I wasn’t always a mom. And to be honest, I think lots of things you really and truly don’t understand until you are one. Like traveling with a baby/toddler/small child. It’s not a matter of bending your child to fit your itinerary so much as bending your itinerary to fit your child. So this is my advice to you, fellow parents, for your time spent here in the Cinque Terre with your little ones.
- Less is more. Pare down your itinerary so you can stop and smell the roses (or lemons, in this case). Your child will thank you for not cramming 10,000 things on the agenda for the day.
- Ditch the stroller. Seriously, it’s a bad idea. With all the stairs, steep inclines and cobblestone streets (not to mention the hassle of getting on & off the trains) having a stroller here is a nightmare. Instead, opt for a baby carrier or sling. Our little tornado is 3 1/2 and we still use a carrier for those moments when he’s too tired to walk/hike/climb the stairs.
- For the love of all things holy, take them on the boats! Kids love the boats. I mean, really LOVE them. And the ferries are a nice and relaxing way to visit the Cinque Terre. You can find the latest schedule for the ferries here.
- Remember the sunscreen. And preferably, bring it from home (I have no idea why but sunscreen is super spendy in Italy). Your little one will definitely need it, especially in the summer months.
- Hit up each village’s playground. All five villages have a playground for children. Ask a local where the nearest parco giochi can be found and they’ll point you in the right direction. My absolute favorite is located in Manarola at Punta Bonfiglio. It’s maintained by a local retiree who volunteers his time for the joy of the children (do him a favor and be sure to throw trash in the bins and leave things tidy upon departure). The location is stunning so it’s not just enjoyable for the kids but also for parents (and did I mention there’s a wine bar just beneath the playground?!?).
- Sample lots and lots of gelato. Your kid will love you for it. Make a point to try as many different flavors as possible. If you are traveling with a school age child, have them keep a “gelato journal” so they can remember of all the different flavors they’ve sampled (and where). They’ll love sharing their journal with friends and loved ones when they get home.
- Practice la dolce vita. Take your little one to the piazza to play with the local children. Grab some towels and head down to the beach. Be an example to your child that vacation is all about relaxing and unwinding and soaking up the local culture.
Helpful pricing info for those traveling with children
Keep in mind that the age ranges for reduced rates for children vary widely. I’ve done my best to explain and simplify here for reference.
- Kids under 4 travel free on the TrenItalia trains (both regional and national). Technically, that’s so long as they don’t occupy a seat (but I’ve never had an issue with my son sitting in a seat so long as the train isn’t packed).
- Ages 4-11 pay half price for regional trains and ages 4-13 pay half price for national trains (think: faster trains like InterCity and Freccia).
- Kids 12 and up on regional trains and 14 and up on the national trains pay full price.
Cinque Terre ferries
- Kids 5 and under travel on the ferries for free.*
- Ages 6-11 pay a reduced price for tickets (ask for the ridotto rate).*
*Valid only if traveling with at least one adult.
Cinque Terre National Park passes
- There’s no charge for kids age 3 and under to walk the Sentiero Azzurro (coastal trail). For ages 4-17 the discounted rate for the hiking pass is €4.50/day.
- The Cinque Terre Card (which includes the hiking pass + trains between the five villages) is €7.30/day for kids age 4-11. Kids 12 and up pay full price (which is currently €12 per person, per day).
- A special family rate (for 2 adults and 2 children ages 4-17) for the hiking pass is available for €19.60 per day (this would save you €4.40 off the normal rate).
- The family rate for the Cinque Terre Card (which includes the hiking pass + the trains between the villages) is available for €31.50 per day. This pass is valid for 2 adults and 2 children ages 4-11 (and would save you €7.10 off of the normal rate).