TrenItalia, Italy’s national railway system, has recently raised rates which has caused the multi-service Cinque Terre Card (which includes the hiking pass + unlimited train trips between the five villages, La Spezia Centrale and Levanto) to increase in price.
See below for the new rates, valid from March to November, 2022:
Where can I buy a Cinque Terre Card?
Cinque Terre Cards can be purchased in person at the Cinque Terre National Park TI offices throughout the Cinque Terre or at the train stations in Levanto or La Spezia Centrale. The passes can also be purchased online via the national park’s website, which I highly recommend doing so that you can avoid standing in long lines.
What about the hiking pass? Has it increased in price as well?
Unlike the multi-service Cinque Terre Card, the hiking pass (a.k.a Trekking Card) has not seen an increase in price (as it does not include the trains). To refresh your memories, here’s the current rates for the hiking pass:
Guided Tours & Excursions with Cinque Terre Walking Park
The Cinque Terre National Park offers free tours & excursions for those who have purchased the multi-service Cinque Terre Card (€16 per day, the card includes the hiking pass, unlimited trains between the Cinque Terre + Levanto and La Spezia, the ATC buses in the villages, and affiliated public restrooms). More info on the card can be found here.
See below for July’s schedule:
The calendar is color coded; dates in blue are walking tours, yellow dates indicate trekking (a.k.a. hiking) tours and dates in pink refer to e-bike tours.
Cin cin! Some tours offer the possibility for an optional local wine tasting (for an additional fee).
Advance reservations for tours are required and can be made either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (+39 0187 743 500).
If you’re planning to visit the Cinque Terre this summer you’re probably keen on the idea of taking the ferries between the villages. Don’t forget that the ferries stop in just four of the five villages (Corniglia is located high above the sea so there’s no docking point there). The ferries also run further down the coast to picturesque Portovenere (which I highly recommend visiting).
Here’s the ferry schedule for this summer:
The current rate for an all-day hop-on, hop-off pass within the Cinque Terre is €27 per adult / €15 per child (ages 7 to 11 years). If you’d like to include Portovenere with that pass the price increases to €35 per adult (but remains €15 per child). Children 6 years and under are free when traveling with an adult.
There’s also the possibility to buy point-to-point tickets. To give you an idea of pricing:
Riomaggiore to Manarola: €7 adult / €5 child
Riomaggiore to Vernazza: €11 adult / €5 child
Riomaggiore to Monterosso: €13 adult / €5 child
Riomaggiore to Portovenere: €14 adult / €10 child
WHERE TO BUY TICKETS
Unless you are a group of 20+ people, tickets are not sold in advance. It’s recommended to turn up 30 minutes prior to your first departure to purchase your tickets at the stand near the docking point.
INSIDER TIP: While the website mentions they accept credit cards it has been my experience that oftentimes they do not. Rather than scramble to look for an ATM at the last moment, bring enough cash to cover your tickets — just in case.
The ferries are run by Consorzio Marittimo Turistico 5 Terre Golfo dei Poeti. You can check out their official website and full offerings here.
Heads up: Don’t confuse the ferry service (which is essentially like a water taxi taking you rather quickly from point A to point B) with the small boat private or semi-private tours. While typically more expensive than the ferries, these boat tours offer a relaxed pace and intimate ambience with optional swim stops and aperitivi. If you are interested in a private or semi-private boat tour please support local. If you’re interested drop me a message and I’ll forward you a list of tried and true local boat tour companies.
We’re into our second pandemic summer here in Italy. In an effort to ensure adequate social distancing, Monterosso’s mayor has passed an ordinance requiring reservations at the village’s public beaches (just like last year). The beaches, which are free of charge, have been equipped with numbered poles and each reservation allows for space for two adults + children next to one of these markers. These beaches are overseen by stewards from the village’s ProLoco association.
Don’t forget that in this post we are talking about public beaches, as an alternative there are also private beaches where you can pay to rent an umbrella and a sun lounger for the day. Usually at these private beach clubs you can just turn up but during peak times they can fill up so beware.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
Time slots for the public beaches are released just 40 hours in advance, so there’s no possibility to reserve weeks (or months) prior.
If you are staying in Monterosso be sure to speak to your hotel or host first as they have the possibility to reserve for you.
These are the three possible time slots:
1. 9am to 12pm
2. 12pm to 3pm
3. 3pm to 7pm.
There are four beaches to choose from:
1. Fegina public beach
2. Il Gigante public beach
3. Portiglione public beach
4. Tragagià public beach
The first three options are in Fegina (the side of the village closest to the train station) whereas Tragagià is the only option in Monterosso Vecchio (the historical center).
Book your spot, step-by-step guide
For non-Italians the reservation process might seem a bit daunting (as the website is only in Italian) but I will walk you through it.
2. Scroll down and click on “Per visitatori giornalieri nel Comune e proprietari di seconde case.”
3. Now click the arrow to see the different beach options and then choose one (hint: chances are you’ll probably have to try all of them before you find a spot available).
