From approximately the beginning of April to the end of October, ferries are an alternate way of reaching most of the Cinque Terre villages and others along the Ligurian coast - including Portofino, Levanto and La Spezia. They’re not as fast or as inexpensive as the local train but are a nice way to get a different perspective of the cliffs, steeply terraced vineyards and tiny hilltop towns than you can see from land. Tickets may be purchased at the marinas of any of the ports the ferries serve, and are priced by distance: ours from Riomaggiore to Monterosso were €8 one way with shorter/longer point-to-points priced accordingly.
The website is multi-lingual (English, Italian, German, French and Spanish), provides maps and schedules, and allows you to figure ticket prices based on desired departure/destination points. Do note that:
• Ferries do not stop at Corniglia
• Service may be cancelled at any time due to rough seas
• They aren’t covered under any Cinque Terre park or park/rail passes: any info on the net stating otherwise is incorrect (previous passes that included ferries were discontinued)
• There are around 7-8 departures from CT villages every day but the earliest runs don't go to every village so check schedules carefully. Last runs are fairly early in the evening, and service to more distant locations isn’t as frequent as between the four Cinque Terre ports.
• There are also one-day tickets which allow you unlimited trips - either one-way or round trip - to all of the villages served. But because trains are more frequent and run earlier/later in the day, they are a better option for sightseers who only have 1 day.
• The website is not functional in the off season
There are several boats going to and from Manarola to the other villages of Cinque Terre (except for Corniglia). I would advise everybody to do this, because seeing the villages perched to the mountains is a wonderful sight and totally different from seeing them from one of the hiking paths.
The pier is a little outside of Manarola and you will have to walk a little path to reach the village.
The link below gives you itineraries and fares.
Navigazione Golfo dei Poeti runs shuttle boats between Monterosso - Vernazza - Manarola - Riomaggiore (they don't stop at Corniglia, as there is no harbour).
You can buy a day pass and jump on and off along the way, or just a one-way ticket.
A great way to see the beauty of the Cinque Terre!
Daily trip 11,50euro - Daily trip reduced rate 6,50euro
Monterosso - Vernazza: Return ticket 4,50euro - One way only 3,00euro