top of page
  • Writer's pictureLeslie

Traveling to Cinque Terre with Kids, Babies and Toddlers

Updated: May 8

Monterroso al Mare with baby Cinque Terre with kids
Our son, taking his first look at Monterroso al Mare

Would you take your kids on a family trip to Cinque Terre?

We did, and it was one of our best travel-with-kids moments. 

For some reason in the U.S. Cinque Terre has been labeled as the perfect spot to visit for couples and backpackers. 

But for families, you hear a lot of “nope, don’t bother.” Maybe it’s because there aren’t any splashy resorts with big swimming pools, or perhaps it’s because there are a lot of steps that might not be ideal for kids (though our daughter, two at the time, LOVED the steps). 

Here’s why I think Cinque Terre is surprisingly kid-friendly — if you’re willing to part from large-scale resorts: 

1. The playgrounds are gorgeous. Imagine being in one of the most scenic places in the world, your kids are happily playing at the playground? Ideal, right? We loved the one right near the water in Monterosso al Mare and the one in Manarola.  

Cinque Terre playground Cinque Terre with kids Monterosso al Mare
Our daughter, enjoying the playground at Monterosso al Mare

2. You can hike between towns… or take the train. Some people assume that you can only get to each town by hiking, but they're wrong! It’s only a few-minute train ride between towns… and it’s one of the most scenic stretches of landscape. So if you aren't into hiking with your kids and only want to stick to the train to get around, you can do that! And it's a lovely experience (our kids are big fans of trains... especially when it's a short ride). 

You can also use the trains to mix things up. One day we hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare and then the next we hiked the opposite way, from Vernazza to Corniglia. In the afternoons, we wanted to take it easy, so we took the train to visit the other towns. It was the perfect combination!

Cinque Terre with kids Riomaggiore with a baby
We took the train in the afternoon to Riomaggiore

3. The beaches are undeniably beautiful. We spent an afternoon at the beach in Monterosso al Mare (you can rent an umbrella and sun chairs), which has that Italian coastal vibe you dream about. We also spent an hour or two at the tiny beach in Vernazza (we stayed in Vernazza so it was convenient and relaxed for our littles), but Monterosso al Mare has the “classic” beach feel.

Cinque Terre with Kids beautiful beach Monterossa al Mare
The beach in Monterosso al Mare is pretty dang beautiful

4. It's Italy, so of course the food and treats are great! You can always find gelato (which pretty much every child loves), but one of the local specialties in Cinque Terra is focaccia, so we made sure to stop and eat our fair share of this delicious, fluffy bread. It's definitely a kid and toddler-approved food, too! Pesto is also favorite of the region, so we ordered many pasta dishes with pesto while here (and were never dissapointed). After the trip, our toddler only wanted to eat pesto pasta for a while!

Where did we stay? We booked an apartment rental in Vernazza. While we loved staying there (and many of the guide books we read suggested that town), I think if we were to go again we would stay in Monterosso al Mare with our kids. It might not be the most charming of all the villages, but the easy access to the beach makes things so simple, plus we can still get to all the other towns in just minutes. Also, some hotels in Monterosso do have pools, so if we go back with our kids, those are on my radar.

We ordered takeout a number of nights from the local restaunts (our littles were just too tired from all of the day's activities to sit and enjoy a meal out), which made having an apartment nice.

How did we get there? We flew into Florence, took a metro to the train station, then took a train from Florence to La Spezia (this took us about 2.5 hours, though depending on what train you book it could take longer). You can also hire a car service to drive you from the airport to La Spezia if you're tuckered out from your flight. From there we hopped on a super short (and scenic) train to Vernazza. After our visit to Cinque Terre, we took a train to Pisa (had to see the Leaning Tower!), then took another train to Florence (and spent a few nights there before returning home -- see my guide to Florence here).

Pro Tip: Stop at the Tourist Information Office (each town has one) to see what trails are open (they can probably tell you which trails are the most kid-friendly, too), and to get train information. Also, a reminder that you'll have to pay a fee to do any of the main town-to-town hikes. The "easiest" of the hikes is Manarola to Riomaggiore, but it was closed when we visited (it's scheduled to open July 2024, yay!).

I could go on and on about why Cinque Terre makes for a great destination with kids, but hopefully you’ll see for yourself (feel free to reach out with questions!). And now the big question, would you take your kids to Cinque Terre? 

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page