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Cinque Terre in early August: Nightmare or still worthwhile?

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Hi

I am keen to stay in Cinque Terre for couple of days and just spend my days hiking around from one town to the other. Obviously, my timing couldn't be worse. Early August means it will be full of tourists, most rooms are booked and day-trippers would be abundant.

Having said that, is it still worthwhile? Or is it so unbearable that I might as well keep it for the future? I don't think I would get to visit Italy anytime soon in next few years, and gosh, what if I get too old and lazy to hike all towns?

Many think, from what I have read on this forum, that it is over-rated. Is it over-rated even for a first-timer in Italy?

Is it worthwhile to stay in any other town nearby, like La Spezia, Portofino, and make my way to the towns every day? :( I don't like the sound of it, however. But if anybody has done that, and found it better than being amidst hordes whole day, please share your experience.

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