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Apr 17th, 2017, 08:11 AM
  #1
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Santa Margherta Ligure, Rapallo, Portofino....

Has anyone been to these towns on the Italian Riviera? I have been to Italy 8 times but not to this area. Is it very similar to the Amalfi Coast (which I LOVED)? I am thinking Santa Margherita is the best town to stay but would visit the others plus Camogli. Fly into Genoa.

I do not want a big sightseeing trip - just a nice hotel, a bit of beach/swimming, stroll and take pictures, poke about shops, sit at a café, take in the views.... But with the cost, the complexity of getting there, the anxiety about leaving my cat - I want my trips to really be wonderful (not that most of them were not wonderful; I dont' regret any of them).

Any experiences with the area or specific hotels? I am considering the Best Western Elena Regina which is 1/2 mile from the center of Santa, or the Imperial Palace if a friend goes and we can split the cost. I'm not a foodie but appreciate breakfast, good coffee, gelato, and pastry.

There is a $600 difference between flying from JFK and my home airport (Harrisburg, PA) so would probably take the train to NY and then LIRR and Airtrain to JFK.
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Apr 17th, 2017, 09:27 AM
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I've been to the area twice and stayed in both Camogli and Rapallo. I had wanted to stay in Santa Marherita but the best hotel deal I found was in Rapallo and it was wonderful. I did all the other towns in the area on days trips. A previous trip I stayed in Camogli. I was there for five days (2013) and could have used more. Just last month I went to Genoa as a day trip from Milan where I was staying and loved that as well. I was unsure if I'd like Genoa so it wasn't a priority for the trip where I based in Rapallo but I highly recommend it if you have time.

Rapallo, Camogli and Santa Margherita are all nice towns. Portofino is overpriced but scenic. Portovenere is a bit further but was one of my favorites. I did a trip report with lots of details - but you need to scroll halfway down past the France part. http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...swiss-alps.cfm

Photos are here: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p946045812

Photos of Genoa are here: http://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p923350972
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Apr 17th, 2017, 09:39 AM
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Isabel, thank you. I will look at your report
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Apr 17th, 2017, 10:59 AM
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I've been to this part of Liguria several times and stayed in SML each time as the area is small enough to have one base and travel around even for dinner. We stay at the Metropole in SML because we enjoy it, but the Lido Palace is better placed.

Rapallo is a pleasant town and very much a working place, but has nice restaurants and a few good hotels.

Portofino is IMO while being a pretty village is no better than thousands of other villages on the coast across Europe. It appears to be a must see because it has a few expensive shops and an expensive clutch of cafes, restaurants and hotels, but if I had never seen it I wouldn't feel any the worse. It's certainly not worth staying there as a tourist as it's too far out on a limb. Footballers and their WAG's favour it which says it all.
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Apr 17th, 2017, 03:27 PM
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I stayed in both Camogli and SML, on the same trip. I stayed in hotels that were more upscale but perhaps there is some information in my trip report that will be helpful to you. What is the time period?

I thought Camogli was a wonderful place to stay; the entire region is glorious.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-much-else.cfm
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Apr 17th, 2017, 04:11 PM
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We stayed at the Grand Hotel in SML. I truly loved this town and area! My wife and I had thoughts of moving to Europe for 6 mos to a year and thought SML was the kind of place we ccould live in.
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Apr 17th, 2017, 04:57 PM
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I'm looking at going to Camogli for a few days next month - looks like a neat little town. (Always have anxiety about leaving my cat, too!) I want to do the hike down to San Fruttuoso.
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Apr 17th, 2017, 05:20 PM
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We are going back to Camogli next month for 2 nights. About 4 years ago we stayed at Villa Rosamarino and this time we are staying at Hotel Cenobio Dei Dogi. We've also rented a villa just south of Portofino in Pariggi. We loved Camogli and it felt less touristy than the amalfi coast. Portofino is pretty and there are some nice hikes around town, but very expensive. Camogli felt more like a town where Italians vacation. Great food, great hikes and you can do a day trip to Cinque Terre if so inclined.
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Apr 17th, 2017, 06:37 PM
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SML is my idea of heaven! Enough to keep you busy, and besides the stunning views and a relaxed atmosphere, doesn't have the crowds that Portofino has. Portofino, although scenic and colorful, is small, over crowded and over priced. It was the hey day for movie stars years ago.
We based ourselves in Genoa, then took the train to SML and beyond to a couple of towns in Cinque Terre. Genoa, IMHO, gets short changed by American tourists. It's not a glitzy, glamorous city like others, but maybe that's why we liked it so much. Isabel, your pictures of Genoa are so beautiful and brought back a lot of memories. We ate at a lovely little restaurant near where Elvis is posed.
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Apr 17th, 2017, 08:08 PM
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Beginning of September. I assume it's warm enough to swim
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Apr 17th, 2017, 08:24 PM
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Lovely trip reports helping me to get excited although I am not a foodie...
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Apr 18th, 2017, 04:34 AM
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Hi Vicky ,
My report is a few years old now but I really liked SML.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ive-report.cfm

I don't think you can go wrong.

