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The Italian riviera in mid-late September 2015

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Hi all,
I will be in Italy in September 2015 for 15 nights, beginning on the 15th. I'll be visiting Torino (6-7 days plus day trips, a much anticipated return trip) and Genova (several days, visiting museums and churches, savouring the city and its foods and market- love big, atmospheric cities - and daytrip to Pavia and maybe one other town).
I'm also interested in spending 3-4 nights on the riviera, after Genova. This will be my first trip to the area.

My question is about which part of the riviera to place myself. I don't HAVE to visit CT on this trip, since I plan on visiting Lucca and the surrounding area on a separate trip plus I can't manage huge crowds.

Would you say, for a 3-4 day stay, Noli, Albenga or Bordighera be good places to stay and daytrip from? I will rely on public transport, which seems pretty good,(so far I checked only trenitalia and that area has good connections to Milan, too, which I'll need for my flight back). I'm looking for a quiet, not-so-touristy, relaxed town, with nice views.

Would late September be a good time to visit weather-wise?

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    I'm not sure Noli has a train station. I think you would need to rely on a bus or a taxi to access the train station. Not a problem if you don't plan any extensive day trips, but can crimp your stayle if you are.

    Albenga is one of the most charming and historically interesting towns on the Riviera, also with outstanding food. but if you want to a sea view, it is hard to combine that with the charm of the town because the historic center is just a bit inland. It is easy to walk from the historic center to the sea and the train station, but if you decide to book your lodgings in the historic center, you won't see the ocean, if that matters to you.

    Bordighera is lovely, and the plus side is that if you want to visit France, you can easily do so. However, it is extra time to get from there to Milan.

    Some other towns you might consider are Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo and Chiavari (the last has no hotels with sea views), all of which offer convenient trains back to Milan and pretty vistas and pleasant pebble beaches. All of them will be reasonably quiet by mid-September, and are variously "touristy", with Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli have the most feel of being tourist towns, Rapallo much less so, and Chiavari hardly at all. Genearlly speaking, that part of the Riviera has more dramatic, prettier views than the "other" side (and hence more tourists.) Some totally off the radar but lovely towns are Bordighera, Zoagli and Moneglia, but not all of them have great train connections and some have a few modern buildings here and there.

    If you want to see Pavia, check out if it might be simpler from Torino, but I think it is a rather time consuming day trip from either Genova or Torino. Depending on when your flight leaves you might be able to spend the night in Pavia before heading to the airport the next day.

    Late September should be close to ideal for weather, but you can never tell when it might rain. Usually it will pass quickly, though, at that time of year.

    If you are spending time in Genova for museums, some of the most interesting ones are in the peripheral suburb of Nervi, about a 20 minute train ride from Genova or from the seaside towns south of Genova that I mentioned.

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    Thanks, sandralist. I will check out the towns south of Genova as well and maybe daytrip to Albenga from Genova, if I decide on staying in one of them. I don't actually have to have a sea view from my hotel room, just to be able to stroll around a beautiful town with such a view. And for Noli, there is a station called Spotorno-Noli but I actually don't know how far it is from the town.

    And I also had in mind the museums in Nervi since you mentioned them here before. I will need to get a closer look at them.

    When I last checked a few months ago, Pavia was a 1-hour train ride from Genova, which I think is reasonable. There is a small chance I will stay in Milan for a few days (depends if there's something attractive on the MITO Settembre Musica festival which programme will be made known only in May-June). In that case I might try to get to Pavia from there, which is a shorter ride.

    I will need to spend my last night in Malpensa since my flight leaves at 7AM the next day, but I can get there in the evening and still have a full day at the riviera.

    Do you think it's OK to reserve in advance an accommodation in a riviera town probably for late September (I think I will go to Torino first, then Genova)? Or would you wait for the weather report and if good, make a reservation a few days before?

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    You don't need to do it until May or June, but is probably better to book something you can cancel rather than wait to see the weather, since you really won't be able to tell anything reliably until about 3 days in advance. Most of the time the Riviera is quite dry during late September, and if you do get a storm, it is gone in a few hours, so I doubt you will need to cancel. You can bookmark this website, which is easy to use and lets you check forecasts all over Italy. It also breaks down the weather for a location into hour-by-hour, instead of just predicting "rain" so you can see if the rain is going to happen at 3am to 5am, or 10am to 7pm.

    I am thinking that you should also consider Alassio and Sestri Levante, and Finale Ligure (which I believe has a train station). If you like strollng around towns, the smaller towns like Camogli and Noli are really very small, where some of the bigger towns like Chiavari or Sestri Levante or Alassio have more extensive life and markets. I have never figured out why no one ever seems to visit Porto Maurizio (Imperia), since it looks so interesting in pictures. I once stopped for lunch nearby and had a fantastic lunch at the seaside, but didn't climb the hill to explore the town. I plan to go when the weather turns nice and see what's there.

    If you are going to Pavia to see the Certosa don't forget that you cannot walk there from the train station but will need to take a bus or taxi. The Certosa may close during the middle of the day in September, so double check the hours.

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    Thanks again for very valuable information. I will look into all these towns and day trip options. I have also bookmarked the website, it seems late September will be a good time for visiting the riviera.

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