Traveling by train is the most convenient way to travel, but not necessarily easy. Following are essential tips to get you where you want to go.
Picking the Best time to Travel
The picture above shows what you don't want to be caught in. Picking the right time to travel will shape your experience. To avoid peak times (between 10 am - 12:00) and again (from 2 pm to 6 pm) traveling early in the morning, around 1 when most people are eating and late in the day are the best times to get around without encountering large crowds.
Getting in the right train car
Where you get on the train, can also be helpful if there are crowds, because most people will get on in the center of the train. Just bypassing those cars and moving forward or back will help you avoid the crowds. There is an announcement to get in the center of the train, because some train stations only have a very short platform. If you get on in the back or front, you could arrive in the tunnel. Platforms continue into the tunnel and you can still get off. Just don't sit in the last car!
Validating your Ticket
Tickets must be validated BEFORE you board the train. If you are caught without a validated ticket there is a 50 Euro fine. Tickets can be validated on the platform, at the train stations and sometimes in the underpass between platforms.
Validation for a normal ticket is valid for 75 minutes.
If you have a 6 hour ticket it will be valid for that time.
Intercity tickets do not have to be validated because you have an assigned car and seat. Train ticket to get in Cinque Terre
THE CINQUE TERRE TRAIN
If you want to hike the #2 trail, which is currently only open between Monterosso, Vernazza and Corniglia, and also want to use the train all day as well, then Cinque Terre Pass is a good idea. Current cost: 16 Euro.
However, there is now a new train called the "Cinque Terre Express" and it will cost you 4 euro per stop. This train runs from 8 am to 8 pm, the earlier & later trains are 2.10 euro per stop. This train runs between La Spezia central to Levanto.
Platforms and time-tables
Not speaking Italian is confusing enough. Knowing where to catch your train is essential. You can find your train on the yellow time-tables on the walls of train stations. This schedule will show you all stops. Once you have your train and ticket, please watch the monitor for your train platform and time. There are two sections, the top will be arrivals, so pay attention to the bottom departure listings. If your train is boarding it will flash on the monitor.
One of the most confusing things about the trains in Cinque Terre is that the trains that go North are on the track next to ocean and the trains that go South are on the land side which is counter intuitive if you are used to Right side traffic. Please make sure you find the way to the underpass to get to your platform. Make sure to check the monitor as the platform may have changed.
You can pick up a time table for Cinque Terre at any train station in Cinque Terre or the park office. These frequently change, so make sure you have a current version. Not all trains stop at EVERY station in Cinque Terre. A vertical line in the schedule means the train will not stop in that location. Most trains will stop in Monterosso and Riomaggiore. Please pay attention to the letters above, such as A for Weekdays, B for Sundays/Holidays etc.
For current train and Boat schedules, please visit our website.
Train Strikes and Delays
Again, please check the monitor at the train station for strikes or delay alerts. Next to your train listing, there will be a note showing the following:
SOPPRESSO means Delay (shows time of delay)
SCIOPERO means Train Strike (shows time of strike)
Train strikes can last 12 hours or more. In case of a train strike, there will be a notification at the train station and the monitors. They may also be announced ahead of time, so be on the watch-out.
Be aware of Pick Pocketing, especially in crowded trains. Be aware of people that push up against you for no reason. Thieves usually come in pairs (2 or more, like young girls, a woman nursing etc.) They will hand off your wallet to their accomplice. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.