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Best Base for Visiting Portofino and Cinque Terre?

Best Base for Visiting Portofino and Cinque Terre?

May 2nd, 2000, 10:45 PM
  #1  
Gretchen
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Best Base for Visiting Portofino and Cinque Terre?

My husband and I are planning an impromptu trip to Italy for 10 days in mid-late May. Hoping to spend a couple of days exploring Portofino, a few towns in the Cinque Terre, and possibly Portovenere. We would like to have just one base for this leg of our trip. Any suggestions for a good base? (We will have a car. We like small towns, but not necessarily tiny towns where the streets are empty after 9 p.m. This is not to say we need a lot of nightlife - just like to people watch, stroll around town in the evening, etc.) I'm thinking Monterosso might be good (my husband would love the beach), but I'm wondering if that location is at all convenient to Portofino. All suggestions appreciated! Thanks in advance.
 
May 2nd, 2000, 11:00 PM
  #2  
Diane
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I was very happy staying in Santa Margherita Ligure (SML), just a short boat or bus to Portofino, and about one hour to the Cinque Terre. SML is a charming resort town and is very active on weekends. There are numerous hotels and restaurants. On Saturday night we found it necessary to have reservations for dining. I recommend you do a search on this board under Santa Margherita.
 
May 3rd, 2000, 05:00 AM
  #3  
Dawn
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We want to see the same things so we have booked a room at the Hotel Continetal in Santa Margherita for 3 nights. The hotel is right on the water and as Diane has said there are boat rides to both areas that you and I are both interested in. The hotel is listed in the Fodors book though I saw it online first. The cost is L280,000/night (non ocean view room, it would have been @$30 day more for an ocean view which you probably look at for about 5 minutes) Let me know if you want info about this hotel. Have a wonderful time!!
 
May 3rd, 2000, 06:05 AM
  #4  
kay
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Hi,
I'll be based in S.margherita Ligure too for our trip in late June (the 25th). Now I'm wondering if 4 nights there is too long. Is it an OK base for day trips to the rest of Tuscany. Am I too far to make a day trip to Rome. Should I shorten my stay to 2 nights and try to find accomodations in Tuscany somewhere? I need to be in Verona (Bussolengo) on June 29...
So little time such a beautiful country.
Any suggestions and insights are tremendously appreciated.
K.
 
May 3rd, 2000, 12:22 PM
  #5  
Margo
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Kay
In my opinion, SM is a perfect base for exporing CT, Portifino, Camogli & the rest of the Ligure but it is not a good base to explore Tuscany. You should use Florence to explore Tuscany then from Florence (because of your schedule) go to Verona
 
May 3rd, 2000, 12:48 PM
  #6  
kay
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Thank you for the suggestion, I will reduce the nr. of nights to 2 instead of 4 and then go to Florence.
I just hope that the lady at the Hotel won't be too mad.
Thanks again...can you recommend a place in Florence? We are a family of 4...
kay
 
May 3rd, 2000, 10:24 PM
  #7  
Gretchen
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Thanks Diane, Dawn, & Kay for your suggestions of Santa Margherita. It sounds like I may be there before any of you, so I'll definitely post something when I get back so you can hear how it worked out.
 
May 4th, 2000, 07:56 AM
  #8  
kay
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Gretchen,
Thank you...I am looking forward to your postings.

Have a great time!
Kay
 
May 4th, 2000, 08:04 AM
  #9  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Gretchen, Given your scenario I would
have picked either Levanto or Monterosso. SM is too far to see the CT
and Portovenere. Of course, you could
see some of it enroute to Tuscany.
SM is wonderful, but not good access to
the villages.
 
May 4th, 2000, 08:13 AM
  #10  
Dawn
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I am curious as to why Bob does not feel that the CT is do-able from SM. Everyone that I know that has done that says that it was perfect, the train is only an hour away and you can also take the boat. Plus there is more to do in SM and definelty not as overriden with tourists as is the CT
 
May 6th, 2000, 10:10 AM
  #11  
Gretchen
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Dawn - I have heard the same as you and would like to hear more from Bob on this. Bob, are you out there?
 
May 6th, 2000, 10:13 AM
  #12  
Gretchen
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ps to Bob if you're out there - can you recommend one or more places to stay in Monterosso?
 
May 6th, 2000, 01:10 PM
  #13  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Well, I just see it as 2 seperate areas
to be experieced differently. As someone
said, it is an hour by train. SM is an
upscale resort town and the entire CT
area is more rugged and natural. You need to stay in one of the CT towns to
be able to hike and spend the time to
truly experience it. I would do both, but for different reasons. Why waste
3 hours getting there and back, and the
trains are seldom reliable.
 
May 6th, 2000, 01:17 PM
  #14  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Oh yes---hotels---I almost forgot. The
Porto Roca is a MAGNIFICENT 4 star on
the cliff at the start to the hiking trail to Vernazza, but about $200.
The Pasquale and the Steno are both 3
stars owned by the same people and are
adequate at about $110. The Baia is near
the train station but a bit rough.
 
May 7th, 2000, 08:17 PM
  #15  
carol
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I'm sure you already know that you cannot drive into any of the Cinque Terre towns, even though the maps show that there is access. All and I mean all parking places are reserved for residents. We drove into Levanto, found a nicely priced hotel, and daily drove to the railroad station in town, parked for free and safely, and jumped on the train, each day to a different town. Be careful, the local trains are the only ones that stop at the cinque terre,the others are express to Portovenere, which
you should not even waste 5 minutes on. Levanto is a perfect town, not tiny and shut down after 9. It has its beach, its 3 bookstores, its old church on a hill, a wonderful restaurant set inside the medieval/renaissance ruins, many other restaurants near the beach which locals frequent all evening. Mothers chat in the park while kids safely play without needing an eagle eye, and even a great
icecream stand there. And best of all, very very few "foreign" tourists. The cinque terre are extremely wonderful, but overrun with tourists, albeit nice ones (Rick Steves readers all), and have few places to stay therefore. And the beach at Levanto is great. if you are
driving from France, a good place to stop for a meal and some stolling through 3'wide medieval streets is the town of Noli; and the next one south is OK too. The little town on the tip of the peninsula near portovenere is charming and beautifully placed, but swarming with tourists. On placid days you can take a boat there from some of the Cinque Terre.
 
May 8th, 2000, 10:46 AM
  #16  
Gretchen
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Thanks for all your replies. Bob, thanks for the Monterosso hotel tips. Maybe we'll split our time between Santa Margherita and the CT.
 
May 8th, 2000, 03:17 PM
  #17  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Carol, A great answer to be heeded.
One thing, I think you meant" express to
La Spezia" not Portovenere---the train
does not go there.
 

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