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First hand opinions: how great is Cinque Terre?

I'm taking a 11 day trip to France and Italy which already seems rushed...3 days in Paris, 1 day in Avignon, 2 days in Arles, 1 day in Aix, 1 day in Nice, 1 day in Cinque Terre, 2 days in Venice. Unfortunately Cinque Terre is a bit out of the way from the other places and requires 6 hours of travel time for me to and from there for a day's stay. I'm trying to decide which to cut from my trip if the trip is too fast-paced and due to the distance, Cinque Terre stands out as one to possibly be cut. If Cinque Terre really would be the highlight of the trip though I'd cut something else instead of it...any advice?

Posted by
705 posts

Your trip is really fast paced. You don't say how you are travelling however 1 day in Nice and 1 in Cinque Terre is really not enough to see the places. I personally would have 2 days in Nice and not go to Cinque Terre - leave that for your next trip. Leave enough time to relax and enjoy rather than racing to catch planes or trains or drive.

Posted by
306 posts

I'm assuming that when you say day it means you're spending the night in that city. If so you can stay in Arles and do day trips to Aix and Avignon. All that transferring to different hotels is time consuming. Avignon and Arles are quite close together.
I would either skip Nice or Cinque Terre. While the Cinque Terre is more appealing to me it's also the hardest to reach so maybe save that for another trip.

Posted by
2065 posts

Hi Amy--Yes, I'd say that your whirlwind trip is faster than a whirlwind! But that's fine if that's the kind of trip you want.
As an alternative way to travel, I checked and found flights through October for between US$72 and $157 which take an hour. The closest airport I could find was Marseilles to Venice Marco Polo. Taking a flight would leave out both Nice and Cinque Terre which are both great places but that would give you 2 extra days to try to actually enjoy your trip! (And maybe be able to remember it!)
If you do consider flying, be sure to check out the baggage requirements to see if they work for you.
Enjoy the planning AND the trip.

Posted by
320 posts

Amy - Your itinerary is pretty ambitious. There is a lot of travel time to get to these places - one night stands are absolutely murder on any vacation fun or relaxation.

If it was me - I'd pare this down - stay longer in a couple of locations - and just assume that I'll come back someday to see what I missed.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
1589 posts

Having been at the other places mentioned, I would pass on several of them and spend 4 days in the CT. Yes, it is that beautiful and relaxing. If you must, save the CT for your next trip!

Posted by
14 posts

Hello, Amy. Well, I have been to Europe four times, and after the first trip, I hated every one-night stand in our itinerary. I vowed never to plan one-night stays unless absolutely necessary. It's just too much work and too tiring and creates tired, unhappy travelers. Not wanting to lecture, but my wife and I are steadfast believers in this philosophy because we learned the hard way. A lot depends on where you have to fly out of, I suppose. But since you asked, I would definitely eliminate Avignon and Aix (neither are the true essence of Provence) and add a night to Nice and Cinque Terre. Yes, it can be touristy, but CT is incredibly beautiful, totally unique and you'll never see happier tourists anywhere! Better yet, beg, steal or borrow one, two or three more days for your trip. Best of luck.

Posted by
1633 posts

Cinque Terre is wonderful. It doesn't deserve just one day, considering how much of your precious travel day you will spend getting there. Either skip something else to gain a day (or two) in CT, or give up its day for another day elsewhere. I was only there 2.5 days and wished I had a week or more.

Posted by
221 posts

one thing Amy to keep in mind. people tend to forget that it takes time not only traveling from town to town (and you don't say if you are taking trains or cars) but by the time you figure out where you are going, how to get there, and then get there it doesn't leave you too much time to look around. everyone tries to pack in as much as possible when they have been saving and planning a trip for a long time but if you try to do too much you'll regret it. the one night stays in hotels/towns night after night can be exhausting. I would say slow down and as Rick says "assume you will return". have fun and good luck

Posted by
5 posts

I have read the other responses and agree that you should eliminate a city or two in order to enjoy your time in Europe more and experience the European culture. However, I agree with the person above and would skip anything but Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre is one of the most magical places I have been to in Europe.

Posted by
1798 posts

It can be a skip. It's getting way to crowded because of Rick Steves (as is all of Italy - all you see are Americans holding Rick's blue books)

It's kind of like the California coast, Italian style. You have enough to do, skip it.

It seems to me that unless you are flying home out of Venice, I'd skip Italy this trip and just do France, leaving Italy for another trip! Slow down and really enjoy your time on holiday. it goes by too quickly anyway. You are not going to get a good feel for any place that you can only spend one day exploring!

One day in the Cinque Terre really isn't worth the time, it's 5 towns!

Posted by
689 posts

In August, 2004 we spent one night in Monterrosa. Huge mistake. It was wall to wall bodies. And I do mean wall to wall... The beach was totally packed - we picked our way through and found a spot about 2' x 2' where we sat.

The village was also overrun - we did have some fabulous food - a late lunch due to the wait, so then we had a very early dinner in order to avoid having to wait until midnight.

We decided it was an adventure we should have skipped and we quite pleased to leave it behind and head for Venice!

Posted by
91 posts

i went to cinque terre with 2 days and ended up staying and not going to rome/naples/venice like i had originally planned. i had an incredible time and i can't wait go back...

i was there in early march last year. it was pleasantly deserted for the most part. i don't think i would ever attempt to go there during the summer- it would ruin the magic. although i understand it's draw, it's sad to see it completely covered in tourists (most of which plainly don't understand respect).

that being said. i agree with above posters- leave it for another trip if you don't have more that 3 days to devote.

Posted by
842 posts

Amy, people have posted some wonderful advice. CT is ONLY good in early Spring and Fall. At other times it is a zoo,and not worth your time. Skip it if your trip is in the summer. Slow down and just see small parts of Italy at a time, and enjoy. Meet the people. Take the evening strolls. You will be glad you did!

Posted by
6 posts

There is no way in the world you should miss Cinque Terre. I'd nix Nice and go straight to Cinque Terre. IT is Heaven on Earth.

Posted by
204 posts

The Cinque Terre was a great place 30 years ago when we first went there but it has become so popular that, like Venice, I would find your own "backdoor". I don't think Rick ever expected it to be come so popular. And I cannot understand anyone who would prefer the CT to Roma or Firenze.

Posted by
147 posts

It's a great place now if you don't go in high season while it's packed-especially to the beach town resort of Monterosso in August when all the Europeans are vacationing there with everyone else---geeez, what do you expect in any beach resort town in August in Europe.

If you don't want crowds, stay away from the hot spot resorts and go off season.