A Travel Price Comparison for Italy Cinque Terre vs. La Spezia for Food, Old Town, Couples, and Backpackers

Should you visit Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Cinque Terre or La Spezia, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre is a charming, picturesque, and idyllic coastal region. You'll find plenty of local activities in this small town. It's considered by many to be an absolutely beautiful destination, too. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. Visitors also love the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and hiking.

La Spezia

La Spezia is a lively, convenient, and cultural town. It's also popular because of the food, beaches, and shopping.

Cinque Terre and La Spezia: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Things to Consider
  • Less popular old town


Is there more to do in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Cinque Terre. Although Cinque Terre and La Spezia are both popular with visitors, Cinque Terre has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Cinque Terre is more popular for its food, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, historical sights, hiking, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere, while La Spezia is known for its museums, nightlife, and shopping. Cinque Terre is more touristy than La Spezia and is known for its charming villages, beautiful vineyards, picturesque waterfront setting, and stunning walking trail. It is also home to Vernazza Harbor. La Spezia is popular for being the gateway to Cinque Terre.

Vernazza Harbor
Vernazza Harbor

How is Cinque Terre different from La Spezia?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between La Spezia and Cinque Terre. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

La Spezia is a decent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Cinque Terre does not have museums and landmarks.

While most people don't head to La Spezia specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. The highlight of the area is the surrounding natural beauty, but in town you can visit the Maritime Museum, The castle of San Giorgio, and The Amedeo Lia Art Museum.

Cinque Terre does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Cinque Terre or La Spezia? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre is very popular for its restaurants. Also, La Spezia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Eat your way through Cinque Terre, as it has many local or world renowned restaurants to choose from. Like much of Italy, the area focuses on local flavors that include lots of seafood, as well as local fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The towns are known for their focaccia, which actually originated in nearby Genoa. Anchovies are a favorite here as well, and don't be turned off by your experience with anchovies outside of Italy. They don't compare. Also make sure you sample the pesto, mussels, and any fresh caught seafood.

Dining out in La Spezia is an experience not to be missed. The town has many local flavors that incorporate seafood and other local ingredients. Focaccia is popular, as is Farinata, which is a chickpea flour pancake. Anchovies and mussels are also common ingredients.

Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Nightlife?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

La Spezia is a nice place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Cinque Terre is lacking in good options for nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in La Spezia. You'll find more bars and clubs around town than you do in the smaller nearby towns. Some people head into La Spezia for the evening to grab a drink and socialize.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Cinque Terre. The whole point of a trip to the area is to soak up the quiet village atmosphere. There is basically no nightlife in most of the towns, but you will find a few bars in Monterosso.

Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Resorts?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre is not a good area for its luxury resorts. However, La Spezia is not a resort destination.

There isn't the widest selection of resorts in Cinque Terre, but you'll find a few options to choose from. Most people stay in apartments or rooms in local hotels or family homes. There aren't many resorts in the traditional sense, but again, that's part of the charm of the area.

La Spezia is not a resort destination.


Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre is a good destination for its diving and snorkeling. However, La Spezia is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Grab a mask and fins and explore the underwater scenery in Cinque Terre. The surrounding waters are part of the of the Pelagos Sanctuary. The area has many rocky coves which are fun to explore with a mask and snorkel. There are also boat excursions available that may let you stop to snorkel, as well as a few dive spots in the area.

La Spezia is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Beaches?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Both Cinque Terre and La Spezia have good beaches worth visiting.

Cinque Terre has a beach worth visiting. The area is more about the towns than the beaches. The most typical beach setting is in the newer part of Monterosso. There's a long sandy beach with chairs and umbrellas available. There's also a beach near the town's old town. Several of the other towns have swimming areas, including a small stretch of pebbly sand in Vernazza. It's fun to swim between the months of May and October, when the water temperatures are fairly warm.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in La Spezia. The beaches in the area tend to be rocky and pebbly. For the best beaches, head out of town to nearby areas.

Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for its Old Town?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre is very popular for its old town. Also, La Spezia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its historic old town charm.

Cinque Terre has a world-famous historical area. Each of the five towns have their own charming old town which have restaurants and local boutique shops.

La Spezia offers a nice historic old town area. The old town runs between the streets of Corso Cavour and Via Prione and is best explored on foot.


Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Hiking?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre is very popular for its hiking trails. However, La Spezia is not a hiking destination.

Cinque Terre is well-known for its hiking and trekking. The five towns are part of Cinque Terre National Park and there are 120 kilometers of hiking trails in the park. Most people hike along the trails that follow the coastline and connect the towns. There are fees for the most popular stretch of trails which connect Monterosso to Vernazza and then go from Vernazza to Corniglia. All other hiking is free in the area.

La Spezia is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

La Spezia is a nice place to visit for its shopping areas. However, Cinque Terre is lacking in good options for shopping.

La Spezia has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There's a morning market at Piazza del Mercato as well as many clothing and souvenir shops around town.

Cinque Terre is a good destination for shopping. The towns are more about the atmosphere than the shops, but the best shopping can be found in the largest town of Monterosso. You'll find jewelry, clothing, and local food items that are fun to take home as souvenirs.

Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Families?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre and La Spezia are both good destinations for the whole family.

Cinque Terre is a family-friendly coastal region. The five towns are all about exploring on foot, so if that's your kid's thing, then they're in for a treat. The hilly terrain can be a bit tricky, particularly for the little ones, but for older kids this area offers the perfect amount of challenge. There are also a couple of beaches and swimming spots as well as a playground or two around. Food, like most of Italy, is very kid-friendly.

You'll find plenty of kid-friendly things to do in La Spezia. Visitors often use La Spezia as a base for visiting nearby Cinque Terre. The surrounding region has many kid-friendly activities like hiking, swimming, and beaches.


Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Couples?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre is very popular for its romantic activities. Also, La Spezia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for couples.

Cinque Terre is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. These stunning five Italian villages are perched precariously on the water's edge. They're surrounded by beautiful vineyards and connected by impressive hiking trails. This area is truly a dream honeymoon destination and it is sure to make a memorable vacation for any couple who enjoys exploring charming village.

Couples visit La Spezia frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. It makes a nice base for visiting nearby sights if the more popular Cinque Terre area is too overwhelming.

Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

La Spezia is a very popular place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Cinque Terre is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for backpackers.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit La Spezia. It's more affordable than the nearby towns in Cinque Terre, but they're still easily accessible from town.

Cinque Terre is a good coastal region to visit for backpackers. There are a number of rooms available in the towns and there are even a couple of hostels including one in Riomaggiore and one in Corniglia. It's possible to find affordable food and accommodation, and your entertainment is simply wandering the area, which is perfect for budget travelers.

Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Visitors will find good public transit in both Cinque Terre and La Spezia.

Cinque Terre has some public transit options. Most people arrive by train but there are also ferries available.

You'll find some public transit in La Spezia, but it may not be enough to take you everywhere. Buses, trains, and ferry boats offer the main forms of transportation in the area.


Is Cinque Terre or La Spezia a more walkable city?

Cinque Terre
La Spezia

Cinque Terre is very popular for its high level of walkability. Also, La Spezia is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its ease of walking around.

It's very easy to get around on foot in Cinque Terre. Vehicle traffic in the towns are heavily restricted so it's very enjoyable to explore on foot. The terrain is hilly and uneven, but that's part of the charm. There are also hiking trails that connect each of the five towns.

La Spezia is a very walkable destination. The town is easy to walk around and you'll find a pedestrian-only area downhill from the train station.

For even more information, also check out Is Cinque Terre Worth Visiting? and Is La Spezia Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in La Spezia or Cinque Terre?

How long in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Cinque Terre and La Spezia. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Cinque Terre than in La Spezia. Usually, 2-5 days is a good amount of time for Cinque Terre, and 2-3 days is enough time in La Spezia.

Families should spend more time in Cinque Terre than La Spezia. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Cinque Terre, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Cinque Terre than La Spezia. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cinque Terre that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in La Spezia than Cinque Terre if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in La Spezia.


  • How many days in Cinque Terre or La Spezia? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cinque Terre 2-5 
    La Spezia 2-3

One day in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Even though Cinque Terre is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Visiting the old town is also a must. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

In La Spezia, many people enjoy the food and shopping that this lively town offers. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

A weekend in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Cinque Terre is a small town where visitors enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and food. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal region has to offer. This coastal region offers a variety of activities to choose from.

La Spezia is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. So, a weekend is just the right amount of time to spend here.


Five days in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Cinque Terre is a small town with plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this coastal region makes for a great vacation. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this coastal region has to offer.

You'll find nightlife and food around the lively destination of La Spezia. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

A week in Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Cinque Terre is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

La Spezia is a popular place to visit. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.


Which place is cheaper, La Spezia or Cinque Terre?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Cinque Terre is €140, while the average daily cost in La Spezia is €198. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cinque Terre and La Spezia in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cinque Terre 72
    La Spezia 113
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cinque Terre 144
    La Spezia 226
Compare Hotels in Cinque Terre and La Spezia

Looking for a hotel in Cinque Terre or La Spezia? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Cinque Terre


Hotels in La Spezia


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Cinque Terre Hotel Prices and La Spezia Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cinque Terre 16
    La Spezia 41
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Cinque Terre

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Cinque Terre:


  • Ferry Day Pass
    15

Hired Cars and Shuttles in La Spezia

Also for La Spezia, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from Lerici to Pisa (PSA) Airport: $293
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia to Florence : $244
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia to Cinque Terre by car or van: $141
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia hotels to La Spezia Port: $22
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia Port to La Spezia Hotels: $22
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia Hotels to La Spezia Cruise Port: $22
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia Cruise Port to Pisa Airport (PSA): $92
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia Cruise Port to La Spezia hotels: $22
  • Private Transfer from La Spezia Cruise Port to Florence Hotels: $131
  • Private Transfer from Cinque Terre to La Spezia by car or van: $141
  • Private Transfer Porto Venere or Lerici to La Spezia by car / van: $91
  • Private Transfer La Spezia to Pisa by Business or Luxury Vehicle: $201

