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Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

Level Contributor
166 posts
5 reviews
Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

We are planning an upcoming 2 week summer trip (July or August) to the Ligurian Coast, Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda, and possibly train down to Puglia's coast. We will most likely fly into Genoa. We will also have a rental car as an option. Pardon the spelling errors, typing fast.

We have travelled many time to Italy from the US. We have done Rome, Milan, Naples, many beautiful interior locations and villages. I visited Cinque a Terre 15 years ago with a group of girlfriends and loved it. My husband and I also spent 5 nights in Positano at the Sirenuse and 3 nights in Capri. We spent 5 nights on Lake Como at the Serbelloni in Bellagio. So trying to get some advice based on what we have previously liked......being by the sea and that village sort of feel with dramatic and stunning views. We also like traveling by boat ideally from place to place. So all that said.....

We had originally thought about staying in Portofino before heading (driving) to the lake area but after some research there appears to be limited accommodations, 7 hotels and as much as I would love to stay at the Belmond, its not in the budget. The Picollo looks nice but no pool. It sounds like from many TA reviewers that what makes the most sense is to base yourself in Santa Margherita Legure?

We are most interested in finding a hotel to explore the area that is on the sea with a beautiful view and terrace, with a fantastic pool. We don't care if it's dated or has a bad breakfast (which appear to be important to many) Budget is $300 - $500 euro per night.

So first question, which towns, in order would you visit / stay in that surround Portofino? How much time should we allocate...thinking 4 nights. Also, should we expect Cinque a terra's 5 towns to be the most beautiful? (like Liguarian's Positano) or are there other villages equally as stunning or fishing village charm?

Here are a few towns we have come across.....

5 villages of Cinque a Terra (keep in mind we've done this)

Camogli

Rapallo

Chiavari

La Spezia

Alassio

Apricale (hill town)

Portovenere

Sesti Lavante

Monterossa el Mar

If we travelled further South we could split our time and stay at a second hotel to explore last 3 villages listed.

Other places ideas?

Thank you very much, appreciate your time!

12 replies to this topic
Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
4,104 posts
76 reviews
1. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

If it's available, we enjoyed the hotel here:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g19…

La Spezia, Italy
Destination Expert
for La Spezia, Porto Venere, Lerici
Level Contributor
3,778 posts
42 reviews
2. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

I would use SML as a base for Portofino look at the Metropole : Continental or Regina Elena all under the same ownership,which should fall within your budget plus The Mirimare

The Excelsior in Rapallo is another good option with easy accessibility to Portofino and The Helvetia in Sestri Levante which is well placed for The Portofino Peninsula and The Cinque Terre. The only hotel in The Cinque Terre that would likely fit your criteria is The Porta Roca , Monterosso is the only one if the 5 villages with full service hotels

Level Contributor
166 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

Thank you for you specific hotel recommendations. May I also ask about village recommendations. How would you rank them in terms of must visit first to last? What might an itinerary look like over 4 days in terms of visiting or grouping the locations for daily sightseeing......ie

Day 1 - Cinque a Terre - visit all 5 villages during the day, tour by boat

Day 2 - Camogli & Portofino

Day 3.......

Which locations could you possibly group together or do you need a full day in each of the villages mentioned? Are there any not worth seeing that has been listed?

Thanks!

La Spezia, Italy
Destination Expert
for La Spezia, Porto Venere, Lerici
Level Contributor
3,778 posts
42 reviews
4. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

Its all subjective really. I tend to spend more time going to Monterossso and Vernazza than Riomaggiore and Manrola especially since the closure of The Via Amore ,although my main purpose for going there are lunch or dinner and just maybe spending time at the beach in Monterosso. I do think Vernazza is possibly the prettiest. I always seem to bypass Corniglia as it is the least accesible i.e you need to bus up or take an uphill walk from the train station and there is no boat connection. Camogli is a bit more than a village although not a large town. SML I have always loved and was the place that attracted me to the area in the first instance over 20 years ago.The place seemed to me to have a timeless chicness. Portofino is beautiful and I always try to visit oince a year for half a day it is a very pretty ,albeit very expensive village whose shops mirror those of New Bond Street. . Not on your list is Portovenere again a beautiful village at the other end of the Cinque Terre and reachable by boat from there.

