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La Spezia- can’t decide...PV and 5 Terre or Lucca

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Hi all 


I cant make my mind up about what to visit when in La Spezia port for the day (8:30am to 8:30pm) late May


Plan 1 - bus or ferry to Portovenere followed by ferry to the Cinque Terre villages getting off at ones we fancy 


Plan 2 - travel to lucca and explore/eat/drink


I have not visited the area before so any advice is appreciated, please feel free to add any extra tips on transport/bus stops or helpful links. I have done so much research now I am getting myself confused! 😊

Edited by liveforholidays

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I also will be in La Spezia port and want to go to Cinque Terre, as I've heard so much about it.  I know Lucca is supposed to be very good, but it's an area where more ships stop rather than Cinque Terre.  I feel this is my chance to see Cinque Terre.  However, I don't want a boat ride over.  Can anyone recommend a tour company for me?

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I’ve been to both and would spend the day in Cinque Terre, La Spezia and the area. Lots to see and do without spending time travelling to Lucca.

 I did Lucca from Livorno as I’ve been to Pisa a few times.

Edited by lamchops

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Lucca is inland but lovely to wander through.  💕it’s a great place to ride a bike on the walled park.  Cinque terre has been overrun and is still recovering from massive landslides.   What you want to do and see will determine your choice.

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On 3/17/2019 at 6:46 PM, supersecdd said:

I know Lucca is supposed to be very good, but it's an area where more ships stop rather than Cinque Terre. 


 Huh? :classic_huh:


Lucca is an hour (and inland) from La Spezia ,  an hour by road and 90 minutes to 2 hours by train (depends on timetabling of the change of train at Viareggio). Consequently Lucca isn't overrun with cruisers, or indeed with other tourists. 

We lodged a few days near Lucca, never had trouble with traffic or hordes of visitors.

It's a very pleasant & historic walled town - though whether it's worth the journey from La Spezia is a matter of opinion.


Cinque Terre is accessible by train from La Spezia in under 10 minutes (to Riomaggiore), - and Cinque Terre is where the bulk of cruisers go. But not just cruisers - the villages are swamped by tourists. :classic_ohmy:

Cinque Terre is understandably bucket-list - but unfortunately bucket-list for an awful lot of people.    

We took a day-trip - because the train from Viareggio was fully booked we drove to La Spezia and took the Cinque Terre train (relatively-inexpensive hop on/off day ticket). The trains and the villages were packed. In one village we witnessed folk stalking round an open-air restaurant waiting to spot an empty table - when folk on one table got up to leave two groups headed for that empty table and a big argument developed. :classic_rolleyes:.

That all makes it hard to people-watch from behind a glass of Prosecco - we settled for makeshift seats with bottles of beer from a shop.

Was this on a high season weekend with four or five cruise ships in La Spezia? No - late September and we'd deliberately chosen a mid-week day with just one cruise ship in La Spezia.

There are no views from the Cinque Terre train, most of the route between villages is in tunnels, as are some of the stations The villages are in coves, and for a panoramic view you have to walk up & out of a village. We escaped the crowds for 20 minutes by taking a ferry between two villages but it'd be time-consuming to visit all the ferry-accessible villages by ferry.

Without the crowds it's be an excellent day - but the crowds ruined it for us - all very disappointing.

If you have a car service (not self-drive cos the parking is very restrictive) I'm guessing  that between villages you'll escape the crowds, and mebbe get panoramic views from the twisty mountain roads. Anyone done that?


My recommendation?

Because of the crowds, Cinque Terre only if it's on your bucket-list.

For a pleasant & lazy day, Lucca.

Or if you've not visited before,  top of the list I'd put a direct train to Pisa (about an hour, about €16 return).We've been a couple of times - busy but not over-crowded.

Florence is tempting. The journey time is something under 2 hrs e/w by road, something over 2 hrs by train, but might be worth considering depending on your hours in port.


All JMO based on my experiences 


JB :classic_smile:

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I love Lucca.  It is a classic walled city.  Lovely to roam and grab a light meal.  Have been twice.   We also enjoyed the Cinque Terra on a land trip but that was a few years back and it was less overwhelmed by tourists.   Pisa would be lower on my list unless you just really want that photo of you holding up the Tower.

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