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La Spezia and Cinque Terra - Questions re harbor and boat cruise

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Jul 10th, 2006, 11:15 AM
  #1
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La Spezia and Cinque Terra - Questions re harbor and boat cruise

I have been researching travel to the Cinque Terra via boat from La Spezia. We are planing a day trip, and will be based in Florence.

Acording to one of the boat websites, boats depart La Spezia, then go on to Portovenere and the Cinque Terra. We would like to train to La Spezia, take the boat from La Spezia to Monterosso, and work our way back to Riomaggiore via train and perhaps 1 or 2 hikes. (We are not big hikers, and DH does not like heights.) I have a few questions for those who have been to Cinque Terra:

1. How far is the boat harbor from La Spezia Centrale train station? Walking distance?

2. From the boat schedule, I see that we go through Portovenere. Do we change boats in Portovenere or does the same boat continue to Cinque Terra? I am concerned as it seems that the time would be tight to change boats if we leave late from La Spezia.

3. Is it worth stopping in
Portovenere on the way or on the way back if we have time?

4. Are we better of training to Riomaggiore, and picking up the boat there instead of La Spezia? (That is, is the scenery from the water between La Spezia and Riomaggiore worth using the boat versus the train between these two towns?

As always, thanks in advance.

Chels
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Jul 10th, 2006, 01:30 PM
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I was in La Spezia 5 years ago so this is what I can say:
1. Yes, you can walk from the harbor to La Spezia Centrale and I did so several times but this is not something you want to do if you have baggage. The bus will get you there quickly.
2. I really do not know
3. I would stop at Portovenere. I was on business so I saw it from a distance and it appeared to be nice. I wish I had gone.
4. Yes, the scenery from the water was rather nice. But then again, I am in the Navy and I like boats.
Have a nice trip. I was there in late Apr-early May. Weather was fantastic.
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Jul 10th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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From La Spezia Centrale station to the harbour is about a mile, so allow at least half an hour between train and boat.
If you get the boat from La Spezia, you have to change boats at Portovenere, but they are designed to connect and will wait. If you're worried about it, ask the crew - the boats will be in radio or phone contact.
Portovenere is an attractive town. There is a good bus service from Portovenere to Le Spezia so you can go one way by bus. This gives good views as the road goes on top of the cliffs.
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Jul 10th, 2006, 03:04 PM
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Hi Chels:

1) The boat harbor in La Spezia is within reasonable walking distance to the train station. If you take a leisurely stroll along Corso Cavour through the center of the city, it will take you down to the harborfront. There is a large park fronting the harbor and you would pass through that to get to the docks. There are a couple companies with boat tours of the Golfo di Poeti (Gulf area) and Cinque Terre; however, the most recognizable is the "5Terre" boat company. I would allow about 20 minutes or so to walk down there.

2) No, you stay on the same boat all the way up to Monterosso. It stops in all those places and they will announce which town they are in. The boat ride from La Spezia to Monterosso is 1 hour, try to sit on the ride (coast) side so you can see the towns as you travel up.

3) Portovenere is delightful and worth a stop (IMO). You could always have dinner there along the waterfront as there are a lot of nice seafood ristorantes. It is certainly worth seeing Lord Byron's grotto and exploring the castle, etc.

4) Perhaps since you are taking a train in from Florence for the day, it would make the most sense to then take the 8 min train up to Riomaggiore. Not only would it be fastest, but would also be most convenient for you given your schedule. Once in Riomaggiore, from the train station you walk through the tunnel underpass and then to the R to the harbor front to catch the boat there. That might be easier than option # 1 (above).

To make a full day of it, you could take a 7:50 am train out of Florence, gets into La Spezia at 9:52 am, then switch to another train leaving at 10:05 am, arriving in Riomaggiore at 10:14. It is feasible you could catch the 10:30 boat from Riomaggiore, arriving in Monterosso at 11:10 am. Alternatively, the next boat departs at 11:30 am boat, arriving at 12:10.

http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti....sorio_2006.pdf
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Jul 10th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Not sure what time of the year you are looking at but make sure to have a back up plan. We were there in April 2005 and the boats never ran because the water was too rough.

