Cinque TerreItaly Trains

Cinque Terre Trains: A Complete Guide To Riding

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Riding the Cinque Terre trains is the easiest and one of the only ways to get around the area. The train system is setup to be easy to navigate for tourists, and should be utilized by most people visiting the area.

What are the trains like in Cinque Terre

Trains in Cinque Terre are fast, efficient and timely. You won’t find them running behind schedule often, and if you miss a train another one is going to be coming right behind it, especially in summer.

Trains are dual level and have seating on both the upper and lower levels. Most trains running are of the older variety, but they have started introducing new trains into the mix, which are even more modern with touches such as USB charging ports!

TIP: On the older trains the best view is from the first seat on the upper level. It is an emergency window that could be broken if needed, so it is like a big picture window, big enough to crawl out of. All of the other windows are split level and not as nice to take pictures out of. The window on the right below is the bigger emergency window.

Allie on the upper level

Even if you don’t get that special seat, we recommend sitting on the upper level for the best views. The train will be hugging the coast line for most of the ride and sitting up top will give you better angles to see the water.

Trains are equipped with charging ports and trash cans at the seats. If you need to use a charger from the US, bring an adapter!

Charging Ports

Seats on the train are grouped into pods of 4 seats. There are places for luggage to be stored overhead, but you are on the train such a short amount of time that people with luggage usually just sit on the lower level with their luggage.

During the summer it’ll be full, so you’ll want to walk to one end of the platform or the other to get on a less crowded part of the train. The middle is usually the section with the most passengers. See below to read which section of the platform you should be on for different stations.

Pods of 4 seats

To get off the train at your stop, hit the green button and the doors will open. You’ll need to wait for the train to come to a complete stop for it to work.

Push the green button to get off

There are a few newer trains on the route, and you’ll notice when you get on one that the seats look more sleek and have a new feel to them. They come with nice big picture windows and more space for standing.

New train interior

You’ll also find that these newer trains are equipped with a power outlet and a USB charging port by the seats.

Charging ports

Seeing Cinque Terre by train

Riding the train is the easiest way to see Cinque Terre. You can reach Cinque Terre regional trains from La Spezia or Levano. Once in the area you can ride the Cinque Terre regional train to any of the 5 cities, Riomaggiore, Manorola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Connections can be made by train from any major city in Italy, including Rome, Pisa, Venice, and Florence. If you are flying into Cinque Terre the closest airport is in Pisa. From Pisa it is an easy train ride to La Spezia and then on to Cinque Terre.

How much is a train ticket in Cinque Terre

Train Tickets in Cinque Terre are 5 euros in the summer season and 2.50 euros in the low season. Daily passes, called train cards, are also available for 1 or more days. Train cards give you unlimited rides until midnight of the day purchased. The cost of a Cinque Terre train card is:

  • 1 Day: 18.20 euro
  • 2 Days 33 euros
  • 3 Days 47 euros

You can buy the Cinque Terre train card here.

If you don’t buy tickets online via the card, you can buy them at the station from the Trenitalia kiosks. Once you buy your ticket you need to get it validated by sliding it into the green machine next to the ticket kiosk. That will start the timer on your ticket, and it’ll be good for one hour and 15 minutes from that point. If you buy tickets online, they are pre validated and you won’t need to do that.

Using the machine is simple, and you can select English as the language to help you navigate the screens.

Ticket machines

Is the Cinque Terre train card worth it

The Cinque Terre train card is worth buying. Most people will be visiting multiple cities on their visit, and the card pays for itself with just 2 round trip rides per day. The bigger factor to having the card though is convenience. When you have the train card, you won’t need to stand in line to get a ticket at the station. Some of these stations have very few ticket machines and the lines are very long during the busy season. This alone is worth the price of the card.

You could end up waiting over 20 minutes every time you need to buy a ticket if you don’t have the card.

The line to buy tickets in Riomaggiore

What stops do the trains make

La Spezia

La Spezia is the gateway to Cinque Terre and tickets to the region start from this station. You won’t be visiting this station often unless you are staying there, but this city is outside of the Cinque Terre and is not one of the 5 cities. If you are coming from a bigger city like Rome or Venice, you’ll need to stop here to change to the Cinque Terre regional trains.

There is no direct train from Venice to Cinque Terre. If you are coming from Venice you’ll first need to connect to La Spezia, and get on the Cinque Terre Express train there.

