It stills looks as if some of the trails are not open or clean. I can't tell which ones either. Therefore, I am a little leary to book a hotel and find out when we get there that we are limited. Does anyone know exactly what we will not be allowed to do? I've even heard they may not offer passes at sometime this year. Would it be better to plan time in Portofino instead? Thank you for your time. Kelli
Kelli, It depends on what you want to do during your oceanside stay. We stayed in Monterosso 4 nights (which was one more than we originally booked) because we loved just relaxing on the beach (especially after 7 days of heavy sightseeing in Rome and Florence!) We didn't hike the trails at all. I don't believe Portofino is known for its hiking, but I could be wrong. What I'm saying is that if hiking is high on your agenda, choose the Cinque Terre town that has the most of what you want, and if the trails from that town are closed when you get there, you can take a short train ride to any of the towns with open trails. But if you're wanting to relax by the ocean, then, yes, you will need to choose between Portofino (fancy and pricey) or one of the CT towns which are quite laid back. Enjoy! Dave
Someone on this board had a website for finding out the status of the C.T. trails. Hopefully, they'll weigh in. There are many, many trails besides the ones that go from town to town - just go higher up in the hills if the lower ones are closed. Our preference was definitely Cinque Terre. We took a day trip to Portofino (and walked from there to Santa Margherita), but the pricey (maybe even "snobby") aspect of Portofino is just not our style. It IS beautiful!
Kelli, Which place to choose will depend on what type of "holiday experience" you're looking for. I wasn't really sure what you meant by "we are limited" or "what we will not be allowed to do" - could you clarify that? It would also help to have some idea when this trip will be taking place? IMO, the Cinque Terre would be the better location of the two you mentioned. Portofino has it's "charms" but there's not a lot to do except walking up the hill to Castello Brown and spending money in the posh stores (albeit in a beautiful setting). In the Cinque Terre, you'll be able to tour five unique small towns, take day trips to Levanto, Porto Venere or other places, hike the Sentiero Azzurro (or other) trails, enjoy some great food or just lay on the beach and enjoy Il Dolce Far Niente. While the Sentiero Azzurro trails may be closed at the present time, it's expected that at least some of them will re-open in April at the start of tourist season. It's important to remember that there's an extensive network of trails in that area, so hiking will still be possible. You can check the status of the trails on the official Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre website: http://www.parconazionale5terre.it/sentieri_parco.asp?id_lingue=1 If some of the trails are closed, it's very easy to get around that area using the local trains or boats (weather permitting). IMO, you won't be "limited" at all. Happy travels!
Ciao Kelli. The villages of the Cinque Terre are a better choice for your base than Portofino, IMO. Portofino is very expensive. We did do a daytrip to Portofinao last fall, which you can read about here. We also hiked the higher trails because the was closed. There was more than enough to keep us active for 4 full days. There are many many interesting places to hike outside the CT themselves. I think because of Rick Steves (bless him!) we gravitate to the CT and don't realize how much there is to Liguria. You can use the local train to explore other towns as well, such as Santa Maria Liguria and Lerici.