaurants here. Whatever you do, always leave room for dessert at the end! Trust me, I know it’ll be difficult! Keep reading for my best restaurant suggestions for Venice.
- Osteria Alle Testiere. This restaurant is somewhere you can expect to get super fresh fish. In fact, their menu literally depends on what fresh fish comes in that day. This is a Michelin restaurant, so it’ll be a bit of a splurge!
- Osteria La Zucca. La Zucca means “pumpkin” in Italian, so you’re sure to find some unique dishes here! This is also a great option for vegetarians.
- Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti. This spot is another great option for incredibly fresh seafood. Do yourself a favor and make a reservation as it can get pretty packed!
- Ostaria Boccadoro. Ostaria Boccadoro is another incredible hidden gem of a restaurant with seafood that’ll leave your mouth watering! Try to save room for dessert here – the chocolate mousse is supposed to be delicious!!
— Getting Around Venice —
Getting around Venice is slightly more complicated than getting around a normal city due to the fact that it’s on the water. It’s not even that getting around is hard, it’s just different because of the water aspect. Venice has the vaporetto, which is the water bus and their version of public transportation. Likewise, you can always get private water taxis.
Classic 10-Day Italy Itinerary: Fast Paced
The other classic 10 day Italy itinerary I have for you is a more fast-paced, see it all itinerary. This itinerary is going to have your 10 days in Italy be a complete whirlwind, but you’ll see a LOT of the country. You’re going to end up with essentially a day and a half in each place after you account for time to travel between cities, so you’ll get a taste of each spot!
The one thing I do want to mention is that this itinerary includes a stop in both Positano and Cinque Terre. Both Positano and Cinque Terre become pretty dead in the off-season, so from around November-March. If you’re planning on traveling to Italy over this time frame, you might want to favor the slower paced itinerary so you don’t end up visiting somewhere that’s completely dead.
Days 1-2: Rome & the Vatican
[Fly into Rome]
Similar to the slow-paced itinerary, this fast-paced itinerary has you starting your trip to Italy off in the capital city of Rome. You’re likely going to fly into the Rome–Fiumicino International Airport (airport code: FCO).
Don’t waste your time once you arrive, because your trip is fast-paced and you need to take advantage of every second you have. Arrange an airport transfer, like this one here, so you can get right to the hotel and into the Rome.
— Making the Most of Your Time in Rome —
It’s going to be really important to make the most of your time in Rome since you’ll only be here for 2 days. For the full list of where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and how to get around in Rome, you can click the links below to skip to the spot above with this info.
Days 3-4: Positano & the Amalfi Coast
[1.5 hour train from Rome to Naples, then 1 hour drive from Naples]
The first change on our 10 day Italy itinerary to see more is by heading down to the Amalfi Coast and staying in Positano. Positano is one of those “pinch me” places that you kind of can’t believe is real even when you’re there.
It’s a great thing Positano is as beautiful as it is, because it’s not quite as easy to get there as it is to get to the other areas in Italy. From Rome, you’ll take the train to Naples and from there you have two options: hire a taxi or a driver to take you to your hotel in Positano or take another train to Sorrento and take the bus or a taxi from Sorrento to Positano. For the sake of time, I highly recommend the first option of hiring a taxi from the Naples train station, which you can book here.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Positano!
— Where to Stay in Positano —
Positano is a charming city on the side of a cliff on the Amalfi Coast. There’s a lot of walking involved in Positano because it’s on the cliff, so where you stay is super important. You’ll want to stay as central as possible so you’re not having to trek up and down steps too much (you can’t fully avoid it).
Something to keep in mind, is Positano is a pretty pricey place to stay. Because of that, the prices are skewed a little high compared to the other spots on this Italy itinerary.
