cinque terre

We are staying in Albi France (July) but want to take a 3 night 4 day side trip to Cinque Terre area. Does anyone know how long it will take to drive there, or would it be wiser to take the train. My plan once there is to hike from town to town and spend the night alternating towns day to day. Does this make sense or would it be wiser to have a reserved place to stay in one of the towns and use that as the home base. If so any reccomendations on which town to stay in, we have been looking at Mongelia as the home base. We are also thinking about a day trip to Northern Spain from Albi, any suggestions?
Thank you,
Patti

Posted by Kristin
Bellevue, WA, USA
16 posts

Train will be easier, as the other poster noted, because you won't need to worry about parking your car for your stay in the CT. Changes are usually in Nice, Ventimiglia, and/or Genoa. DEFINITELY stay in one place -- it's so easy to get from town to town and spend a few hours in each, so don't waste some of your precious time each day moving to a new room. Even though it's fun to visit all the towns, make sure to spend enough time in the one where you're staying to get to know it, and some of the people, a little bit better. Each town has a unique feel. Vernazza is quintessential, but will be VERY crowded, even though July is a slower month there. If you come in at the last minute without reservations, you might have better luck getting a room in Riomaggiore or one of the other towns.

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1396 posts

My comment is on the staying in different towns....If that's what you are saying.

The 5 towns are only about 45 min to 1.5 hours from each other to hike...and 5 min by train. Seems like a waste of time if you plan to change hotels to spend time in a different town...they are all similar, except for their beaches (none, but Monterosso )

So...base in one town and explore. Remember you need to buy the CT pass to get on the trail, and according to Rick, that doesn't cover the train any more...you have to purchase tickets for that. (bummer)

Posted by Maricela
La Verne, CA, USA
25 posts

I would recommend taking the train. From what I hear there really is no driving in the Cinque Terre and very few parking areas. Plus I think driving from Albi to the Cinque Terre would be an all day trip. You will have to make changes along the way, maybe in Nice and then in Genoa.

We are going to be in Paris in late May and have decided that we also want to spend 3 nights in Vernazza. We are flying from Paris to Milan spending one night and departing early the next morning for Vernazza. I found an inexpensive flight through Easy Jet.

Whatever you decide, have a fun trip :)

Posted by carl
dallas, tx, usa
1358 posts

Having spent a week in CT I can recommend staying in one town and hiking to the others. You dont want to carry your luggage along that trail. Some points are too difficult to hike with a backpack.

Driving from France is difficult because of the type of roads you travel; I recommend the train.

I dont know Mongelia. The 5 villages from the North are Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Corniglia and Riomaggiore.

Stay in Vernazza and take the train back to your room each night. Vernazza is most popular and by far the most scenic of the 5.

It may be too far to make a day trip to Spain.

Andorra Spain is 240 Km from Albi (90 miles) one way. You can do it, but you will have a long day.

Posted by Darcy
Lewiston, Idaho, USA
1202 posts

To clarify, the E3 Hiking Pass doesn't cover trains and buses but the Cinque Terre Card does: E5.40/1 day, E13/3 days, E20.60/week. (See Rick's Italy '07, page 268.)