Cinque Terre with Mom (4 days)

Old May 31st, 2016, 08:04 PM
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Cinque Terre with Mom (4 days)

My mom and I are traveling to Europe (for her first time) at the end of August. At this point I have all of our flights, trains & lodging arrangements taken care of, and I'm trying to finalize an itinerary that covers the most possible attractions in the least amount of time, with the least amount of strenuous activity for my mom. (I'm aware this is practically an impossible combination, yet, alas...)

Paris (3 days, 2 nights)
Flight to Rome (2 days, 2 nights)
Highspeed train to Florence (1 day)
Regional Train to Cinque Terre (Manarola home base 3 days, 4 nights)

We're ending our trip in Cinque Terre with Manarola as our home base. I assume we will be exhausted by this time (especially mom) and decided it best to end the trip on the beach. While neither of us are necessarily stoked on the idea of hiking in general, I realize hiking is a huge aspect of what the area has to offer and I cannot wait for the incredible views and fresh air. (please no rain!) Should we purchase the hiking pass even if we don't plan to hike every leg of the trip?

I know my mom would love to do a wine tasting/vineyard tour. Any suggestions?

Also, a boat tour/cruise is a must. Suggestions? I've heard of Angelo's Boat Tours http://www.angelosboattours.com/tours/ Any experience?

Must see restaurants? ocean views, of course! Shopping/markets? Best hiking trails and directions for the best pictures?

Also, we are flying our of Milan Airport. I've found three potential options to get there:

Train- cheapest, but longest and most strenuous option
Taxi- fastest, but most expensive option
Carpool, fast & cheap, but reliable?

Any and all suggestions are welcome and appreciated!!
katechristine is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2016, 03:53 AM
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I'm not sure you have been well informed about the Cinque Terre. The beaches there are very small, and other than the one at Monterosso, there is not much sand at all. The beaches are mostly rocky or at least pebbly. The towns are also extremely crowded in the daytime.

A would say that the Cinque Terre is best enjoyed by hiking. A good many of the lower trails have been closed for several years because of the risk of landslides, and the upper trails involve a good deal of climbing.

You might want to consider instead one of the Ligurian beaches recommended in this article.

http://www.miomyitaly.com/best-beaches-in-liguria.html

The Cinque Terre is in Liguria, so these beach towns are not far away. Levanto is a very short distance from the Cinque Terre, so you could easily visit from there. I would suggest going very early in the morning, or after mid-afternoon, when the hordes of day trippers have left.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 04:40 AM
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You can find updates on the Cinque Terre trails here. I would not buy a trail pass until you have determined if the parts you would like to walk are open. Right now, it looks like Manarola-Corniglia and Manarola-Riomaggiore (M-R is the easiest stretch) are both closed.

http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/E...ri-outdoor.php

The other parts of the Sentiero Azzurro do offer great views. They are not especially difficult for someone used to walking, but in summer you would want to do them early in the day, with plenty of water and hats. Because fewer of the lower trails are open, they get very crowded, which takes away from the experience.

There are other trails (other then the Sentiero Azzurro) but they may be too challenging, given your comments about your mom.

We really enjoyed dinner at Dal Billy in Manarola, but make reservations.

As bvlenci mentioned, Levanto is a short train ride and a pleasant town to walk in and check out the beach.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 05:17 AM
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I frankly feel, Cinque Terre is highly over-hyped may be by Rick steves and many others. It's run down and even dirt at times. Lot of pickpockets on the train. I feel it deserves at the most a day trip.
Portofino is much better.
i would have rather stayed at Sorrento or Positano for 3 or 4 nights with day trips to Capri and Amalfi coast. It is ten times more scenic.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 06:55 AM
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I think your mom might find this a tad strenuous:

http://genova.repubblica.it/cronaca/...ti_-123899365/
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 07:37 AM
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You can find updates on the Cinque Terre trails here. I would not buy a trail pass until you have determined if the parts you would like to walk are open. Right now, it looks like Manarola-Corniglia and Manarola-Riomaggiore (M-R is the easiest stretch) are both closed.

That section of trail has been closed for five years, due to the risk of landslides I mentioned above. I think you can safely assume that it will be closed for the foreseeable future.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 07:57 AM
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@StCirq - OMG! They don't just need to limit the people on the trails. They need to ban cruise ships and tour buses!
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 10:00 AM
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It was bvlenciwho found this and posted it earlier today on another thread.

