Venice to Cinque Terre on the Train With 3 Kids | 3 Weeks in Europe – Day 5 – Monterosso

Our Journey Continues – Leaving Venice for Monterosso on the Italian Riviera

We’re on Day 4 of our trip through Europe. By now Erika, myself, our two young boys and baby girl are seasoned travelers, ready to take anything that comes our way! This time we leave Venice and head to Monterosso, on the rugged coastal region of Italy called Cinque Terre, or Five Lands (also known in many places as the Italian Riviera). Check out the previous entries on our Europe trip, including Day 1 and Day 2 in Venice. You can find the entire series of travel vlogs here.

Leaving a Rainy Venice by High-Speed Train

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Train to Monterosso2
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Train to Monterosso3

Walking back to the hotel on our final night in Venice we were hit by rain and thunderstorms – but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Our two boys, drenched but enthusiastic, marveled at the lightning in the sky. We had just enjoyed a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant, where we were treated like family and were in high spirits. We went to bed early since we had to wake at the crack of dawn to catch the high-speed train to our next destination: Moterosso in Cinque Terre.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Travel Tip – Buy Your Train Tickets in Advance!

Buying train tickets in advance when traveling in Italy offers several advantages. Firstly, you can usually pick your seat location with advance tickets. We always select seats near the exit so we can keep an eye on our luggage. Also consider the direction the train is travelling when you pick your seats, to ensure a better view of the countryside on your train trip.

We woke at 5:30am and made it to the train station with time to spare. After taking our seats, the first thing I did was visit the dining car to buy some snacks for the kids. After the kids fell asleep on the long train journey, Erika and I took the time to discuss our plans for each of the five towns in we would visit in Cinque Terre. I was in favor of following my Rick Steves’ Travel Guide, while Erika thought we should just head out and wing it.

Switching Trains in Florence2
Switching Trains in Florence4
Switching Trains in Florence3
Switching Trains in Florence1

Half way through our trip we had to switch trains in Florence. The train switch in Florence was seamless, and we were eager to continue our adventure. I could tell our boys were getting more and more excited for the trip as the train sped towards Monterosso and they could see the Ligurian Sea from the windows.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Travel Tip – Use Travel Guides

Travel Guides, such the Rick Steves’ Italy or other similar books, are a great way to do your research prior to visiting a place. They provide useful information from seasoned travelers that can help make your journey a lot smoother.

Arriving in Monterosso, – A Quaint Seaside Paradise


Upon reaching Monterosso, we were captivated by its charm. We still had half a day left and were eager to explore the charms of this sleepy coastal town – but first had to check in to our hotel room. Our hotel room was nicer than we expected and offered lovely views of the town. The kids were thrilled about their bunk beds, Erika and I were thrilled by the electronic shutters on the windows. We had two days to explore Cinque Terre, and we wasted no time in hitting the streets of Monterosso.

Our exploration started with a visit to the beautiful church in the old town area. We then took the winding streets down to the beach, where the kids had a blast running around – although the water was rough and the tide high, so I had to pull them away from the edge of the pier. We did a bit of shopping (no matter where we end up in Europe Erika and the kids always find a place to shop), and took some pictures on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Monterosso is the first of the five towns along the coast that make up Cinque Terre – each town offers spectacular views of the sea and Monterosso is no exception.

Monterosso, Cinque Terre Travel Tip – Google Maps

When travelling by train in Italy, check Google Maps for up-to-date schedules. Or the train company websites also work for news on schedules, route closures and ticket prices – although I prefer Google Maps for ease of use.

Dinner at the San Martino Gastronomia

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Monterosso Dinner4

We had a truly excellent dining experience the night before in Venice, and I wanted to keep the streak going in Monterosso. I had heard about an excellent local restaurant that offered authentic Italian cuisine in an intimate setting. Problem was, the venue was tiny and they always had more guests than available seats, so we had to queue to get in. Luckily, we were the first in line and were the first to be seated.

The meal was great! Afterwards Erika and I were comparing dining experiences between Monterosso and Venice. We concluded that each night brought its own unique charm (although Erika preferred the relaxed atmosphere and superlative service at the Venice restaurant). From the small, intimate restaurant in Monterosso to the warm hospitality in Venice, our hearts (and stomachs) were full.

The End of Our First Day in Monterosso

As the day came to a close, we meandered back to our hotel room through Monterosso’s cobbled streets, I noticed how much quieter the town was in the evening after the cruise ship tourists had left for the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cruise and will continue doing them, but sometimes it’s nice to explore a spot on your own, at your leisure, away from the relentless timetable of cruise ship arrival and departure times.

That’s it for our first night in Cinque Terre. Stay tuned for our next blog post as we continue our journey through the Italian Riviera with our three kids. Until then, ciao!

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