Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

You read that right, the promises have finally become a reality! You can *finally* purchase your Cinque Terre National Park passes online. 

To purchase your passes (directly from the Cinque Terre National Park, this isn’t a third party platform) go to: https://card.parconazionale5terre.it/en


You can purchase the hiking pass (called the Trekking Card) or the all-inclusive Cinque Terre Card (at the moment they are calling it the Train Card*) online. 

*I really wish the park could streamline their marketing efforts and call the passes the same thing on all of their platforms, making it a little less confusing for visitors.

It’s pretty straightforward to purchase your passes, just follow the prompts.

Some of the translating gaffes on this site are downright funny! 

In case you were wondering (don’t worry, I was, too), “aggregate” is a supplement for groups larger than 25 persons and “guys” is a translating blunder and should be “youth” (for kids age 4-11 years).

You will have to create a login and password for the site (ugh, don’t they realize we already have nine zillion passwords and logins to remember?).

Payment can be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Maestro), no PayPal. 

After you’ve made your purchase you should receive an email with a PDF file to download.  You can do one of two things:  1) Print this file and keep a hard copy with you, or 2) save the file (or simply screenshot) on your phone or device to display to the controller when requested (make sure that the QR code is visible).

Ta-dah! You’re all set.

FAQs

  • Do I have to purchase passes in advance? Absolutely not. But you’ll save yourself quite a bit of time if you do.
  • If I decide to purchase my passes when I’m there instead, where can I do so? You can purchase passes in person at any of the Cinque Terre National Park Info Points. You’ll find them in all five villages + at the La Spezia Centrale and Levanto train stations. If you are wanting the hiking pass, you can actually just start walking the coastal trail and buy the Trekking Card when you reach a checkpoint.
  • Help! I’m confused as to which passes I’ll need. Check out my previous post here that details all of the different options and their relative prices.
  • Do I have to print something?  Not necessarily.  If you prefer not to print (or you just simply don’t have the possibility to print) you can save the PDF file on your phone or device (or simply take screenshots of it).  You’ll need to show the QR code so that it can be scanned by the controller.  With that said, we all know that technology has its disadvantages (namely, batteries that don’t stay charged forever), so a paper copy is always great to have.

If you have any other questions just let me know.

Amy

51 thoughts on “Hear, hear: You can finally purchase your Cinque Terre passes online 

  1. Paula Falconer | Villa Valentina says:

    Amy… thank you so much for keeping us in the loop—you’re amazing.

    I’d love to meet you—when in Levanto next give me a call and I’ll pick you up at the station and we can have a coffee, aperitivo or I’ll make you lunch at VV.

    Best, Paula >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Paula!

      Aren’t you sweet! ❤️ Thank you so much for 1) appreciating the blog (it means so much especially as it’s coming from another expat local), and 2) for the invite! So kind of you! I would love to meet you in person (hopefully when the weather cools off and the kids are back to school so I have some “me” time).

      x
      Amy

      Like

  2. Chuck Strain says:

    Dear Amy,

    This is a fantastic public service. Thank you!

    If I buy the Cinque Terre train combo card online, do I then have to print it out, or may I display it on my phone, please? I have a printer available now, but I won’t have one when I’ll know the date of validity. I’m thinking of driving to La Spezia and parking for free at the La Spezia Migliarina Station, where I believe the card can’t be purchased in person.

    Thanks.
    Yours,
    Chuck Strain
    DUIguy1@yahoo.com

    Like

    1. Ciao Chuck!

      It’s my pleasure! I’m so glad you’ve found the blog helpful.

      As this is a brand new service, I don’t have the answer to your question yet (I could purchase a ticket to find out but then I’d end up with a card that I don’t need). I will try contacting the National Park to find out for you. Stay tuned!

      Amy

      P.S. Yes, you are correct… there’s no possibility to purchase a pass at the Migliarina station.

      Like

      1. Chuck Strain says:

        Dear Amy,

        Thanks! My wife and I will be driving in for a whirlwind, one-day excursion from a bit north of Florence, about 1.5 hours away. We plan to arrive very early (around 07:00) on September 4 or 5, when only one relatively small cruise ship (of about 1250 passengers) is moored at a nearby port (in this case, at La Spezia and Livorno, respectively). We may have friends with us in another car or two.