Hope you have a great trip!
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Jul 10th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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We have taken the boat out of Monterosso several times. The last trip was June 2006. (and by the way-the toilets at the boat dock are now actual fixtures not a hole) This is,in my opinion, the most perfect way to see the villages. It is absolutely beautiful when you approach each village built on the side of cliffs. I also loved Portovenere. Keep in mind there is no train station there.
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Jul 10th, 2006, 03:23 PM
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Thank you so much for the replies - brilliant information in a short space of time!

As of now, I am looking at a trip in the 3rd week of September. I have both boat and train schedules, and, with all of your responses, I feel very good about the planning.

Thanks so much!

Chels
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Jul 10th, 2006, 03:34 PM
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Hi Chels, the wife and I are staying in La Grazie (2kms from Portovenere in late September, we intend to do the same thing, we'll catch the ferry from Portovenere and make our way north before training the first bit back then walking ! It all sounds very doable !
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Jul 10th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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FYI, the train times I gave for the train from Florence to Riomaggiore were for mid-August and the times are still applicable for mid-September travel, so you should be fine planning around that (if that is the route you will take). Also, the boats are still running in September and beyond so no worries.
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Jul 14th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Thanks again. My trip is mapped out, and I am now totally excited and ready to go!

Best,
Chels
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Jul 14th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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Myself and 2 friends are planning on training to La Spezia later in the day from Florence and spending 2 nights in the Cinque Terra area. It'll be the last stop we make before heading home. I'm wondering if that will be too much time there and we might want to spend only part of 1 day and the night there before we leave the next morning.
 
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Jul 14th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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Very timely thread as I'm planning to do the same , but from Lucca.

If you board on Monterosso, can you get off the boat at one of the other villages, spend some time there and reboard on the next boat to continue the trip? Thanks!
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Jul 14th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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TonyMnLA: So is it 2 nights and 3 days? That might be 1 day too many as you can see all the Cinque Terre villages in 1 day, then you could take a boat down to Portovenere for 1 day too (1/2 day really). It's entirely up to you as it might be nice to unwind at the end of your trip.

cruiseluv: If you board a boat in Monterosso, you usually pick your final destination and pay that price (i.e. Monterosso to Vernazza). I have never heard of on-and-off tickets but I am sure you could ask if they would allow that. Alternative, you could get off in Vernazza, see the town, then take the local train from Vernazza to the remaining 3 towns. The boat prices are higher than the train and you could save money buying the Cinque Terre card for unlimited use of trains, busses while there. That might make more sense.
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Jul 14th, 2006, 11:32 AM
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thanks Hurties,

I'll have to check with my friends, but for me I'm thinking that we get an early start from Florence on the train and spend only 1 night in Cinque Terra. I'm thinking there would be more time in Florence/side trips there for us.
 
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Jul 14th, 2006, 11:57 AM
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TonyMnLA: That sounds completely do-able. The earliest trains out of Florence for the Cinque Terre (btw, it's "terre", plural for the 5 towns vs the singular "terra") leave at 4:30 am, 5:32 am, 6:15 am, then there is the 7:50 am train. Spending 1 night would work out great and allow you to see everything fine. Buon viaggio!
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Jul 14th, 2006, 12:32 PM
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oops...I'm French and these Italian terms are new to me.

Thanks for the insight on the train schedule.
 
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Jul 14th, 2006, 02:35 PM
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Thanks Huitres,

What I was thinking was to get off in Vernazza and then reboard later and continue to Portovenere. I guess I could buy a ticket to Vernazza and then when I reboard buy a ticket to Portovenere?
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Jul 14th, 2006, 03:35 PM
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TonyMnLA- I too am French (1/2) and speak Italian too....didn't mean to be particular about that but thought it should be referred to correctly since multiple (5) towns!

cruiseluv: Then you would buy your ticket from Monterosso to Portovenere (everything but the 11:30 am boat goes to Portovenere) and then just get off at Vernazza. There are boats leaving hourly from Vernazza for Portovenere so you could get back on one of those afterwards, showing your ticket. http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti....sorio_2006.pdf
Note that Portovenere feels a bit more spread out than the villages in that there is Lord Byron's Grotto to explore, as well as walking up to the fortress and adjoining grounds to see that. Then back down along the waterfront there are shops, ristorantes, etc. I would give yourself at least a 1/2 day there.
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Jul 15th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Huitres,

Thank you!
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Aug 23rd, 2006, 11:00 PM
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ttt
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