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From Civitavecchia to the Cinque Terre

Hello fellow travelers. My family and I will be taking a cruise in October from Civitavecchia. The ship will return to the same port on a Monday. After the cruise, we are planning to visit the Cinque Terre, which will be our first time there. We haven't decided on what town we are going to stay at yet, but and advice is always welcomed. As for the trains, do we need to go to La Spezia Centrale first and then take a Regional train to the town we are staying in or are there direct trains to each of the towns? It's not a problem if we have to change to a Regional train, I just wanted to make sure of our options. I have been looking at train schedules just to get an idea of what times they run from Civitavecchia to La Spezia Centrale and how long the trips are. I realize that it is still to soon to purchase train tickets but if there is a better option, then I'm all ears. Thank you.

Raymond

Posted by
29623 posts

Raymond,

That's actually a fairly straightforward trip. I don't know the options for getting from the cruise ship dock to Civitavecchia station, but Taxi would be my first choice. They may be in short supply though, as other passengers will be trying to get out of the port. The cruise line may have some suggestions.

From Civitavecchia station there are regular trains heading north. For example on the current schedules there's an Intercity / Regionale combination departing at 10:47, arriving Monterosso at 14:38 (time 3H:51M, one change at La Spezia Centrale). It's not necessary to book the trip in separate segments. Just buy a ticket to your desired final destination. You'll use two separate tickets for that trip, as the Intercity has compulsory seat reservations. DON'T forget to validate the Regionale ticket prior to boarding the train, if you purchase that locally.

If you want to purchase tickets in advance, you must commit to a specific train, as the Intercity or Freccia trains have compulsory seat reservations and can only be used on one train, date and departure time. If you board any other train than the one listed on your ticket, not only will you not have a seat, but you'll be subject to hefty fines which will be collected on the spot! I normally use Trainline when buying rail tickets in Italy.

Everyone has a favourite of the five towns, and I prefer Monterosso. It has both an "old" and "new" town portions and is the largest of the five, so has the greatest number of hotels, restaurants and other tourist amenities. It also has the best beaches. You might have a look at the RS Italy guidebook to get an idea of the "character" of each of the towns.

Posted by
2476 posts

None of the trains departing from Civitavecchia continue on to any of the 5 villages in Cinque Terre. For Monterosso, you would change in either Pisa or La Spezia. For the other 4 villages the change will likely be in La Spezia. I now prefer Monterosso to Vernazza because it's larger and offers more options without sacrificing charm. Also, there will be more businesses open in October when you plan to visit. If you decide to stay in Monterosso, try for a train with a change in Pisa so that you can avoid the often-crowded regional train that stops in the 5 villages.

Posted by
29623 posts

"If you decide to stay in Monterosso, try for a train with a change in Pisa so that you can avoid the often-crowded regional train that stops in the 5 villages."

I'd suggest choosing the best train that fits your schedule, regardless of whether it changes in Pisa or La Spezia. A few thoughts.....

  • You'll be arriving in that area in mid-afternoon. Even if there are cruise shp goups in the five towns, they'll be heading in the out of the C.T. at that time of day.
  • The C.T. Express that runs between the five towns has frequent departures, so you shouldn't have any problem connecting with a train in La Spezia.
  • October will be somewhat "slower" in the C.T. so there (hopefully) won't be as many crowds to contend with.
Posted by
2476 posts

The point I was hoping to make is that, for example, the 10:47 departure from Civitavecchia allows you to change in Pisa and arrive in Monterosso at 2:53 or change in La Spezia and arrive 15 minutes earlier. Personally, I would prefer to arrive 15 minutes later and avoid the regional train. However, I wouldn't advise waiting an hour or two to depart Civitavecchia just to avoid the regional train.

Posted by
158 posts

Thank you for the advice. It looks like we are going to stay in Monterosso. I also think that would work better because once we are done visiting 1 town, we could head to the next without backtracking. We will probably be taking the train all the way to Monterosso with the 1 change. Thank you again.