“The Italian Riviera is the narrow coastal strip which lies between the Ligurian Sea and the mountain chain formed by the Maritime Alps and the Apennines. The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast of the Riviera to the west of the city of La Spezia, in the province of La Spezia in the Liguria region of Italy comprising five villages, ‘The Five Lands’: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. (northwest to southeast)”
Travelling to the towns by rail
The five villages are situated between the La Spezia (southeast) and Genova (northwest). There’s a local Regionale train that runs between these two stations that stop at every villages. So if you’re from Rome, Pisa, Florence, take the train to La Spezia Cemtrale station and then transfer to a Regionale or local train which stops at every village. If you’re coming from the northeast, e.g Venice, you may take a train to Genoa (or Genova in Italian, not to be confused with Geneva in Switzerland) station before transferring to the local train. There are two main stations at Genova — Genova Piazza Principe and Genova Brignole — and trains to Cinque Terre departs from both. For nore information (timetable, fares) on the Italian rail network, see Trenitalia.
Hiking trails are not free, so if you’re planning to hike from one village to another, consider getting the Cinque Terre card. It costs 5 euros for the 1 day pass (8eur/2D, 10eur/3D) and covers the use of shuttle buses in the towns.