Monterosso al Mare is accessible by sea, through the daily ferries that connect the various villages of the Cinque Terre with Portovenere, La Spezia and Lerici. The Maritime Consortium of Cinque Terre owns fleet of 16 boats of various sizes and the ferry lines between the different villages are very frequent during a day.
One of the best way to see the places of Cinque Terre is to take a ferry trip to the four villages with access to the water., and you will get a great overall view of the different villages.
The ferry runs from Easter through October, or later if the weather is warm and dry. For more informations regarding the ferry, including fares and a timetable, visit this site: http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/home.asp?lang=eng
The railway station of Monterosso al Mare is located in the new part of the town which is called Fegina. Out there is a long road called Passegiata Lungomare which connecting new and old parts of Monterosso. To reach the old town you must pass a single tunel which starts nearby Torre Aurora. The tunel is maybe 200m long. Somwhere around its end there is a doorway which leading to a small tunel, sort of section leading to the point from which you can see the open sea.
In 1870 the railroad line was built which opened up Monterosso al Mare to the outside world. Sounds funny but is true, until that period Monterosso was accesible only by sea or by mule paths that connected the villages of the Cinque Terre.
In case of travelling and exploring Italy by car, it is advisible not to use it for visiting area of Cinque Terre. It is much more convinient to leave the car in La Spezia, Genova or Milano and travel to this area by train. From Milano or Genova there are inter-city lines and you need to check the timetables.
La Spezia is the best starting point to reach Cingue Terre by train. There are several train compositions which contemporarily travel between La Spezia - Cinque Terre and back, very frequently (each few minutes) during day and night. The return ticket cost around 10 euros.
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 many 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 earlist runs do not 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.
• The website is not functional during the off season
To go from one Cinque Terre village to the other, the train is very convenient as well! Just don't expect great views: it is mostly tunnels!
The fares are very reasonable: we paid 1 € to go from Vernazza to Monterosso (2006), but then it is only 5 km....
The best way to get around Monterosso and the Cinque Terre is by foot.
Walking along the cliffs between villages is a fantastic experience and the views are spectacular.
You don't need proper hiking shoes, but sturdy foot wear is a must. Leave the stilettos at home!!
We saw lots of people walking with poles, which may have made some of the steeper climbs a little easier - harder to juggle the camera though!!
To travel to Monterosso, and between the five villages of the Cinque Terre you can catch the train that runs between La Spezia and Genoa.
Besides hiking, it is the easiest and quickest way to travel from village to village, but not very scenic - most of the time you are in tunnels through the mountains, with only an occasional glimpse of the ocean.
The train is pretty slow, and not that frequent. There is usually 1-3 trains per hour in summer, and less as the weather gets colder. Some trains don't stop at all the villages, so make sure you check the timetable in advance.
A one ride ticket costs around 1.50 euro and there is a day pass that you can buy too. Tickets are available at each of the towns stations, and make sure you pick up a timetable as well.
Monterosso is very small so I think there aren't any car rentals there.
Anyway take a look on
and consider to travel by TRAIN from Monterosso to Venice.
I think it's more convenient than hiring a car (in terms of money, safety and comfort).
If you wish to go to Venice only by car let me know, I should try to help you!
Welcome in my Country!
The Cinque Terre is my favorite place anywhere ... you'll find it a vacation from your busy vacation. It is connected by main line rail from at the the Monterosso station, and some locals stop at the other towns, enroute to/from La Spezia. It is on the main line south from Genova (Genoa), and has some direct trains to Milano Centrale as well. Piza comes up in the schedules as another connecting point for trains from Florence.
There is no need (or place) for a car once you are in the 5 towns. Hotels in Monterosso, B&B's and apartments in the other towns. Restaurants abound, with all kinds of fish available and recommended. The towns are all connected by a foot trail through what is now a national park (i.e. admission charge now). Some parts are rugged and steep. You can go part way until you drop, and take a train back to where you are staying in the 5 towns.
Another option is to get to/stay in Portovenere and take the water bus around the point and north to the C.T. towns on the water (not Corniglia .. 263 steps up from the train station). Grand Hotel in Portovenere is lovely, and right by the pier. Last time, we stayed at "Hotel 5 Terre" in Monterosso at a good rate. Not all rooms have A/C, so be specific. They let us come right back at the same rate when we were marooned due to the 1 day train strike. (Oh, darn...another day in paradise.)
I'm envious...I want to go back!
There are several options for getting to Monterosso, as with all the Cinque Terre villages. On our first visit we had planned to take the ferry from Riomaggiore, only to find that rough seas meant that it was not stopping in the latter, so we came by train instead. Towards the end of our visit to the Cinque Terre we came back, this time by ferry from Vernazza, to revisit a shop whose various goods had taken our fancy.
If you arrive by train you will be in the newer part of town, its northern half. This is the place to be if you want to spend time on the beach, but if like us you want to explore the older part of Monterosso you will need to follow the path round the headland to the south, with its old fort, or walk through the tunnel beneath it, to reach the harbour (where the ferry docks) and the quainter old town.
You can also walk here, following the path from Vernazza. This is apparently the longest and most demanding stretch of the Cinque Terre cliff walk, but well worth doing if you have more time (and energy!) than we did.
There is more information about the trains and ferries on my Riomaggiore page, or check out these useful websites:
Trains ~ www.ferroviedellostato.it/
Boats ~ www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/