We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Where to base ourselves?

Penrith, United...
Level Contributor
63 posts
18 reviews
Save Topic
Where to base ourselves?

Hello, we are gong to Genoa for two days following a friends wedding in June and after wish to move further south exploring as far as the Cinque Terre and Portovenere. We are undecided as to where we should base ourselves. We like the look of Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, Portovenere, Sestri Levante, Rapallo and Chiavari, but we are very open to others. We are going on the 17th June for a week. We like great food, quiet beaches, a working harbour, a maze of streets to explore and places to sit and people watch. They all look so beautiful. We would prefer to unpack and stay in one place for the whole week before flying from Genoa back to the UK. Can anyone make any recommendations? We prefer genuine places rather than over blown tourism. Thank you. x

Edited: 22 April 2014, 22:42
Brentwood, United...
Level Contributor
2,611 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Where to base ourselves?

I agree with you that the best option is to pick a single base and make day trips from there since there is an excellent train serice connecting all these places. A few years ago I spent over a week at Sestri Levante and visited all the places on your list during my stay. They are all nice places and it is difficult to recommend one particular one for your stay .

Camogli is the most unspoilt in my view with an active habour area and a quite nice large beach. The downside for me was it is rather hilly being strung out on a hill side . It is also the further from the the CT villages and Portovenere.

Santa Margherita I only saw from the ferry boat on way back from Portofino. It is a very pleasant resort more up-market than Sestri Levante with some very nice hotels along the front. It beaches are said not so good as Sestris. I doubt if there will be many back streets to wander in and no real habour.

Rapallo I rather liked visiting it a couple of times, once on the Portofino trip and a second time to take the funicular to the church and nice walking area above the town. It is more of a working town than a resort but does have some nice hotels as well. The beach again was nothing special and of course mainly private.

Chiavari is quiet small with a very attractive shopping area I was rather disappointed in the Gardens which were the object of my visit rather neglected I am afraid. Large marina along the front with usual private beach areas.

Sestri Levante is in two parts the old town and the relatively modern resort type area . The old town is small back alleys and a very good but crowded pubic beach, the Bay of Silence . There is a very nice but rather expensive hotel located there with some excellant views over looking the bay. The front of the resort is almost completely private beaches with probably the best beaches in the area but the hotel I stayed at had a special rate of €17 per day for two loungers and sun shade.

Portovenere is a delightful place to visit being a small fishing habour sort of place but it would be rather limiting for staying several days unless you had a car since it is not connected by rail , access being by bus from La Spezia or CT villages by ferry.

If I was to go back to the area again I would seriously consider staying at Rapallo since I rather liked its atmosphere and setting.

Some pics of the places



Penrith, United...
Level Contributor
63 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Where to base ourselves?

Thank you very much for your help. I'm looking into it now. Wish I had a month there instead!! Thanks for the advice on Portovenere, I stupidly hadn't checked what the transport was like from there! That is important because I always hire a car, and obviously this time that isn't merited, so being able to get out and about is important. Thank you again. x

La Spezia, Italy
Destination Expert
for La Spezia, Porto Venere, Lerici
Level Contributor
3,370 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Where to base ourselves?

Good advice from Lovetoroam and covers most of your requirements but not one of your preferred destinations will tick all your boxes so you will have to compromise. I still love SML we started our vacations to Italy here 16 years ago and have visited here every year since albeit these days just an overnighter from La Spezia. The only problem is the lack of decent beach although I am easily pleased with the rooftop pool of the Regina Elena or the natural rocky lagoon of The Continental. Rapallo is again another good choice but again lacks the beach you are probably looking for. Chiavari I never think of as being a resort lovely town with nice shopping arcades but the beach clubs tend to start in adjacent Lavagna and run all the way to Sestri Levante. Sestri I like and our friends stay in the Hotel Helvetia in the bay of silence every year which probably has the beast beach from Genoa at least as far as Lerici . Monterosso in the cinque Terre may tick most of your boxes beach is ok but not as good as Lerici. Portovenere is beautiful but again as mentioned in the above post is either connected by bus from La Spezia Or boat from the Cinque Terre villages , Lerici or La Spezia has no beach so we tend to use big rocks and you are moving further away from Genoa Airport to Pisa although if you have not booked your return flights this may be a good option Finally as we are quite a way down here Lerici may be worth a consideration about 80 mins drive from Genoa with a blue flagged beach at Venere Azzure and San Terenzo which should not be overcrowded at the very start of the season you can also access Portovenere and Cinque Terre by ferry very easily . As a fellow Sheffielder I hope you enjoy your stay in the region and wherever you decide I am sure you will enjoy it

Edited: 23 April 2014, 22:42
4. Re: Where to base ourselves?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 25 April 2015, 06:15