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Cali girl

Livorno to Cinque Terre

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Hi all,

 

I am looking for a share excursion or semi-private tour from Livorno port to Cinque Terre.  Can anyone recommend a company they have had experience with?  

Thank you in advance!!

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Try Rome in Limo. They are a wonderful operation and have operations out of Livorno. And a large thread full of recommendations just down the board.

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Thanks.  I just checked them out and they don't appear to offer a trip to CT.  Anyone else have any company suggestions?

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The thing about CT is that once you get to the nearest town (Riomaggiore) you can simply do as you please on your own using the train (used by many tours) or perhaps the small ferry boats.  The problem is how to get from Livorno to Riomaggiore.  Your cruise line will probably offer some kind of excursion.  Personally, we just rent a car from Sifracar.com who delivers cars right to the pier.  A one day rental car costs us about 120€ and we can split the cost among 4 persons.  We then drive from the ship to Riomaggiore (about 1:30) where we park for the day.  That is actually the lowest price way to get to CT.  You can certainly hire a private car/driver or taxi for at least 300€ (sometimes its close to 500€) and accomplish the same thing...without having to drive :).

 

Hank

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As Hank's post, Cinque Terra isn't a good trip for an organised tour - driving between the villages is convoluted & navigation in the villages can be problematic because of the number of ZTLs (parts of towns where only vehicles with permits - locals, delivery vehicles etc can drive). I doubt whether tour operators have ZTL permits or priority parking, so a tour is likely to involve the cost of having both a driver and a guide.

 

You can take the train from Livorno Centrale to La Spezia Centrale (direct trains every couple of hours, plus more trains which involve one change), journey time about an hour, fare about €10 each-way.

Alternatively rent a car just for the drive to La Spezia ( plenty of pay-parking near the station), or if you want to take your chances with parking do the same as Hank & continue to the first village (Riomaggiore), & switch to trains/ferries there.

 

At La Spezia (or at any of the villages) you buy train tickets for Cinque Terra - an all-day ticket costs about €15. Those trains are extremely frequent - about 10 -15 mins apart - and stop at all the villages, you hop on & off at will. 

Be aware that the Cinque Terra trains are very very busy. Waiting at the ends of the platform gets you away from the main herd, but it'll still be crowded. You'll get no decent views from the train - most of the route (and some of the stations) are in tunnels.

 

Ferries, which ply between most of the villages, are a much more pleasant way to hop from village to village but of course they're much less frequent & take longer (ave journey between adjoining villages about 5 mins by train, 15 - 20 mins + waiting time by ferry).

So a combination of trains & ferries is the way to go.

 

IMHO no single village is worth more than about 30 minutes unless you want to people-watch from behind a tall cold beer.

 

We visited mid-September during a road-trip & weren't constrained by any back-on-board time, but your time will be limited.

And altho it was mid-week & end-of-season the trains, ferries & villages were packed.

 

All-in-all, it was to be one of the highlights of our tour but we found the villages to be merely "pleasant" and our experience spoilt by the crowds.

 

If you've not visited Florence or Pisa, mebbe put Cinque Terra on the back burner (perhaps for a cruise which ports at La Spezia) and visit Pisa or Florence (or both) on this cruise.

 

Sorry to sound so negative. :classic_mellow:

 

JB :classic_smile:

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11 hours ago, Cali girl said:

Thanks.  I just checked them out and they don't appear to offer a trip to CT.  Anyone else have any company suggestions?

 

While I agree with the others...a tour is really not the best way to see CT...did you actually contact Rome in Limo, or did you just look at their website?

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Thank you for your replies.  I have been to Florence, Pisa and CT before.  I think CT is darling and what we wish to do for our day at port.   Our port was supposed to be La Spezia and was then changed to Livorno sadly.  It makes it more difficult to get to CT easily.   But it can be done. Our cruise ship is not offering an excursion.    We are in port for 12 hours, so we should have plenty of time.   I think we are looking for a driver to simplify the day.   I have no desire to rent a car or take a train this time.   

Edited by Cali girl

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I would agree with John Bull's post when it comes to the crowds in Cinque Terre...which often overwhelm the small villages and take much away from the quaint atmosphere.  The government did nobody any favors when they started allowing (and even encouraging) large cruise ships to port at La Spezia.  This has resulted in a flood of tourists (on ship days) which mix with the many land tour folks and just cram these tiny villages.  DW and I used to talk about spending a few nights in one of the villages, but having seen what has happened in the past 5 years it is no longer in our plans.  We met one American couple who had spent a week, every year, in Riomaggiore and they had been doing this for over 20 years.  Two years ago was their last visit as they complained that the crowds had ruined the villages (we think this is a slight exaggeration) and they had decided to go elsewhere in Italy (probably down towards the boot).   On our last visit we were shocked to see that some of the cute cafes and shops had been replaced by more tourist oriented places selling stuff like "pizza by the slice."

