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
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
Fly out from Rome next morning
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.