A Comparison of Day Tours from Milan to Cinque Terre

by Oliver Stallwood  |  Published November 10, 2023

Located on the Italian Riviera, the cluster of villages that make up Cinque Terre are car-free and lost in time. Here are the best day tours to Cinque Terre from Milan:

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They may look like blocks of Neapolitan ice cream rising from the sea, but the villages of Cinque Terre are very much a Northern Italian delicacy. Located in the rugged mountains along a six-mile stretch of the Italian Riviera, this cluster of five car-free hamlets were once isolated from the rest of the world – now they have become one of the country’s most beloved, must-see destinations. Even visiting the different villages can be an adventure, involving trains and boats just to move from one to the next. But once there, the laid-back attitude, flowing wine, fantastic food, crumbling pastel paintwork, and views to die for, make Cinque Terre, dare we say, one of the most quintessentially Italian places in Italy. Less than three hours from Milan – that other side of Italy, with blasting horns and a frenetic pace – it is the perfect day trip too during a city break. Here are three day tours to Cinque Terre from Milan:

Cinque Terre day trip from Milan

This bells and whistles tour starts with a pick up from your hotel in Milan and heads to Cinque Terre in a luxury car or minivan. Upon arrival at Monterosso, a local guide gives the low-down on the largest of the five coastal villages, nestled between hills of lemons and olives. Leave Monterosso by train to the postcard fishing village of Vernazza, where a regional lunch is served. The next stop is Manarola by boat and the crystal-clear water of the Ligurian Sea. The last stop on this tour is the village of Riomaggiore, the most southerly village of the Cinque Terre, with its typical stone houses with coloured façades and slate-roofs. Finally the driver will whisk you back to Milan for dinner. At 11 hours, this tour not only saves a lot of the transfer time of a coach and the private transport takes a lot of the sting out of such a full day’s itinerary. Price on application. 

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Cinque Terre Full-Day Guided Trip With Cruise

Let’s start with the bad news. This tour will take up 13 hours, much of which is on a coach – so probably not best suited to the very young or old, or anyone who says ‘I’m bored’ after five minutes. The good news is that it’s good value (in fact this is probably the cheapest way you’ll see Cinque Terre on a tour from Milan) including the coach transfer to and from Milan, a knowledgeable guide and all the transfers in-between the different villages. The trip starts, like most, in Monterosso, a place that, despite being high on most tourists’ bucket lists, still somehow manages to be packed with authentic day-to-day life. From there it’s a boat cruise to La Spezia where your coach will be waiting to take you back to Milan. The guide is a genius at keeping such a long day rolling without people losing attention – no mean feat – and all in all this is a whole lot of tour for the money. From € 139.

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Day Trip Cinque Terre from Milan

Nailing a mid-range option, this tour avoids a private transfer in exchange for first class on the train from Milan to Cinque Terre. There, a private guide meets you for a private walking tour of Monterosso before moving on to Vernazza where the guide will recommend lunch options for something a bit off the beaten tourist path. Finally it’s a stop at the charming town of Manarola before taking the train home. Considering the public transport element, albeit first class, it’s still not cheap for a day out, but the attentive guide gives it that personalised edge rather than feeling like a group trudge around. If you’re somewhere inbetween a coach trip and private luxury tour, this is the one to take. From €540.00.

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