Schnauzer
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Apr 18th, 2017, 06:49 AM
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I don't know if anyplace along the Riviera is going to meet your standards for breakfast, but Cenobio dei Dogi in Camogli is probably the best.

For anyone planning to "hike down" to San Fruttuoso, the best way to avoid first needing to hike up before you can hike down is to either take the bus to Ruta (from either Santa Margherita Ligure or Camogli) and follow the trails, or switch buses in Ruta for San Rocco di Camogli and hike from there.

HIkers staying in the area also might want check out using the funicular near the Rapallo train station to ascend to Monteallegro sanctuary above Rapallo and hiking from there to Chiavari (where you will find an interesting town + a train station) or just hike back down to Rapallo.
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Apr 18th, 2017, 07:23 AM
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I believe there is also a very pleasant walk between SML and Portofino, up above the water, shady, nice views. We are going to this area in late Sept. and have decided to stay in Rapallo for a bit easier train connections. I need to go back and read some of these trip reports to get ready for our trip!
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Apr 18th, 2017, 10:09 AM
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There is a nice walk between SML and Portofino! We walked over to Portofino for a couple of hours, then back to SML.

Took a day trip to CT. Hiked between all 5 cities and trained back to SML.

Big outdoor food market near the water in SML.

A takeaway pizza place owned by an old couple that made one of the best pizzas I ever ate.

Nice beach.

Nothing but great memories of SML!!
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Apr 19th, 2017, 12:53 PM
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The rooms are Cenobio dei Dogi vary tremendously from cell-like (mine) to airy and expansive, so might be good to take a look at your assigned space before checking in. MacDog: Paraggi is so gorgeous...I would be thrilled to rent a villa there; you can walk to SML, Portofino, and other spots from there....can you post the link to your place? Thank you!!
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Apr 21st, 2017, 09:26 AM
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No availability at Cenobio dei Dogli, so I think we will stay at the Imperial Palace in SML (no availability at the GRand Hotel Miramar either).

I do not 'hike' but my friend who will probably go is a runner and also wants to go to Cinque Terre. I may send her off there on her own while I relax in SML.If you don't 'hike' I'm not sure it is worth my going; if I did I'd probably go to the first town, walk around and come back on my own. But I do plan to go to Camogli, Rapallo and Portofino. As well as just lay by the pool, swim at the beach, take photos, shop, have gelato, drink coffee, look at the views...

I think we're going to book tonight and I'm excited - and anxious to get the flights/hotel confirmed before they disappear.
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Apr 21st, 2017, 12:38 PM
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Since taking photos is on your list you would probably want to go to the Cinque Terre towns. You can walk a short ways in each direction towards the trails for great views back to the towns without actually doing the 'hikes'. In any event, the two most scenic CT towns are Vernazza and Manarola which are two of the center towns. Monterosso and Riomaggiore (the 'first' town, depending on which end you start) are less scenic.
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Apr 21st, 2017, 01:29 PM
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I thought Riomaggiore was quite scenic, actually. I have one of my pictures of it on the wall at home. It's always the one that has people asking, "Wow, where is THAT?" All of the lower four are pretty scenic to me. Monterroso seemed maybe the least interesting to photograph.

I hiked between all the towns on my first visit to the CT in 2007 (when all trails were open!). Last visit, a few years later, I did what Isabel suggests and just hiked up above the towns a little (I still needed a hiking pass to go very far) to get good photos. But note that there are very steep steps up above a couple of the towns that are part of the hikes
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Apr 23rd, 2017, 04:38 PM
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All of the Riviera is quite photogenic and I highly recommend that while your friend goes to le Cinque Terre that you go to Zoagli if steep hills in hot weather in crowds is going to kill your mood. Zoagli is right next door to Rapallo and has a flat seaside walk cut into the cliffs. It's very pretty.

http://www.comune.zoagli.ge.it/turismo/passeggiata

Or take the 15 minute bus ride from Santa Margherita Ligure to Ruta then walk from Ruta to San Rocco di Camogli (flat, shaded, beautiful views). Relax with a drink at dai Muaghetti, then walk down the stairs from San Rocco di Camogli to the Camogli train station and take the 7 minute ride back to Santa Margherita Ligure. The walk down the hill is filled with flowers, chickens, goats, olive nets, geese, ducks and the occasional pheasant, heron or small donkey, plus a lot of cats.

https://www.facebook.com/Dai-Muagetti-135445063148104/

https://thelondonher.files.wordpress...8/dsc_4972.jpg
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