How to move in and about La spezia: ferries, trains and busses

La Spezia is more than just a terminal for cruises and ferries; it’s a destination worth exploring. Centrally located in the Gulf of Poets, it’s perfect for visiting Cinque Terre and the beauties of eastern Liguria. Many tourists choose La Spezia as their base, drawn by its charm and convenient transport links.

Getting Around La Spezia:

  • Car: While connected to major northern Italian cities by roads, the historic center has many restricted zones and limited parking. It’s advisable to park on the outskirts and use public transport or walk.
  • Bus: A network operated by ATC, with tickets available on buses or from authorized dealers.
  • Train: The local station connects to major Italian cities and offers frequent service to Cinque Terre.
  • Ferry: Ferries link La Spezia to Cinque Terre, Portovenere, Lerici, and other Gulf of Poets locales.

Traveling to Cinque Terre:

  • Train: The quickest and most convenient way is by the dedicated Cinque Terre Express.
  • Ferry: Offers scenic travel along the Ligurian coast, albeit slower than trains.
  • Trails: For hiking enthusiasts, connected by trails including the famous “Blue Trail”.

Cinque Terre Card: Offers unlimited access to regional trains and ATC buses and entry to numerous museums and attractions. It is recommended for those wanting to explore multiple villages quickly.

La Spezia and its Gulf

Driving in La Spezia:

A12 Motorway: The Spezia exit leads quickly to the city center via Val Magra, while the Santo Stefano exit is recommended for those coming from Genoa.

City Center: La Spezia features a broad pedestrian and limited traffic zone, especially in the historic center which houses many tourist facilities. Paid parking is available in various areas (see map below).

Cinque Terre:

  • From La Spezia: Exit at La Spezia for quick access to Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, and Vernazza.
  • From Carrodano: This exit is best for Framura, Levanto, Bonassola, Monterosso, and Vernazza.

Train: Parking in La Spezia or Levanto and using trains is advisable for visiting multiple villages in a day, as roads can be busy and parking limited, especially in peak season.

Gulf of Poets:

  • Lerici and Portovenere: Parking is limited; cars and buses are recommended, with ferries available in summer. No train stations are available in Lerici and Portovenere.

Val di Magra and Val di Vara:

  • Only accessible by car and bus

You can find useful information here:

Romantic sail in the Bay of the Poets

Guided Kayak Tour from Lerici

Levanto to Monterosso path with a guide

Trekking Riomaggiore Manarola

Craft your perfume in the Cinque Terre

Traveling to Cinque Terre by Ferry: An Unforgettable Experience

The ferry is undoubtedly the most scenic and enjoyable way to reach Cinque Terre from La Spezia (and Levanto). Approaching the coastal villages from the sea offers a unique and memorable experience.

While more expensive than the train, it’s important to note that the ferry service is unavailable during autumn and winter.

From La Spezia, ferries depart from the port along the Passeggiata a Mare Costantino Morin.

Services Offered:

  • Cinque Terre: A single ticket (available online) allows visitors to visit all villages, with the flexibility to get on and off according to ferry schedules. This ticket also includes entry to the Cinque Terre National Park.
  • Gulf of Poets: The service connects La Spezia and Cinque Terre with Lerici, Tellaro, San Terenzo, Portovenere, Le Grazie, Fezzano, and Cadimare.
  • Isola Palmaria: A unique line connects La Spezia to Terrizzo and Pozzale on Isola Palmaria, the largest in Liguria. This makes it ideal for trekking enthusiasts to choose a trail that fits their preferences.

Cinque Terre by Train: A Picturesque Journey Between Sea and Land

Traveling by train has always been the ideal way to explore Cinque Terre. The quick, cost-effective service and the breathtaking views make it a unique and unforgettable experience.

The Cinque Terre railway, with its coastal cliffs and tunnels carved into rock, offers spectacular views. Some stations are so small that not all train cars fit, requiring some passengers to disembark in tunnels.

In peak season, these trains can be very crowded, especially those stopping at every station. It’s recommended to travel during less busy times or use the “Cinque Terre Express,” a faster regional service stopping at all stations.

From La Spezia, various trains run to Cinque Terre, including:

  • Regional trains: Stop at all Cinque Terre stations, and always check that your station is on the route.
  • Cinque Terre Express: Fast regional trains that call at every station.

For traveling within the Cinque Terre National Park, consider the Cinque Terre Card, which offers unlimited travel on regional trains, ATC buses, and includes many local attractions. It’s the most cost-effective way to fully explore the park.

The scenic Cinque Terre railway by night, ph Claudio Poggio

Getting Around La Spezia and the Gulf of Poets by Bus

Buses are a great option for getting around La Spezia and the villages of the Gulf of Poets, especially for those arriving by train. The ATC (Azienda Trasporti Consorziali) manages a comprehensive bus network providing frequent connections, making it easy to reach the historic center, various city areas, and key tourist spots in the Gulf.

For schedules, routes, and fares, visit the ATC website. You can buy tickets on buses, at authorized dealers, or online. Services include day and night routes to enhance mobility at all hours. For real-time traffic updates or disruptions, check the ATC website or contact their call center.

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