- Casa Nilde ($)
- Hotel Reginella ($)
- Hotel Punta Regina ($$)
- Hotel Miramare ($$)
- Hotel Eden Roc ($$$)
- Hotel Villa Franca Positano ($$$)
- Le Sirenuse Hotel ($$$)
— What to Do in Positano —
Positano is a fairy tale land, so just walking the streets and soaking it all in is enjoyable in itself. Since Positano is on the water, you can expect typical water activities when you’re here, whether it’s laying on the beach, going out on a boat excursion, and more.
- Rent chairs and an umbrella to relax on the beach. There are two beaches in Positano – the main beach and Fornillo Beach. You can rent chairs and an umbrella on the beach for a reasonable price. Just make sure to get there early if you want the first row of chairs!
- Venture around the rest of the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast is a beautiful region of Italy and worth a drive around. Rent a Vespa and drive up the coast and visit towns nearby like Sorrento, Ravello, and Amalfi.
- Hike the Path of the Gods. The Path of the Gods hike, otherwise known as Sentiero degli Dei, is a 7 km hike in the Amalfi Coast between Nocelle and Bomerano. Enjoy epic views while you hike along the trail one morning in Positano!
- Hire a boat and explore the waters around Capri. Capri is an island right off the Amalfi Coast and a popular day trip from Positano. You can go to Capri and walk around, go shopping, and go people watching. If you’d rather stay on the water, hire a private boat – make sure to make a stop at the Blue Grotto.
— Where to Eat in Positano —
Since Positano is on the cliffside, there are so many restaurants with excellent views and even better food. Plus, all the stairs you’ll have to walk back and forth from your hotel will make sure you burn off all that delicious Italian food! Here are some great restaurants in Positano with views and food to die for.
- Il Tridente. Il Tridente has an excellent location and view in Positano. You’ll find delicious seafood to be the focus of this restaurant, but don’t miss out on their “pizza nights” too!
- Adamo ed Eva by Eden Roc. This restaurant is at the Eden Roc hotel in Positano. It’s definitely going to be a splurge, but it’s a fantastic restaurant. Make sure to make a reservation!
- La Taverna Del Leone. La Taverna is a few kilometers outside of Positano (with a shuttle available), but is definitely worth the trek there. This is another spot you’ll definitely want to make a reservation for!
— Getting Around Positano —
Because of Positano’s location, it’s a little more difficult to get around. There’s a lot of climbing up and down stairs involved getting places. Unless you’re going outside of Positano, expect you’ll be doing a lot of walking. The narrow streets are definitely more conducive to walking. This is another reason why your hotel location will be super important – you’ll want to cut down on that walking as much as you can!
Days 5-6: Florence & Tuscany
[3 hour train from Naples]
During your time in Florence, you’re going to have two half days and one full day. Typically to go to Tuscany, I’d recommend an entire day or at least most of it. Since this is the more fast-paced option for your 10 days in Italy, you may have to forgo the time in Tuscany to be able to properly see Florence. If you really want to squeeze Tuscany in, you can, but just know you’ll lose out on a good amount of time in Florence to do so.
— Making the Most of Your Time in Florence —
Getting to Florence from Positano is going to take more time just because you have to get to Naples and then take the train from there. Try to leave Positano first thing in the morning so you still have a good portion of the afternoon you arrive to go around the city and take advantage of that time.
Click the links below to skip to my suggestions for where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and getting around Florence!
Days 7-8: The Five Villages of Cinque Terre
[2.5 hour train from Florence]
The next and final new stop on our fast-paced 10 day Italy itinerary is Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is famous for its five seaside villages – Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
Your time spent in Cinque Terre will likely involve hopping from village to village and experiencing each one of them in their own way. How you get to Cinque Terre will largely depend on where you decide to stay. Cinque Terre is a national park region within Italy, so it’s not a specific place, but more so an area. There are the five seaside villages I mentioned above, plus a couple other larger towns in surrounding areas. Let’s talk more about where to stay in Cinque Terre next.
— Where to Stay in Cinque Terre —
Since Cinque Terre is more so an area than a specific place, it’s important to talk about where to stay. During your time in Cinque Terre, you’ll likely be spending your time going between the five different villages that make up Cinque Terre.
