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La Spezia as base for CT in March?

OK, I already know from various postings (e.g."I can't imagine staying in La Spezia in order to have firm reservations" near CT) that when we are in Italy and CT for the first time 2-3 weeks from now, we should just show up in Riomaggiore or Vernazza and ask about available rooms, thus enjoy the CT nightfall and daybreak, etc.

However: we will be arriving from a way too brief (24hrs) stay in Siena by train (3hr) at La Spezia, likely near or after DARK (it's March, not May). All the next day's daylight would be devoted to exploring CT by trails/train, unless some sort of wet/cold weather intervenes. The following morning needs an early departure to make good use of the days of our 2 nights reserved in Florence (followed by 2 nights Venice).

In this CT scenario, 2 nights at a La Spezia hotel seems to at least serve as a place to leave ourselves free of whatever luggage while to/in/from CT. Of course I'd prefer to someday overnight in CT with time to linger, but arriving late (family hour? daylight gone?) seems to diminish the possiblities, no? I suppose if we happened upon a room at either end of CT during our 'CT day' we could fetch our bags (from LaSpezia station?) to have one CT night ..but I'd guess 'downtown' La Spezia is more likely to have affordable cafe choices after dark on night two, and lessen the odds of reaching Florence much later than intended.

Posted by
6898 posts

Duane, I'm the one in that thread that stayed in La Spezia because I couldn't get a firm reservation in the CT. We did just fine and on our exit to Venice, the train station was close by. We had no difficulty in doing everything in the CT that we desired. Being local would have been nice but our hotel room was brand new and excellent. Note that La Spezia is not a food capital. We did eat in the CT.

The closest hotel to the La Spezia is the Continental. It's one block from the train station. We stayed in the Astoria which is four blocks from the train station. We booked through Make sure to get the newly opened section if you can. It's a well lit walk to the hotel. We did it twice at night.

Note also that there is a nice public laundromat just down from the Continental Hotel. 90 minutes later and your scrungies are nice and clean (husband and wife). Helps to keep you packing light.

Posted by
3551 posts

You might consider Santa margarita Ligure on the train route. It is beautiful, interesting and you can ferry to CT for the day or Portofino

Posted by
151 posts

My husband and I stayed in La Spezia for many of the reasons you mentioned. It may not be considered a huge destination but we enjoyed a lovely evening walking on its promenade. We took a boat to CT the next morning and had one of the bigger highlights of our trip. Wind in the hair, beautiful scenery, amazing stuff. Considering some of the primitive facilities we encountered that day, having a plush bed in La Spezia was worth it to us.

Posted by
135 posts


You have me genuinely confused. The "old" Rick Steves way was to show up early in Vernazza and snag a room; if you check the listings in his guidebook, there are plenty of pre-bookable rooms in the Cinque Terre, and while they might not be palaces, they're functional.
And if you stay in La Spezia, you'll need to wait for a train to start your morning excursion, and again to return home- and that could eat up 15-45 minutes each time- sitting in a train station.
My recommendation: choose a CT place, make reservations, and enjoy the serenity.

Posted by
171 posts

I just had to reply to this. You are going in March not May or the summer. I wouldn't hesitate to arrive in Ct without a reservation. I am with Rick Steves. B&B's are what the flavor of Italy is all about. I was in CT two years in a row. I went in late May. You never get the flavor of live in Italy if you are in a hotel setting.

Corniglia is the only place I would not stay as it is hard to get to. Takiing a boat ride to Portovenere is great as you see Ct from the water

Posted by
102 posts

we used Santa Margherita Ligure as our base, stayed at the Hotel was perfect,close to train station, big buffett breakfast and charming nieghborhoods, also took the ferry to Portofino

Posted by
13 posts

Tony, Virginia, et al ...I knew that my 'LaSpezia' idea would be a cringe-worthy idea :-) ..and I agree with the various 'better idea' recommendations. That we will likely arrive at south-CT/LaSpezia AFTER DARK is the key element for me, since we wouldn't be able to SEE the terrain anyway. Figuring out this first-time trip (begins in 3days anywhere is better, but not in the cards this time.