Guide to Riomaggiore Train Station (Cinque Terre)
The five villages that make up the Cinque Terre have long been popular tourist destinations on the Ligurian coast, but you can’t buy tickets to the “Cinque Terre train station.” “Cinque Terre” refers to the five towns collectively.
The towns are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. Each of the five has its own train station (with the same name as the town itself) and they’re all on the line that connects La Spezia with Genoa. Not every train running through the Cinque Terre stops at all five stations, however. The faster Trenitalia trains - including EuroStar trains - often only stop at a couple of the stations in the Cinque Terre. If you’re coming from farther away, such as the cities of Rome or Milan, you may need to take a high-speed train to La Spezia or Genoa and transfer to one of the Regionale trains that stop in every village.
It takes roughly five minutes (or less) to get from one town in the Cinque Terre to the next by train, even when the trains stopping at every town are the slowest operated by Trenitalia - the stations are that close together. These towns are largely unfriendly to automobiles, so getting in by train allows you to avoid parking well outside the center and taking a bus in from the outer parking lot.
Each of the Cinque Terre train stations has two platforms - one for each direction of travel. This means that all you need to know is whether you’re traveling toward Genoa or toward La Spezia in order to know which platform is yours. Just remember that in Italian, it’s spelled “Genova,” not “Genoa.”
Most of the Cinque Terre stations are small enough that the services offered are limited to ticket windows, restrooms, and perhaps a bar and a newsstand. Monterosso al Mare is the largest of the five towns, and that station also has a left luggage facility. Note that Corniglia, which is on a hill overlooking the water, sits high above its train station. There is a series of 380+ switchback stairs from the station into town, or you can inquire about the occasional shuttle bus. The remainder of the stations are much closer to their town centers, though in some cases it’s an uphill walk from station to accommodation.
Tickets between the Cinque Terre towns are inexpensive, often costing less than two euro, but if you plan to make frequent train trips between the towns you may want to get a Cinque Terre Card. These cover entry into the National Park if you want to go hiking, and they also give you unlimited access to the trains between the towns.