Hello all, We are currently planning our first trip to Italy in May/June and we plan to fly in to Venice and spend a few days there. After our stay there we plan to spend three nights in the Cinque Terre. We booked a lovely appartment in Corniglia with a terrace overlooking the ocean. The initial plan was to rent a car when leaving Venice and drive to Corniglia (heading to Tuscany after CT)and I was told it is possible to park in Corniglia. However the more I read about CT the more I realise driving there will not be simple. I read about difficult roads and difficulty in getting a parking space and beginning to wonder if it wouldn't be better to travel from Venice by train and rent the car in La Spezia instead. Is there anyone here who's done something similar and can share his experience? Thanks in advance
Hi Michel. Yes, either is possible; I've done both. The car is of no use in CT, you would end up paying for renting a car and then again for parking it. Your idea of train to CT and rent car at La Spezia when done with CT is good. For train info, see trenitalia.com; use a date within next 7 days to see all schedules. Your train trip will be some high speed legs which can be bought for a discount up to 120 days in advance if desired. For any regional legs, and any high speed legs that you don't want to commit to an exact date and time, wsit and buy tix when there. Enjoy your trip!
Perfect advice from Bob. We did the same thing on first trip to the CT a couple of years ago. Relaxing train day, watching the country fly by. Take some food and water on board with you, though!
Michel, The others have provided some good advice. As mentioned, having a car in the Cinque Terre is mostly useless, as it will sit in a car park during your visit (which you'll be paying for). It's very easy to get around that area using the local trains. One point to mention is that I don't believe the boats stop in Corniglia. If you want to sightsee on the boats, you'll need to go to Vernazza to access them. When you arrive in Corniglia, you'll need to take the shuttle up the hill to the town. Climbing the many stairs with luggage would NOT be an enjoyable travel experience! Note that there is more than one rail station in Venice. You'll be travelling from Venezia Santa Lucia to Corniglia. The trip will be about 6 hours with 2 or 3 changes. There is currently a departure listed at 08:50 with 2 changes at Milano Centrale and Sestri Levanti, and that's probably the one I'd use. The trip will involve travel both on Freccia (fast) trains as well as Regionale trains. Reservations are compulsory on the fast trains, and these are specific to each train. You MUST have a valid reservation for the train you're riding on (ie: Frecciabianca 9712). Those caught without valid reservations may be fined on the spot and the fines start at €50 PP. The same fines apply to those riding on Regionale trains who don't validate their ticket (time & date stamp) prior to boarding the train. You can research train details using the Trenitalia website. It is possible to save when pre-buying tickets, however some here have had a few problems using the website. Also, that will "lock" you into a specific train and departure time. If you miss that train, you'll have to buy new tickets at full price. Happy travels!
As this is your first trip to Italy, you may want to have a look at the excellent Seat 61 website. That has extensive information on train travel throughout Europe. You may also enjoy watching THIS short video on using the trains in Italy.
Thank you all very much for the information, it is much appreciated!