Known for its dramatic cliffside villages with colorful houses and miniature natural harbors, Cinque Terre is one of the best outdoor playgrounds in Italy.
Explore the coastline and its picturesque settlements on a Cinque Terre boat tour, with trips lasting from a couple of hours to a full day. Ramp up the adventure with a spot of snorkeling or swimming along the way.
There are several types of Cinque Terre boat tours, ranging from short-but-sweet excursions to full-day tours that take in all the main sights.
Both small-group cruises and private yacht charters are available, with the latter being cost-effective if you are traveling with companions.
Join an 8-hour Cinque Terre cruise and discover unspoiled locations along the coast that are only accessible by water.
Departing from La Spezia, this trip takes in the most beautiful places to see in the national park, including Porto Venere, Riomaggiore, and Vernazza. Dive into dreamy bays for some leisurely swimming, then enjoy lunch in Monterosso with free time to explore the village.
Enjoy a 2- or 3-hour intimate boat excursion, taking in some of the best sights including five different villages. This Cinque Terre tour is perfect if you want to see the highlights in style without committing to an entire day.
Relax on the deck, admiring views of vineyards and mountain trails as you sail along the coast. Take a dip in the sea, then sip Prosecco and try some tasty Ligurian focaccia.
Hop on board a scenic 2-hour Cinque Terre boat tour and discover fishing villages and hidden coves bathed in the soft evening light. Small-group and private tours are on offer, each taking in popular locations like Monterosso, Vernazza, and Riomaggiore.
Celebrate the going down of the sun with local wines and nibbles, which can be purchased on board.
Discover the Portovenere National Park or Lerici San Terenzo on a fun day out. Sail past the famous Cinque Terre villages and jump overboard to snorkel in the inviting clear waters.
Explore rocky reefs and learn about species identification from your expert guide - will you spot the resident lobsters and pufferfish?
The cost of Cinque Terre boat trips depends on the duration and type of excursion:
Vernazza is a remarkable feat of engineering, with elegant homes built high into the cliffs above a small marina. You may recognize the scene from travel brochures – it is one of the most popular destinations in all of Cinque Terre.
Highlights include the dramatically located Doria Castle and a 12th-century church. The town is vehicle-free and has a small beach if you fancy swimming.
This sheltered bay boasts the best beach of any settlement in the national park. The village is separated by a rocky promontory and linked by an underground tunnel.
In the old town, you can see the ancient fortress walls, Fieschi Castle ruins, and a 17th-century monastery. Breathe in the scent of the local lemon trees and enjoy swimming in the calm waters.
One of the most photographed villages in Cinque Terre, Riomaggiore is an explosion of color set inside a steep ravine.
Precariously perched dwellings in an array of pastel hues blend perfectly with lush green hillsides and the blue ocean down below. Fishing boats bob about in the natural harbor, and the sunsets are phenomenal.
Palmaria is the largest island in the Gulf of La Spezia, with turquoise seas, lush vegetation, and tranquil bays on offer. The sandy beaches are perfect spots for swimming and snorkeling, as well as picnic lunches.
Try some fresh seafood at the traditional trattorias, or hike across the island for stunning Mediterranean views.
This colorful seaside town offers the same highlights at its sister settlements along the coast, just without the bustle. The coastline here is ruggedly beautiful, with picture-postcard views of yellow, orange, and pink houses lining the shore.
Enjoy scenic hiking trails and tasty local Ligurian cuisine at waterside restaurants, and walk in the footsteps of literary giants and famous celebrities.
Cinque Terre boat tours last between 2 – 8 hours. The longer full-day tours take in more destinations than the shorter trips, stopping at places like Portovenere, La Spezia, and Riomaggiore.
Sunset cruises are usually a couple of hours long, and there is an option for a half-day snorkeling tour too.
Hotel pickups are not included on Cinque Terre boat tours, so you will need to make your own way to the embarkation points.
Many of the private tours depart from Via Bastioni in Monterosso. Just head to the San Cristoforo promontory between the two beaches, and you will find it below the Capuchin monastery.
The full-day group tour departs from the boat gas station at Porto Mirabello in La Spezia. Meanwhile, go to Via San Giacomo in Riomaggiore for the private sunset tour, or the Bella Bar at Stella Marina in Monterosso for the small group evening trip.
The best time of year for a Cinque Terre boat tour is during the summer between May and September when days are long, and the weather is warm. The cooling sea breeze offers a welcome respite from the heat.
Spring and Fall are good times to visit as well, with mild temperatures and fewer other tourists making for idyllic boating conditions.
Many boat trips last the whole day, but for something extra special, head out at sunset and enjoy the romantic colors flooding the ocean.