Off-season trains and weekly passes in the Cinque Terre

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.

IMG_6121

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

map5terre

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!

Happy travels,
Amy

 

 

 

 

Staying in the Cinque Terre for 3+ days? This train pass could be for you

So, you’ve planned to dedicate 3 or more days to the Cinque Terre… bravo! This area has so much to offer and those that stay for more than just a day or two get to really experience our area (versus merely scratching the surface).

For those staying on longer in the Cinque Terre, I have an insider tip for you. While TrenItalia abolished the weekly train pass (for everyone minus local residents) with the introduction of the Cinque Terre Express, they didn’t eliminate the monthly train pass (although you’ll never actually see it publicized). The monthly pass can be purchased by anyone (resident or non) and costs €33.50 per person. That’s unlimited train travel between the five villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza & Monterosso.  Keep in mind that otherwise the cost is €4 per train trip between the villages. If you plan to take at least nine trains while in the Cinque Terre, the pass has already paid for itself (not to mention the convenience of not having to purchase and validate single tickets).

There is one caveat: The monthly pass is good for one calendar month, not for 30 days from the purchase date. In other words, if you buy your monthly pass on August 1st it will be good for 31 days but if you buy it later in the month it will still expire at the end of the month regardless of the purchase date. Think of it like this: new month, new pass required. This shouldn’t be an issue unless your dates in the Cinque Terre bridge two different calendar months (in which case you’ll need to do your sums to see if buying the monthly pass is worthwhile for you).

The monthly pass can be extended to include other stops as well (obviously at a higher rate). Here are some examples of prices for other monthly pass solutions (the map above should help with your sense of geography):

  • La Spezia Centrale to Monterosso (and everything in between): €45
  • Riomaggiore to Levanto (and everything in between): €39
  • La Spezia Centrale to Levanto (and everything between): €55.50

You can purchase monthly passes either upon arrival to Italy or online on the official TrenItalia website (recommended, it will be just one less thing for you to worry about).


How to purchase your monthly pass online

I’m doing this step-by-step because the site isn’t incredibly intuitive in English (*sigh*).

First go to www.trenitalia.com Click on the British flag to change the language to English if need be.

You should see something that looks like this (it might be slightly different based on what device you’re navigating on, my screenshots are from my iPhone):

Click on SUBSCRIPTION & CARNET. 

A new window will come up. Make sure to click on the SUBSCRIPTION tab on the left.

Now enter the names of the two stations (on the extreme ends of the area you’d like your pass to encompass). TIP: For the Cinque Terre villages only, enter “From: Riomaggiore” and “To: Monterosso” or vice versa.


Choose everything else as you see above, and select the monthly option for the duration from the drop-down list.

Click SEARCH.

The following page will come up. Click on the > symbol following the price if you’re ready to confirm and purchase.
This will bring you to the final page where you enter your payment details.If you’ve never used the TrenItalia website before, you’ll need to sign up for a User ID and password before proceeding (which is a pain, I know). Click on SIGN UP which is located just beneath the red ENTER button. Once you’ve taken care of that, proceed with filling out the remaining fields and enter your payment information (I personally prefer using PayPal for payment).

IMPORTANT: Make certain that you enter the details correctly for the person that the pass is intended for in the section that says SUBSCRIPTION HOLDER. The monthly passes are non-transferable and the holder will have to present valid ID that matches the name on the pass when requested by the controller.

A few things to remember:

  • This monthly pass is exclusively for the use of the trains; no buses or hiking pass or other perks are included. For the all-inclusive pass, check out my post on the Cinque Terre Card here. The Cinque Terre Card is a great option for those staying just a day or two in our area but for those staying on longer it can become quite costly (and you may not need all of the services that it includes). Don’t forget that you can purchase the hiking pass separately for €7.50 (and that the hiking pass is required only on the coastal trail, all other trails are free of charge).
  • If you decide to purchase the monthly pass for the trains once you are here in Italy, ask for the abbonamento mensile at the ticket counter. Don’t forget that you’ll need to specify the stations and provide your ID.

Safe travels,

Amy