Where to stay in the Italian Riviera?

Feb 27th, 2006, 06:36 PM
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Where to stay in the Italian Riviera?

We're interested in visiting the Italian Riviera and are looking for advice on where to stay. Our primary objective for visiting is hiking Cinque Terre, but I think the villages would be too small for us to stay. We like having some restaurant choices, a little nightlife, quaint town and NICE hotels. Considering the following:

Rapallo - nice hotels, don't know much about the town.

Santa Margharita - sounds charming, not sure if you can visit CT easily from here by train.

Portofino - great hotels, maybe a little too developed and posh. Thoughts?

Camogli - again, don't know much about the town and ease in getting to CT.

Appreciate any thoughts. As a reference, we like "old" Florence for its charm, architecture and restaurant choices. Thanks
TJinSOMA is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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I'm assuming you don't have a car and you won't need one unless you stay in Portofino.

You'll have no trouble visiting CT from Santa Margherita Ligure. Very short train ride. (20 minutes?) Camogli is a longer train ride. (I think 40 minutes?)

SML is dominated by it's yacht harbor. It very much has a holiday air. People come there to have fun, like they do at any pierside or harbor in nice weather.

Camogli is a tucked away gem that still not many people know about. It's really more a village than a town. There is a pebble beach and its harbor is an authentic small fishing harbor, with small boats going out each morning (to bring you back your lunch). If it's got a nightlife, I've yet to see it.

I've not spent much time in Rapallo. It struck me as more upscale than SML (rather like Santa Barbara, if you know it), with lots of shops. Nowhere near as boutiquey and tourist trappy as Portofino, however, which is nonetheless worth a boat trip on a pretty day if you stay in either SML or Camogli.

One small advantage of staying in Camogli is that you are only 20 minutes from Genoa by train, which means if you get unlucky with a rainy day, you can go there.

nessundorma is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 08:52 PM
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Perfect advice. Thanks
TJinSOMA is offline  
Feb 27th, 2006, 11:13 PM
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All the towns along the Riviera di Levante coastline are close in proximity to each other. If the primary objective for your visit is to hike in the Cinque Terre, then it would make sense to stay IN the Cinque Terre. Of the 5 CT towns, Monterosso al mare is the largest and does have a nightlife. The shops, cafes, gelatterias, and bars around the main square (Via Settembre) all stay open very late with Italians out and about taking their nightly passegiatas. It is a charming, quaint town and one of my favorites (along with Riomaggiore and Manarola). I don't think you would be bored and you would be right there to hike, take the local trains, the 5terre boats, etc.

In terms of distances, Portofino/Santa Margherita Ligure is only 40 minutes north by train, Camogli 45-50 minutes north, etc. Rapallo is nice, although it is a quiet town with nothing truly exceptional about the place.

Note that Santa Margherita Ligure is the train station for Portofino. You get to Portofino on the peninsula either via taxi, car or bus. There are frequent busses leaving the train station that can take you there. Portofino is so small that you can really see everything around the tiny harbor, eat lunch, shop, etc. in about 2-3 hours time. It is quiet at night and even smaller than Monterosso in the Cinque Terre. Santa Margherita Ligure is a lively town with nice cafes/restaurants, etc. so if it was between Portofino and SML, I would choose SML.

Reconsider staying in the Cinque Terre. I don't think you would be disappointed and you can take all those day trips up to the places you want to see and more.
Huitres is offline  
Feb 28th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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We stayed in Monterosso at Hotel Villa Steno and really enjoyed it. It is a true hotel, very clean, private baths, breakfast included, laundry service, internet service, etc. We has a room with a terrace that had a lovely view and the grounds were filled with lemon trees.

There were several good restaurants in each town and the train is easy to travel between them. There were also cute boutiques and Monterosso has a fun bar with a little nightlife. I would definately stay there again.
motor_city_girl is offline  
Feb 28th, 2006, 01:46 PM
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If you can afford it, stay a couple of nights at Splendido in Portofino, or at least have lunch on the patio.
richardsonsnm is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 12:47 PM
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Has anyone stayed at Hotel Fasce or LaVela Hotel in Santa Margherita? We have 3 of traveling there for a wedding. The wedding is in SM and the rehearsal dinner is at Hotel Splendido. We'd like to make a day trip to Cinque Terre, too. We are going there May 4-7.
jbernsen is offline  

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