In Cinque Terre, you could opt to stay in one of the towns just north or just south of Cinque Terre or one of the five villages themselves. Over a two day period of time, I would recommend staying in one of the five villages to save time going back and forth. If you want to save money or have more space, you could stay in areas like Levanto, La Spezia, or Porto Venere, which are all just north or just south of Cinque Terre. If you decide to do this, just keep in mind that you’ll have an extra train ride in order to get to any of the Cinque Terre villages.
- Alla Marina Affittacamere ($)
- Camere Giuliano ($)
- Hotel Porto Roca ($$)
- Camere Nicolina ($$)
- Park Hotel Argento ($$)
- Grand Hotel Portovenere ($$$)
— What to Do in Cinque Terre —
There’s so much to see and do in Cinque Terre, so make sure to make the most of your days there! I highly recommend getting a train pass so you can easily take the train between the five villages of Cinque Terre. You’ll definitely spend time in all five villages, so that train pass will make your life so much easier and prevent you from having to buy a bunch of train tickets.
- Hike between the villages in Cinque Terre. While you can take the train or ferry between villages in Cinque Terre, another option is to hike. Some of the trails are temporarily closed, so make sure to check before you hike.
- Soak up the sun at one of the beaches. There are great beaches in Cinque Terre, specifically in the village of Monterosso al Mare. Some other villages like Riomaggiore and Vernazza have rocky areas where you can jump in the water.
- Go kayaking to see the villages from the water. Like anything, Cinque Terre has its own beauty from a different perspective – the water. Go on a kayaking tour to see these stunning cliffside villages from the sea, like on this tour here.
- Take the train between the villages. I definitely recommend just getting out and experiencing all five villages. They’re all different and unique in their own way and just taking the train between the villages and soaking it all in is a great way to experience Cinque Terre.
— Where to Eat in Cinque Terre —
Similar to Positano, Cinque Terre has some restaurants with absolutely breathtaking views. Don’t forget to either arrive right when restaurants open or make a reservation at the ones with a view – they’re notoriously harder to get into.
- Nessun Dorma. Nessun Dorma is one of Cinque Terre’s most famous restaurants because of the view. It’s situated right next to the viewpoint in Manarola and has views to die for.
- Osteria A Cantina De Mananan. This quaint little restaurant is located on a tiny street in Corniglia. The food is incredible and it’s a tiny little family restaurant with space for maybe 25 people total.
- La Cantina del Macellaio. This restaurant in Riomaggiore is a great spot for meat lovers. They have tons of great meat dishes here that will leave you full for hours!
- Il Pirata delle Cinque Terre. Located in Vernazza, this restaurant has a great menu, but the desserts are especially to die for!
— Getting Around Cinque Terre —
Getting around Cinque Terre is actually quite easy. The five villages of Cinque Terre are connected by a super quick and efficient local train service. This train also goes to towns north and south of Cinque Terre like Levanto and La Spezia.
If you’d prefer a more scenic route in between the villages, you can also opt to take the ferry. This is a slower option just because the ferries only run every 30 minutes or so and it’s slower than a few minute train ride. That being said, the views can be worth the extra time!
Days 9-10: Venice & the Venetian Islands
[4-6 hour train from La Spezia]
There isn’t a nonstop train from La Spezia, which is the closest major train city to Cinque Terre, to Venice. You’ll have to take a train that changes in Milan, Florence, Pisa, or some combination of these cities. I would suggest searching on Rail Europe to find the best route for your travel date.
Because it’ll take longer to get to Venice from Cinque Terre, I’d also recommend taking as early a train as you can so you can still get a good portion of the day in Venice.
— Making the Most of Your Time in Venice —
There’s a lot to do and see in Venice, so it’s important to make the most of your time. Upon arrival into the Venice train station from Cinque Terre, arrange a boat transfer to take you to your hotel, like this one here.
Click the links below to skip to the sections where I talk about where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and how to get around in Venice!