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What's it like in mid-Arpil

Hadley...
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What's it like in mid-Arpil

We are considering a 1-week stay in mid-April. Is there enough to do at that time? What will the weather be like?

Cinque Terre, Italy
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for Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Italian Riviera
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1. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

The weather is pretty unpredictable here. It changes quickly, and forecasts are frequently inaccurate. April CAN be rainy (most often in the passing showers sort of way) but never very cold. It can also be quite warm and sunny and pleasant. Alas, these are things you can't really tell ahead of time. Last year we had a reasonable amount of nice days with a few rainy ones.

As Easter weekend is quite early this year (the last weekend in March), most everything will be open when you are here so you will have the same amount to do here as you do in the high summer season. Easter usually marks the start of the "season" here, so things gear to open up by then, normally at the latest. Weather dependent, the tourist boat will be running between the villages, and the blue coastal trail ideally will be open by then, though the other 20 are so are open now.

Hadley...
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2. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

Sounds nice, thanks. By most accounts its difficult to drive in that area, but I was wondering if it's reasonable to plan some day trips to Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, and maybe Genoa? Or should I plan the opposite (staying in one of these Towns with a day or two in Cinque Terre?)

Imperia, Italy
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for Italian Riviera
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3. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

From Monterosso, Genoa and Pisa can both be reached in from about an hour and twenty minutes by direct trains, and Lucca in a little longer with a change at Viareggio.

San Gimignano is more of a problem.

Hadley...
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4. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

Okay great. So I had originally planning to leave Florence with a rental car, stay somewhere in Tuscany and day trip around Tuscany, including Cinque Terre, but my family really wants to spend time walking along the beach (despite the April weather) and hike. So we could simply take the train from Florence to La Spezia to Monterosso, stay there, and day trip on the trains without a car, then return to Florence airport to fly home?

Imperia, Italy
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for Italian Riviera
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5. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

Yes, you could do that. And there are other nearer options for day trips.

As CM28 has said, the boats along the coast to Portovenere http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/ start again on March 24, sea conditions permitting, though the times are not yet online.

Camogli is from 45 minutes away from Monterosso and has boat trips http://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/ and good hiking on the Portofino Peninsula, as does Santa Margherita Ligure which is slightly nearer - http://www.traghettiportofino.it/ for boats and there are also buses to Portofino.

It is even easier to reach Rapallo, Chiavari and Sestri Levante.

Note that all train times have been given from Monterosso - it is often slower from the smaller villages' train stations.

Hadley...
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6. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

What if we decided to split the trip by renting a car from Florence, spending a few days in Tuscany, then driving to Monterosso for a few days, and later returning the car to Florence. Is that ridiculous? It's commonly said that one should avoid driving in Cinque Terre, but we would just be driving there and parking the car for a few days.

Imperia, Italy
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for Italian Riviera
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7. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

If that's what you want to do, do it. Some people aren't happy paying rental and car parking charges for a car they're not using, others are very happy to do this for the convenience.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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8. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

I don't think you'll find any long stretches of beach to walk along. The cliffs in the Cinque Terre come right down to the water in many places, and the stretches of beach are fairly short. I suggest you look at some satellite images of the area, or do a Google images search of "cinque Terre beaches" so you know what the beaches are like.

There are many walking and hiking trails in the Cinque Terre, but some of the coastal trails are closed because of landslides. The high trails are open, but you should bring good shoes for hiking, because these are not terribly level. Maybe you should look into the trail conditions shortly before you leave so you know what kind of shoes to pack. Here is a site that shows a trail map with current conditions; it's kept pretty up to date:

parconazionale5terre.it/sentieri_parco.asp

The red trails are closed. The blue trails are tourist level, meaning you just need normal athletic shoes. Green trails are medium level hiking trails, and the yellow ones are for expert hikers. For the latter two, you should have hiking boots and maybe other equipment.

Above the map is a table of the trails, with a number to find them on the map, that shows the distance, the times going out (A) and returning (R). (It takes longer to return if it's uphill.)

Brentwood, United...
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9. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

You could drive to Levanto or Sestri Levante, both places are resorts with quite good beaches. Car parking is no problem in either. I have seen prces of €18 per day quoted for parking in Monterosso and the road to it is rather narrow and hilly. From Levanto or Sestri the CT villages are only a few minutes away by train.

10. Re: What's it like in mid-Arpil

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