 

There has been a lot of talk (and some articles) about something now called "overtourism" which simply means too many tourists in too few places.  Some complain that 99% of the world's tourists want to go to the top 1% tourist destinations.  There is now some backlash and some popular places are now trying to find ways to limit the number of tourists.  Cruisers are among the worst tourists because studies show that cruisers spend a lot less money in the tourist areas.  Consider that if we spend the night in Riomaggiore we would pay for our accomodations, buy several meals, and probably spend some money out and about in the evening.  A cruise comes to town (often on an excursion) takes pictures and moves on to the next town.  But meanwhilet they crowd the streets, overwhelm the rest room facilities, fill the trains, etc.

 

Fortunately there are still a lot of really cute places in most countries, but they are best accessed via a private car.  When we stay in countries like Italy and France we are always looking for the places not visited by tours.  But it does become a challenge.  Even lovely St Remy de Provence (France) now gets its share of tours.  When we stayed in that town we would jump in our car and escape by late morning (before the tours arrived) and not return until late afternoon when the tour groups were long gone.  Since we are very active cruisers we understand both sides of the equation and cannot think of any solution.  And the situation is only going to worsen as they add more and more huge cruise ships.

 

Hank

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No doubt the increase in popularity of cruise traffic has an impact on many places.   Venice is also being damaged by the large ships coming into port.  Until countries start to limit the number of ships, not much can be done.    I was in CT last July ( on a land vacay, not cruise)  and I didn't find it to be crazy crowded.  But I've lived in/around LA/NYC, so it's all relative I guess. lol

 

Due to the internet,  travel blogs and low airline costs, travel has increased almost everywhere.  Land, cruise, tour, train, it's  all increasing.  We are a more global world than ever before.   Popular places get instagrammed and boom!    So, there are positives and negatives.    But it's here to stay if I had to guess!  

 

 

 

 

Edited by Cali girl

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I just want to give a shout out to the most delightful restaurant in Riomaggiore if you do end up going. The name of the trattoria is La Cantina del Macellaio and it is owned by Lorraine who is originally from Brooklyn, NY and her husband Gigi. We stumbled upon their place when we abandoned our tour and struck out on our own. They converted an old butcher shop into a fabulous restaurant. We had Lorraine order for us and between the food, the owners, the wine and limoncello,  it was one of the highlights of our 25 day cruise! 

 

On another note: ferries between the towns can be canceled due to rough seas so I would plan on taking the train between towns.

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I used Joe Banana Limos. They were excellent. I actually have used them twice. The first time we took the ferry in between a couple towns but the second time we took the train. So I think depending on the time of year, you can let them know your preference

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We stopped in Portovenere (tendered in) a couple of weeks ago and planned to go to CT. About 15 years ago, We were in Italy for a month in their summer and drove to La Specia, caught the boat to the villages. 

 

This time We ended up canceling the idea of going to CT. The number of tourists (of which we are two) were ridiculous, even at the end of October. They were cramming on the boats.  We did not want to be disappointed and spoil our memories of the villages.  We ended up spending a wonderful time exploring Portovenere instead, something we overlooked last time. 

 

Earlier in our cruise we went to Bruges, it was not the same as when we went 15 years ago, too many people. As others have said, the large cruise ships and the extra travel options people have these days makes these popular sites very crowded. 

 

Just a thought, although it is a beautiful area. Good luck with your plans. 

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On 11/2/2018 at 5:20 PM, ab21au said:

. . .

Earlier in our cruise we went to Bruges, it was not the same as when we went 15 years ago, too many people. As others have said, the large cruise ships and the extra travel options people have these days makes these popular sites very crowded. . . .

We first visited Bruges when on a Viking River cruise and really enjoyed it.  Since then we've docked in Zeebrugge a number of times on EB TAs.  Not wanting to join the crowds in Bruges, I discovered the train that plies that part of the Belgian coast.  There are delightful old villages behind the dike that protects Belgium from the sea.  Luxury condos/hotels/casino sit atop the dike and stretched out below is a very wide and beautiful white sand beach.  It's not at all busy in the fall when we've been there so it's a pleasant diversion.  There is also a fairly large aquarium at Blankenberge to the west of the port--haven't visited it, but another idea for something to do while in the area.

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