Help neede with Liquria itinerary

Aug 27th, 2014, 08:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 23
Help neede with Liquria itinerary

We are going to Italy for 10 days in the middle of September. We are flying in and out of Rome, and upon arrival will fly right away to Genoa (arriving around 3 p.m.)

We will be traveling by train.

We wanted to see:

Portofino / Camogli / Santa Margherita
Cinque Terre (hikes)

Should we be based in Santa Margherita and take side trips to Genoa and CT?
Or stay first night in Genoa, then 2 nights in Santa Margherita or Camogli, 4 nights in CT area,
and then 2 nights in Lucca?

Your help will be greatly appreciated.


Leahp is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 09:17 AM
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If you arrive exhausted then Genoa can be a somewhat abrasive and certainly confusing city. It can also be daunting if it is too hot or rainy because it is so steep. So it might be better to see it after you've had a chance to recoup from your trip and know that the weather will be enjoyable that day for sightseeing. Consider going directly to Santa Margherita Ligure or Camogli from the airport. Taxis from the airport are about 80 euros.

You can daytrip to le Cinque Terre from Santa Margherita Ligure or Camogli. There are pros and cons to staying put and to relocating. But if you are going to relocate 3 times then I suggest splitting your time 3-3-3 (SML-5T-Lucca). If you only want to move twice than perhaps 5 and 3.
sandralist is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 12:16 PM
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Thanks for your reply. We are flying into / from into Rome Fumicino, and have 11 nights alltogether.

We are deciding whether start in Lucca/ Pisa (train from Rome) for 3 nights to see Pisa, Lucca, and Montecantini Terme, then move on to CT area - Vernazza or Levanto for 3-4 nights, then SML for 2-3 nights, and last day /night spend in Genoa and fly in the morning from Genoa to Rome. We have to be at the airport in Rome at 11 a.m.

The other option is to fly from Rome to Genoa the same day, spend first night in Genoa, spend next morning sightseeing, then move onto SML for 2 nights, then CT for 4 nights, Pisa/Lucca 3 nights, then train to Rome and spend last evening in Rome.
We had traveled to Italy many times, but had never seen Liguria, and always wanted to see CT.
We would like to see museums in Genoa, and generally get a feel of the city. In SML and CT we would hike and enjoy nature.

Any advice is really appreciated - we will be looking at the hotels, places to see.

Thanks for your help

Leahp is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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personally i don't like booking flights to connect with other flights that might be delayed. I think that i would prefer a nice relaxing train journey up the coast to the CT - you can go directly to Pisa from Rome Termini on trains taking from between 3-4 hours depending on the class.

From there I would go to Genoa, and then work my way back to Rome via the CT; if you don't mind spending longer on your first day travelling, then reverse this order and go to the CT first [using the same line to Pisa and then changing] then Genoa, and finally Pisa.

you could in fact go all the way to Genoa [or Genova as it appears on the Trenitalia website] on the same line which goes all the way up the italian coast along the edge of the Tyrrhenian sea- it takes from 4 & 1/2 to 5 & 1/2 hours. not as fast as the plane but IMO more restful and there are several trains every day. you can just sit back and let the scenery go past.
annhig is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Have you bought your transatlantic tickets yet? If not then it makes sense to fly into Genova on a connecting flight but as I posted before I think you would do better to plan to go directly to either Santa Margherita Ligure or Camogli from the airport rather than spend a night in Genoa.

But if you have bought your transatlantic tickets and are now contemplating buying a separate ticket to Genova then the danger is that you might miss that flight and then you would have no choice buy to buy a new ticket. Not the end of the word but pricey.

So if you have already bought your flights in and out of Rome then I suggest taking the train to Lucca for the first nights. You can see Pisa on your way to le Cinque Terre.

But even if you can fly into Genova on one ticket that you are about to buy I would still recommend not staying in Genova the night you arrive and leaving the next day. By the time you arrive and check into your hotel you will not have much time to visit museums. It might be raining that day or the next morning and it not great to see Genova in the rain.