        With an early start, we plan to hike from Monterosso to Vernazza, and then Corniglia. We’ll probably then take trains on to Manarola and Riomaggiore for a quick look-see, before heading home (perhaps through Lucca and/or Pisa).

        If we can effectively buy the C.T. card online the day before without a printer, we’ll plan to park for free at La Spezia Migliarina and first use the cards to ride the train from there. (The card is good from there, right?)

        If not, I can think of several alternatives: 1) Stop by La Spezia Centrale Station, send a passenger inside to buy cards for all, and then drive to Migliarina to park; 2) Drop all passengers at Centrale, park at Migliarina, and walk back to Centrale where passengers are waiting; 3) Park at Migliarina and pay 1.9 Euros each to ride to Centrale, where all get off to buy cards; 4) Pay for parking at La Spezia Centrale; or 5) Pay for parking at Monterosso.

        Any advice, please?

        Chuck Strain
        DUIguy1@yahoo.com

        Like

      2. Ciao again!

        I believe the National Park Info Points open at 8am but I’m double checking that for you at the moment. If that’s the case, you’d have to hang around waiting for them to open so that you can purchase your Cinque Terre Cards before boarding the train (which obviously isn’t ideal).

        Seeing your proposed itinerary, for the sake of simplicity and convenience I would recommend that you drive to Monterosso (exit the autostrada at CARRODANO/LEVANTO) and park at the large Fegina parking lot in Monterosso (at 7am it shouldn’t be a problem finding a space). Go ahead and start hiking (they won’t be checking tickets that early) and by the time you get to Vernazza you can pop by the Info Point at the train station to buy your Cinque Terre Cards. Problem solved! 🙂

        FYI: Parking rates at Fegina are 50 cents per hour from 10pm to 8am and €2.50 per hour from 8am to 10pm.

        I hope this info helps!
        Amy

        Like

      3. Chuck Strain says:

        Dear Amy,

        My last reply crossed with your astute updates. Yes, with the Info Points not open until 08:00, if we don’t have online-purchased Tren cards that can be digitally validated, we’ll drive straight to Monterosso. You deserve big hugs, and much more. Grazie mille!

        Chuck Strain
        DUIguy1@yahoo.com

        Like

      4. Happy to be of help! 🙂

        I tried calling the national park admin office yesterday multiple times but there was never any answer. I suspect that they kept their offices closed for a long weekend (as today is Ferragosto, a national holiday). (*sigh*) Someone should definitely answer tomorrow.

        I’ll keep you posted!
        Amy

        Like

      5. Ciao Chuck!

        I *finally* was able to get in touch with the person from the national park responsible for the online sales of the Cinque Terre Card (gotta love August… it’s the month for Italians to go on holiday!). He assured me that it isn’t necessary to print (though you can) the PDF file that is sent after purchasing the card. There’s a QR code that you’ll need to present to the controller, so you can simply take a screenshot and keep it on your phone. 🙂

        You’ll notice I’ve amended my blog post to reflect the new info.

        Take care and buona vacanza!

        Amy 🙂

        Like

      6. Chuck Strain says:

        Dear Amy,

        Thank you. I’d also inquired by email to info@parconazionale5terre.it (with no response) about the necessity of printing out evidence of the online C.T. card purchase. Perhaps they’ll someday put that information on their website, along with business hours of their Info Points.

        The ability to display a QR code is very convenient for travelers on the road, often without access to a printer. In this case, it will allow my party to avoid crowds and enhance the ability to find a parking spot by arriving before Info Points open. It will also permit me to park more inexpensively in La Spezia (than in Monterosso), and to save an extra 45-minute drive each way to and from Monterosso.

        You’re our C.T. hero!

        Chuck Strain
        DUIguy1@yahoo.com

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Chuck Strain says:

    Dear Amy,

    I’m now guessing that an online-purchased Treno card–if not also an online-purchased Trekking card–must be printed out. That’s because the Parco Nationale states: “Cards must be validated before getting on the train using validation machines at the station.” Without a physical card or paper in hand, it would require a rather sophisticated real-time database with multiple networked scanners to keep track of whether and when digital screen pass displays are validated. Does that make sense, please?

