Rick's guidebook suggests you can arrive in any of the towns on the Cinque Terre and talk to a bar owner or restaurant and find a room for the night. Has anyone tried that? We will be there in early June. What was your experience in just showing up? There does not seem to be much available at the places Rick recommended. Thanks!
That plan works other then June-Sept. I would make a reservation during your June visit.
yes rick's tip works and you can also expand it to gift shops and other small biz. we found our room from a gift shop owner who has a guest room for rent.
There's always Ostello Tramonti, I haven't been there, but the reviews about it are definitely great, and I'm going also in June. I don't think it gets fully booked, because it's not exactly in the Cinque Terre, but rather in a beautiful small village 10-20 min far away by bus called Biassa. That's a plan B if your Rick's book suggestion didn't work out or you could only find rather expensive room. Night at Ostello Tramonti is €18, it has modern facilities and cheaper than most rooms in Cinque Terre. Check it out.
I travel this way all the time. Ironically, the only place I've had trouble landing a room is Cinque Terra, but it worked out eventually. Had to make moer than a few calls. Got a great room at a great rate right next to a small winery a guy had set up in a storage shed. He invited us in for some good samples and we bought two bottles.
We have now returned from our adventure in Cinque Terre and want to report great success with finding accomodation. We arrived in Vernazza at about 3 PM without reservations. As we walked down to the harbor, we noticed several door bell signs to ring for camere (rooms) available. We started to do that and all were taken.
However, a lovely well-dressed elderly lady came up to us and started pointing at the signs and back at her eyes. She motioned us to follow her up a dark and winding stairway. She made a call on her cell on the way and suddenly we came to a dark door and a young woman opened it and welcomed us into this jewel of an apartment. For 80 Euros per night we could have a one bedroom with kitchen, gorgeously laid out. No view, but fully outfitted. Mother in law and daughter have a great marketing scheme. She can't legally rent it out by the night as many owners can't. So there is an 'underground market' in accomodation available. Cash only of course.
get there early in the am to get a room. we had absolutely no problems even in August peak season.
We are staying with family in Tuscany - near San Vincenzo area in a home ... so in a pinch we COULD go home for the night but I really want to stay in the Cinque Terre to be able to relax more. We will be there 3rd week in August. So, you had no problem bright & early in the a.m. snagging a room from a local??? Maybe we'll just do that.
We arrived at 3 PM on a Tuesday in June and walked around the harbor square in Vernazza when the woman found us.
I would suggest that late morning might be an appropriate time to visibly be seen (suitcase, pack on back) looking for a room. Then you can also ask the shopkeepers and bar owners what they have available as well as ring the buzzers that have little notes offering 'camere' (rooms).
If you don't have any luck by 4 or 5 pm I would get on the train and head back to Tuscany.
My preference would be to obtain reservations, especially for the Cinque Terre. When I was there last fall, I observed several people who spent a lot of time and effort looking for a place to stay. The risk is that you might end up with a "less-than-desirable" property, or a price range that is higher than anticipated. Having to spend time looking for a place to stay also uses up precious travel time, especially if you have a limited time to spend in a particular location.
Travelling without reservations is a bit of a "gamble", and you'll have to be prepared to move to a different location if no lodgings are available. I much prefer to have that sort of thing pre-arranged.