We will be in northern Italy early September 2013. We are interested in spending some time in the northern coastal area and would appreciate some guidance about where to stay. We will be using just the train, we love hiking, sightseeing but are older and want comfortable but not costly lodging. My question is: it seems Vernazza would fit our needs best--staying in privately owned room or studio but what do others think about Sestri or Santa Margarita or the other Cinque Terre villages? Lodging options? (This is our second trip to Italy). Any advice greatly appreciated. Grazie! Susan.
Hi Susan. You will enjoy the area. Best advice is to get the Rick Steves Italy book. All of these towns are described in detail, including lodging options; then you can pick which seems to fit your preferences. Enjoy your trip!
On the Ligurian coast, the Cinque Terre are a must, however you don't have to limit yourself to Vernazza just because Rick Steves seems to cover it 'ad nauseam'. Monterosso, which is just as beautiful, offers more in terms of accommodations, restaurants, things to do and it's also the only one of the area with a real beach. From Monterosso you can go to all others in minutes by train. I spent countless times at the CT as a teenager and later, and Monterosso was my favorite. Outside the Cinque Terre, but still on the Eastern Riviera, my favorite small sea villages are Moneglia and Deiva Marina. They are just minutes west of Monterosso by train, before Sestri coming from the Cinque Terre.
Susan, As Roberto mentioned, you could also consider other towns in that area, but if you'd prefer to stay in Vernazza that's also an option. It seems to be one of the most popular of the five towns (especially with Rick's readers), so I'd suggest booking early! Have a look at savevernazza.com/visiting-vernazza/ for a list of lodgings. Monterosso is also my favourite town and as mentioned it has the largest number of hotels, restaurants and other shops, and also the nicest beaches. For a list of lodgings in Monterosso, have a look at www.rebuildmonterosso.com/p/visitors-information.html for information. You could also consider staying in Levanto. Although it's not "officially" one of the C.T. towns, it's only about five minutes by train from Monterosso, so still a very convenient location. It also has a nice (large) beach. Happy travels!
Thanks for the advice...we always use Rick's books but helpful to hear more details. Has anyone been successful with same day "walk-up" lodging requests in Monterosso and Vernazza (in early September)?? Grazie!