I would suggest if decide to make your first stop the Italian Riviera then go directly to a beachside hotel. for 3 nights by taki. It is not that far a trip back to Genova to do your sightseeing.
sandralist is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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I feel obliged to add that since I live near Genova about the last thing I would want to do upon arrival of a transatlantic flight is take a train into Rome and then another train to Pisa or Livorno and then switch again to yet another train to Genova. The train route is not scenic and you will arrive in Genova in the dark and too late to find any restaurants serving dinner It is not relaxing at all even if you don't get a car full of noisy people (as I did the other day coming up from Livorno -- and I got off an hour sooner than you would if you were going to Genova).
sandralist is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 03:14 PM
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One more note:

If you still haven't bought any of your air tickets then it is fine to purchase a crack of dawn ticket from Genova to FCO that connects you ON THE SAME TICKET to an 11am flight back home. But you either need to spend your last night in Italy in Genova or take a taxi from Camogli/Santa Margherita Ligure to be sure of catching that crack of dawn flight.

However if you have already purchased your flights in and out of Rome and decide to take the train to Lucca first and make Genova your last sightseeing stop then you need to spend your final night in Italy in Rome if your flight is leaving Rome is 11am. What I would suggest is that you spend your final days and nights in either Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure and on the morning you need to fly to Rome you can take a train to Genova and put your luggage in the Genova train station and see Genova. Pick up you luggage in time to take the last flight to Rome (I think it is fairly late). Spend the night at the Hilton or some other airport hotel.

But if you already have your transatlantic tickets and you now separately purchase a Genova>Rome ticket for the same morning your fight leaves then you face a big risk that if the plane doesn't take off from Genova due to bad weather then you will simply be stuck if you miss the flight from Rome. You will have to purchase a new ticket which could be very very expensive and hard to find in mid-September.
sandralist is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 03:27 PM
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My mistake: I just looked an see that you can get some one-seat train rides from Rome to Genova. I still wouldn't do it after a transatlantic flight. I'd take the shorter ride to Lucca even with the train switches so I could have dinner.
sandralist is offline  
Aug 27th, 2014, 05:58 PM
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Much as I loved the Cinque Terre, 4 nights would have been a night too much for me. YMMV. I was very glad that I stayed there, rather than trying to day trip into the area. You might consider staying at La Torretta in Manarola:
kja is offline  
Aug 28th, 2014, 11:41 AM
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I've taken two trips tht included the Cinque Terre. On the first we stayed in the CT (Cornelia) for 3 nights; on the second we based in Santa Margherita Ligure and daytripped to the CT. We MUCH preferred the first approach, though we also loved visiting Santa Margherita and Portofino. So no matter how you get to the area, I would say 3 days in CT and 3 days in SM would be ideal.
aprillilacs is offline  
Aug 29th, 2014, 02:58 PM
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Sorry I did not reply right away. I really appreciate all your suggestions. We have our tickets from Toronto to Rome already, arriving into Rome at 11:40 a.m. We are looking at all possibilities:
1. Take 17:45 flight from Fumicino to Genoa, arriving 18:40 38 Euro - easiest connection, but it means spending 4 hours in FCO, although we can stay in priority lounge.
2. Take Leonardo express from FCO to Termini (32 min, 23 Euro), then take 15:57 train from Rome to Genoa, arriving at 21:19, 74 Euro.
3. If we decide to go to Pisa first, we can take Leonardo express and then 15:57 train from Rome, arriving at 18:59 into Pisa - 56 Euro

It looks like it's more expensive to travel by train, and longer.

We still not finalized our itinerary, but looks like we will spend first night in Genoa, and sightsee Genoa the next day. We are good with transatlantic flights, we are seasoned travelers. Rain does not stop us either - a few years ago we went to Japan and it was pouring entire time we were in Kyoto - we still loved it!

Then 2 nights (afternoon of day 2 , day 3, and morning of day 4) we are planning to spend in SML - any suggestion on a hotel? Planning a hike to Portofino, boat or train back; see Camogli and Rapallo.

After that 3 nights in CT (afternoon of day 4, day 5, day 6) - hiking, taking a scenic boat trip, may be going to Portovenere

Then on to 3 nights in either Pisa or Lucca (where would you suggest we should stay?), see Pisa, Lucca, Montecatini Terme.

