There are two major coastal attractions on Italy’s west coast: the Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre, which is situated on the Italian Riviera. Both places are very easily accessible by train and a breeze to get there with your Interrail pass. The Amalfi Coast, close to Naples, is more expensive than the 5 villages that make up the Cinque Terre, making the Cinque Terre a much more attractive option for cash-strapped interrailers!
While the train can take you to Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, they are all villages and not practical to stay in on a budget. Your main options are to stay in La Spezia or Genoa, and we take a look at the benefits of different locations below.
5 Terre Hostel
This hostel is located in the hills within the Cinque Terre national park and is consistently awarded with accolades, including Italy’s best hostel in 2018. It is very highly praised by guests who rave about the authentic Italian homemade meals and the shuttle bus that runs from the hostel to La Spezia station and Monterosso.
It certainly provides an authentic experience for your Interrail trip in Italy and gets you away from the main tourist traps around the Italian Riviera and into the countryside. Sound good? You can book it here.
La Spezia provides a good base to see all the villages and is also an ideal connection point to major Italian cities, with most cities being just a direct train away. Just a few minutes by train to the Cinque Terre villages but also not far from Pisa or Genoa, both great cities for day trips.
It also happens to be a charming place in its own right. It’s a bustling Italian port town and home to Italy’s largest naval base. Explore the bay area and winding streets in the old town and you’ll discover a special atmosphere packed with osterias and trattorias serving up delicious Ligurian food.
Looking for somewhere to stay? We recommend Grand Hostel Manin.
Genoa is home to Italy’s largest port and is the gateway city to the Italian Riviera. Not often considered as a place to stop off on during an Interrail trip, it’s less touristy than other Italian cities but is brimming with history and culture, particularly art.
You can get fantastic views over the city and the harbour by heading up to Belvedere Luigi Montaldo, a kind of wrap-around balcony perched in the hills above the city. For evening drinks, head to Porto Antico or Piazza delle Erbe. If you want to eat in a local restaurant that is extremely popular amongst the Genoese (who wouldn’t?) then go to Cavour 21, but expect to queue if you aren’t there by 7.30pm!
There’s plenty to keep you occupied in Genoa instead, but it’s just around 90 minutes by train away from the Cinque Terre villages. Along the train route that takes you towards the Cinque Terre, there are other locations along the Italian Riviera that are well worth checking out, Portofino and Camogli being two standout towns.
Looking for somewhere to stay? We recommend Victoria House.