Monday 12 May 2008

When to buy the Cinque Terre Card?

Before we went to Cinque Terre we did some Web research on what kind of tickets are best to buy in the five days we were spending in the region.

It's a fact that you need a ticket for hiking the blue path (a coastal path also marked with number 2 on some maps) within Cinque Terre National Park.
One option is the Cinque Terre Train Card (5terre train), which includes usage of the blue path and unlimited train usage between La Spezia and Levanto.
Please be careful when buying the card, because there is also a version without the train available (Cinque Terre Card). For more information please refer to this site.

This option (5terre train) is worth taking only in case your plans include hiking around the park (using also the blue path) and taking at least two train journeys a day. Take into account that if your hiking plans include avoiding the crowds, you probably won't be taking the blue path too often.
If this is going to be your routine for more days in a row, you might consider choosing a two or three day ticket (it is cheaper to take a two day card, than two single day ones). Please bear in mind that we were stopped by a ticket control every time we entered the blue path, but if we didn't have the ticket at the time, we could buy it on the spot.

A couple of years ago there was also a ticket available, covering hiking, train and boat rides. I think it is not sold anymore.

As we were staying in Levanto, we figured that we will be using the train at least twice a day and our plans also included three days of hiking. So we chose a three day Cinque Terre Train Card, which we bought at the information center in Levanto (a guy there also recommended it). We weren't sorry, because among other things this was a very elegant way to avoid long queues every morning at the train station.
This can be quite a strong point, especially during the busiest summer months. We just weren't expecting so many people at the train stations on some occasions. And it wasn't even high season yet!

On the other hand, if you are only planning to do some small amount of hiking (and not for more days in a row) or your plan is to stay in one of the towns within the park, I think you don't need the combined ticket.
If standing in a queue to buy a train ticket is a big turnoff for you, you might even buy the Cinque Terre Train Card for this reason alone.

Don't forget to validate the ticket at the train station before you take the first train ride (use the yellow machine).
If you are wondering how exactly a train ticket validator looks like, you can check it out on this link.

If you liked this post and are interested in more information on our trip, please click on this link or on the Cinque Terre label in the right frame.


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