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LIGURIAN COAST..Camogli or SML or ?? Best base and general advice sought!

LIGURIAN COAST..Camogli or SML or ?? Best base and general advice sought!

Old May 12th, 2008, 05:59 AM
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LIGURIAN COAST..Camogli or SML or ?? Best base and general advice sought!

I've just returned from a thrilling week in Amalfi and Naples and am already planning a possible return to Italy in the fall. I last caught a glimpse of this coast while hitchhiking through Europe in the 70s, so this might be the time to explore further. A quick glance at the Cadogan guide, and a reading of reports here has pointed me in the direction of either Camogli or Sta. Margherita Ligure.

1. Which of these would make the best base for a trip of about 6 days in mid-to-late September? Or should we consider any other town?

We are looking for:

Easy day trips, preferably without a car; great eating with a choice of restaurants within walking distance; good walking; swimming in the sea...more or less the same general plan as we followed in Amalfi.

2. I would love to hear hotel recommendations in both of these towns: upscale but not of the 5-star GL category.

3. Can anyone offer comparisons (or general thoughts) between of the Ligurian coast and the Amalfi coast?

4. How late in the season can I count on sea swimming on this coast?

Also, we might like to either begin or end the week with a night or two in Genoa, since we would probab ly arrive here by air from the US. I have not been to this city before.

5. Thoughts on Genoa?? Best areas in which to stay? The Trenino di Casella (the oldest working electric locomotive in Italy) ?

http://www.ferroviagenovacasella.it/

Many thanks. I promise a food-filled report if this trip comes to pass!



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Old May 12th, 2008, 06:15 AM
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I love Camogli and Cenobio dei dogi is a good hotel.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 06:27 AM
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Thanks..I have put that hotel on my list of places to contact. Are there two buildings in the hotel..new and old and if so, which has the better rooms?

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Old May 12th, 2008, 08:53 AM
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Just to provide more details: we would have one full week bracketed by two weekends. I am also interested in knowing the best way to reach this region from NYC:
I know I can connect and fly into Genoa, but there would also be the option of a direct flight into Milan or Pisa. What would the access be like from either of these cities to the coast?

Is there a fabulous B&B or small hotel in inland Liguria that we might include (one with easy access to our coastal base)?
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Old May 12th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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My preference would be to be based out of SML rather than Camogli. We spent a week there and used the train to go to Camogli, Genoa, Cinque Terre, etc. Also took small ferries to Portofino then San Frutosso and Camogli. Walked twice to Portofino which was an easy way to get there and back...about an hour.

We rented a small house about 5 minute walk from the center. It was quite convenient. Two bedrooms and one bath and an outside garden sitting area which we used extensively.

We found an abundance of good restaurants in SML (all of Italy actually) as well as Camogli and CT. Should be a nice time for you in that area.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Ron, can you give me some idea of why you would choose SML? Is SML a larger town with more things to do and more restaurants?

Would the day trip possibilities be easier in one or the other of these two towns? Many thanks!!
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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Hi, I was at SML last October and followed MaureenB's report of that area pretty much to a T. My report is floating around somewhere, I forgot what I titled it. I loved SML, there are some great restaurants there and the train station is right in town for jaunts.

(I haven't been to Camogli)
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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Sea Urchin: I can't thank you enough for all of your help, first on Amalfi/Naples and now with this. I came home with such great raves about our recent trip that two friends want me to accompany them on another trip to the Italian coast in the fall. (I can't complain!!) I will take another look at Maureen's report, and try to find yours. If you happen to find the link for yours, post it here if you remember. Many many thanks!!


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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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You are welcome! I found the report, it doesn't get to SML until the post sometime in November.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=35086903
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Old May 12th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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I would choose Santa Margherita Ligure over Camogli as a base, although I love both places. SML is larger and thus offers more dining choices which is important to us.
There is good train access as well.
We swam in the sea in late September and it was warm.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:57 PM
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Another vote for SML. I just returned on April 29 (solo) from Nice and SML. I just love it! This was my restful and fun trip.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 03:16 PM
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Would any of you who know the area be able to offer a general picture of both towns..is SML larger than Camogli? Is either of them a town that has a life outside tourism? Can you rent chairs on the beach in both places? I liked Amalfi better than Positano, if that is of any help.. What would be the pros and cons of each place??
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Old May 12th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Hi again eks!

We did not visit Camogli, but stayed 3 nts in SML in 2000 at Hotel Laurin. It sounds like you would prefer something nicer, but we were very happy with the hotel and the location. Large, private terrace overlooking the marina, no traffic noise from main street at night. Marginal breakfast.

We spent one day hiking the CT (mid-May). Train from SML to Riomaggiore took about 1 hr, lots of tunnels. Stopped for a long and fabulous lunch at Corniglia - WOW. Boats between towns did not run to all towns every day at that time of year. We had to train back.

