Are you traveling to the Cinque Terre and considering purchasing the Cinque Terre Card but unsure this is actually a good idea? Don’t worry, in this post I will explain everything you need to know about it.
Cinque Terre is a coastal area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Liguria region of northwest Italy. The area consists of five small historic villages known for their beautiful scenery, colorful houses, lively harbor fronts and world-class hotels and restaurants.
Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore are connected by a scenic hiking trail so you can hike between them. To get to these villages, you can also take a train: each village has a train station and frequent direct trains depart La Spezia, Levanto, Pisa and stop in each of the Cinque Terre villages.
A ferry service travels between all the villages except Corniglia because it doesn’t have a harbor. The best thing about the ferry is you can get an all-day ticket that allows you to hop on and hop off as many times as you want as you explore this amazing coast.
If you expect to do a lot of hiking and train hopping (the ferry is not included) in the region, it may be worth investing in a Cinque Terre Card. Continue reading this post so that you can make an informed decision before purchasing yours.
Make sure to read my posts What To Know Before Visiting Cinque Terre, The Best Things To Do In Cinque Terre and A Guide To Hiking In Cinque Terre.
Everything You Must Know About The Cinque Terre Card
What is the Cinque Terre Card?
The Cinque Terre Card is a tourist card (much like the Roma Pass, or the Paris Pass), that can be used while traveling in the region to get discounts, to access local transportation and to hike the trails inside the Cinque Terre National Park.
Types of Cinque Terre Card
There are two cards available and on sale at a different price, and the one that you use will depend on the length of your stay and what you plan on doing while you’re there. Let’s find out more about them.
Cinque Terre Trekking + Train Card
The Cinque Terre Trekking + Train Card allows access to unlimited train rides on the Cinque Terre Express lines that travel the Levanto – Cinque Terre – La Spezia route for a lower price than you would pay for each individual ticket. This is a great option for anyone who wishes to travel by train back and forth between the villages during their visit.
With this card, you’ll have access to two hiking paths (part of the Blue Trail) that usually charge a fee to use including the one that travels from Monterosso to Vernazza and the one that travels between Vernazza and Corniglia.
Also included with the use of this card is unlimited access to the bus services in the Cinque Terre area and reduced admission cost to the Civic Museum that is located in La Spezia.
This card costs €18,20 per adult for one day. A two-day adult card costs €33 and a three-day card costs €47. Discounts are available for seniors and children.
Cinque Terre Trekking Card
The other Cinque Terre Card that’s available is the Cinque Terre Trekking Card. This card allows you to have unrestricted access to all the footpaths between the villages. Keep in mind that only two of the hiking paths in the area require payment to use them and that’s the Monterosso to Vernazza path and the Vernazza to Corniglia path. The other paths are free to use so if you only plan to hike the free ones you don’t need to purchase this card.
The other things included with the Cinque Terre Trekking Card are the same as the ones you’d get for the trekking and train card, ie unlimited access to bus service in the five villages and a reduced fee to the Civic Museum in La Spezia.
If you only plan to be in the area for one day, you can get a one-day pass that costs €7.50 per adult. There’s also a two-day card available that costs €14.50 per adult.
Where to get the Cinque Terre Card
For quick access and to ensure there are no delays in getting your Cinque Terre Card, the best way to get one is to go online and access the official site (you can do that here) and purchase it in advance. You can also buy a card in person in any of the Cinque Terre Info-point in the five villages (they are usually located right by the train station in all of them) and in the nearby town of La Spezia.
How to use the Cinque Terre Card
Before you start using the card in Cinque Terre, there are a few important points to take into consideration. Here they are:
- Make sure to write your name on your card or it won’t be accepted.
- Before you use a Cinque Terre Train Card, make sure to validate the ticket before you get on the train.
- Remember that the card is only valid until midnight each day so if you purchase a one-day ticket, it’s only valid until midnight of that day. If you purchase a two-day or three-day ticket, it’s valid until midnight of the second or third day from purchase.
Other useful information
You’ll be happy to know that if you have a dog, you won’t have to leave him behind when you do any hiking on the Cinque Terre trails or when you travel on the trains. Your dog can hike with you and board the train with you as long as they’re on a leash and – in theory – as long as they are wearing a muzzle at all times. Small dogs can ride on the trains for free but you’ll need to purchase a regular adult ticket at half price for bigger dogs.
If you plan to take a bike with you to Cinque Terre, you’ll be able to take your bike on all the regional trains that travel in the Cinque Terre and Liguria region. Even the trains that aren’t marked with special symbols allow passengers to travel with their bicycles at no extra cost.
Final Thoughts: Do You Need A Cinque Terre Card?
Whether you actually need a Cinque Terre Card or not will depend on the time of year you visit, how long you plan to spend in the area and what you plan on doing while you’re there.
If you’ll be using the train frequently to get around the villages, this card will save you a lot of money because individual one-way train tickets cost €5. If you plan to hike any of the paid coastal trails more than once, this card will be useful to you because it costs €7.50 each time you access one without the card.
Furthermore, having this card eliminates the need to wait in line to buy train tickets every time you want to travel to one of the other villages and this is especially true during peak times in summer.
That being said, if you use the train less than twice a day and don’t do any hiking or only hike the trails once during your visit, the Cinque Terre Card may not be very useful to you. For example, my sister and I only bought a one day train+trekking card as we never took more than two trains per day, and we only hiked the Blue Trail once.
Also keep in mind that there’s no entrance fee to enter the Cinque Terre National Park or to visit the villages themselves.
Finally, if you’re traveling in Cinque Terre during the winter between November 1st and March 31st, you won’t need the card because all the trails are free during that time of the year.
Are you traveling to the Cinque Terre? These other posts should be useful:
- A Perfect Day Trip From Florence To Cinque Terre
- Where To Stay In Cinque Terre
- A Short Guide To Vernazza
- An Easy Guide To Riomaggiore
- A Quick Guide To Manarola
- A Useful Guide To Monterosso Al Mare, Cinque Terre
- The Best Restaurants In Cinque Terre