a VirtualTourist member
Please could anyone advise me whether I would need to book the train from Milan to Vernazza in Advance or is it ok to turn up on the day of travel??? Do you also know the rough cost of a return journey?? - we are travelling in July.
1. "[do] I ... need to book the train from Milan to Vernazza in Advance "?
The answer is - the more flexible your travel plans are, the less likely you have to reserve in advance.
To fully understand this answer, you have to understand that some Italian trains take reservations, some require reservations, and some don't take reservations at all. The regional trains do not take reservations, the Eurostars and ICPluses require reservations, and the IC (InterCity) trains have both reserved and open seating. For the trains that have open seating (the ICs and the regionals), if there is room to stand, you can get on.
So, when you go to www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html , you will look for rail solutions between these two cities. You will see that almost all of them require one or more changes of train, typically an ICPlus to Genova, and a regional train to Vernazza. So the ICPlus will require a reservation, and has the chance of being sold out. But NOTE: this does not show all the trains between Milan and Genova; it shows only the convenient ones to connect the regional trains running up and down the Ligurian coast. So even if you miss one ICPlus, there will be other trains to get to Genova, and once you are in Genova, you will be able to eventually take a regional train down to Vernazza (as long as you don't arrive in Genova too late in the evening).
Also note that if you are willing to take the regional train that leaves Milan at 07:15, that it is 'direct' (not non-stop, but no change of train) to Vernazza...Unless it is so crowded that people are falling out the doors, you will be able to get on.
2. The price depends on which solution you take, because the different types of trains are priced differently. Note that there is no discount for round trip.
Look at the solutions, then click on the shopping cart icon to get the pricing...the direct regional train at 07:15 will probably be the cheapest (12.45 euro 2nd class one way) in any case, because it is a regional train all the way...
Agree with Bill's answer.
We were just in Italy and used the train to travel between cities. We did not make advanced reservations and were able to get all the trains we wanted by purchasing tickets at the station.
Do arrive a little early as queues tend to get long!
For pricing and schedules you can check out the TrenItalia's website ahead of time.
And dont forget to validate that ticket!!!