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Cinque de Terra or Sorrento

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Jan 5th, 2014, 08:05 PM
  #1
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Cinque de Terra or Sorrento

Going to Europe in May and have 3 nites to spend at either the Cinque de Terra or Sorrento.

If you have been to both, can you recommend one over the other and why?

Where did you stay or what do you recommend?

We do like a little adventure, but also enjoy relaxing, culture and food!

**we will be doing 3 nites in Paris, 3 nites in Lauterbrunnen valley, and 3 nites in Rome already.**
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Jan 5th, 2014, 08:15 PM
  #2
kja
 
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Here's a recent thread on exactly that topic:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-or-amalfi.cfm
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Jan 5th, 2014, 08:34 PM
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I've been to both, enjoyed them both. But it depends on what you want to do. What activities brought you to the conclusion that these 2 locations were for you?

I enjoyed the Cinque Terre for the walks from village to village and because I had an apartment with a friend and we enjoyed the ambiance, buying food locally, etc. I enjoyed Sorrento for the proximity to Pompeii & Herculaneum and because I liked the town.

Why do you think you'd enjoy them? And if this is your last stop before leaving Italy, where will you leave from?
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Jan 5th, 2014, 09:55 PM
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I know some people love Sorrento, but personally I found it disappointing - a seemingly ordinary town that felt like it lived on tourism. I had just come the previous night from the Cinque Terre, which I loved (went back again a few years later). While there are plenty of American tourists in the Cinque Terre now, probably too many, somehow the towns didn't seem spoiled to me.

Still, you have to weigh what each one offers vs. what you are interested in. Sorrento is a convenient base for some incredible stuff like Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. The Cinque Terre is itself the destination. If you love to hike - and the main trails are open - it's wonderful. If Pompeii is more interesting to you, or you're simply not interested in hiking, see that instead. Personally, I did a day trip to Naples and wished I'd stayed there instead of in Sorrento, though. (Pompeii is about the same distance on the train from either one.) Naples is certainly a bit rougher in parts but also felt to me like a "real" city. Sorrento felt like a tourist town.
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Jan 5th, 2014, 10:11 PM
  #5
kja
 
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BTW, I trust you know that your trip is VERY rushed. 3 nights each in Paris, Lauterbrunnen, and Rome works out to about 2 days in each -- and each of these locations easily merits much more than that!
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Jan 5th, 2014, 11:04 PM
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Kja brings up an important point. Unless you've been to Paris & Rome a number of times before then going to just those 2 cities for the duration is still a short visit. You may want to consider cutting your proposed number of destinations in half. Unless you know them well already, but still...
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Jan 6th, 2014, 02:07 AM
  #7
 
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There is no comparison.
Sorrento is a town built on tourism for the British. Why are you even comparing it with CT?
Sorrento is a convenient 'base' i.e jump off point to see other places. It is not a place to see in itself as there is nothing there to see.
On the other hand CT is all about the hiking and the towns. It's not a 'base' to see other places.
Your choice - but I think I made it clear.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 06:55 AM
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Your trip is very rushed. You don't leave enough time in any of your locations to really appreciate them, especially when you consider the time it will take to get from one to another. I suggest choosing 3 stops and adding a day to each. Even then it will be inadequate to experience the 3 you choose.

We've been to both Sorrento, a good base for the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, and to Cinque Terre. You have received good descriptions of their differences above. With only 3 days, should you decide to go to one or the other, I would choose CT. It can be seen in 3 days more easily than the Amalfi Coast area.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Sorrento has an attractive historic center, a few interesting churches, and a few museums. It has great views over the Bay of Naples. I certainly wouldn't say there's nothing to see there.

The Cinque Terre has great scenery and good hiking trails. There's virtually nothing to do indoors except buy souvenirs, so if it rains, you may find it a bore. It's also absolutely sinking under the weight of the tourists about seven months of the year. Also, landslides in the past few years and ongoing danger of landslides keep many of the lower trails closed. Since the upper trails are above most of the land that could slide, they're more likely to be open, but they require that you be fairly fit and have decent hiking shoes.

All of this is really moot, though, because three nights in Rome and Paris are nowhere near enough time for those two cities. If you can't spend at least four nights in each one, I would skip one of them, or else skip one of your other destinations.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 10:41 AM
  #10
 
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Apples and oranges.

The CT are 5 small villages built into the side of a cliff with hiking trails between them. As noted, trails are in some disrepair, which is a moving target.

Sorrento is a much larger resort town on the bay of naples which is really a center form which to visit Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum, Capri (by ferry or hydrofoil) and trips to the extremely quaint towns down the coast (Amalfi, Positano etc) by ferry or bus.

However, agree that you are trying to squish a 3 to 4 week vacation into 12 days. Unless have been to Paris and rome before I would allot at least 2 more full days to each.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 10:55 AM
  #11
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Thank you so much for the replies!!

Both locations appeal to us - althought different, so I love going to the forums to hear other opinions on them just in case I missed something in my research.

We both love to hike! (Not intense hiking, but liesurely hiking. (Won't have enough room in our carry-on to bring hiking gear) We like relaxation too!




MmePerdu - do you have any apartment recommendations if we decided on CT?

