Real simple question.. Is it worth it to go up there? I have a rental car and will be making a day trip to CT. TIA Mike
Mike, I suppose whether it's "worth it" is a matter of opinion. I took a day trip from Monterosso to Portofino not too long ago, and quite enjoyed it. However, aside from the beautiful scenery and browsing the posh shops, there's not a lot to see in Portofino (although Castello Brown sometimes has some good exhibits). The restaurants seemed to be a bit pricey, and I found the quality of food to be somewhat "average" and not commensurate with the prices. I travelled by train and boat, so can't offer any comments on getting to Portofino by car. Happy travels!
A day trip to CT from where? I prefer the CT to Portofino, if your time is limited. I find Portofino too full of pretentious ultra rich people. Restaurants, hotels and bars in Portofino will plunder your wallet worse than a horde of Barbarians. A car is not so good to have in either place, especially on weekends, when you will be so frustrated at not finding parking that you wish you could ditch your car in the Ligurian sea. I've driven many times to Portofino from Versilia, where I used to spend my vacations. Sometimes I got so frustrated at getting there (long lines from Santa Margherita to Portofino on weekends) that I simply came back without bothering to park (good luck finding a spot).
Roberto, as in my other posts I am based in Monteriggioni and have a rental for 7 days while in the region. I want to travel and see as many sites as possible. But we have a day planned to drive up to CT and was curious since I am that far up the coast if Portofino would be worth the extra drive to check out.
Personally I think Portofino is beautiful. Get out of the main part of town and just walk up through the olive groves...there are paths leading all over and it's lovely!
Haven't been to Portofino but if you only have a day I would spend it in the C.T.and skip Portofino. Cars and driving in the C.T. is a pain. We drove to Vernazza a few years back as we were coming from France and heading to Umbria after our stay here. The drive from Monterosso to Vernazza was not fun. Very, very narrow with hairpins. If you were planning on driving to Portofino from Vernazza you would probably take this road but now I believe it is closed as it was washed out from the storm of 2011. On 2 others visits to the C.T. we trained in. Again we had a car but parked it at train station in LaSpezia. Highly recommended. Next time around we had no car to deal with.
Mike, Thanks for the additional information as that clarifies the situation. As you'll be travelling from Monteriggioni, I'd suggest focusing on the Cinque Terre and skip the trip to Portofino as you won't have time for both. There's more than enough to see in the C.T. for the day. Having a rental car will be of "limited use" in the Cinque Terre. You might consider parking it in Monterosso for the day and using the local trains or boats (if they're operating) to get around. Not all of the towns have convenient parking available, so exploring the area by car may be a bit awkward. If you decide to park in Monterosso, you'll have to approach from the north end leading to Fegina or "the new town". Driving through town won't be possible as vehicle traffic is restricted, except for delivery and emergency vehicles. There's a large car park at that end of town down by the water, and you'll see an assortment of vehicles parked there including motor homes. I'd have to check my notes to see if I made a note of the rates.
Thank You I appreciate the info. Should I just park the car and take a train up to CT then? If so where should I park the car and hop on a train at?
I drove back and forth from my house in Florence to the Cinque Terre a few times. Last time about 3 or 4 years ago. The trip from Florence is less than 2 hours (maybe 1:45). From Monteriggioni add half hour at least. But don't go on a weekend, because you'll be stuck on the freeway with thousands of Florentines trying to drive to the coast and it will take you forever and a half. The fastest way is to drive to Riomaggiore and park in the parking structure there. Another option is to park at the station in La Spezia (big multistory parking structure) and take the train from there. Either way you have to exit the freeway at La Spezia. For Riomaggiore follow the directions to Cinque Terre or Riomaggiore. You basically go along the boulevard around the port. Monterosso is further west toward Genoa. If you choose that option you have to exit the A12 freeway after La Spezia further toward Genoa. the exit is Levanto. Follow directions to Levanto, then as you enter Levanto there is a roundabout. Follow directions to Cinque Terre and Monterosso. From Florence (and Monteriggioni) I think Riomaggiore is faster, but not by much.
In Monterosso there is a parking lot on the beach, on the new town side.
Mike, I'd suggest using the car park near La Spezia Centrale that Roberto mentioned. I've never used it so don't know the exact location, but this website may help: www.laspeziaparking.it/ From La Spezia it's an easy trip to the five towns via train (Riomaggiore is only about a nine minute ride).
There is English language info on parking at La Spezia Centrale along with photos at: http://www.apathtolunch.com/2011/04/getting-around-la-spezia-lunigiana-gulf.html