Is Portofino worth the extra money?

Feb 8th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Is Portofino worth the extra money?

Okay, if I can get past my snake phobia, here's my other question. Two villas -- one in Levanto, one in Portofino. Levanto house right on the beach; Portofino 62 steps and 100 m above the town, plus about $100 more per night (we're staying a week). Is Portofino worth the extra money? Is Levanto a nice town to stay in? Grazie!
BarbMH is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 07:50 PM
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I've never been to Levanto, but really enjoyed Portofino. Like St Tropez, the even smaller Portofino is a highly desirable/high end destination where if you don't stay there you have to get there by boat or fight a snarling traffic jam to get there in the summertime. So it's a privilige to be able to stay in Portofino. The good thing is if you go very early in the morning in the off season, you will actually find a parking spot.
DAX is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 07:59 PM
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i believe your snake thing is a JOKE, "if you can get past it" maybe you'll go hang in a place like portofino, get a life first, then plan a trip within your mental boundries.
richardsonsnm is offline  
Feb 8th, 2007, 08:04 PM
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I thought Portofino was really lovely, but haven't been to Levanto. However, unlike DAX we had no luck with parking in Portofino and ended up paying almost as much for parking in a garage as we did for our tiny (overpriced) room at Hotel Eden (wouldn't recommend it). But if you're renting a villa, I assume there is parking there and if you can hike into town, you won't have to worry about parking. Or maybe you'll be lucky and not have to park in a garage.
artlover is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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That's my biggest concern about Levanto -- not many people seem to have been there, which makes me wonder if it's a good place to stay. Anyway, my husband and the kids won the toss so we're renting the beach house and will visit Portofino. We go to Italy every year, so my concession was if I really LOVE Portofino, we'll go back and stay at this house NEXT TIME. Thanks for the thoughts. (And Richardson, stop being such a miserable twit. Only someone very unhappy with their life could be so mean-spirited.)
BarbMH is offline  
Feb 9th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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I have not stayed in Portofino-we were only there for part of a day. We stayed in Levanto for just three nights at the Hotel Nazionale. I found Levanto to be a very charming town. Not as upscale as Portofino, but, I think the merchants, etc. are much friendlier. Portofino is very beautiful, but I did not see much of a beach anywhere, if that is what your family is looking for. Levanto has a substantial beach-I think you will be very happy with your choice. Also, Levanto is just 5 minutes by train to Cinque Terre, and also there are many hiking trails going up the valley from Levanto. The three nights we were there were not enough. I would definitely go again and stay a week. I also highly rec. taking the boat to Portovenere...a beautiful trip (unlimited on/off boat access) for less than 20 Euro. Enjoy!!!
hanabilly is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 05:59 AM
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Great! Thanks, Hanabily. That's very good feedback on Levanto from two people; wonder why it's not featured much in the guide books. (I even have one specifically on the Italian Riviera.)
BarbMH is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 06:16 AM
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Barb: I have not been to Levanto but looked it up in my Cadogan guide, which says that it has the best beach in the area and "plenty of hotels," and is a "favorite base for groups visiting the Cinque Terre."
Does not mention anything about snakes!!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 07:39 AM
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I know Levanto and like it. It is much better located for that coast than Portofino, which is really very isolated and very expensive. Levanto has a great beach and is a real resort town--I would love to go back.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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BarbMH - I will follow this as we are investigating a trip here after a business trip in Cannes.

My college best friend lived in Porto Fino for a summer and I remember all of her wonderful memoires!!!!

Richardsonsnm- I agree with the OP - you are very negative and a pain.
annesherrod is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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For a week stay, I think you'll enjoy Levanto more. I've only been to Portofino as a day-trip from Santa Margherita Ligure, and it's a very pretty tiny port, but very expensive for dining. It's so small, I think you'd get bored there.
Feb 10th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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I have visited Portofino a few times either via ship or from my base in Rapallo. I find it overpriced.
kfusto is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Dear BarbMH, just wanted to chime in late about Levanto. You have probably made your decision now, but anyway:

Stayed there for 3 nights several years ago and we were very pleased with our decision.

We were heading from Santa Margherita Ligure to the Cinque Terre, and decided to get off the train for a few hours in Levanto to have lunch and check it out.
(Friends had stayed there with their two small children and all 4 of them recommended it!)

We had a wonderful lunch with our first complimentary limoncello (limoncino there) and thus ended up at the Europa Hotel as our base for exploring the Cinque Terre.

It was an easy few minutes train ride into the villages of the CT, and we would were able to hike to most of the towns and spend time there.

We loved coming back to Levanto in the evenings, with its good restaurant options, a few nice bars, great gelato (kids, above, said, "The best in Italy" -debatable but still excellent), wide beach, market & shops, and friendly people.

Only other tourists when we were there (May) were Italians and Germans. I think it could be much busier in summer. It is now mentioned briefly in Rick Steves' guidebooks, by the way.

Don't see how you could go wrong with either option in this lovely part of Italy!
annabelle2 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Hi, Barb.

Another late reply. I really think you chose correctly, especially with kids. I just returned in November from a 3 month France & Italy trip.

My orientation was to see color and beauty, and take photos, and I was without kids. My Italian Riviera time included a 3 night stay in Portovenere, which I used as a base for a great boat trip up by the Cinque Terre (I'm not a hiker); and over to a morning in lovely Lerici. I'd done an afternoon in lovey Tellaro before going to Portovenere.

I then stayed 3 nights in Camogli, just around the bend from Portofino, and made a daytrip to Porto by train and bus (this was mid-October so traffic wasn't so bad).

I have to say that after being in the other places noted above, and after all I'd heard about it, I was waaaay underwhelmed by Portofino. I'd had enough time there after about 2 hours, and would have been insanely bored there for a week. Camogli was much lovlier, with a nicer beach, a beautiful church and center to walk through; Portovenere was stunningly beautiful.

I took many photos of each of these places which will give you a sense of comparison amongst them. In any case, a day's boat trip to Portofino should be more than adequate, especially with kids. If it were me, I'd boat to Camogli, Portovenere, and then take a boat up past Cinque Terre to investigate for a next trip. Just my .02.

Click on the photo albums page & scroll down to the ones starting with Tellaro.


KarenKM is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 02:43 PM
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After a few hours, you will have seen all of Portofino. I would stay in Camogli or Santa Margherita
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 04:07 PM
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One nice way to get to Portofino other than the boat is to walk from Santa Margherita Ligure along the path which parallels the water most of the way. The last 20 minutes or so is a wooded path into Portofino.

The walk takes about one hour and is a pleasant way to see the area around Portofino (including the stunning homes). Don't drive. Park in Santa Margherita and take the bus or boat back after your pleasant walk.
PotenzaRon is offline  
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