How to reach the Cinque Terre
These five villages along the coast of the Gulf of Genoa, in the north-west part of the Riviera di Levante, are administrated by the Region of Liguria. The very unique landscape of this mountainous location also has an effect, in its own way, on the mode of transport: it is not practical to arrive here by car; it is much better to take the train to the Cinque Terre. The train line passes through tunnels dug into the rock.
By train to the Cinque Terre
The Italian railway system is a convenient and fairly economical means of transport. Along the Genova – Roma line, trains run to all the Cinque Terre villages approximately every half hour, starting around 4.00-5.00 am and continuing until one o’clock in the morning. The stations are usually right in the center of each village or town with cafes, bars, shops, information centers, public toilets and other amenities for tourists nearby.
How, when and where do I buy a ticket?
There is no need to book in advance. The many regional trains (treni regionali) don’t cost much; there is no seat number or time of the train indicated on the ticket. You can purchase tickets at the cashier’s window in the train station or from the machines at the station. The ticket must be obliterated before boarding the train.
Where do I check the train timetable?
Information on trains and timetables in 2017 is available on the trenitalia.com website. Enter the place of departure and arrival and the desired departure time. The city of La Spezia usually acts as a point of reference for trips to the Cinque Terre. Many regional trains leave from here directed to all villages and towns. Schedules change twice a year, in the first week of both June and December, but there are no radical changes. In peak tourist season a few more trains are added, though not all trains are listed on the site in advance. Therefore, if you look at timetables for the summer in spring, keep in mind that many trains are not yet indicated.
Quite often, trains in Liguria do not comply with timetables and are chronically late. When planning any change of train during your journey, we advise you to leave enough time between one train and the next.
Should I buy a Rail Pass for travel in Europe?
No, because even though you can use the Rail Pass in Italy, tickets cost less if you purchase them here.
Can I arrive by train from France?
Yes, use the trenitalia.com site. The names of French towns must be written in English or in French, for example: Nice - Nice Ville. If you do not find the French city on the Italian site, book a ticket to "Genova Piazza Principe" on the French railway site, SNCF; almost all trains go through Genoa, then you need to change.
Where to leave your luggage
If you plan to visit the Cinque Terre by train and you don’t want to take your luggage, you can leave it at the station in La Spezia or Vernazza. More information and prices on the page “Where to leave your luggage”.
By plane to the Cinque Terre
All the main Italian airports are marked on the map. It is easy to reach La Spezia by train and then the Cinque Terre. The nearest airports are located in Genoa and Pisa. You can find the cheapest plane fares on the Skyscanner website. Recommended destinations: Pisa, Genoa, Milan, Bologna, Florence and Rome.
Don’t be in a hurry to get to the Cinque Terre, enjoy the cities that you meet along the way. Most of them are described on our site. Perhaps you will agree with us that it is worth staying in some of them. For example you can look at the itinerary described on the page “The dream trip in 2 weeks”.
By bus to the Cinque Terre
There is no public bus service between the villages of the Cinque Terre because everyone prefers to travel by train. It is quicker and more convenient. Each village has its own local bus.
By ferry to the Cinque Terre
The boats that travel to the Cinque Terre are few and far between, are more expensive than the train and take longer. It must be said, though, that the views seen from a boat are unforgettable! There are some ferries which travel between the villages of the Cinque Terre. More information on the page “How to get around”.
By car to the Cinque Terre
Driving to the Cinque Terre is a real undertaking! The roads here are narrow and winding; in many villages access by car is forbidden and there is no parking nearby. But even when there are car parks, they are usually full. What’s more, there aren’t many fuel stations and there simply aren’t any at all in the Cinque Terre villages. To avoid any problems if you decide to visit this part of Liguria by car, irrespective of the season you choose, please read the information on the page “Visiting by car”.
By camper to the Cinque Terre
If you decide to travel through Italy in a camper van, you will encounter the very same problems as going by car. The parking areas in the Cinque Terre set up for "homes on wheels" are very few. A few of these car parks are located, for example, in Levanto: 50 places in Pian di Picche (via Albero d’Oro, 1); the large campsites of Acqua Dolce (Via Guido Semenza, 5) or 5 Terre (loc. Sella Mereti). Prices vary from 11 euro to 18 euro depending on the season).
Another possibility for parking the camper, not far from Monterosso, is the parking area “Il Poggio”. It is a half-hour walk to arrive in the village or you can take the bus.
There is also the parking area of Portovenere - Golfo. It is located (for the GPS navigator) in Via Olivo, 561, Porto Venere. Here you can take on a supply of drinking water and empty the drains. There are no other special services provided.