4. A map will come up of that particular beach. Scroll down to the very bottom and choose your date. Don’t forget: Slots are set to release 40 hours in advance (so you can’t book far in advance).
5. After you’ve chosen your date if you see this message it means there are no spots currently available for that particular day. Boo!
6. Try changing dates and/or beaches until you find an available date. If you see this on your screen… JACKPOT! Choose your preferred time slot and click “PRENOTA” (reserve).
7. Now fill in your details to confirm the reservation and click “PRENOTA.”
Honestly, I doubt they will read or pay much attention to the “Note” section so I wouldn’t invest much time or effort there.
8. In theory at this point you’ve done everything correctly and you should receive a confirmation email to the address you provided. Save that email or take a screenshot so you can show it to the beach steward. You’re all set!
Please be considerate. Be sure to cancel your reservation (via the link in your confirmation email) should you not be able to make it to the beach at your allotted time.
Where to begin? The crickets have been chirping here on the blog this past year, and now I’ll tell you why. This past year has been the most trying and tumultuous that we’ve ever experienced. The Covid-19 pandemic led us to worry not only about our health but also about how to support our family. We went from living quite comfortable lives to seeing our livelihoods whither to null. For a family income based 100% on tourism, quite likely the industry hit hardest by the pandemic, it was a devastating blow. Being both pragmatic and proactive, my husband and I immediately took drastic measures to reduce our expenditures to the absolute bare minimum.
I won’t lie, the pandemic and its economic consequences forced us to eat a big ol’ piece of humble pie.
We gave up our office, closed contracts, sold our second car, delayed our mortgage and watched every penny we spent. Yes, we had savings but who could have ever imagined that we’d have to face such extreme circumstances for such an extended period of time? As business owners we knew, and time proved, that we couldn’t rely on the Italian government to help us make ends meet. My husband and I dusted off and polished our résumés and sent them everywhere imaginable. It wasn’t long before we discovered that there was essentially no chance of work in the midst of an economic contraction, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Great Depression.
With a stroke of luck I started my Covid pivot in November 2020 as a substitute teacher in the Italian public school system. I’m now working full time at the elementary school in Monterosso. I had always thought I’d teach when I lived in the States but I never in a million years thought I’d teach here in Italy.
We’ve learned that, for as difficult as it has been, there’s always a silver lining.
This pandemic pushed us out of our comfort zones. It forced us to take risks that we otherwise would have never taken. I’ve (re)discovered my love for teaching. My husband is on a promising path for a new career. This past year we’ve gained clarity on what are true necessities and what are luxuries. Spoiler alert: Most everything we thought were necessities were actually luxuries. We’ve learned to swallow our pride and ask for help when we need it. We’ve learned to not take our health for granted. And perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned to appreciate more even though we have less.
We still have a long road ahead of us, but with hard work, a bit of luck and a good dose of optimism — and grit — we should make it out the other side all the stronger.
“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitude.” -Charles Swindoll
P.S. You might be wondering what this all means for me and Cinque Terre Insider. I have every intention to continue with the blog and now that I’ve managed to overcome my Covid-19 writer’s block (I felt like I couldn’t write trivial posts until I addressed the much bigger issues at hand) posts should be more forthcoming. I’ve been active on social media this past year so be sure to “like” and follow Cinque Terre Insider on Facebook and Instagram (I’ve been doing lots of live feeds and videos on Facebook so be sure to check those out!).
Once the school year ends in June I will be changing hats and I’ll be back at the helm of Riomaggiore Reservations (our family-run rental agency in Riomaggiore). Due to the pandemic we’ve scaled things back considerably (we’ll be renting just one studio and three private rooms to visitors to our area) but you should still expect warm hospitality with direct access to my insider knowledge, sparkling clean accommodations and budget-friendly pricing. Fingers crossed that the pandemic situation improves so we can all get back to living and traveling again!
In a year that has been anything but ordinary, the Cinque Terre villages are seeking to return to some semblance of normal (albeit very, very tentatively).
Expect to find low-key entertainment events with social distancing measures in effect this August. While everything listed takes place outdoors, be sure to bring a face mask (and please wear it when necessary). Italy’s Covid-19 situation is currently under control with its R0 less than 1 — we’d like to keep it that way.
I will continue to update this post as events are announced and details are released.
Italy was among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the Western world. After two months of strict lockdown, the Bel Paese is finally starting to reopen. On May 4th we officially entered phase 2, a stage when we must learn to coexist with the virus and take extra safety precautions to prevent its spread. Starting June 3rd, Italy will reopen its borders to travelers from the EU and Schengen states with no quarantine required. As for when the rest of the world will be invited in, no date has been currently released (although we do know with certainty that it won’t happen prior to June 15th).
Those willing to travel this summer will see Italy as it hasn’t been seen in decades… with a fraction of its usual tourists. On the flip side, those coming should expect (and employ) extra safety measures.
If you plan to visit, know that you will need to wear a face mask and socially distance yourself from others. In Italy, the minimum social distance is 1 meter or 3.28 feet (so roughly a yard), with an exception made for those who live in the same household.
