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Cinque Terre with my mom? Too much walking?

Cinque Terre with my mom? Too much walking?

Jul 26th, 2007, 02:34 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Cinque Terre with my mom? Too much walking?

Hi all,

My mother and I are planning an Italian adventure for next summer (can't start planning too early, right?). She has never been to Italy before and has only really travelled in the UK. This is a fantasy vacation for her and I want to get it right!

My Italian friend recommended Cinque Terre. This trip is all about her - she likes quiet places with a beach where she can read and relax. From my preliminary research online it looks like it's easy to get to Florence from Cinque Terre which is a dream of hers.

My concern is that she is not in the best physical shape - she has a bad back and has trouble walking long distances. Is it easy to get around without too much walking? Is it too ambitious?

Thanks for any help!
pittpurple is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 03:43 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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From what you say about your mom she will enjoy the Cinque Terre. Some of the hikes between the villages she will not be able to do. You can enjoy the Cinque Terre even without the hikes, though that is a wonderful part. The trail from Riomaggiore to Manarola is short (20 minutes) and easy - people are on it with baby strollers! There are ferries between the towns and very easy, cheap and convenient trains that take only minutes. If you do a search here you will find much info. on Cinque Terre - also much in guide books. We stayed Monterosso, which has the best beach. She will certainly enjoy Cinque Terre without a lot of walking.
julieann is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 03:54 AM
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I'm not so sure about the Cinque Terre as being a place to "read and relax". It can be overwhelmingly crowded with tourists, especially in the summer months. If you want to "get it right", I'd give this idea second thoughts...
TuckH is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 03:59 AM
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Where else are you going in Italy - there are other places in Liguria with beaches that might be easier to get to and get around. It also depends on if you have a car or are taking trains.
chicagolori is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 05:21 AM
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The Cinque Terre is definitely not a holiday place with beaches for reading and relaxing. Great hikes but quite tough, uphill steeply at start and finish. Lovely boat trips along the coast. What about the Venetian Lido? Good beach and the glories of Venice within easy reach with Florence 2 hours by train.
bellini is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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I agree that CT, though some of the villages have beaches, may not be 'quiet & relaxing' during the summer. I, too, am not a hiker and here's what I did last October:

I stayed in Portovenere over a weekend--my favorite of the Italian Riveria towns--at a lovely hotel with a huge terrace overlooking the harbor & colorful buildings. From there, I took a boat-ferry, first over to charming Lerici, where I walked about soaking up its colorful beauty, and then had lunch. It has nice parklands looking out on its harbor where you can relax.

Then, I took the boat back to Portovenere, and visited CT on a boatride so I could take photos of the villages from the water. You have the option of getting off at any CT village for the day or a few hours. I did all this over a weekend, but I'd recommend mid-week during the summer, as it's a popular destination for Italians on weekends.

For an endearing, quiet spot to read on the beach--well, not exactly beach-- consider the little harbor in lovely Tellaro, a bit south from Portovenere, where locals sit in beach chairs and dip into the ocean. Less likely to be crammed, as are many other beach areas during the summer.

You can see where I stayed in Portovenere & other photos of the areas I mention here:


And Tellaro here:


I've also heard, but can't vouch for it, that the beach towns south of CT are less congested.

Re: Florence, depending on how much time you have, consider staying in an apartment for a week or more. I was in one on the Oltrarno side (across river from Duomo), and it was a delight to return to after the frenzy of navigating Florence. (There are 3 Florence albums at the site linked above, as well.)

If you can go the latter half of May instead of after schools get out, you'll have better weather & smaller crowds.

Hope this helps. Have fun planning.

(I see on previewing this message that links appear twice. If they do when I post it, use the link on the right.)


KarenKM is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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I agree -- based on my one visit, Cinque Terre during the summer is the very antithesis of a quiet place for reading and relaxing. The scenery was lovely, but the towns were wildly overcrowded with swarming tourists and schlocky tourist trap stores and restaurants. The only beaches that I noticed were tiny little patches of sand that were chock full of people.

I'm not an Italy expert, but, in Liguria, maybe Camogli would more fit the bill?
hawksbill is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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Posts: 93
I just saw hawksbill's post, and was going to mention Camogli, too, but figured it might be too far north. I stayed there, too, and you can see photos of its beach and charming harbor here:


KarenKM is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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100% in agreement with Karen (very nice photos!) regarding Portovenere, Lerici and Tellaro - been to them all.

In your circumstances, I'd suggest staying in or near Lerici (we stayed in Arcola) and 'commuting' by boat across the Gulf, etc. It's alot of fun - and relaxing too!
TuckH is offline  
Jul 26th, 2007, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Agree with all who do not recommend the CT for R&R. In addition to the droves of American tourists, there are lots of steps and uneven terrain and it is not a place I would take my mom.

I would, however, take her to SML or Rapallo, both small, pretty towns with decent beaches and good dining and accomodations. Rapallo is especially convenient IMO and the outdoor market a great place to browse.
kfusto is offline  

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