    Now, whether purchased online and printed or purchased in person at La Spezia Centrale, would the Treno card be valid to get us to and from Migliarina station, please?

    Thank you, kindly!

    Chuck Strain
    DUIguy1@yahoo.com

    Like

    1. Ciao Chuck,

      I’m guessing you are correct but I won’t know for certain until I call the park admin offices tomorrow morning (as those I talked to that work at the Info Points didn’t know what to tell me). TrenItalia has a relatively sophisticated system where it’s possible to simply show a QR code on your phone that the controller can scan, so it *is* possible that the park has also stepped up to the plate (since the Treno Card is paired with TrenItalia). With all that said, I’m still thinking that it’s more likely that something will need to be printed.

      The multi-service Treno Card covers train travel on 2nd class regional (Cinque Terre Express) trains between La Spezia Centrale and Levanto. If you catch the train from La Spezia Migliarina you’ll have to pay for a ticket for that leg. 🙂

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

      1. Chuck Strain says:

        Dear Amy,

        You’re the best. The ability to digitally validate a screen image via a QR code would save us time–and maybe an extra stop at La Spezia Centrale–just buy a card there.

        I now realize that the advantage of free parking at La Spezia Migliarina must be balanced against the extra € 1.90 per person train fare to access that station, along with the extra time involved, both of which must be repeated at end of our excursion.

        I’m now thinking that we’ll bite the La Spezia Centrale pay-parking bullet of about € 12 (@ € 1,50 per hour after 08:00), if there’s space. Probably without a reservation, we hope openings will be likely before 07:00 on a Monday or Tuesday. If not, we could queue up and wait a bit. We could most simply buy the Tren card there, perhaps even while in the garage queue.

        Or I could drop passengers there while I park over at Migliarina. But that round-trip from Centrale to Migliarina and back may be impractical, taking anywhere from 20 over 60 minutes (with another time and money cost at the end of the day).

        Instead, if we were to give up on parking at La Spezia Centrale, we could just drive another 45 mintues Monterosso, and park at the Fegina beachfront lot for € 18 per day, at the Loreto garage for € 1,70 per hour, or “along the blue lines” a few minutes uphill from the Loreto garage for € 1 per hour.

        Make sense?

        Grazie!

        Yours,
        Chuck Strain
        DUIguy1@yahoo.com

        Like

    2. Ciao again,

      I just got confirmation that the National Park Info Points open at 8am as I thought. 🙂

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

  4. Marty says:

    Thank you for all of the great information Amy – love your blog. We’ll be in Riomaggiore in Sept (Casa Lorenza) and I was really happy to see that we can now buy the Cinque Terre (Treno) Card on-line. I remember it taking a bit of time to figure out the last time we visited.

    Kind regards,
    Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Marty!

      Enjoy your time here in Riomaggiore! Franco and Lorenza are great hosts! It sounds like you’ve already stayed with them before so you probably already know that. 😉

      Take care!
      Amy

      Like

  5. Marty says:

    Hi Amy -yes, we have indeed stayed with Lorenza before, though it’s been a few years. And on this visit, we will take the panoramic stroll around Riomaggiore that you described. Thanks again for all of the great information – it’s been very helpful.
    Ciao!
    Marty

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Josh says:

    After selecting the card type, make sure to change the date to the day you plan on being there and do not leave it as today. I accidentally purchased a family card for today (with two hours left before the end of the day in Italy), while I am still in the United States.

    Like

    1. Ciao Josh,

      Absolutely! Always double check all details before proceeding with payment.

      If I were you I’d try contacting the National Park to see if they’d be willing to apply a credit towards the correct date. It never hurts to ask!

      Best,
      Amy

      Like

  7. Todd says:

    Hi Amy – I will be in CT in October 8-14 staying in Rio and weather permitting will be hiking and making use of the trains quite a bit. It appears the CT Card only allows between 1-3 days use. I’d like to have a weeklong card if possible?? Did i miss something on the website that allows for longer access? Also, does the CT Card include hiking the path to the Monesteroli ?

    Looking forward to my first visit to CT – Thanks in advance!