Face masks for adults and children aged six years and older are necessary when using public transport, while indoors in public spaces and outdoors when social distancing cannot be observed
In general, when entering businesses, public venues or points of interest expect to find:
Multi-language signs posted with safety measures
Temperatures being taken, with readings above 37.5° Celsius (99.5° Farenheit) resulting in denied access
Readily available and strategically placed hand sanitizing gel, for use by both patrons and staff
Each sector has detailed and specific Covid-19 protocols to follow. Below you’ll find a brief summary of those measures that will most directly affect travelers this summer.
Take-out establishments must not exceed their posted maximum occupancy, patrons must queue outside (1 meter apart) while waiting to enter
Advance reservations should be made for restaurants with seating
While seated in a restaurant, a safety distance of at least 1 meter should be maintained between patrons (unless physical barriers are used)
Buffets are banned
Wait staff must wear face masks and disinfect their hands before approaching each table
Masks must be worn by patrons except when they are seated at the table
Everything that comes into contact with patrons (including menus, salt and pepper shakers, oil & vinegar dispensers, etc.) must be disinfected after each use
TrenItalia trains are currently allowing 1/3 of their normal capacity on board in order to guarantee adequate social distancing
Passengers are required to wear masks and seats are clearly marked to indicate where it’s possible to sit
Other safety measures include dedicated doors for entering/exiting the train, electronic tickets with QR codes and social distancing at the stations
Photos courtesy of Chiara Sommovigo
If you are interested in seeing the 18-page safety protocol approved by Italy’s regions, you can check it out here (in italiano).
If you do decide to visit Italy this summer, please be mindful and respectful. Italy’s wounded economy gladly welcomes visitors as it attempts to rebound, but its citizens (and their psyches) are still healing. Please tread lightly.
Considering calling off your 2020 Italian vacation because of the coronavirus? Hold your horses. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified Italy as Level 2 and their advisory is directed at two specific subgroups of travelers: “Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should consider postponing nonessential travel.”
My advice? Unless you fall into one of those two categories (aging adult or infirm) take your finger off the cancel button. Research your existing bookings and their cancellation policies (and know until what date you can opt out without penalty). This is a dynamic situation, unless you are due to depart immediately there’s no need for a rash decision—watch & wait.
Here are the most reliable and credible resources that you should be referencing:
Please note: This is an ever-evolving story due to the dynamic nature of contagion. All data was correct at the time it was published. Periodic updates will be posted as footnotes to this post.
Let me start by saying, as of today there have been zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Liguria (the region in which the five Cinque Terre villages are located). Because we neighbor regions where there have been confirmed cases, our regional government has enacted special precautions which include closing schools and public venues as well as canceling sporting events until March 1, 2020. On that date the situation will be reevaluated and the ordinance will either be lifted or extended.
The Italian government is taking the coronavirus seriously and they have implemented measures to isolate the outbreak. A coordinated response has also been enacted to quell alarm and the dissemination of fake news.
Despite media hype, the coronavirus is considered only slightly more dangerous than the average flu and mortality rates confirm that. The most challenging aspect of the coronavirus from a logistical standpoint is its rapid transmission.
There are currently 283 confirmed cases in Italy, with the majority in the regions of Lombardy (206 cases) and Veneto (38 cases). Overall, infection rates continue to be very low in Italy, which has a population of 60.48 million people.
What can you do to limit the spread of the coronavirus?
Wash your hands thoroughly and often
Avoid contact with people who have respiratory illnesses
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands
Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
Do not take antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor
Clean surfaces with disinfectants
Wear a face mask ONLY if you think you are sick or assisting the sick
In Italy: Call 112 if you have fever, cough or respiratory difficulties, especially if you have recently been to China or you have traveled to identified areas of contagion
Most importantly, keep calm and don’t panic. It’s currently life as usual in the Cinque Terre, with some extra hand washing thrown in the mix.
UPDATE (25 February 2020, 15:15)
Less than an hour after publishing this post it was made public that a woman in Alassio, Liguria (the westernmost portion of our region, the Cinque Terre is located on the eastern border with Tuscany) tested positive to the coronavirus. She has been hospitalized and is listed as being in good condition.
The year 2020 in the Cinque Terre will start off with major works (amounting to €3.7 million) on the railway lines. If you plan to visit our area between January 7th and March 7th expect less frequent trains as they will be running on just one line (for both directions) instead of two. Is this a problem for visitors? Not really, so long as you plan out which trains you plan to catch in advance (using the TrenItalia app, official website: http://www.trenitalia.com or the handy schedule below) so as to avoid wasting time at the stations. In most cases there will be one train per hour in each direction during prime time but there is an instance in which there’s a two hour gap between trains (between the 8am and 10am trains).
The planned works will focus on the Riomaggiore train station where they will expand the second platform and modernize the station itself. Works will also take place in the tunnel that connects La Spezia to the Cinque Terre; the current drainage system will be updated and security measures will be optimized.