I am going to drive from Malpensa Airport to Cinque Terre, probably reserve a room in Riomaggiore on the 8th of September. Friends, (also Americans from the US) , will drive up from near Perugia on Sunday morning the 9th. Where would the best place to meet them? Is there a parking lot above Riomaggiore that we could find each other?
too bad you aren't going 5 weeks later and I would hitch a ride with you to CT! Hope someone gives you some ideas here, if not have your friends meet you at your hotel or B & B, I have German friends that I rendezvous with sometimes in other countries and we look up in the guide book for a restaurant to meet at, or if they are staying for a few days, the hotel. good luck! My ex=foreign exchange student from Germany is meeting me in Siena in Italy; we have met up in Austria, Spain and England in the past.
There are pay parking lots in Monterosso and Riomaggiore. They do fill up in the high season and they often close the road into them. Tourist cars are mostly prohibited in the 5 towns so you are restricted to the parking lots. Visit www.cinqueterreonline.com. Select "Travel Tips" and scroll down to parking. You can read the warning there.
You're getting good advice from Larry. You don't want to be blindsided by the unique challenges of parking in the CT. Better to know before you go.
We drive all over Italy but will never to the CT ever again. It was the most hair-raising, white-knuckle trip we've ever had.
Park in La Spezia and take the train in.
Sally's post made me think we should start a topic where we each share at least one hair-raising/frustrating/etc experience driving in Italy! 8-)
Driving on curvy roads is all relative. I live on a winding road in the country and commute ten miles to town daily; so the drive into Vernazza was a joy to me, especially the turnout directly above Vernazza - what a view! That photo is now my computer background scene. We parked in the lot above town and took the shuttle ($1), which is probably the same situation in Riomaggiore. As for meeting friends: Riomaggiore has a decent harbor at the bottom of town, where we sat on the wall and watched the sea. Our favorite dining spot: Ristorante La Lampara for spaghetti al cartoccio (w/ seafood cooked in foil). All very memorable.
We also live in the foothills West of Denver and we have friends who think we should install a guard rail on our driveway.
The drive into Monterossa is on a 1 1/2 lane road which carries traffic in both directions. In Colorado we have "rules" of mountian driving (downhill gets the right of way)... not in Italy. It is not the twisty windy road that caused issues - it is the meeting of another car when there is no room for two cars... Somebody has to give in and back up... and then there are the delivery trucks, busses, trash trucks...