Virginia
Level Contributor
4,383 posts
3 reviews
5. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

I stayed in a b&b above Camogli in San Rocco (no pool but stunning views), but I always thought this place looked marvelous:

http://villarosmarino.com/en/exteriors/

I can take or leave Portofino, and the crowds in CT give me hives, but I loved Camogli.

Your grouping looks about right: CT one day, Camogli-Portofino-SML one day (depending on your start and end time and general pace, you might even fit in Rapallo, otherwise it could be grouped with Chiavari, but I missed those last two). I'd give La Spezia a miss, but maybe do a hill town on your third day for something different, IF you can tear yourselves away from the Portofino peninsula (note you can hike and take ferries among Camogli-Portofino-SML)

The most beautiful section of the Ligurian coast that I have seen is the Montemarcello peninsula (just past Lerici), which would be closer than the two northern Ligurian towns you mentioned.

Level Contributor
166 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

Thank you for this hotel recommendation, it looks great. It also looks as though they can arrange a number of boat excursions/transportation, which we like. Can i ask how many nights you spent in Portovenere and what were your favorite places you visited in the surrounding area? Thanks!

Level Contributor
166 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

Thank you for this great information! We actually stayed in Vernazza for 5 nights last time and loved it. I do like your suggestion of Portovenere. It looks very pretty. So I am now thinking we would like spending time in:

Portofino

Portovenere

SMA

none of which we have been to. Since I have visited all Cinque Terre towns we will do this in a day for my husband to experience. Two additional questions if I may:

Does it make sense to overnight in both SMA and Portovenere given they are 1.5 hr drive apart. If we rented a car would that be a pretty drive or would taking a boat be a better choice and how long would that take?

Question 2: If I have already visited Cinque a Terra are there still enough other villages in the area to enjoy or do travelers primarily go to this coast for Cinque a Terra as the main attraction?

Thanks!

Level Contributor
166 posts
5 reviews
8. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

Thanks for the advice! Is it easy to boat between all these villages/towns in various directions?

Camogi

Portofino

SMA

Rapallo

Chiavari

Sesti Lavante

Cinque Terra

Portovenere

If we based ourselves in SMA we could boat in one direction to Portofino and Camogli and then back.

We could then also boat to Rapallo, Chiavari, Sesti Lavante. Then on further to Cinque terra and portovenere?

Or are there some limitations with boats? Or better ways to travel certain sections? Are the distances between the villages by boat fairly short?

How easy is it to get private boat transfers between the stops or a private small boat for the day? Any idea on price?

Thanks!

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
4,104 posts
76 reviews
9. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

We stayed four nights in Portovenere. One day we bought a ferry pass and went to two Cinque Terre villages. Another day we enjoyed a ferry trip to Lerici (didn't get to Tellaro, but it's highly recommended from what we've read). The rest of the time we spent in PV, as it is really beautiful. One of the best lunches we had was here:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-…

Imperia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
32,853 posts
10. Re: Top villages surrounding Portofino and hotel finds?

<s it easy to boat between all these villages> The three main boat companies in this area are as follows:

http://www.golfoparadiso.it/en/lines/ - regular ferries from Camogli to San Fruttuoso, plus trips elsewhere

traghettiportofino.it/en/lines-and-trips/ - regular ferries from Rapallo to San Fruttuoso via SML and Portofino, plus trips elsewhere

https://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/en/ - Regular ferries from Monterosso to Portovenere via the Cinque Terre coast and from Portovenere to la Spezia, and the occasional trip to Portofino.

The fastest way between most places on the coast is always by train (Portofino and Portovenere have bus services instead).

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