    Like

    1. Ciao Todd!

      There’s no need to get the Cinque Terre Card for the duration of your stay. There are currently only two hikes requiring a pass and those are the coastal trail sections between Monterosso and Vernazza and then between Vernazza and Corniglia. All other hikes are completely free of charge.

      If I were you I’d buy the monthly pass for the trains (even if you are only staying a week) and the trekking pass for the day (or days) you plan to hike the aforementioned trails that require payment. Check out my blog post that talks about the monthly train pass as well as my blog post on the Cinque Terre Card (which also details pricing for the trekking pass). 😊

      Hope that helps!

      Amy

      Like

      1. Marty says:

        Hi Amy,

        We just arrived in Riomaggiore this afternoon and were told that all 4 of the coastal paths (Sentiero Azzuro) are closed. The status from http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/sentieri-outdoor.php?id_tipologia=1#top seems to confirm that. Do you happen to have any info on when the Monterosso to Vernazza and Vernazza to Corniglia trails may re-open? We plan to hike other trails, so it’s not a problem – it was just a surprise given that I’d looked at the status a week or so ago.

        Kind regards,
        Marty

        Like

      2. Ciao Marty!

        Thanks for your message. It’s normal procedure for the trails to be officially closed in the case of inclement weather. Usually when the weather improves the National Park will perform a walk-through on the coastal trail to ensure all is well and then they will officially reopen the trail (and start collecting payment again). Typically this all happens relatively quickly (usually the day following the storm or wet weather). However, for whatever reason this hasn’t been the case this time (as you know, we had beautiful weather all day yesterday). This morning I rang and spoke with a local that works at the Info Point and I was told the hiccup is that they are waiting on a geologist to carry out the walk-through. There was no mention of any slides or other real reason for the trails still being closed. *sigh* It boils down to a liability issue, so until the inspection takes place the park will tell you the coastal trail is closed. I know people are still hiking these trails as we speak, but it is obviously at your own risk. Hopefully the park will get their geologist here STAT and things will reopen and resume as normal ASAP.

        Happy trails!
        Amy

        Like

      3. Marty says:

        Thank you Amy!! And thank you for the amazing weather – yesterday’s sunset was unreal.

        BTW – we hiked the Manarola to Volastra to Corniglia path this morning – definitely a new favorite Thank you for the recommendation.

        Ciao!
        Marty

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Todd says:

        Hi Amy
        Yes, thanks that helps. I agree about the monthly train pass for my week stay in Rio, especially with many of the coastal paths schedule uncertain. I have tried to register and purchase the train pass online with no luck so I plan to purchase as soon as I arrive this coming Sunday. Do you happen to know if it cost the same purchasing online early as it does if purchasing upon arrival? Secondly, and this may be a silly question, what is the recommended method for making dinner reservations during my stay in 5T? Is a day in advance normal? Thank you! Todd

        Like

      5. Ciao Todd!

        Please pardon the delayed reply… it has been a crazy week with dealing with a broken foot (youngest son) and a tonsillectomy (oldest son). I’m beat!

        The rate is the same online or in person for the railway tickets and monthly passes.

        As for dinner reservations, it really depends on where you want to eat (and if you are picky about what table or view you want). Keep in mind most restaurants here have a weekly day of closure (so you’ll want to make sure you aren’t wanting to reserve for their day off). Usually calling a few days in advance for reservations is fine. 😊

        Hope that helps!
        Amy

        Like

  8. COLLEEN R LAROCCA says:

    Hi, Amy!
    If we print out our Cinque Terre Express tickets on paper, can they be stamped at the train station in La Spezia? Or do we get a card at the station to replace the paper?
    Thank you,
    Colleen

    Like

    1. Ciao Colleen!

      If you purchase your tickets online they will be for specific trains so you won’t need to validate. When you purchase at the ticket counter you have to specify the date you’ll use your ticket but you can use it at any time for the day specified (for regional or Cinque Terre Express trains) which is why you then have to validate your ticket before boarding.

      You’ll be fine with your paper printouts. 🙂

      Take care,
      Amy

      Like

      1. COLLEEN R LAROCCA says:

        Thank you for the quick reply! One more question – I went to the website to see if I could reserve a parking spot at La Spezia Centrale and one of the requirements was my SSI number. If I read it correctly, it did say that some other ID could be used by non-Italian citizens. Do I really have to give them my SSI number (don’t really want to do that) or what would you suggest as an alternative ID? Maybe my husband’s international permit number? Thank you!

