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Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra

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23 posts
11 reviews
Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra


I am going to be travelling to the Portofino area in September for a week. I would like to visit both Portofino and Cinque Terra during this week, but would also like recommendations on the best places to stay in between, with easy public transport to each destination (will have no car). Also any recommendations on other places to visit would be great - I’ve never been to this area so don’t know a lot!

Many thanks in advance!

7 replies to this topic
Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
33,013 posts
1. Re: Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra

For times on the train line from Genova Brignole to Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, Rapallo, Sestri Levante, Monterosso and the other Cinque Terre villages and la Spezia, see www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en Use a date in May to see times similar to September times.

Three different ferry companies serve Camogli-San Fruttuoso, SanFruttuoso-Portofino-Santa Margherita-Rapallo, and the Cinque Terre villages to Portovenere and la Spezia.

Birmingham, AL
Level Contributor
689 posts
41 reviews
2. Re: Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra

We had similar goals on our last trip to Italy in 2016 We stayed in Santa Margherita Ligure. It was really awesome. We walked from our hotel (MIramare) to Portofino one day and took the bus back. Another day we took a boat from SML to San Fruttoso and later to Camogli and took the train back from Camogli to SML. We had planned a day in Cinque Terre but found that we loved SML so much that we cancelled our plans and just spent an extra day there. I'd love to go back. I had read so much criticism of the CT (spoiled by tourist crowds, hiking trails closed, etc.) that it didn't take much for me to decide to just skip the trip there. I kind of regret that. We are going to have another go of visiting at least one of the CT towns this spring while staying in La Spezia. Here is a link to a few pictures from our 2016 trip if you are interested:


Edited: 11 February 2018, 13:29
New York City, New...
Level Contributor
337 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra

Levanto is a good base, as it's central, cheap and has a stunning pebble beach (its sand beach is okay). Rapallo is also a good choice. Staying in either Cinque Terre or Portofino is very expensive, but if you did want to push CT, i'd go for Monterosso. Mind you, while Portofino does have some stunning views, if you are not bucket rich, there isn't alot to do there aside to pay alot of money for drinks portside.

Neurorad, I think you made the right call concerning CT. Not a bad place at all to visit, but there is so many more interesting and beautiful things to see. Vernazza is so overrun with tourists that any charm it may have had is long gone.

Level Contributor
433 posts
56 reviews
4. Re: Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra

If you are thinking of staying in the Cinque Terre, you may consider Riomaggiore, my favorite village. It is like living in an M.C. Escher painting, and all the stairs put off many visitors... day trippers go to the harbor and walk up the main street and then leave. We have rented thru airbnb a few times, choosing apartments on the southern slope of the village... its like a different world over there, as its away from the main street and very few people poke around over in that section of the village, so it really is away from the crowds. Fantastic views from over there. There are a couple of great trails heading out of Riomaggiore, and we have rarely encountered other hikers, as most prefer the other stretches of trails. Another main reason I like it, is that it has frequent train service. Pretty much every train that passes through the CT stops in Riomaggiore, which is not true for every village.

Edited: 01 March 2018, 03:19
10 posts
5. Re: Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra


I am going to be visiting CT for 3 nights and staying in Monterosso village. I do want to visit Vernazza and Riomaggiore, but i am going to be staying on the opposite side of them. Am I going to be able to hike through most of the villages and really enjoy it or just stick to maybe 2? I want to enjoy and capture the beauty of the villages as much as possible

La Spezia, Italy
Destination Expert
for La Spezia, Porto Venere, Lerici
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3,793 posts
42 reviews
6. Re: Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra

Sestri Levante is a nice resort with good beaches almost equidistant between the two with good rail connections

Level Contributor
433 posts
56 reviews
7. Re: Week in Portofino and Cinque Terra

@vanzu7- You can visit all villages in one day if you hustle and use the train. If you are there for 3 nights, you should be able to visit all 5 villages AND get a nice hike in. The villages themselves, after all, (to most observers, at least) is just a short, cute main street. Be sure to get off the main street onto the side streets (a/k/a alleyways), especially in Riomaggiore... there are pleasant little surprises tucked all over the place. Just go up any staircase between buildings and get lost for a bit. (My general rule of thumb is, go "up" whenever given a choice, and it's usually rewarded with gorgeous views!) If you go up the southern ridge, you can look back at all 5 villages.

Although Monterosso is personally my least favorite village (I feel it lacks the charm of the other villages, as it takes on a Mediterranean resort feel... because that is exactly what it is), one upside is that like Riomaggiore, it has frequent train service so you can zip back and forth among villages easily (there is a shop in Manarola that has some delicious gluten-free products that I would visit every-other day no matter where I was that day just by hopping to the train for 5 minutes).

Sorry to the OP for highjacking the post!

@vanzu7- If you have specific questions on the Cinque Terre, post in that Forum and I'll see them there. Have a great trip!

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