Today is November 2nd and the off-season in the Cinque Terre has officially arrived. Locals are breathing a collective sigh of relief after working nonstop for the past 7+ months.
The Cinque Terre Express (with trains every half hour and a flat-rate of €4 per ticket) is only in effect during the peak-season. Starting in November we go back to the “normal” schedule (read: with less frequent trains) and pre-Express rates for tickets (read: a significant savings for those traveling by train). During the off-season it’s also possible to buy the weekly pass (abbonamento settimanale) for the Cinque Terre trains, even for non-residents. These passes include unlimited train travel on regional trains from Monday to Sunday.
Weekly rail pass rates
La Spezia Centrale to Monterosso: €15
La Spezia Centrale to Levanto: €18.50
Riomaggiore to Monterosso: €11.10
Riomaggiore to Levanto: €13.10
While it *is* possible to purchase these tickets in advance online on the official TrenItalia website, it’s a pain and anything but a smooth process (oftentimes there are glitches that won’t allow you to continue). My advice is to purchase your weekly pass once you’re here in Italy (you can purchase passes at any TrenItalia counter, even before reaching the Cinque Terre).
A few important things to note about the weekly passes:
- You will need to write your first and last name on your pass and have valid ID with you when the controller asks for it.
- The weekly passes are valid from Monday to Sunday, not seven days from the date of purchase. No matter what day of the week you purchase your pass, it will still expire at 11:59pm on Sunday. If you are staying in the Cinque Terre for dates that bridge Sunday (for example, from Friday to Tuesday) do the math to see if it’s worthwhile to purchase the weekly pass.
During the off-season, trains aren’t nearly as frequent as when the Cinque Terre Express schedule is in effect. Sometimes that means there can be a two hour gap between trains! For this reason, I recommend picking up a pocket-size train schedule from one of the Tourist Information offices (at the train stations in the Cinque Terre, Levanto or La Spezia Centrale) so that you can plan your day around the trains and not waste time sitting at the station.
I hope this information is helpful!