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leslieq Sep 13th, 2012 10:24 PM

What do you wish someone had told you about the Cinque Terre?
I just read this great thread on TripAdvisor asking the same question about Florence. We're heading to the Cinque Terre for 3 days in early October and would love to get some advice from anyone who could offer some.

I just submitted the same question for Tuscanty, where we will be spending a week.

Thanks so much,


Kristen_Zornada Sep 13th, 2012 11:22 PM

I wish I had known that 3/5 trails between the villages were closed, which meant that the only available trails were that of "Lover's Lane" (hardly a trail, a leisurely walk), and that connecting Vernazza and Monterosso. We booked 2 days and had hardly anything to do the second day. If hiking the trail is the main reason you are going, perhaps reconsider the length of your stay.

pgriffin Sep 14th, 2012 01:14 AM

Stay in Manarola - I think it is the nicest and most authentic of all the villages. You could do worse than rent an apartment from Arbaspaa.

I wouldn't agree with Kristen, we were there when some trails were closed and 3 nights was perfect, not too much at all. It is a lovely place to soak up and eat some amazing fresh seafood. You can also laze by the water for a half day if the weather permits.

Rubicund Sep 14th, 2012 01:44 AM

That it's a very nice area, but not necessarily worth a week on its own or the travel involved in getting there. Italy has many more interesting locations to visit.

bobthenavigator Sep 14th, 2012 07:43 AM

That the most charming village of all is not really one of the 5 that are typically mentioned. Portovenere has more to offer than any village on that coast.

MarthaT Sep 14th, 2012 08:27 AM

the stairs!! Thousands of them. What a workout.

immimi Sep 14th, 2012 08:44 AM

...along with Portovenere, Levanto is a pleasure to visit.
It's the town to the north of the 5C with easy access to the
train connecting the villages. We found it delightful to
wander the streets and eat at the good restos after the
frantic crowds in the 5Cs and the large mobs waiting for
the trains.

In the summer it's college central and Rickittes galore, lol.
October should be less congested than the summer. As Rubicund
said, it's very picturesque but there are many other places
throughout Italy that are as charming and less trampled.

PeaceOut Sep 14th, 2012 08:48 AM

That the trail is very rough in lots of places. Do NOT wear flip-flops, or think a toddler can do it. I saw so many folks on the trail who were terribly unprepared for the rugged footing, and it looked really dangerous.

I just topped a thread I created, summarizing the tips I'd collected on the Cinque Terre:

HappyTrvlr Sep 14th, 2012 08:49 AM

To check on trail conditions before starting your hikes. Parts of the trail were almost impassable, should have been closed, and had very steep dropoffs. We did complete the whole trail over two days but parts of it were frightening due to the poor conditions. The stairs were a big surprise. Stairmaster hike!
Like Bob, loved Portovenere! Took a ferry there from Monterosso.

christycruz Sep 14th, 2012 10:21 AM

That, even in October, the crowds will be thick on the weekends. Hopefully your 3 days are mid-week. If not, do your big hikes on the weekend days.

We didn't find the Riomaggiore hike until near the end of our stay. We hiked out through (the back of) town, and took a path going up up up. There's a restaurant up there, and some sort of food/crop transport that looks like a fruit crate on a child size train track. It made me dizzy to think how scary that ride would be! From the top you can look back and see all the towns along the coast. We rewarded ourselves with hot chocolate at the top.

This is our album. Pics #1,5,6,10,14 are of the Riomaggiore hike.

To each his own, but a 3 day stay is perfect in my opinion. Long enough to feel the rhythm of the place. We were there 6 days, but we were tired and had a toddler with us! We enjoyed all 6 days very much.

StCirq Sep 14th, 2012 11:40 AM

I can't say what I wish someone had told me about the Cinque Terres because I was fortunate enough to visit it before Rick Steves located it. For someone new to the area, I'd say you should wish you'd known about it 30 years ago.

rhkkmk Sep 14th, 2012 01:05 PM

honestly i did not think it was all that great... the boat ride was the best part, going from town to town..

jubilada Sep 14th, 2012 01:18 PM

I wish nobody had told rick Steves about it.

mamcalice Sep 14th, 2012 01:26 PM

I agree ethat the trails are rugged and in some places dangerous, especially when wet. We were there for 3 days, hiked hiked the entire trail in 2 and really didn't have much to do the third day. The towns are really beautiful from a distance and most are charming.

Three days is more than sufficient to get a good idea of all 5 towns. We were there in mid-September and it wasn't at all crowded. We had good, fresh seafood and thoroughly enjoyed our stay but likely won't go back.

christycruz Sep 14th, 2012 01:37 PM

did I forget the link to the pics? duh.

Pics #1,5,6,10,14 are of the Riomaggiore hike.

October WILL be much different than the high season months in which some of the other posters obviously visited. In our pictures, do you see throngs of people? Saturday and half of Sunday will be crowded and I bet that's it.

StCirq Sep 14th, 2012 02:04 PM

That should have been Terre, not Terres.

Sal9000 Sep 15th, 2012 08:29 AM

I wish somebody had made it very clear that the walk between Monterosso and Vernazza is VERY strenuous.

StCirq is right the whole area is overrun with tourists. While it is very scenic, it is not a place I would choose to visit a second time.

HappyTrvlr Sep 15th, 2012 08:32 AM

The boat rides were a reward for completing the hike!

mamcalice Sep 15th, 2012 11:44 AM

I expect the boat ride offers beautiful views but, for the 3 days we were there, the boat was not running because of choppy seas. I have talked to lots of people since who also were unable to take the boat for the same reason.

charnees Sep 15th, 2012 04:26 PM

Like St. Cirq, I am glad I went there 25 years ago when Rick Steves had just put it in his guidebook but it had not caught on yet.

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