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Italian Riviera: PLEASE, your best advice re: a few details

Italian Riviera: PLEASE, your best advice re: a few details

Jul 27th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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Italian Riviera: PLEASE, your best advice re: a few details

Okay, lovers of Italia ~ I have just spent some time reading any/allposts re: "Italian Riviera" for the last 2 years. Can anyone help me condense?! We will have the last 10 days in September and a bit of October in this area and would love to have good feedback regarding best methods of travel and what not to miss. Our base at one end will be Florence, either driving west to southeast from, say, Genoa to Florence or the opposite. (driving a good idea?)
Once and for all, can any one person (or guidebook reference?) tell us which Cinque Terre towns are best seen by way of ferrying between them and which are best to hike between? Also, Santa Margherita Ligure or Rappallo seem to be favorite spots for bases from which to see CT, Camogli, Portofino,Portovenere, Siestri Levante ~ what do you think? We are actually considering Munich for Ocktoberfest(sp?!) first, flying to Florence,and after a stay there, renting a car to drive that part of the Ligurian coast. Or we can fly Milan, drive down to Genoa (good road?) and then drive on to Florence for a stay, before flying to Munich. (too much ~the beer fest idea?)
Your good advice always appreciated.
Chiara is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 08:09 PM
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Sorry for the horrific display of paragraphing in the above request.

Now I get it.

This is much better, yes?!
Chiara is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 08:14 PM
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Check out Rick Steves website on the Cinque Terre region. I recently watched him taking a train to one of the towns then hiking between another couple. Looked intriguing but I loved Almalfi and Positano last November!
VivianM is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 08:33 PM
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Hello Chiara, have driven from Milan to Genova and then down the coast and then to Pisa and on to Florence. The roads are great IMO. It was a wonderful trip. You will go through lots of tunnels which do bother some people but if that is not a problem I think you would enjoy your drive. BTW, Genoa is a beautiful city to spend a few days in.
LoveItaly is offline  
Jul 27th, 2005, 09:26 PM
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We had 4 nights in Manarola and visited all the Cinque Terre towns. We also stayed in Santa Margherita Ligure and visited Positano by bus - easy and cheap to do. SML is a lovely waterfront town, about 20 mins by bus to Positano and 1 hour by train to Monterosso.

The trail between Riomaggiore and Manarola is paved and flat, takes about 30 mins. It's the easiest walk.
We couldn't walk between Manarola and Corniglia as the trail was closed due to landslide. We were told this is common in that area. Corniglia is the least accessible town, it's perched on the top of a hill and there are lots of steps up to it, or a steep road you can walk up.
We did the walk between Corniglia and Vernazza and loved it. Took about 2 hours at a leisurely pace, great views along the way. The trail is not paved and sometimes only wide enough for one person so you might have to back up to a wider space to let oncomers past. We heard stories of people falling to their deaths so take it slow and easy. The walk was not steep or that difficult but you should wear sensible shoes.
We didn't try the walk between Vernazza and Monterosso and heard it was the most difficult and steepest of all.
The train goes between all the villages so you can hike one way and train back. We didn't use the ferries at all.
A really helpful site on the Cinque Terre is
KayF is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:08 PM
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Many thanks to LoveItaly and KayF for the driving/walking tips.

Suggestion for hotel in Santa Margherita?

And, just how many days to see the CT towns and others mentioned in request before on to Florence?
Chiara is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Hi Chiara,

Our Cinque Terre experience - stayed 3 nights at Hotel Laurin in Santa Margherita Ligure. We loved our marina front room with huge private terrace. We had 2 1/2 days there and would have liked 1 more.

Day 1, we trained to Riomaggiore and hiked to Vernazza with a stop in Corniglia for lunch. By the time we reached Vernazza, we had had enough hiking (wished we had started earlier than 10am) and finished with a gellato - along with about 100 other tourists. Trained back to SML.

Day 2 - took earliest boat over to Portofino (about a 15 minute ride) and much nicer than the bus. Spent the morning window shopping only! $$$ Then hiked up to the fort and an outdoor sculpture garden. Grabbed a marina side table and enjoyed a VERY LONG and wonderful lunch with LOTS of wine as we watched the mega yachts wiggle into dock - and lots of tourists arrive for the afternoon.

