What is the Best Way to Get to Cinque Terre?

Which airports are closest to Cinque Terre?

Cinque Terre is on the Italian Riviera in the region of Liguria in northwest Italy and close to the following cities with airports:

1 ½ hours northwest of Pisa (Aeroporto di Pisa: PSA)

1 ½ hours southeast of Genoa (Aeroporto di Genova:  GOA)

2 hours northwest of Florence (Aeroporto di Firenze:  FLR)

3 hours south of Milan (Milano Malpensa Airport:  MXP)

4 ½ hours north of Rome (Aeroporti di Roma Fiumicino: FCO)

What is the best way to get to Cinque Terre?

…By Train

We suggest arriving by TRAIN because Italy has a well-connected, national rail network AND you will NOT need a car to get around Cinque Terre.

“Cinque Terre Express” trains run every 30 minutes from La Spezia and Levanto to the five villages of Cinque Terre.  They run every hour in the evenings.  If you go to dinner in another village, always make sure you know your choices for a return train!

Buy tickets online at the Trenitalia website (www.trenitalia.com), through the Trenitalia app or in the train stations.  Remember that there is no single place called “Cinque Terre”.  Search for a train station in a specific village:  Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.

The cost of a ticket from La Spezia to Vernazza is €4.  Remember to BUY your ticket AND STAMP IT before getting on the train (to avoid a €50 fine).

…By Car

You do not need a CAR to get around Cinque Terre.  The Cinque Terre are car-free villages with limited parking outside the village centers.  You have two choices:  park in La Spezia and take the train to Vernazza OR drive to and park in Vernazza.

Driving to Vernazza

Exit the autostrada at La Spezia, drive into La Spezia and follow the signs for “Cinque Terre”. You will drive about 40 minutes on a panoramic, narrow, winding road above the coastline.  Turn left when you see the sign “Vernazza” and drive 10 minutes downhill on the steep and narrow road.

The drive takes at least 45 minutes (rather than 20 minutes by train). Driving is not a good idea if you suffer from fear of heights or car sickness!

Warning: There are no gas stations in the Cinque Terre, so make sure you fill your gas tank in La Spezia or Levanto.

Parking in Vernazza

There are 2 parking lots in Vernazza, located approximately 1 km (0,6 mile) uphill from the pedestrian entrance to town.

I would suggest PARKING VERNASSOA. It is the first lot you will see on your left as you drive towards Vernazza, with a FREE shuttle service to/from Vernazza town center.

Option 1: Parking “Vernassoa”

  • Open from 8am to 8pm
  • Cost:  €15 per day (payable in cash)
  • GPS address “Parking Vernassoa”
  • I can reserve a parking spot for our guests.  

You will see the PARKING VERNASSOA lot on your left with a brown sign “Vernassoa Parcheggio Custodito Secure Parking” and Italian and European flags. Their FREE shuttle will take you to the entrance of the village where we can meet in front of the Post Office.

Option 2: Parcheggio Vernazza

  • Open from 10am to 6pm
  • Cost:  €15 per day
  • GPS address “Vernazza Parcheggio”

You cannot miss it:  the last place to park on the right before you reach the barrier blocking cars from entering Vernazza. You can take the minibus that passes on schedule 6 times per day.

Parking in La Spezia

I suggest parking in a public parking lot for safety and to avoid fines since the street parking rules are complicated.  Even better, return/pick up your rental car before/after your trip to Cinque Terre since you will not need a car to get around.

The parking lots are automated, clean, and safe.  Always remember:

  • Take your ticket with you
  • Go to the parking ticket machine to pay in cash or credit card before exiting
  • Use the code on your ticket to gain entrance to the parking lot
  • DO NOT LOSE YOUR TICKET because you will be forced to pay the maximum fee

Option 1: Park Centro Stazione Car Park at the La Spezia Centrale Train Station

You can park underneath the train station and walk upstairs to take the Cinque Terre Express train to Vernazza (only 20 minutes journey, Vernazza is the usually the fourth stop).

  • Open 24 hours/7 days
  • Cost: €30 per day (€1,50 per hour 8am to 8pm, € 1,00 per hour from 8pm to 8am)
  • GPS address: “Stazione La Spezia Centrale”
  • www.mobpark.eu “Centro Stazione Park”

Note:  Sometimes you can reserve online but sometimes this option does not always work.  If the parking lot is full, just wait a few minutes because cars come and go all day.

Option 2:  Europa Park

La Spezia’s newest underground public parking garage is Europa_Park, located beneath Piazza Europa.  It is a 30-minute walk or 5-minute taxi to the train station.

  • Open 24 hours/7 days
  • Cost: €15 per day (€1,50 per hour 8am to 8pm Monday – Saturday, € 0,60 per hour from 8pm to 8am Monday – Saturday + all day Sunday)
  • GPS address:  Europa Park – Parking Europe Square, La Spezia
  • Call RadioTaxi (+39 0187 523 523) to order a taxi pickup.

Option 3: Porto Mirabello Outdoor Car Park

Porto Mirabello is a luxury yacht marina with ample, paid outdoor parking.  Video surveillance makes it very safe.  It is a 25-minute walk or 5-minute taxi to the train station

  • Open 24 hours/7 days
  • Cost: €12 per day
  • GPS address: Porto Mirabello, La Spezia
  • Call RadioTaxi (+39 0187 523 523) to order a taxi pickup.

A stop at casual restaurant and shop “Mirabello Gourmet” at Porto Mirabello is a great option for snacks, lunch, takeaway, or an Aperitivo outside with a view of the yacht-filled harbor.

Where to rent a car in La Spezia?

You can rent a car in La Spezia from these agencies: Europcar, Avis, Hertz, and Maggiore.

For the best pricing, check out their websites and use any discounts you may have (company discount, AAA, credit card discount, etc.)

What is the best way to get around Cinque Terre?

The Cinque Terre are car-free villages set in a stunning, natural landscape. 

You can easily get around the Cinque Terre by:

  • Train, the fastest way to travel
  • Boat, the most scenic way to travel, with Ferry boats, taxi boats or boat tours
  • Hiking
  • Kayak

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  1. Buongiorno Cynthia! Anytime is a good time to visit Vernazza. Low season in Cinque Terre is from November to mid-March. Winter can be a great time to visit because it is very quiet and there are fewer tourists. It will be very dependent on the weather: it rains more but it can also be sunny and warm. Travellers to Italy in winter need to be flexible! Christmas in Vernazza is very family-oriented. We are closed at Christmas and New Year’s. Wishing you a lovely trip!

  2. Salve Ruth, we will be driving from Switzerland early August. After 5 Terre we will be driving towards Roma and stay one night near La Spezia. What is your suggestion on where I should park my car and take the train to 5 Terre? Every article says La Spezia is the best place to start. But based on your second paragraph the train goes from La Spezia and Levanto and since we are coming from the northwest we will get to Levanto first. Do you think it’s a good idea parking at Levanto to start the journey? Arrivederci!

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