Boat trip for Cinque Terre

Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:19 AM
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Boat trip for Cinque Terre

Hi everyone,

Myself and my family will be visiting the Cinque Terre for just half a day, and since our time is so limited I thought that the best way to get a good view of all of them, is to go on a private boat trip for a couple of hours, no need to take a swim, just to admire the views of the villages from the sea.

Can anyone suggest from which town or village there would be boats for hire available with skipper or maybe even public boats?

We shall be arriving by car, so we would also need to park the car somewhere close, and also for the pier to be accessible enough with not too many stairs as we shall also be using a baby stroller for our 1 1/2 year old son. (although we would be able to carry him a couple of flights of stairs).

Lastly, if we had to make one stop, which of the Cinque Terre villages in your opinion shoud we choose, that is accessible by car and picturesque?

Thank you for any suggestions
love2wander is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:25 AM
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You can park in Monterosso and take water taxis to other villages.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:40 AM
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Just be aware that the boats don't always operate in the area, even on dry, sunny days if the water is too choppy because is too dangerous to dock in the small harbors.

I don't know what time of year you are traveling, or how much time you consider "half a day", or which half of the day you plan to be there, but traffic in high tourist season often backs up to the highway, and parking lots fill up, there are queues for the boats, trains don't come through every 5 minutes (you will probably want to take a train back after your boat ride). It's not easy to just pop in and pop out on crowded days.

Be aware too that if you are traveling in summer, the water and bare hillsides of le Cinque Terre get a fierce beating from the sun, and the heat is uncomfortable.
sandralist is offline  
Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:55 AM
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We shall be travelling end of July and will have at our disposal 4 or 5 hours for a stop at Cinque Terre before checking in at a hotel in Pisa for the evening.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2014, 10:26 AM
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With a 1&1/2 year old, and such very limited time in the intense heat of summer, consider stopping in Luca instead of trekking to the CT. There is a beautiful carousel your son could ride in a lovely square that is like a little park. He could walk and play under the trees in the square. You could have a nice lunch and stroll the walls or the city center, which is pretty flat. There is also a wonderful tiny toy store with beautiful stuffed animals and wooden toys. Unfortunately, in summer, the main streets will also be crowded.
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Old Jul 4th, 2014, 12:46 AM
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Thanks everyone, and Sassafrass for the info about Lucca, we shall be visiting that town from Pisa. We can afford to do the boat-trip in the CT maybe a bit late in the afternoon to avoid intense heat, and then head to Pisa in the evening,as we won't be restricted to check-in at any specific time, and hubby will be driving. I am guessing that if we hire a private boat with skipper for a couple of hours and we take in the wonderful views from the coast that would be enough for us. I am just wondering from which village we should do that, where we can also park our car.
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Old Jul 4th, 2014, 03:26 AM
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Regarding the heat, it is much hotter in the afternoon than in the morning, The heat builds up during the day as the sun moves west and relentlessly bakes the towns. If you can do the trip around 5pm or 6pm, that might be pleasant, and parking may have eased much later in the day.

If you want a private boat tour, you should probably arrange it in advance. You can arrange with operator where to meet and they can give you advice about parking. You can also call them on the day you planned to do this to find out if the sea is calm enough for boating. You can do Google searches to find private boat tour operators in le Cinque Terre and probably find reviews of their services on Tripadvisor.
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Old Jul 4th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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Sandralist, good advice about the afternoon sun, especially in July.
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 05:23 AM
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Thanks for info sandralist - I was in fact planning that we first have lunch somewhere and then maybe we do the boat trip around 4pm, not earlier. I was hoping that I would not have to pre-book with a private tour operation beforehand just in case the sea would be too choppy for my liking. In several countries in the Med on the coast you do often see several skippers offering boat rides around harbours or inlets etc. I was just wondering where they are most likely to hang out in the CT area, maybe some on Fodors would know where they are most likely to be waiting for the tourists. Even if we had to take the boat from Spezia or any other town close to the CT that would also be fine, as long as we get a return boat trip, and not have to catch a train or bus to go back to our car.
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 05:48 AM
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I think if you pre-book and your operator cancels on you due to weather, the operator is not going to charge you and will refund any deposit fees you paid. If the operator cancels, it will only be because no boats at all are running. I think there is a risk in July that if you go around 4pm, that all the private operators will be booked up and you could end up hanging around a hot dock, or paying more than you had hoped because, at that point, it is a seller's market.

However, if you worry that an operator might be willing to go on a run over waters too choppy for your comfort zone, then you will just have to show up, rather than pre-book if you want to avoid losing a deposit. I'd only be guessing as to which is the best town with the combo of tour boat operators and parking. Maybe somebody else here (or on Tripadvisor) knows.

I will also point out that if you pre-book, get out on the water, and feel sick or frightened, the tour operator will immediately take you ashore. But if you worry that is going to happen, it might be better just to use the public ferries anyway. They stop in each town, are bigger boats, and are cheaper, so if you don't like being on them, no big deal to just get off.

The boat rides can be much slower that the train along the coast, and since you will be paying by the hour, you might want to consider taking the boat one way but coming back by train. (Train is the only option. There is no bus service between the villages.)
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Old Jul 5th, 2014, 03:17 PM
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Thanks a lot sandralist for pinpointing out all possibilities.
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