Is it cheaper to fly into Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

Prices for flights to both La Spezia and Cinque Terre change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cinque Terre 41
    La Spezia 56
Typical Food Prices in Cinque Terre

For Cinque Terre, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Whole Pizza
    9.50
  • Panini
    3.75
  • Sitdown Dinner (for Two)
    52
  • Fresh Focaccia
    2.12

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cinque Terre

For Cinque Terre, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking with Luca Pasta Tiramisu class Riomaggiore Activity 2 h30: $121
  • Pesto cooking class with sea view in Riomaggiore: $175
  • Cesarine: Home Cooking Class & Meal with a Local in Riomaggiore: $175
  • 3-course Cooking Class with seaview in Riomaggiore: $209

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in La Spezia

For La Spezia, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • La Spezia Cinque Terre Food Tour: $92
  • Small-Group Street Food Tour: $96
  • Portovenere: Sunset Cruise with Aperitif and Dinner: $97
  • Small-group Street food tour in La Spezia: $98
  • La Spezia Cinque Terre Food Tour - Do Eat Better Experience: $98
  • Cesarine: Dining & Cooking Demo at Local's Home in La Spezia: $105
  • La Spezia Cinque Terre Food Tour: $124
  • Porto Venere & Islands Sunset Boat Tour w/ Dinner: $135
  • Market Tour & Lunch/Dinner at a Cesarina's Home: $150
  • Market Visit and Seafood Cooking Class with Lunch: $153
  • Private Cooking Class in an Italian Home: $156
  • Cinque Terre Cooking Lesson in La Spezia: $157

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cinque Terre 13
    La Spezia 37
Typical Entertainment Prices in Cinque Terre

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Cinque Terre's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Double Kayak Rental (One Hour)
    10
  • Bagni Eden Beach Club Umbrella
    16
  • Cinque Terre Card (One Day)
    5.00
  • Cinque Terre Card (Three Days)
    12

Tours and Activities in Cinque Terre

For Cinque Terre, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2-Hour Boat Tour at sunset in the Cinque Terre with Pesto tasting and focaccia: $105
  • 3 Hour Cinque Terre tour plus Swim Stops at Secluded Beaches: $143
  • 3-Hour Private Boat Tour of the Cinque Terre: $254
  • Cinque Terre Boat Tour with seafood lunch in Vernazza: $215
  • Cinque Terre Hybrid Boat Tour: $110
  • Cinque Terre Kayak Adventure from Riomaggiore: $99
  • Cinque Terre Lunch boat tour: $204
  • Cinque Terre Morning Tour: $132
  • Cinque Terre Paddleboarding cruise at sunrise or sunset: $221
  • Cinque Terre Private Boat Tour: $221
  • Cinque Terre Private half day tour with Official Tour Guide: $272
  • Cinque Terre Small Group or Private Day Tour from Florence: $242

Tours and Activities in La Spezia

For La Spezia, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Florence & Pisa bus tour from La Spezia: $83
  • La Spezia Walking Tour: $35
  • Pisa Tour by bus: $54
  • 3 Hours Sunset Boat Tour to Golfo dei Poeti Shared: $132
  • 3-hour boat tour with appetizer: $75
  • 4-Hour E-Bike Private Guided Tour of the Tellaro and Montemarcello Villages: $55
  • 7-Hour Guided Tour of Cinque Terre with aperitif: $131
  • Afternoon Boat Tour to Cinque Terre with brunch on board: $154
  • Boat Tour Portovenere and 5 Terre: $2,155
  • Boat Tour of the 3 Islands & Portovenere: $66
  • Boat Tour to La Spezia and Portovenere and The Three Islands: $93
  • Boat Tours 5 Terre: $154

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cinque Terre 6.71
    La Spezia 35
Typical Alcohol Prices in Cinque Terre

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in Cinque Terre:


  • Glass of Local Wine
    2.90

Sample the Local Flavors in Cinque Terre

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Cinque Terre:

  • BarCa Winery Cinqueterre Tour with Wine Tasting & Pesto Class: $61
  • Cinque terre wine tour and tasting with the somelier: $74
  • Private Tour of Cinque Terre's Wine tasting with a local: $144
  • Cinque Terre Walking Tour with Food and Wine Tastings: $149
  • Natural Wine Tasting with sea view in Riomaggiore: $197

Sample the Local Flavors in La Spezia

Also in La Spezia, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Food and wine tour in the Gulf of Poets with local products: $143
  • Lucca city tour and Pisa tower + wine tasting from La Spezia Port: $176
  • boat tour with seafood and wine tasting: $216


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Cinque Terre and La Spezia, we can see that La Spezia is more expensive. And not only is Cinque Terre much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Cinque Terre would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Cinque Terre and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in La Spezia would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in La Spezia than you might in Cinque Terre.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Cinque Terre Expensive? and Is La Spezia Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Cinque Terre or La Spezia?

La Spezia has a larger population, and is about 60 times larger than the population of Cinque Terre. When comparing the sizes of Cinque Terre and La Spezia, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.