On the day before departure we are planning to take 9:13 train from Pisa to Rome, stay somewhere in the centre of Rome - we love Rome, had been there many times. On the morning of our departure will take Leonardo express to the airport.

Thank you sandralist, DamiaasItinerary, annhig,kja, aprillilacs for your suggestions. I cannot believe how generous fodorites are with helping others!

I will have to finalize our itinerary this weekend - it's getting too close to the departure time. We are so excited - we had traveled all over the world, lucky to live in Canada, but Italy still is our favorite place to visit - love people, nature, food , everything.
Leahp is offline  
Aug 30th, 2014, 01:50 AM
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If in the end you decide to opt for the train to Genova instead of the flight then I would recommend getting off the train one hour earlier in Camogli or Santa Margherita Ligure. At least you have a shot at dinner doing that. (In Camogli the restaurant La Primula serves dinner until 11pm).

If you spend your first night in Genoa it is possible your hotel can give you some later night options especially if you ask them in advance by e-mail
sandralist is offline  
Aug 30th, 2014, 03:28 AM
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The only problem with the flight to Genova is that if your transatlantic flight is significantly late (which they can be) you miss your flight to Genova. You could still take the train.

I like Sandra's idea of not going all the way to Genova by train (if you decide on train) and instead stopping in S. Margherita, Camogli or Rapallo. I would spend all three nights there and do Genova as a day trip instead of breaking it up into two separate hotels. I've visited all those towns and stayed in Camogli and Rapallo (separate trips). They are literally 3 minutes apart on the train so it doesn't matter which one. I liked Rapallo best. Stayed at Hotel Italia (photo: and loved it.

Just a couple of details. Leonardo Express is 14€ if you buy tickets from the kiosk and 16€ from the ticket booth. I don't know where you saw 23€.

Also, there is no train to Portofino, just boat or bus.

Photos of the area:
isabel is offline  
Aug 30th, 2014, 05:18 AM
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I will also add that due to oddities in the construction of the roadways around Genoa it is only about 20 minutes more by taxi to go from the airport to Santa Margherita Ligure than it is to go from the airport to most of the hotels in downtown Genoa. So that is the main reason I am suggesting you just go to the coast if you fly into Genova. It's true that when you want to visit Genova you will need to take the train back there (40 minutes) but you'll be hassling with your luggage less if you take a taxi from the airport to the coast.

But I like Genoa and if you want to spend the night there it has some terrific places to eat. And if you are able to get up early in the morning and start your sightseeing I can see the appeal of being right in town to do that.

Because I live in the area I never stay in the local hotels. I also like Rapallo so if you spot a good hotel deal there you should give it some consideration.
sandralist is offline  
Aug 30th, 2014, 12:57 PM
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personally, if the flight is only €34 and gets you there before 7pm, I'd run the risk and book it. you can always fall back on the train if necessary.

but i would hedge my bets by booking 2 nights in Genoa, so that you get a least a day and night there. Ever since I first visited the Galleria Doria Pamphilij in Rome, I have wanted to see the Villa Principe in Genoa : which is owned by one part of the same family. Apart from that, I hate one-night stands as i think that you get much more value out of a two night stay than a one night one.
annhig is offline  
Sep 4th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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Thanks all of you for the suggestions. We made all our bookings already:
Day 1.Arrive to Rome, fly to Genoa later on; first night in Genoa - Savoia hotel
Day 2. Sightsee Genoa until 3-4 p.m. - - and thanks,annhig, we will visit Andrea Doria palazzo in the morning.Any other "must" see places in Genoa? Restaurants?
Day 2 afternoon - take a train to Santa Margherita - stay for 2 nights.
Day 4 afternoon - take a train to La Spezia, stay for 3 nights
Day 7 afternoon - take a train to Lucca; stay for 3 nights; see Pisa, Lucca, Montecatini; go to the Puccini concert in Lucca.
Day 10 - train from Lucca to Florence and then to Rome. Spend afternoon / last night in Rome.

Any suggestions on restaurants / activities are really appreciated.

Thanks all!

Leahp is offline  
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