Continued on to Vernazza where we pooped out, had gellato and trained back. As mentioned, station in SML is very convenient to town and beach.

Another day we took the earliest boat over to Portofino, wandered and window shopped, then parked ourselves for a long lunch with lots and lots of vino!

Would have loved one more day, but couldn't change reservations at our next destination.

We liked SML on it's own because:

real town, although an Italian beach resort town, nothing like Positano! Local residents strolled and visited in the oceanside park for the passagiata (SP?). Church bells ring for mass. Definitely not overrun with tourists.

No beaches - sunbathers were on the relatively flat, black rocks seaside

We had a wonderful dinner at La Cambusa with ocean views. Might not be up to your standards though

IMO: Amalfi Coast (Sept) overrun with tourists - vast majority Brits.

Ligurian Coast - not overrun (May), except for the CT trails which were overrun with everyone, especially Americans.

Hope this helps!
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Old May 12th, 2008, 04:13 PM
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Dayle that is a great help! Were there rental lounges on the rocky beach at SML? If people were swimming, how did they access the beach??
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Old May 12th, 2008, 04:28 PM
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Eks,

I didn't see any lounge chairs at the ocean and I didn't see anyone swimming except along the CT trail. Even there, they were just diving in off the rocks, no sand except a little at some of the 5 towns - Vernazza and Riomaggiore. Corniglia is up on the cliffs.

It's a resort town, so maybe other areas of town that we didn't see had a beach? Anyone?

That's why we liked our large terrace - lounge charis there!
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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:07 AM
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It looks as if SML is getting the votes here. Because I can get a direct flight to Pisa, I wonder about flying to Pisa and flying home from Genoa after a few days in that city. What would be the transport options from Pisa airport to SML, or to Camogli?

I looked at photos and have seen rows of umbrellas on the SML beach..when you all say that there are rocks, do you mean that the beach is rocky or that there is no access to the water because of huge rocks that are difficult to cross? (We want to swim in the sea on this trip) Is there a beach at Camogli?


Has anyone stayed in Camogli? There is at least one hotel in Camogli that looks lovely..but if the town is tiny and has only a couple of restaurants, it might not be ideal for us..


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Old May 13th, 2008, 03:49 AM
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Hi ek,

We have stayed in Camogli several times, but, no more than two nights each time. We've never been to SML, so can't compare. Camogli is very sweet and very small. Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi, where we have stayed, is very nice, likely the nicest in the town. It is hard to beat their terrace at sunset. There is a beach, lots of pebbles, no sand to speak of, but people have been swimming when we've been there in late October.

The restaurants have been disappointing..not many, and some are closed for the season depending on when you plan to be there...late September should still find many of them open.

That said, it is a lovely little town, calm and inviting...almost no tourists.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Traviata, that is the hotel I was looking at in Camogli. But since we have almost a week, and based on what I am reading here, I am leaning toward SML which appears to be larger and therefore would have bigger choice of places to eat. I still would like more information on the swimming possibilites in SML, and also on recommended hotels; a swimming pool would be a huge plus.

From either place, we would probably take a day trip to the Cinque Terre, although the CT is probably jammed with tourists even in late September..

And also, on the possibility of traveling to SML (or Camogli) from Pisa airport, which would allow us to take a direct flight from the US. (We would then fly home from Genoa)..

Would anyone like to share hotel ideas in SML? Or more information..
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Old May 13th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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There is a small area for swimming and sunbathing. It is across the street from the main city center. Everything is walkable in SML. The train station is at the top of a hill. I have no problem walking with luggage down or back up.

It is an easy train ride to the Cinque Terre. I highly recommend taking the ferry from Monterosso to the villages. It is the most amazing views, especially if you don't intend to walk the paths to the villages.

I have never flown into Pisa, but I am considering that for my next trip to Italy. You will need to change trains at Pisa, then you will be direct to SML. It is about 2-3 hours by train.

Camogli is about 7 minutes by train or you can take the bus. You can also take a ferry to Portofino and I believe also to Camogli.

The hotel I stay at is not located on the water. I have been staying at Hotel Jolanda for several years. It is about 2 short blocks from the water. Hotel Lauren is located across the street from the water, if you want a view, mainly of the harbor.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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Many thanks! Scatcat, did you mean that if we fly into Pisa we would have to change trains at La Spezia?


I am now looking at various hotels, including the Tiguillo et de Milan and also the Grand Hotel Miramare in SML. In Camogli, the Cenobbio dei Dogi looks as if it is right out of a film set Prices do, however, seem higher here than on the Amalfi Coast!

My next question (please bear with me: I promise a report when I return!) is:

If you do not stay at a hotel on the beach, I am assuming that one can rent beach chairs from a concession. Is this correct?

Traviata: We would travel in late September so I expect restaurants would be open. Is there a decent choice of places in Camogli or just 2-3 restaurants?

Once I get a list of a few hotels, I will present them to my friends so that they can decide...
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