What you need to know about the Cinque Terre trail and train passes
Knowing all about the Cinque Terre trail and train passes before you arrive can make life a whole lot easier.
There are two types of cards, one, named “Cinque Terre Card”, allows visitors to access services and travel facilities and a second one, “Cinque Terre Card Treno” includes unlimited train trips in the Park area.
Cinque Terre Card 2019
- 1 day pass €7.50
- 2-day pass €14.50
This card is just for the trails (including the coastal trail) and does not include public transport.
Cinque Terre Card Treno (Train) 2019
- 1 day pass €13.00
- 2-day pass €23.00
- 1 day pass €16.00
- 2-day pass €29.00
- 3-day pass €41.00
*reduced rates apply for seniors and children
The Cinque Terre Treno card includes access to:
- All regional and Cinque Terre trains for 24 hours (or longer depending on the number of days your ticket is for)
- Access to paid public toilets in the national park
- Free wifi at train stations and other public wifi spots in the park
- Access to all trails in the Cinque Terre
- Use of all public buses in the five villages
- Free entry to some of the museums in the Cinque Terre Park
Note – the pass expires at midnight of the day/two days. It is not for a 24 hour period commencing at the time of ticket validation. Tickets for multiple days must also be used consecutively. For example if you first use a 20day pass on a Monday, it will be valid for Monday and Tuesday. You cannot select the days yourself.
Also, note that not all trails require the pass but the major ones do (eg blue path). If in doubt, check online to see which ones you require a pass for.
You cannot walk the main tracks without the pass. Cinque Terre staff check your tickets at both ends of the trails. The paths from Corniglia to Monterosso are the best tracks and they do require the pass.
Which ticket is the best to buy?
The answer lies in how much you plan to do, and obviously how long you plan to stay in the villages. If you are planning on doing lots of hiking and catching the train often, plus utilising the buses in the villages, the combined trail and train pass would be more economical.
If you are definitely wanting to hike the Sentiero Azzurro, the path that winds along the coast, you will definitely need to buy a Cinque Terre card.
As an indicator, a one-way journey between two villages costs €4 (adult). Every time you get off, the journey is finished, so to return to the train will cost another €4. This could get quite expensive if you are planning on village hopping, making the Treno card a good saving in the long term.
Where can you buy tickets for the Cinque Terre trails?
Tickets can be purchased at the train stations, at a separate kiosk to the main train ticket booth, or at the ticket booths on the trails. In 2018, it also became possible to buy the Cinque Terre card online.
I don’t look at this option with a view to whether I can save money. The Cinque Terre exists and makes itself available to people such as myself because of its trails. So what if you can walk a couple of trails without spending the money. I think it’s important to buy a ticket as the very small amount per ticket goes towards helping keep the tracks open, safe, and easily accessible.
It is also always important before setting out or making plans, to check which trails are open.
Also note – these prices, conditions and trails that are covered by the pass can and do change often. Use this as a guide but always check the latest information if you are travelling to the Cinque Terre.
Validating your Cinque Terre Treno card
After you have purchased the Cinque Terre Treno card, the back of the card requires completing. Remember also that this card is time-limited, so you will also need to validate, just as you would an ordinary train ticket, in the machines available on the train platforms prior to using for the first time. ie on your first train journey of the day.
General Train information for the Cinque Terre
The trains that run between the villages and other towns in the area are extremely inexpensive and efficient. eg one way from Levanto to Monterosso is €4 (if you do not have the Cinque Terre Treno card). Tickets can be bought from the booth at the station or in the self-service machines, which are very easy to use.
TIP: Make sure you validate the tickets in the self-serve machines in the station and on the platforms before getting on a train. Ticket inspectors do frequent the trains.
The trains are also very frequent and get to the villages very quickly.
Examples of travelling times
Monterosso – Vernazza: 4 minutes
Riomaggiore – Manarola: 2 minutes
Manarola – Corniglia: 3 minutes
Corniglia – Vernazza: 4 minutes
Vernazza – Monterosso: 3 minutes
- Each station has small screens which display the next train. Destinations (end of the line) are only shown so you need to know which direction you are travelling in.
- Keep an eye on the screens as platforms can change.
- Some trains are express only – eg there is one that is express from Riomaggiore to Monterosso. If you are wanting to stop in between, this is not the one to get on.
- Pickpockets are a real problem on the train platforms. The platforms get very crowded and there can be a lot of push and shove. Pickpockets use this as a distraction to relieve you of your wallet. When we were there a group of Japanese tourists were targetted, and the train staff regularly communicated the issue.
- Cash or credit card can be used to purchase tickets
- A reminder again to validate your ticket