Parma to Cinque Terre – A day trip itinerary

If you are planning your itinerary for your next holiday in north west Italy you should read this short article to get more insight about getting to Cinque Terre from Parma and vice versa.

What to see in Parma.

On the Emilia Delizia’s website there are many articles about the beauty of Parma. You can explore the churches and the theaters of the city in a couple of days and of course you can also plan to take a Parma ham tour or a culatello ham tour around the country side.

How to get to the Cinque Terre from Parma.

Portovenere – not Cinque Terre

The best way it is to take the regional train from Parma main station to La Spezia centrale. Unfortunately these trains are not very fast and it will take a couple of hours to get there, however the service runs at least once per hour. When you are arrive in La Spezia you will need to get the local train to the Cinque Terre. At the station you can buy a cheap ticket that will serve as a day pass and you can visit all the five lands with the same fare. From La Spezia the first of the Cinque Terre is Riomaggiore.
Alternatively you could easily drive from Parma to La Spezia in just one hour by taking the A15 and head south. In busy periods it is not recommended to try to park as close as possible to the Cinque Terre, but leave your car in La Spezia and take the local train instead.

La Spezia – The forgotten gem of Liguria.

Do not leave La Spezia too quickly, often tourists do so just to regret it later. For  lunch or dinner time you should not miss a meal at I Pescatori. Head to the port of La Spezia and look for for the Italians queueing in front a kiosk. I Pescatori is the unpretentious restaurant of the local cooperative of fishermen. The food is simply amazing for a ridiculous price and of course the fish just came out of their nets. It is a self service, so do not expect a posh dining experience, but what is served is very good.

Get a Ferry to the Cinque Terre and other stunning locations (Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso).

It makes sense to make La Spezia your home base, there is a lot to see around and you do not need to pay premium prices. The food is good and the town is pretty. From the port you can get ferries to almost any location in the area. If are heading to the Five Lands you can get a panoramic ferry tour from La Spezia port. The boats run regularly and some fares allow you to hop on and off to the desired location.

Portovenere. It should not be missed. The small sea town is included in the UNESCO world heritage. Revellers should take the short hike to Chiesa di San Pietro. A typical religious building with black and white stripes overlooking the steep cliffs of the Gulf of the Poets. The views are simply stunning here.

Riomaggiore to Manarola, the route of love.

Riomaggiore is the first of the five lands coming from La Spezia. The initial settlement is built in the XIII century and mostly composed of the Case Torri .Tower houses built by the Genoans. The clever constructions had a military purpose.  In fact they were build to protect difficult areas and have a proper view of the sea. With time these buildings become small urban agglomerates and they were made pretty by plastering the stone with cheerful colours.

It is very popular to hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola by using the Via dell’ Amore, of course you can use the train instead. The ticket for the picturesque trail costs at the time of writing 5 euros. Via dell’Amore is part of a longer hike that connects all 5 lands. The Route of Love is well maintained and it is very easy to walk, making a favourite for the tourists and visitors alike.

The food of the Cinque Terre.

The food in Liguria is based on the Mediterranean diet. So a lot of pasta, chickpeas, fish, fresh vegetable, olive oil and good wine. The most iconic dishes of the area are: focaccia, pesto, sfarinata, and a long array of fish dishes. Sfarinata is made using chickpeas and oilve oil. The chickpea flour is mixed with water and turned into a runny compound, then poured into a metal dish which has been previously oiled. The whole preparation is then baked in the oven. The result is a moist and tasty omelette like consistency that can be eaten on its own or even inside the focaccia.
Another dish that you will repeatedly see in the area are the muscoli (mussels) that are cooked in so many way.  another one is frittura mista, a mixture of white fishes, prawns, and squids that are lightly floured and then fried in olive oil.

Food tours and gourmet holidays in the Cinque Terre.

Emilia Delizia organises gourmet holidays for you and your group in the area. Activities would include cookery classes, wine tastings, accommodation packages, chauffeured transfers from and to Parma. We also would be happy to organise hiking and boat tours from La Spezia or from any of the Cinque terre, including  Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso.

Food  and wine tours in Cinque Terre.

It is possible to visit olive oil and wine farms in the area, as well as fish canneries can explored nearby. For parties interested in olive oil farming is best to come in the late autumn as it is the olive harvest times. We would be glad to organise olive picking and grape picking activities for you.

Fish is always the main dish here in Liguria – Fritto misto on the right