Train travel from Milan to Vernazza, Cinque Terre

My wife and I will be flying into Milan from Amsterdam early June in the morning and then trying to catch a train from Milan to Vernazza, Cinque Terre. Is it best to book tickets for travel prior to arriving there or wait and purchase them once we arrive in Milan? Mike
Richmond BC Canada

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Mike, I assume you'll be arriving at MXP Terminal 1? Which airline will you be using for that segment? If that's the case, you can buy your train tickets at the rail station in the airport. That's the method I'd suggest, as part of your trip to Vernazza will probably involve at least one train with compulsory reservations. If your flight is delayed for any reason and you miss the train you've booked, your tickets will be worthless and you'll have to buy more at full price. From MXP T1, you'll first travel to Milano Centrale via the Malpensa Express. Note that they have two destinations, Milano Centrale and Milano Cadorna. Be sure to board the correct train! From Milano Centrale, the trip to Vernazza will be ~3-4 hours. The exact travel time and number of changes will depend on which trains you're able to connect with. What time does your flight arrive at MXP? You can research the various departures and other details on the Trenitalia website. A few important points to mention. That route will involve a combination of Freccia, Intercity and Regionale trains. The first two types require compulsory reservations, which are specific to a particular train and departure time (the reservations will be included in the cost of the tickets). You MUST only use the train specified on your ticket (ie: FrecciaBianca 9777) or face hefty fines which will be collected on the spot! On the premium trains, the fines start at ~€60 PP! In the case of the Regionale trains, those don't require reservations but you MUST validate your tickets prior to boarding the train on the day of travel or again, hefty fines. Happy travels!

Posted by Larry
Elk Grove, CA, USA
6718 posts

I agree with Ken. Having a train ticket with a fixed departure time soon after your flight arrives is the worst time to have a firm train reservation. If your plane is late, your ticket is toast. Besides, the train from the airport to Milano Centrale is a Regionale train and you can't buy those online more than 7 days out from the time of travel. As Ken recommends, simply buy your ticket to Vernazza at the airport train station. Expect to change trains at Milano Centrale and possibly Genoa or other city depending on the train run.

Posted by Mike
Richmond, BC, Canada
2 posts

Thanks Ken & Larry,
Will be arriving on Easyjet approx 11AM and am hoping to catch either the 11:43 or 12:43 train from Malpensa to Milan Centrale and then either the 13:10 from Milan via La Spezia or the 14:05 via Sestri Lavante. Either way looks like I get to Vernazza about 17:30. If I can make a booking at the airport for the whole trip that's what I would be hoping for.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17780 posts

Mike, Thanks for the additional information, but unfortunately I'll have to revise my previous suggestions. As you're arriving via EasyJet, you'll be arriving at Terminal 2. There is NO rail station there, so you have two options: 1.) Take the Shuttle back to T1 and use the rail station there (not the best as it will take longer) 2.) Take the Malpensa Shuttle (Bus) to Milano Centrale. The travel time will be about 50 minutes (subject to traffic). I'd recommend taking the Bus, as that's the method I use (including last year when I arrived at MXP via EasyJet from Palermo). You'll probably find that tickets for the Shuttle will be offered by the Flight Attendants during your flight. They're a bit more expensive than buying at the airport, but may save some time. You will be provided with a Voucher rather than a ticket, which will be exchanged for a ticket when you present it to the Bus driver. As I recall, there are two different Shuttle services, and the voucher is only good for one of them. The Bus will drop you at the side of Milano Centrale. Go around the corner and up two floors to track level. You have two choices to buy tickets to Vernazza: 1.) Use the ticket office which is at ground level. Unfortunately there's usually a huge queue so buying tickets could take awhile. 2.) Use the ticket Kiosks. They're very user friendly, and if you have an idea which train you want to use, that will help. As I recall, they take cash and credit cards. Not sure if you'll make the 13:10 departure, but you should be able to connect with the one at 14:05. Be sure to watch your luggage at Milano Centrale and wear Money belts! While you're waiting, you'll probably be approached by someone with a "hard luck story" looking for a donation. Cheers!