Spent our last morning wandering and shopping in SML which is a lovely, charming town all on its own.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is online now  
Aug 1st, 2005, 07:35 PM
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Chiara, do you realize that SML is an hour from the CT? It is a great town but hardly a gateway for the CT. Do you have a good map--that will help.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 09:13 AM
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Just to clarify, Kay F made an error by saying that POSITANO is 20 minutes away from SML. Positano is on the Amalfi coast in the south of Italy. Hours and hours away. I'm gonna guess that she meant "Portofino" instead.

As far as hiking is concerned, Hike the whole darn thing. It's gorgeous. You can hike them all in one day or if you don't feel that energized, do the first three towns one day and the last two the next. Bring your camera. The views are spectacular.
wantagig is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 10:33 AM
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We just stayed at the Minerva in SML. A couple of blocks from the water and the middle of town. Very nice hotel with pretty garden and reasonably priced. Loved SML...would go back in a second.
sera is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 08:26 AM
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Hotel Continental in SML is lovely. Located up a slight hill, if that (the hill) is a concern with you.
i_am_kane is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 09:24 AM
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We stayed at the hotel europa in Levanto. The best hike was between Levanto to the upper town in the CT. It was uncrowded and just beautiful! Then we took the train back to Levanto. Our other day, we hiked between all the towns, but the Levanto hike was the best! I`d love to go back, and you are going at a good time.
pat is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 11:49 AM
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I have stayed in both Santa Margherita and Porto Venere. Both were convenient to Cinque Terre. I did love SM, but I like PV even more. PV is charming and fewer tourists. We stayed at the Royal Sporting which was a 10-15 minute walk (along the sea) to town. The walk was my favorite thing to do each day, it was beautiful. We stayed at the Miramare in SL, it was a little nicer than the Royal Sporting.
panucci is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Although SML does attract a lot of tourists it just didn't feel all that crowded, and certainly didn't lose it's charm. Can't wait to go back!
sera is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 12:09 PM
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I stayed in Camogli - very popular with locals (Portfino is popular with tourists). However I only got as far as Sestri Levante - which was wonderful - didn't make it to CT due to distance. Explored SM - in fact, was going to stay at the Hotel Continental - the website looks great, but from the outside it looked somewhat drab and dusty. If you can afford it - Hotel Miramare - beautiful lobby and grounds.


Thought Metropole was well located:

SM is charming - I was there at the beginning of June, season hadn't kicked in yet.
Carta_Pisana is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 01:09 PM
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I would vote to stay in Monterosso at Hotel Villa Steno (villasteno.com). We loved our patio and view from Room 18. Nice beach and good nearby hotels. We hiked to Vernazza which is the most difficult of the hikes. It took us about 1:45 and was strenuous. My husband and I are both young and very active and fit, and my right knee bothered me by the end from all the steps. Regardless, it was spectacular and you get the most unbelievable views. We trained to the other towns for about 1 EU per ride and did the short Riomaggiore to Manarola hike which is more like a flat walk.
Tra6 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2005, 03:47 PM
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How helpful you have all been ~ now I just need some time to research the hotels and take Bob's advice and peruse the map very closely.

One more item: how many of you ferried between (which) towns and did you find that convenient?

Again, thanks to all who love this part of Italy ~ well, I'm guessing....who love all of Italy !
Chiara is offline  
Aug 4th, 2005, 08:22 AM
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Hi again Chiara,

We visited Ligure in mid-May. At that time, the boats did not run to every town every day. We had to stick with trains only.
Dayle is online now  
Aug 10th, 2005, 01:44 PM
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If anyone has any information about hotels or places to stay in Levanto, could you please post? I am in the process of trying to secure a room in Monterosso and, planning a bit last minute, may have some difficulty.

Also, I do believe that some of you especially liked the Continental in Santa Margherita but I would like to know if anyone has remarks about the Hotel Regina Elena there.

Our plans for Florence coming along, and Munich turned into Bologna for two nights ! Any hotel secrets you can share would be helpful ~ actually, any tips on Bologna.

Hoping my plans for Riviera di Levante will work out ~ wish I could have planned sooner..........

Chiara is offline  

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