Portovenere, Levanto or elsewhere?

Old Jan 20th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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Portovenere, Levanto or elsewhere?

We have about 4-5 days on Ligurian coast and trying to figure out base. We will have come by car from Milan. Want to explore CT as well as other day trips and also just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Please give suggestions of which villages might be best -- even Lerici? others? And places you've stayed with good experiences. thanks.
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 07:36 AM
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We stayed in Lerici several years ago and really enjoyed it. It has lovely beaches, a nice town, lovely church and is a good jumping off spot. I have also stayed in Levanto which is very convenient to Cinque Terre, but I think Lerici has more charm.
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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I loved Portovenere. It was a perfect location to explore the Cinque Terre, but didn't feel anywhere near as crowded. It is beautifully sited and has a wonderful small town to explore and couldn't be a better place to relax in. We stayed in the Hotel Royal Sporting, had a terrace overlooking the water and loved the place. We were there in July 1999, and found it still a primarily Italian family resort town, and not yet really discovered by Americans, which was not the case in the Cinque Terre.
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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I have done both and agree that staying just outside the 5 villages is better unless you are a young backpacker looking for a party. My favorite is Portovenere--actually more to see right there than any of the 5 villages.
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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I respectfully have to disagree with bob (which NEVER happens!!). The old town of Monterosso is lovely and quiet at night, as well as charming.
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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TexasAggie, I hope you're right. I'm certainly not a young back packer looking for a party and I'll be staying in Monterosso in late March. It just seemed like it was a good central place to explore CT.
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Old Jan 20th, 2006, 11:49 PM
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Monterosso is wonderful, as are the other 4 towns of the Cinque Terre. True, there are students and backpackers everywhere, but there is also a fair amount of vacationing Italian families to mix in. All the towns (with the possible exception of Riomaggiore and their Bar Centrale) get quiet and peaceful at night after all the visitors and day-trippers leave.

LouisaH-you will be fine in Monterosso at the end of March. There are very few tourists at the time, you are more likely to run into German and Australian vacationers than Americans at that time. It is cool and quite windy, so definitely bring an umbrella and warm coat. Buon viaggio!

alison-your other post asks about Levanto or CT as a base and you have more or less repeated the question again here. From wherever you base yourselves, be it Levanto, Manarola, Monterosso, etc you can easily hop on the quick trains that go between villages and see the other towns within minutes. La Spezia is only 8 minutes away via train from Riomaggiore. It is only 5 minutes via train from Monterosso to Levanto.

To get to Portovenere, you can take a train or a boat there. If by train, you would go into La Spezia, then catch a local bus outside of the train station to Portovenere and Lerici. Likewise, you can access Portovenere via the 5Terre boats that go from the CT and back. Portovenere is a wonderful, charming little seafront town. They serve delicious, fresh fish and paella dishes in the ristorantes along the little harbor front.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 01:04 PM
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Thanks to everyone, especially huitres. But can anyone weigh in on the pros and cons of levanto vs. portovenere,(or Lerici or other places) other than accessibility to CT? I think we'd prefer staying right outside CT and these seme like the right kind of places. I'd like to know the merits of each and some suggested hotels. The agriturismos in Levanto, Villanova and Villa Margherita, sound great, but not sure if the rooms are nice. thanks for your input.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Take a look at Santa Margherita Ligure. Very nice town and a great promenade along the waterfront. Very good restaurants, easy train trip to CT, and an easy walk, boat trip, or bike trip to Portofino.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 03:24 PM
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We stayed in Monterosso and loved it. We took a boat trip to Porttovenere, and loved that, too.
I guess it depends on what you like: Monterosso is smaller, fewer people, narrow streets, just lovely; Portovenere is a bigger town, getting more traffic, with bigger harbor with great yachts and a totally different feel.
You canít go wrong either way. Have a great trip!

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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 04:36 PM
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Hi Alison,
I agree with prosol. We stayed in Portovenere in October of 2004. Stayed at the Grand Hotel Portovenere, which was a bit dated, but not a bad choice considering the size of the town and number of hotels. We had a wonderful corner room with a view of the water from 2 sides. The food was marvelous in Portovenere and altho the water was too rough for the water taxis to run to Riomaggiore, we took the bus to La Spezia and got off on the first stop. Portovenere was my favorite town in Cinque Terre with Vernazza coming in at a close 2nd. They have wonderful pesto and fresh fish and I had a great time wondering around the little shops. I would stay there again.
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