Sestri Levante base camp

Feb 25th, 2006, 11:13 PM
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Sestri Levante base camp

Author: Ptolly
Date: 02/25/2006, 02:45 am
We plan on basing ourselves in a hotel in Sestri Levante for 3 nights and travelling by train to SML and on to Portofino and San F. for one day. Second day going down to the CT by train and walking some of them. Which should we walk if we only have the day? and does this all sound pheasible?

Ptolly is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 12:05 AM
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It's only 18-20 mins by train from Sestri Levante to Portofino (note there is no train station in Portofino, you take the train to the Santa Margherita Ligure station, then a bus/taxi over to the Portofino peninsula). Busses leave regularly from in front of the train station. Trains leave Sestri Levante every hour and cost only 2,40 euros for 1st class, 1,60 euros for 2nd class (each person).

By San F, do you mean San Fruttuoso? That is the Camogli-San Fruttuoso train station. From Sestri Levante it is 26 mins away. If you wanted to go from Santa Margherita Ligure/Portofino to Camogli, it is only 5 mins away to the north and there are trains leaving every 30 mins-hour. It is entirely feasible to see Portofino and Camogli in one day. Portofino is very small and you can walk around the harbor, see the shops, eat in a restaurant and be done with everything within 2-3 hours max. Camogli is a charming place and not as touristy. The area by the harbor is quaint and there are shops to see, etc.

Sestri Levante down to the Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore, for example) on a direct train takes 34 mins, on a local train with stops, it takes 53 mins. Either way it's a pleasant journey with ocean views along the coast.

I would recommend walking the easy Via dell'More from Riomaggiore to Manarola. You can buy a Cinque Terre card from the train station info booth that allows you access to the trails, trains, boats, etc for the day. The walk is along a natural pathway cut alongside the mountain over the sparkling turquoise ocean. It takes approximately 20-25 mins to walk and is not strenuous. From Manarola, you could take either a local train up to the other CT towns or even a 5Terre boat to make your trip more interesting. If you want a mini work-out, the 500-odd steps leading up from the Corniglia train station to the top are fun!
Huitres is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 01:18 AM
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Sestri Levante is such a wonderul, relaxed, unpretentious place. I hope you enjoy your stay as much as I did.

If you are travelling during the summer, you can also take a boat to Portofino from either SML or Camogli, and the boat from Camogli stops at San Fruttuoso. From Portofino you can catch a boat in either direction -- to SM or to SF/Camogli.

I'm going to disagree with Huitres and suggest you do something other than walk the Via dell'Amore. Even if it was once a natural path, long stretches of it are concrete and have chain link fencing. If you want a real hike, there are several websites (such as 5terre) that describe the differing ones.

But what I found most rewarding was simply walking straight uphill away from the throngs of toourists. (Most tourists don't like walking uphill.) I did this in Manarola and found myself in a village so peaceful, an elderly lady was taking a snooze, sitting on a chair up against the wall of a very charming little church. There was a mill with ducks and geese, and a few places to have something to drink or eat.

I suspect whichever town you pick if you just walk uphill and away from everybody who is hanging out by the souvenir shops near the various train stops, you'll be rewarded with great views.

Also, you can take a boat between the five towns, which is another interesting vantage point.

nessundorma is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 01:21 AM
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PS: You can also hike from Camogli to Portofino, and I've been told the view is fantastic (but the hike is strenous). You can also walk from Portofino to SML, but make sure you have a good map that gets you off the road and onto the hiking trail.
nessundorma is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 04:13 PM
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Of course, there are lots of other hikes and strenuous climbs between the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre. Notwithstanding the assumption that Ptolly would be walking up and down the hills in the towns as well.....I was just trying to think of an actual walk that would take them from 1 Cinque Terre town to another and still not take up their entire day. Either way, the Cinque Terre is wonderful.

That is what is nice about the Fodors travel talk forum, it solicits and allows for a variety of opinions, options, and suggestions from all travelers.
Huitres is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Like you Ptolly we'd like to walk some of the Cinque Terre on our holiday- photos look superb. As this holiday will be in July, and we're not adverse to hills or a bit of effort, is there a way to try and miss some of the crowds other than leaving the coast path ( which we will also do). Perhaps an early evening walk on the most uphill northern section?
JoMark is offline  
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