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Help with Itinerary

Level Contributor
167 posts
5 reviews
Help with Itinerary

We are planning a trip to the Italian Riviera and surrounding area. We have been to Cinque Terre before, stayed in Vernazza for 5 days in a private residence and really enjoyed it. We are coming back with the hopes to see and explore the surrounding area (Portovenere, Portofino, Lerici. Tellaro etc) Here is a rough guide below of the itinerary we are working on. Any suggestions in improving this?

Fly into Genoa - arriving mid morning, pick up rental car

Stay in Santa Margarita Ligure – 3 nights – (40 min drive)

Day 1 - Arrive by noon, explore town, pool. sunset cruise, dinner SMA

Day 2 - Ferry to Portofino (15 mins), explore town and lunch, 2 pm - 5 pm board private boat tour

of Camogli, San Fruttoso, Sestri Levante, other ?, dropped off back in SMA, pool, drinks, dinner

Day 3?

Day 4 - Drive to Monterossa – 1 night – (1 hr drive) Villa Steno, arrive by 9 am, board boat cruise from 11 am – 4 pm cruising all of Cinque Terre, lunch in Vernazza, drinks and dinner in town

Day 5 - Drive to Portovenere – 2 nights – (1 hr drive) The Grand, arrive by 9 am, explore town lunch and dinner

Day 6 - take ferry from Portovenere to Lerici, bus to Tellaro, get back either via bus or boat - dinner Portovenere

Elba Island – 2 night – (2.5 hr drive to Piombini, 40 min ferry) Villa Ottune, arrive by 11 am

Bastia – 1 night, arrive by 8 pm

Corsica / Bonaficio – 2 nights – Cala di Greco, arrive by 11 am

Sardinia / Porto Cervo – 2 nights - Hotel Luci di La Muntagna, arrive by 11 am

Olbia to Citavechia ferry – drive to Rome (1 hr) 1 night

Fly out from Rome next morning

14 nights

My questions are:

We are pretty confident we want to explore Portofino, Santa Margarita Legure, Portovenere, Tellaro, Monterossa and Lerici. Am I missing any other really pretty villages/towns?

My question is....should we go into these other towns to explore - Camogli, Sestri Levante, Rapallo, Chiavari, La Spezia from our boat cruise or should we just cruise by them and enjoy the views from the sea? Is it worth going into these specific towns?

We are not sure we need 3 nights in SMA.....I suppose it is based on the answer to the above question? Originally we were going to do SMA 2 nights and then travel to Portovenere for 2 nights but when we mapped it we figured why are we going to go all the way back to Cinque Terre from Portovenere when we will be passing through it....why not spend 1 night in Monterossa, realizing the hotels are no-where near as nice as outside of Cinque Terre.

Are we missing anything else we should be exploring or thinking about doing? We are basically working our way down the coast....vs back tracking or spending too much time on trains or ferries. All the hotels I have looked at have good free parking.


3 replies to this topic
Cinque Terre, Italy
Destination Expert
for Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mare, Italian Riviera
Level Contributor
1,892 posts
89 reviews
1. Re: Help with Itinerary

From SML (santa margherita ligure) to monterosso, it's at least an hour and a half, that's for someone experienced with the VERY narrow, windy road to get here - for someone not used to driving on roads like this, it will take longer - even up to 45 mins an hour from the highway exit.

I'd give La Spezia a miss, but Camogli is very charming and beautiful.

Level Contributor
167 posts
5 reviews
2. Re: Help with Itinerary

Thanks....yes I remember the roads from our last visit.....I will allow for more time so we don't miss our boat cruise. What would you think about breaking up the drive and doing 2 days in SML (Hotel Helios) and then driving to Sestri Levante for an overnight en route to Monterossa. (Hotel Helvetia) that way we wouldn't be spending a third night in SMA going to visit Sesti Levante and then back. Also allowing us afternoon pool time and a nice dinner evening out in Sestri Levante? Or is this too much brain damage?

Thanks for the tip on Camogli and La Spezia, what about Rapallo and Chiavari?


La Spezia, Italy
Destination Expert
for La Spezia, Porto Venere, Lerici
Level Contributor
3,779 posts
42 reviews
3. Re: Help with Itinerary

If it was me I would stick to 3 nights in SML and 3 nights in either Monterosso or Portovenere. If you want to visit Rapallo Chiavari and Sestri do it by train from SML as much as I like all three they are all quite big resort towns not cute villages although Chiavari is less of a resort than adjoining Lavagna. Do Portofino , San Frutosso and Camogli on your cruise from SML the other 3 towns are the opposite direction. You can get to Portovenere by boat from Monterosso and on to Lerici. and you can get to Monterosso by boat from Portovenere. Driving to Portovenere is more of a distance than Monterosso as you follow the Autostrade down to La Spezia before driving through it to get to the other side of town to pick the road to Portovenere

Edited: 24 August 2018, 20:42
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