Cinque terre: Transportation
Trains within Cinque Terre
Arriving by Train
- Cars are not allowed inside the towns of Cinque Terre.
- Parking lots are usually located at the top of each town, which would require visitors to either walk or take a shuttle bus in to town.
- Driving between the towns of Cinque Terre is not recommended as roads are very narrow, steep, and winding.
- Most tourists choose to leave their cars in La Spezia or Levanto where there are paid parking lots at the train stations. La Spezia has more expensive parking than Levanto, but it is much easier to find parking in La Sepzia and possibly for free.
- Levanto has two good parking lots: one near the railway station and the other near the sea.
- Monterosso is the only Cinque Terre village anyone should consider driving to and some hotels do offer parking.
- White parking lines indicate free parking and blue is for paid parking.
- When you park, be sure that you do not park in areas reserved for residents.
Trains within Cinque Terre
- The regional trains connect all five town of Cinque Terre as well as a few outlying towns to the north and south like La Spezia and Levanto. Most visitors prefer to drive to an outlying town, park at the train station, and then take the local train in to Cinque Terre.
- Regional train tickets can be purchased to travel a certain distance in one direction and it is valid for a specific amount of time (usually 75 minutes from validation). Visitors can hop on and off the train during that specific time without needing to buy another ticket.
- Remember to validate your train ticket in the green machines before boarding.
- During peak season the trains can be uncomfortably crowded.
- Watch out for pickpockets! There are many that hang out on the trains and in the train stations, especially during peak season.
- Some train doors do not open automatically and must be manually opened.
- Travel time between Monterosso (the most northern town) and Riomaggiore (the most southern town) is around 15 minutes.
- Remember: any train stopping at Vernazza, Corniglia, or Manarola is stopping at all 5 towns.
- Trains often stop at Riomaggiore and Monterosso, so they are both good places to have as an end hiking destination.
- When train strikes occur the trains will still run, but they will be very infrequent (every 4 hours or so).
Arriving by Train
- Traveling to Cinque Terre by train will almost always require a transfer to another train before arriving in Cinque Terre. When coming from the north this often happens in Genoa or Sestri Levante. From the south changing trains would occur in La Spezia.
- There are direct trains from Milan to Monterosso. Pisa offers train service to La Spezia and Monterosso.
- Ferries are only in operation from Easter weekend to October.
- They go between the Cinque Terre towns and outlying towns like La Spezia, Levanto, and Portovenere.
- While the ferry is not the cheapest travel option, it does provide a scenic view of Cinque Terre.
- Each town has their own shuttle bus system that take passengers between the town and their distant parking lot or train station, in the case of Corniglia. Note: these buses do not connect any of the Cinque Terre towns. Only trains do.
- Tickets can be purchased via mobile phone or on board the buses for an additional charge. Carry exact change and be sure to validate your ticket as soon as you board the bus.
- The Cinque Terre Card includes the use of these buses.
- Nearby airports include Pisa, Genoa, Milan, and Florence.
- Cinque Terre Card
- A card that must be bought if you want to hike any part of the coastal trails. If you plan to only take the train between towns, then you do not need the card. Also when blue trails connecting the towns are closed (often winter or early spring due to flooding) the card is not required.
- Allows entrance to the trails and unlimited use of the buses in each town. Note: buses do not go between towns. For an additional fee you can add on unlimited use of the local regional trains between La Spezia and Levanto. Also includes free entry to some museums and free use of wi-fi spots in Cinque Terre Park
- Small huts are located at the beginning of the blue path where you must either show or purchase your Cinque Terre card.
- The price of the card changes depending on how many coastal trails are open.
- The card can be purchased at tourist information centers, any train station in Cinque Terre, and a few outlying town train stations like La Spezia and Levanto. They are also available at the beginning of all open sections of the blue path.
- The card is valid from the moment of validation until midnight that same day. When using the card for the first time on the train, be sure to punch the card before boarding.