Riomaggiore

Riomaggiore is the first city of the 5 and is our favorite place to stay. We think it is the prettiest city and has good restaurants and several Airbnb’s you can stay at. See our choices for the best Airbnb’s everywhere we’ve stayed here.

When you get off the train in Riomaggiore you’ll need to walk through a long pedestrian tunnel to get to the city. The walk is flat, but once you reach the main street the walk will be slightly uphill.

Riomaggiore is the place where tourists love to go out on the rocks and take pictures for social media, as it is beautiful. The views from the station are also impressive!

View from the Riomaggiore station

At some stations in the area, including this one, you’ll need to walk under the tracks through a tunnel to switch sides.

Tunnel to the tracks

Manorola

The 2nd city is Manorola, which is a hillside city with wonderful views. It is a great place to do a wine tour or take a pesto making class! The station overlooks the water and is just as picturesque as Riomaggiore.

This station is easier as there is only one platform and the trains go on either side, so there is no tunnel to navigate.

Cinque Terre Trains

Corniglia

Corniglia is the city that is furthest from the water and is the hardest to reach. From the train station you’ll need to walk up a steep set of stairs or take a local cab to the top of the hill. The visit is worth the effort though. If you have mobility issues you’ll want to arrange a ride or skip this town. Bathrooms are available here, and cost 1 Euro, but are free if you have the train card.

Cinque Terre Trains
Train station in Corniglia

To reach the town you’ll need to climb a series a switchbacks up to the yellow and orange building in this picture!

There are places to rest along the way, but it is a solid climb to the top. The stairs will look like this.

Vernazza

Vernazza is the crown jewel of the Cinque Terre, and has the crowds to prove it! The train station sits above the city and you’ll walk towards the water down a narrow street with everyone else to get there. Just go down the stairs and you’ll be dumped into the flow of people walking to the main city center.

Cinque Terre Trains
The street to Vernazza as seen from the tracks

Getting on the train is Vernazza is simple, as there is only one track. All trains will go to the same platform. Due to the tunnels nearby, there are not tracks going both ways like most stations. Make sure your train is heading in the direction you want to go.

Vernazza train track

In the summer the platform at Vernazza will be the most crowded train platform you’ve ever seen. Since there is only one area, everyone stands there. The train is much longer than the part of the platform that is not in a tunnel, and most people don’t think they can enter the tunnel so they all crowd the same area. In fact you can and should enter the tunnel as that is the best place to get on the train, and you’ll have shade while you wait.

If you are getting off at Vernazza it is easy to miss the stop. It is likely that you’ll be in the tunnel when the train stops, and if you don’t know you need to get off there, you could think the train isn’t at the station yet, even though it is. See the picture below for what it’ll look like getting on and off in the tunnel.

Cinque Terre Trains
Platform in Vernazza

Monterosso

Monterosso is the biggest city and the one with the largest beach! The train station is right next to the beach so it is an easy place to visit! The train station is the orange building on the right.

Cinque Terre Trains
Train station and boardwalk in Monterosso

When you walk out of the station you’ll be in the heart of Monterosso, with shops and restaurants nearby. To get there you just walk down the stairs from the platform and turn towards the water. You could also take an elevator down if you have bags or mobility issues. Interestingly, while you can get down with an elevator, there is not one on the other side of the platform to go back, so keep that in mind.

Platform in Monterosso

How long do the trains run in Cinque Terre

The trains in Cinque Terre run from early morning before sunrise until 1:00am. If you want to stay out late and eat dinner or get some sunset pictures in Vernazza, the trains will have you covered. During the summer there will be a train every 15 minutes. During winter months the trains are less frequent.

Are there different train classes

There is only one class of train in the Cinque Terre region. All trains are second class and there are no first class tickets available. Everyone on the train will ride in second class. The trains are very comfortable.

Are dogs allowed on the train

Dogs are allowed to ride the trains in Cinque Terre. You’ll see many passengers bring their dog on the train with them when you ride.

Can those with limited mobility ride

Those with mobility issues will be challenged on the Cinque Terre trains and the region in general. Take a close look at our platform pictures to make sure the stairs are something you can navigate before riding. Pay extra attention to Corniglia, as it is especially difficult to reach.

Robert Marmion
Rob is married to Allie and together they have been traveling the world for the past 2 years. Rob is one of the most published photographers in the world, having published over 750,000 images in the last 15 years. He enjoys doing landscape and astrophotography while on the road.