        Like

      2. Ciao Colleen!

        Most definitely do NOT give your social security number. For Italians they are asking for a “codice fiscale,” which is not a secret number. I will have a look later today and I will get back to you!

        Amy

        Like

  9. trophy says:

    I am wondering if the treno card is available for March 2018? I see the dates/prices showing for dates Apr 1-Nov 1 and Nov 1 – Dec 31 2017 only on their site. What would the rate be for 2 days? It is very confusing. Thank you.

    Like

    1. What dates are you planning to be here in March? Starting the 17th of March the Cinque Terre Express will resume so starting that day the peak-season pricing for the Cinque Terre Card will be back in effect. Up until the 16th you should be able to buy the lesser expensive version.

      Hope this helps!
      Amy

      Like

      1. trophy says:

        We will be there after the 17th. Where is the best place to purchase the card? Would it be in the train station when we arrive in Monterosso in the evening? Thank you

        Like

      2. Hello again,

        You can purchase Cinque Terre Cards in advance on the national park’s website or in person at any national park TI office in La Spezia, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso or Levanto. Since it shouldn’t be busy when you visit (unless it’s Easter weekend which *will* be busy), you should be able to easily purchase the card day of. Remember you’ll need to validate the card in one of the validating machines at the train station before boarding your first train.

        Best,
        Amy

        Like

      3. trophy says:

        We will have two full days 24/25 March. I tried the site and it seems like it is low season rate only at this point. I guess if it doesn’t change we can get it when we are there. Thanks for all the info. If they are switching to high season rate, can we assume there will be quite a few things open (restaurants stores etc) while we are there?

        Like

      4. As you’ve noticed, they aren’t the greatest at updating their website information. The rate change is due to the increased cost of the train tickets when the Cinque Terre Express is in effect. Easter weekend is really the kickoff to the peak-season here in the Cinque Terre but I imagine most everything will be open (or in the process of opening) the week before.

        Best,
        Amy

        Like

  10. Erin Crawford says:

    Hello I’m trying to figure out how to buy tickets for July 2018. The site seemed to only allow tickets to be purchased for January and February. I had heard that they are limiting the number of tourists in the park so I was trying to get my tickets in advance. Help!

    Like

    1. Ciao Erin!

      First and foremost, don’t panic about limited numbers/tickets as that’s not true (there’s a post about it here in the blog 😉 ).

      The national park website is currently selling tickets for the off-season. They haven’t released the tickets for online sale for peak-season just yet. I’d check back again in March/April (although you could wait until last minute if you wanted to).

      I hope this info helps!

      Amy

      Like

      1. Watkin Tench says:

        Last month (on Jan. 21) I was able to purchase 2-day Treno cards for May 2018 through the park website. For some reason, I was charged the lower low-season rate (perhaps because I was making the purchase in low season), but the tickets state on their face that they are for the correct two-day period in May 2018.

        Relatedly, I was wondering about the earlier discussion in this thread about whether one must print out an online-purchased Treno card and physically validate the print-out in one of the validation machines. I don’t know the answer, but it seems like it should not be necessary because the .pdf ticket has a section titled “Period of validity: from 00:01 of the day 09/05/2018 to 23:59 of the day 10/05/2018” along with a QR code.

        Like

      2. Ciao Watkin!

        It sounds like there was a glitch on the national park website. If the correct date is on your ticket you’re good to go!

        No need to validate anything for online card purchases as (unlike the tickets purchased in person) they are only good for the date printed on them.

        I hope this info helps!
        Amy

        Like

  11. trophy says:

    I had a look just now and the only month available for purchase is Feb. You must have gotten lucky!

    Like

  12. Laura says:

    Can’t believe they still haven’t released tickets for peak-season… only through 3/17 (three days away, haha)! I keep checking back as we will be there in less than two weeks. Maybe this weekend?! 😉 Nothing like the last minute.

    Like

    1. Ciao Laura!

      I know, it’s maddening but seems to be the M.O. around here. If there’s one thing Italy teaches you, it’s patience! 😂🙈

      Amy

      Like

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