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Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

Kfar Saba, Israel
Level Contributor
5 posts
9 reviews
Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

We're spending a few days in CT in October and thought we'd save the planet by taking the train from Rome FCO airport to CT.However, it's a long journey (5-6 hours); not cheap (50 - 60 euro per person, per direction) and not that restful (2 or 3 changes with 2 suitcases and carry-ons).As we are arriving late at FCO, we would also bear the cost of getting to and from a hotel for the first night.

So, we thought we'd hire a small car, which leads me to a few questions whch iI hope the collective experience of the forum can answer.

Has anybody driven from FCO to CT? If so, did you drive along the autostrada or along the coastal road via Grosseto and how long did it take? (Google Maps says should take me ca. 5 hours for either route).

As we are taking a car to CT, would it be more convenient (for parking) to stay somewhere nearby, near the train line, and take the train in daily?

Many thanks inadvance for your replies,

SimonB

Brentwood, United...
Level Contributor
2,611 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

There are real difficulties parking your car near to the CT villages. See this Thread for a good alternative.

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g580223-i10222-k…

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
33,030 posts
2. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

The SS1 is a cheaper ride - it'll only cost around €55 in fuel and tolls. But it requires a fair amount of concentration. The road changes frequently from autostrada standard to ordinary road and back again, with differing speed limits and the possibility of slow vehicles crossing at junctions. The A1 is more uniform, but often with very heavy traffic at very high speed, and the tolls will bring the journey cost up to at least €80 in addition to your rental fee. Either way, your journey time is likely to take a fair bit more than five hours (unless you are familiar with Italian roads and used to driving at 130 kph in Italian traffic), plus a rest stop which I think you are certain to need.

If you're arriving late, why not spend a night in Rome and proceed to the Cinque Terre by train next day. From Rome you never have to make more than one change to get to any Cinque Terre village by train, the journey can take as little as 3.5 hours and never normally much more than 4.5 hours. See http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html entering 'Rome' and the village you are heading for, e.g. Monterosso.

Depending on availability, you may also be able to save money by booking an advance purchase Mini ticket from Rome to la Spezia for as little as €19, and then purchase a separate Regional ticket from a ticket machine in Rome for the train from la Spezia to a CT village - this ticket will not cost more than €2.40.

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
710 posts
63 reviews
3. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

Made this trip last September. Drove from FCO to Santa Margherita Ligure, about 45 minutes north of CT. Drove the autostrada. Googlemap estimated 5 hours. Drive took more like 5H and 45 minutes. I think we had one or two bathroom breaks and a gas refill. I would guess the coastal road drive would be much longer. I know a lot of people chose the train system as their first option when traveling. I prefer having more "control" over my travels so usually make the decision to rent cars. Having had several experiences lugging several pieces of luggage off and on trains, even with only one connection, I am not anxious to do it if I can avoid it. But, it isn't necessary at all to have a car in CT. We enjoyed having the car as we made day trips from SML to Portofino, Lucca, Camogli. We made two day trips to CT. Both times parking at the lot in Riomaggiore and using the trains and ferries. If you are staying put...you can weigh the options...cost, convenience, flexibility, stress about car vs. train. I found the CT villages, trails and trains to be awfully crowded and uncomfortable during the days and did not enjoy being a day tripper into the villages. There are better options for staying in this area outside the CT. One of my favorite villages from many year ago is Lericci. But there are other closer villages to stay. Personally, if in the area I would not want to be confined to the CT only without a car. There are some great places to visit.

Chicago
Level Contributor
106 posts
8 reviews
4. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

Hi. we had a similar question as we are weighing our options as to how to get back from CT to Rome. We priced out renting a car for the day, which is not too bad, but when you add another 50E for gas and toll, it isn't much of a deal. I have a question regarding the mini ticket. We are trying to look into booking the train for our trip, which is about 3 weeks from now and it says the mini ticket can be booked up two days before departure. That doesn't help us much since we will be traveling around Tuscany on those days without internet access. Is there any site that will allow us to book it a few weeks in advance? Otherwise it appears the tickets are about 49E per person for the one way. that seems a bit high.

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
33,030 posts
5. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

Book Mini tickets on http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html - select your train and then click 'Continue' to see if they're still available for that train.

There are no Mini tickets from most Cinque Terre stations to Rome as part of the journey is on a Regional train, but you can find them OK from la Spezia to Rome.

Chicago
Level Contributor
106 posts
8 reviews
6. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

So it is possible to book them 2 weeks in advance? eventhough the description says "book up to two days in advance"? I will give it a try this week. thanks for the advice. We were worried if we bought them they wouldn't work because we purchased them too far in advance.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
98,270 posts
17 reviews
7. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

I think what is really meant is that you cannot buy less than 2 days in advance. Trenitalia does not always excel in its English translations. If the Trenitalia site will sell you a Mini ticket, it will be valid for travel.

Don't delay. The number of Mini tickets on any one train is limited, and they can and do sell out well in advance of the travel date.

Kfar Saba, Israel
Level Contributor
5 posts
9 reviews
8. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

Thanks to you all for your replies.

In the end, we've decided to hire a car, stay overnight at the Holiday Inn(15 kilometers from the airport) and drive up along the coast road breaking the journey one night around Grosseto.

Quite liked the look of Monte Argentario, but if anybody has a better suggestion for a half-day's exploration, I'm open to suggestions.

We're looking to rent a holiday apartment in Levanto, which is car friendly and only 4 minutes by train from Monterosso al mare: any recommendatons will be gratefully received.

BTW, I looked for mini tickets, Rome to La Spezia, and they were 29 Euro pp, but could find for the return journey only.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
21 posts
21 reviews
9. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

If four of us are travelling from CT to Rome airport is there anywhere near CT to hire a car one day one way?

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
33,030 posts
10. Re: Rome to Cinque Terre: Car or Train?

Rent from la Spezia, if you are a car addict.

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