Is LaSpezia the best place to stay

Old Jan 21st, 2013, 03:28 AM
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Is LaSpezia the best place to stay

Hi all,

My husband and I are from Australia and will be travelling from Verona in mid September this year and after reading different opinions on websites I am now in need of advice.
Should we travel to LaSpezia and use this as a base to visit Cinque Terre or base ourselves in Portovenere.
We will be travelling by train to our destinations and basing ourselves for 5 nights in LaSpezia or Portovenere and then heading to Genoa for 2 nights.

Your advice on other 5 night stop other than LaSpezia or Portovenere are welcome

Thanks
Tracey
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 04:04 AM
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I'm not sure I understand: are you asking for another suggestion in the area? Portovenere is attractive but small and steep. One needs a bus or car to get to the train, but there are boats (slow).

I would suggest a larger town; the much more fun Santa Margherita Ligure has good transportation links. You can visit the CT and Portovenere from there, as well as Portofino, Camogli and San Fruttuoso among other places.

You could even get really cozy and stay there for a week in order to include Genova in your day trips.

I'm a big fan of SML. It's a small resort town, but much bigger than Portovenere, and much prettier than most of La Spezia, which is dominated by naval and rail business.

You might be able to do a nice rental in the area.

I hope this is the type of suggestion that is helpful to you.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 04:06 AM
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La Spezia is surely the single most boring town on the Italian Riviera. I am very fond of the less touristy destinations of the Riviera, but La Spezia is just amazingly dull, except for a few nicely done museums. A good deal of the seafront is the port of the Italian navy. The rest is an industrial port.

It is not ideal to stay in Portovenere if you are traveling by train. As you know, the train station is in La Spezia, so you will need a taxi or bus to get to Portovenere with your luggage (a taxi if you arrive after 8pm). To visit le Cinque Terre, you will need to take that bus or taxi again to get to the towns, or take a long boat ride -- and boats may not run if it is windy.

If you are visiting the area to hike, you really must get an early start on the trails in mid-September. It is still summer, with all its heat and sun, so you don't want to start your hike at 10am.

If you do not want to stay in a village within le Cinque Terre, then Levanto is a particularly nice town with a train station, with many trains running into le Cinque Terre early in the morning -- only a 5-10 minute trip.

If you are looking for a great amount of hiking, swimming and relaxing, spending 5 nights in the le Cinque Terre area is a great idea. But otherwise, the area is a bit remote even with the train, and if you are not big-time hikers, you might think of moving further up the coast, to Chiavari, Rapallo or even village-y Camogli, so you could have a livelier atmosphere with Italian markets and lots of Italians, visit a wider range of places, and still be able to hike (both around Camogli and on a day trip to le CInque Terre), and of course swim and relax. If you stay up there, you could also visit Genova without changing hotels.
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 08:04 PM
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tuscanlifeedit and goldenautumn -
You have both been so helpful !!
I was tossing up whether to base in La Spezia and now both of your replies have given me a much broader insight as to where to stay and for how long.
Santa Margherita Ligure and Levanto are looking like great options and I will start googling these.
My husband and I aren't "every day hikers" but we will be doing a bit of hiking in the early mornings and swimming but mostly exploring the atmosphere and surroundings. LOVE ITALY!!
As for the heat..........we are used to it in Australia
Will also have a one night stay in Genova on the way through to French Riviera.

Thank you so much!!
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Old Jan 21st, 2013, 08:14 PM
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