It never ceases to amaze me that one of my most popular posts on the blog is about the Park Centro Stazione parking garage beneath La Spezia Centrale. I guess lots of you are googling parking options near the Cinque Terre? If you are unable to pre-book a space at Park Centro Stazione because the website says it’s sold out (FYI only a limited number of spaces can be booked in advance, the rest are first-come, first-served) and you’re not keen on the free, streetside parking that I blogged about here, then this post is for you!
Aside from the Park Centro Stazione garage beneath the station, La Spezia offers two other underground public payment parking garages: Park Kennedy (run by ATC, the same company that runs Park Centro Stazione and the public city buses) and Europa_Park (run by the Chamber of Commerce). Neither of these parking garages currently offer the possibility to book a space in advance nor are they within close walking distance to La Spezia Centrale train station (or the secondary station called La Spezia Migliarina), so you’ll want to grab a taxi. Once you are at La Spezia Centrale you can easily connect to the Cinque Terre villages by catching a Cinque Terre Express train.
Let me explain both of these garage options in detail:
PARK KENNEDYThis garage is located beneath a largely unsuccessful outdoor shopping center called Piazza (or Piazzale) Kennedy, named after the late American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Don’t ask me why this shopping center was dedicated to JFK because honestly I have no clue! Back on topic, the garage is the oldest of the three public garages in La Spezia but it’s also the least expensive at €0.50 per hour (so €12 per day). There’s no limit on how long you leave your vehicle, just know that there’s no sliding scale if you park for a longer period of time (no matter what, the rate is €12 per 24 hours).
Here’s how it works:First things first, check the electronic sign outside the garage entrance (which is on Via XXIV Maggio) to see if there are spaces available. If it says LIBERO then there are spaces available; if it says COMPLETO or PIENO then the garage is full. If there are spaces available, pull up to the gate and push the button for a ticket. Once the ticket has printed, remove it and the gate will raise allowing you to enter.
Drive down the ramp (proceed with caution because the space is tight and pedestrians walk up and down the ramp even though they aren’t supposed to). At the bottom of the ramp you will see that you can either go straight or to the left. You will need to go to the left for the public parking.
Find a parking space, lock up (the rule of thumb is to not leave any valuables in sight), and take your ticket with you. Follow the signs to reach the stairwell and elevator which will take you to ground level.Don’t forget your ticket in the car because you will need to enter the code printed on it to open the locked doors that access the garage (and heads up, the entrance is gated at 10pm each night so you won’t be able to walk down the ramp, either).
IMPORTANT: Payment is accepted only in cash and only €5, €10 and €20 notes are accepted (coins are okay, too). Any change given will be in coins.
Once you’ve inserted your ticket the machine will display the amount due. Once you’ve paid, the ticket will be returned to you (as well as any change, if applicable). You now have a 15 minute window to exit the garage.
Follow the signs indicating the direction for the uscita (exit) and you’ll end up driving back up the ramp. At the top of the ramp, pull up to the gate and insert your ticket. When your ticket pops back out you’ll need to retrieve it so that the gate will raise and allow you to exit.
How to get to La Spezia Centrale from Park Kennedy
To grab a taxi you have two options:
- Walk one block to a taxi lineup in front of the hospital (located in the parking lot on the corner of Via Veneto and Via S. Cipriano). Expect to pay circa €8 for the ride to La Spezia Centrale.
- Call RadioTaxi (+39 0187 523 523) to order a cab pickup (tell them you are at the entrance to the garage at Piazza Kennedy). This option will cost you a little more as the meter starts running as soon as the cab takes the call. The price really depends on the location of the taxi, but I’d expect this option to be around a €10 fare to get to La Spezia Centrale.
EUROPA_PARKLa Spezia’s newest underground public parking garage is Europa_Park, located beneath the recently reconstructed and restyled Piazza Europa (which was unveiled in 2016). The garage is highly automated and user-friendly. There are two entrances, one on Via XXIV Maggio and one on Via Veneto (there are exits there, too).The hourly rate is €1.50 during prime-time and €0.60 during off-peak hours. The daily rate is €15 (for 24 hours), so €3 more per day than the Park Kennedy garage. The Europa_Park garage is so bright, new and shiny it almost squeaks! This is where you’ll want to park if you plan to catch a ferry from La Spezia as it’s just one block away from the waterfront. Passeggiata Morin is the name of the waterfront promenade where the ferries connecting to the Cinque Terre (via Portovenere) and Lerici pick up passengers.EditThis garage is also just one block from the cruise terminal and where you can pick up the Explora 5Terre bus at Largo Fiorillo (click here for the latest schedule and dates that Explora runs). The Explora bus runs to all of the Cinque Terre villages, minus Monterosso, and is a great hop on/hop off solution.
Everything you need to know to park at the Europa_Park garage:Before entering, check the automated sign (which flashes a display in multiple languages) to see if there are spaces available. The easiest way is to simply look to see if it’s flashing green (which means you’re good to go) or red (the garage is full).
If spaces are available, drive down the ramp and follow the painted arrows to reach the gate. Push the button and retrieve your ticket once it has printed. Once you’ve grabbed your ticket the gate will raise, allowing you to enter.Now go ahead and find a parking space, but pay close attention and follow the painted arrows so that you don’t go against the flow of traffic. Heads up: Be sure not to park in a handicap space unless you have a handicap placard.
Once you’ve parked and locked up, be sure to take your ticket with you (as you’ll need it not only when it’s time to pay but also if you want to access the garage during nocturnal hours).Make your way to the stairwell, which is clearly signmarked (there’s also an elevator available). Once you go up one flight you’ll find yourself in a glass atrium on the same level as the piazza. This is not only where you’ll enter/exit but also where you’ll find the automated payment machine (where you’ll need to settle up upon your return).Speaking of settling up, it’s possible to pay for your parking at Europa_Park with the following methods:
- Cash or coins (but do not insert 1, 2 or 5 cent coins). The directions also say to insert coins one at a time.
- ATM or debit card (PIN required)
- Credit card (your PIN *may* be required)
Once you have paid, the machine will return your ticket to you. You now have a window of 15 minutes to exit the garage.
After you’ve gone downstairs and retrieved your car, follow the signs for the uscita (exit). Pull up to the gate, insert your ticket and retrieve it when it pops back out and the gate will lift. Drive up the ramp following the painted arrows and exit the garage. Voila… all done!
One last thing…
While the Europa_Park garage is very close to Passeggiata Morin and within relatively close walking distance to La Spezia’s shopping district (Via del Prione and Corso Cavour), it’s not close to La Spezia Centrale train station. I recommend calling a cab using Radio Taxi (+39 0187 523 523) or you may see a taxi in a lineup near the Comune (city hall).
I know this was a long post and I actually debated breaking it up into two shorter ones that might be easier to digest. Ultimately I decided it was best to have all the info in one place without having to click through. I hope you’ve found it helpful! If you have any questions just let me know in the comments section.