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Driving from Livorno to Portofino

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I had just started my research about my upcoming Med cruise when I stumbled across the Fodors site. Excellent! I'm now doing my whole trip planning from this one site.

I've read the discussions about Livorno, Lucca, Cinque Terre (CT) and Portofino (PF) / Santa Margherita Ligure (SML), but am hoping some one would be able to give me more specific answers.

We're docking for a day in Livorno, but we've seen Florence before, so we've decided to go to Portofino for the day. Several posters on this site have advised against this because of the distance, especially by train which seems to be up to 2.5 hours each way, so we've decided to rent a car for the day. Not the most economical, but the only feasible alternative.

I'm not able to find a good estimate of the travel time via the A12 between Livorno and PF. It seems to be about 1.5 hours by car? Say it takes 2 hours. We can only leave Livorno at 8:30 (time the car rentals opens) and that will put us in Rapallo / SML at 10:30. Take the ferry to PF, spend max 1.5 hours before return to SML. This puts us at Oca Bianca for lunch at 12:00 / 12:30. Spend some time in SML from 13:30 to 15:30 before we start our way back to Livorno to be there at 18:00 (ship leaves at 19:00). Sounds doable?

I see parking is expensive in SML. Is it feasible / cheaper to rather park in Rapallo and take the bus to SML? Should we make some time to spend in Rapallo? Anything specific to see?

On our way to SML and back to Livorno, there should be time for a quick stop to stretch legs. One could maybe make a quick detour to PortoVenere? Obviously CT is out of the question on this trip. Anywhere else along the road one can stop for a few minutes?

(Next post will be on Civitavecchia)

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