Any accommodations on Sorrento?

I know 3 nights in each place is rushed. We've studied the Rick Steves books, and will utilize his recommendations to make the most of our days given what we have.

(I will technically have an extra 2 nights to add on this trip, but haven't decided where to distribute them yet. - Just wanting to nail this down first)

Anyone have an opinion based on which place they'd recommend based on the time of year? I.E. Can you still have a great time in Sorrento when then average weather is in the 60's? Or are the hiking trails still enjoyable in low 60's in CT?

Also - does one seem to be "less expensive than the other?"

Really enjoy getting feedback - thank you for all the replies so far!
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Jan 6th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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Arob20: are the hiking trails still enjoyable in low 60's in CT?

I'd say they'd be more enjoyable in the low 60's than the low 80's (which is what it was one of the days in October when I did the longest day of hiking). But you really have to check the trails in the CT to see if they are open when you will be there! Sometimes most of the main trails are closed due to slides. However, there are actually lots of trails to hike besides the main trails that connect the five villages.

Some of the hikes in the Cinque Terre (from Corniglia to Vernazza and Vernazza to Monterosso) are moderately hard but not "extremely hard." There are lots of steps up and down all over the area. While you don't have to be in great hiking shape to do the hikes, you have to be in pretty good shape to do them in a reasonable amount of time.

I'd say two nights in the Cinque Terre would be plenty if you aren't doing the long hikes. That's plenty of time to explore and enoy the towns, unless you will arrive late the first day/depart early the last. Otherwise, you could plan another night somewhere else or a day trip up to say Genova or something.

You haven't mentioned anything you want to do near Sorrento; your questions make it sound like you would plan to spend your time IN the town. I'd say not to bother with Sorrento unless you are interested in the nearby stuff (Pompeii, etc.) Can you still enjoy Pompeii if the weather isn't warm? I'd say so. It is a pleasant, convenient base to explore nearby attractions.

Have you watched the Rick Steves Cinque Terre travel episode? You can watch it for free on Hulu (it is a few years old by now though). There is probably also one covering Sorrento.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 11:42 AM
  #13
 
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Arob20, I'm sorry, I don't have the contact information for the apartment. We were approached at the station on our arrival by a young man who took us to the apartment in Monterosso. He had an agency in town, it was off-season and just happened to work out for both of us.

For May you should definitely book something well in advance. These days I use Airbnb. Here are some listings for the area:
https://www.airbnb.com/s/monterosso~...taly?source=bb
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Jan 6th, 2014, 05:15 PM
  #14
kja
 
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"We both love to hike! (Not intense hiking, but liesurely hiking. (Won't have enough room in our carry-on to bring hiking gear)"

When I was in the Cinque Terre, the park rangers wouldn't let people on the trails if they didn't have appropriate attire. That didn't mean real hiking gear, but it did mean proper footwear with good treads (no flip-flops, sneakers, or street shoes).

"I know 3 nights in each place is rushed. We've studied the Rick Steves books, and will utilize his recommendations to make the most of our days given what we have. "

Hmm... I found his guidebooks to these areas incredibly superficial. Maybe they have changed since I last consulted them.
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Jan 6th, 2014, 05:35 PM
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kja: When I was in the Cinque Terre, the park rangers wouldn't let people on the trails if they didn't have appropriate attire. That didn't mean real hiking gear, but it did mean proper footwear with good treads (no flip-flops, sneakers, or street shoes).

No one ever checked the "treads" of my street shoes on any visit to the CT (2007 or 2011) - all they checked was that my pass was valid. I can imagine people being denied entrance wearing flip flips but not sneakers.

Hmm... I found his guidebooks to these areas incredibly superficial. Maybe they have changed since I last consulted them.

A lot of people seem not to like Rick Steves for some reason, but I swear by his books. I don't always agree with his advice, but at least he is subjective and you can usually tell where he's coming from. He seems to go out of his way to give a history of the areas he's covering, detailed walked tours of towns and art museums, etc. I guess I can see how some people might disagree with his attitude or style, but I'm not quite sure why anyone would consider his books "superficial."
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Jan 6th, 2014, 06:34 PM
  #16
kja
 
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That the park rangers in the Cinque Terre checked the treads of my shoes may have been due to the weather: Although it was clear when I began my hike, there had been a possibility of rain. Indeed, by the time I was halfway from Monterosso al Mare to Vernazza, a torrential rainfall had begun. It was actually quite terrifying, and I was VERY glad that my soles had treads! By the time I reached Vernazza, all trails had been closed because they were deemed too treacherous.

When I say that I find Rick Steves' guide books superficial, I mean that the ones I have consulted cover substantially fewer sites of interest than many other books, and in particular, substantially fewer sites than books by The Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, or Moon. Just about every guide book provides information on the history of the area and of particular sites. There are other guide books that offer walking tours (e.g., the Michelin Green Guides), but in honesty, I don't find walking tours all that helpful, particularly in this day and age when one can use Google Maps to plot one's own route that covers the specific sites one wants to see, starting in and ending in the places that suit one's other plans. To each his/her own. And BTW, better a Rick Steves' guide book than NO guide book!
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