Santa Margarita or Portofino?


Nov 5th, 2013, 11:02 AM
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Santa Margarita or Portofino?

We would like to spend 3 days in either Portofino or Santa Margarita and use either town as a base to explore the area. We do not want to go to Cinque Terre because we were there 15 years ago before it became a real "destination"

Any hotel suggestions(4-5 star) , restaurants and things to explore would be most helpful.
begee is offline  
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Nov 5th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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I stayed at the Hotel Metropole in S.M. last year. The hotel was fine but wasn't crazy about Santa Margherita. Found it to be quite dull frankly.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 12:23 PM
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This is a bit second hand, at least parts of it but I have researched a trip to this area several times - have yet to take it! and also stopped one time in Portofino on a cruise.

A friend of mine recently stayed at the Best Western in Rapallo - she loved it (don't think BW US brand). If you can't find it, I can get the name for you. On our cruise stop in Portofino, the place seemed pretty chi-chi to me, if you know what I mean but maybe that is what you are looking for. I don't think you can train in or out from there - me, I like taking the train.

What we did do that was very nice, was take a hike up into the hilly coast that went from Portofino to SML. That was great! I think it was in May and we thought SML seemed quite low key / almost not open for business and it didn't seem that far out of season to me. Maybe we just didn't wander in to the part of town that was open!

So that's my input - I'm still hoping to take about a two week trip to that part of the world one of these days. I hope to do a Lakes, Rapallo and Nice jaunt.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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depends when you go - when I stayed at the same Hotel Metropole in SMLigure as weekender did and walked like suec1 did to Portofino from there I was shocked at how elbow-elbow tiny Portofino was - tour bus central - the mobs took any romance the 'fishing village' may have had away - I would never stay in Portofino in any kind of high season (I was there in September)

I loved S M Ligure - especially the authentic (several years back at least) fishing action with locals unloading the day's catch late in afternoons - I really like S M Ligure and used it as a base for the Cinque Terre as well. Really did not enjoy Portofino though without the mobs it could be sweet.

To me Portofino is one of the biggest tourist traps I have ever seen to been to in Europe - kind of like Sirmione on Lake Garda.
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Nov 5th, 2013, 01:32 PM
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Camolgi is a great place to stay, having stayed there three times.

Close to Portofino and we loved the atmosphere of a thousand year old town and an hour from Genoa by train.

We have enjoyed Portofino a few times.

To each his own!!!
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Nov 5th, 2013, 01:37 PM
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Again it must - enjoying Portofino - depend on when you visit - no one could love the Portofino I experienced - at least in the day - like Bellagio with similar swarms in the day at night reverts probably to a really romantic place - day trip out in the day or do the several neat hikes - like to San Fruttusi (sp?) and into the lovely hills.
PalenQ is online now  
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Nov 5th, 2013, 01:45 PM
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I would not disagree with Pal, but we are all different.
iris1745 is offline  
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Nov 5th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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Portofino is tiny and not a good place to stay.
I suggest any of the others---especially SML or Camogli.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 03:17 AM
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As a base to explore the area by public transport, Portofino is not a good choice (although there are buses and boats to SML).
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Nov 6th, 2013, 03:40 AM
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I know it's not what you asked but I would echo some of the above comments which recommend Camogli.

It is a pretty little town with great food, a nice beach and some very friendly locals. Porto and SMDL are okay but full of rich, pretentious jetsetters.

You can connect to SMDL anyway in 15 or 20 minutes.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 04:26 AM
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I would pick Santa Marguerita over Portofino as a place to stay - Portofino is very tiny and very expensive. Beautiful to look at but I was 'done' with it in a few hours and I walked all the way to the lighthouse and toured the castle.

I based in Rapello and loved it. My hotel, Hotel Italia e Lido Lungomare Castello 1 , is right on the water right next to the castle.

On a previous trip I based in Camogli and I think either Camogli or Rapello would be the best bases in the region.

Here's my trip report (scroll down halfway past the France part to get to the Italy portion) Hotel Italia e Lido Lungomare Castello 1
isabel is offline  
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Nov 6th, 2013, 11:09 AM
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I'm also not a Portofino fan. My preference in the area is Porto Venere.
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Nov 6th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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Yup Portofino - nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded, as one Italian Yogi Berra may say!
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Nov 7th, 2013, 04:31 AM
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SML, or Camogli would be my choices. In SML, we liked the Grand Hotel Miramare very much.
It faces the sea at the southern end of town (the Portofino side). A grand old property with a "beach" and large pool.

In Camogli we stayed at the Cenobbio dei Dogi, which has many variations in rooms spread over two (as I recall) buildings. You must select your room wisely here. There are many steps to reach the seaside lounge area. Their pool is unheated, unlike the Miramare, if that matters to you at all.

Portofino is gorgeous, but very small, very touristed, or seems so because it is so small and there are so many tourists! Go there for a day trip; you can walk from SML if you like to walk!

Other option if you want more of a beach holiday: Stay in Paraggi, between SML and Porto fino and within walking distance (long walking distance) from both.

We split our time between Camogli and SML a few years back.
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Nov 7th, 2013, 04:48 AM
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We too stayed in the Metropole in SML and enjoyed it very much. It was slightly out of season towards the end of September and most everywhere was quite quiet. The hotel offers nice rooms and a good breakfast and is well positioned about 100 yards from the Rapallo end of the town where the road starts to go uphill.

I really don't get the fuss about Portofino. Yes it's a pretty little bay and has some high end shops, but it's not must see. There are thousands of similar small coves in the Med equally as nice. Fortunately when we went it was quiet, but it didn't make it any more desirable to be there. Typical over hyped place.

We found SML itself to be a good place to stay. Nice restaurants, shops and churches and yes Pal, the fishermen were still landing their catch and selling it in the tiny fish market on the harbour front. It's handily placed to explore the area and having hired a car, we went to most places around, except CT (another over hyped destination).
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