You may or may not know that arrival by car to the Cinque Terre can be a bit hairy and anything but convenient. The roads are very narrow and winding, parking is extremely limited and quite expensive, there’s a pretty high risk of getting a ticket (if you accidentally enter the ZTL zones or park where you aren’t supposed to) and the historical centers of the villages are pedestrian-only.
My advice? Ditch the car before hitting up the Cinque Terre. If that’s not feasible, you can do the next best thing and park it at the Park Centro Stazione underground parking garage at the La Spezia Centrale train station.
Current published rates for Park Centro Stazione for 2019 are €1.50 per hour from 8am to 8pm and €0.60 per hour from 8pm to 8am. That means the daily rate (for a full 24 hours) is €25.80.
This parking garage, thanks to its rather recent construction, is pretty avant-garde for these parts with an elevator that will take you directly to the station, restrooms, 64 closed-circuit cameras to monitor the garage, PIN code access (to both the restrooms and the garage in nocturnal hours) and full automation. Of course, you’ll still want to follow common sense rules of thumb like locking things up and not leaving valuables in sight.
The underground parking garage actually has two entrances:
- The -1 level is accessed by Via Paleocapa, 7 or latitude: 44.110633 | longitude: 9.815174
- The -2 level is accessed by Piazzetta Ancona or latitude: 44.110692 | longitude: 9.814421
There are automated signs near each entrance indicating how many spaces are still available for that level. If one level is full, be sure to check the other entrance to see if that level is full, too.
This parking garage used to take advance reservations (which was great!) but the booking system wasn’t super intuitive and last year they suspended the reservations link, promising it would be back online by October 1st, 2018 (which never happened *sigh*). In my opinion, they realized that the advance reservations were more hassle than they were worth (since the garage fills up even without them). It’s a shame for people who like to plan in advance (like me).
If you’re a planner and don’t like the uncertainty of showing up and hoping to find a space (believe me, I get you) you might want to look into booking a space at a private garage just a few blocks (circa 200 meters) from the station:
Via Migliari, 15 (La Spezia)
latitude: 44.110141 | longitude: 9.817427
Keep in mind that they have only 10 spaces available and it’s mandatory to book and pay online in advance (don’t just try and turn up). The 2019 daily rates are €18 for off-season and up to €25 for peak-season (keep in mind that they don’t offer hourly rates). You can arrive any time after 10am (you’ll be provided with an access code after you’ve booked) and you’ll need to retrieve your car no later than 10am on your day of departure. Heads up: If you plan to leave later in the day, you’ll need to book & pay for an extra day.
Wherever you decide to park, afterwards you can hop on the Cinque Terre Express train to the Cinque Terre. To reach the Cinque Terre villages from the La Spezia Centrale train station, travel time is as little as…
- Riomaggiore: 7 minutes
- Manarola: 10 minutes
- Corniglia: 14 minutes
- Vernazza: 18 minutes
- Monterosso: 22 minutes
You can check train times and schedules here. Enter the station that you’d like to leave from (in this case, La Spezia Centrale) and the name of the station where you’d like to arrive… et voilà! You can purchase tickets in advance on the aforementioned website (it’s the official TrenItalia website) or you can wait and purchase them in person at the station (but know that the lineups can be long!).
Want a Plan B (or C) option in case the garage is full when you turn up? Read my blog post detailing parking for free at the La Spezia Migliarina station here. If you’re not a fan of streetside parking, check out my post on two other public payment parking garages in La Spezia.