But yeah, what a horror!
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 10:54 AM
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Banning cruise ships is a great idea. You need a lot of busses to carry the thousands that can come off a boat.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 11:47 AM
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I had actually seen some worse pictures in another Italian newspaper, but I couldn't find them today.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 11:52 AM
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Banning cruise ships would be great in other places too. Venice, Dubrovnik, Rhodes, Taormina come immediately to mind.... The bigger the ships get the worse the problem.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 01:53 PM
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The people who own shops and restaurants in these places are vehemently opposed to banning cruise ships and tour buses. In Venice, they had an awful time just trying to get the cruise ships banned from the Grand Canal, where they were causing damage to the foundations of the buildings. The business men opposed it tooth and nail, saying that fewer cruise ships would stop in Venice if they had to dock a little further away from the center of the city. And that would be a bad idea? To someone selling souvenir tea towels and trivets, apparently the answer is "yes". As long as they can squeeze one more live body on the vaporetto, they should keep them coming.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 02:28 PM
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You say you have booked transport and lodging... so it sounds like you don't have any flexibility - is that correct? I ask because you have sadly miscounted your days in various places. It takes 3 nights in a place just to get two full days. And in the process of getting from one place to another, it takes at least half a day, sometimes most of a day. You have to figure from the time you check out of lodgings in one place until you get checked n at the next.

So if you have two nights in Paris, you have one full day and maybe a couple of hours on two other days. Likewise, you have one day in Rome, and part of a day in Florence. The only place you have counted your days correctly is in Cinque Terre.

If you have any flexibility, I'd do some judicious cutting - cut Florence since you basically have no time there.

Good luck - the trip sounds exhausting.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 04:18 PM
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Late August, early September equals a mobscene in the Cinque Terre. Stay nearby in Sestri Levante or Levanto, or in the lovely towns of Santa Margherita Ligure or Camogli. You can day trip to the CT.
Or take the four nights you alloted to the CT and give them to Paris or Florence as you have really shortchanged those cities. Or, if you want, spend those days in tne Tuscan counteyside.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 04:55 PM
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I would not take your mom to the CT at all. These are villages cut into the side of a cliff and the main purpose of visits is hiking the cliffside trails between the villages.

I think your mom would be much happier with a resort with real sand beaches and a town that is flat and doesn't require climbing to get around to hotels and restaurants.
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Old Jun 1st, 2016, 06:24 PM
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I'd take mom to a splurge-y hotel in Tuscany with a pool and spa.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 04:06 PM
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I know the Cinque Terre very well. You do not have to hike! You can very easily walk the comfortable 20 minute Via Dell'More between Manarola down to Riomaggiore (the southernmost of the 5 CT towns). There is shopping and eating in each town to explore, so that will be fun. Monterosso al mare is the largest and northernmost of the 5 towns, there are more options there for wine bars, restaurants, etc. They have a larger beach area but it is very pebbly/rocky and not the typical fine, sugar sand you might think. There is a 3 and 5 day Cinque Terre train pass that allows you to conveniently hop on the local train to get back and forth between the towns. Also, I would recommend taking a boat between the towns too so you can see a different view from the coast. The adjoining towns of Levanto and Portovenere are both worth a visit if you have exhausted all your CT sight-seeing. Levanto is where Mussolini's son lived when he was married to Sophia Loren's sister. It is often called the 6th town of the CT due to its proximity. It is not very touristed compared to the other towns, which makes it a nice respite from the Rick Steves' crowds that flood the CT. Portovenere is where Lord Byron and Percy Shelley hung out. Lord Byron swam across the Golfo di Poeti there and there is a grotto named after him. There is a Genovese fortress and later church built on the hill overlooking the bay that you can walk up to and be rewarded with awesome views of the Golfo di Poeti.

Liguria (province of the Cinque Terre) is where pesto was first made. It is also where focaccia was invented, so do try to have order some menu items featuring them! Trophie al pesto is a great pasta dish with small diced potatoes in it. Also, focaccia is sold like slices of pizza in nearly all the towns, so you can walk up and order a slice to go while out exploring. Do try limoncello or a milder version, crema di limone after a seafood dinner, it is especially refreshing!

Re: transportation, I have always flown into either Milano or Genoa. From either city you can take trains down to the Cinque Terre. It is more affordable than a taxi, and IMO, a more scenic route to see the coastline from Camogli, Portofino down. If you fly into the airport in the morning, you can easily make it down to Manarola by the afternoon. Enjoy yourselves in this beautiful part of Italia! Buon viaggio!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2016, 04:15 PM
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Huitres - Via Dell'Amore has been closed since 2011.
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