CINQUE TERRE + PORTOFINO 2023
September 7 – 11
Join me on an adventure along the Italian Riviera this year! The stunning area of Cinque Terre – the Five Lands- finds itself on countless vision boards, bucket lists and the covers of travel magazines. Known for the shores of the Ligurian Sea, dotted with five rainbow-colored fishing villages, this area is one of the most beautiful of Italy. The trip will be completed by a day trip to Portofino, strong contestant for having the prettiest harbour in the world and being the quintessence of the Italian way of living.
WHAT WE’RE DOING
I have crafted a unique itinerary in order for you to get the most of your trip while having plenty of free time to explore on your own! I have chosen unique experiences specifically for us and this destination like a sunset picnic in a sustainable Portofinese vineyard, day trips, walking tours, a sunset boat aperitif and more! Thanks to our intimate group size we are able to partake in activities that aren’t possible for larger groups. This itinerary is a sample and can be tweaked according to the group preferences. Please feel free to join the group for as much or as little as you want. You are welcome to tag along or explore on your own. We will all stay connected via WhatsApp and have things planned if you choose to join us.
DAY 1 (Sept 7)
Check-in from 2pm, please make sure to arrive in La Spezia by 6pm at the latest
Walking tour around the historical center of La Spezia
Welcome dinner (details tbd)
DAY 2 (Sept 8)
Join me for sunrise pictures in the morning if you want!
Morning to noon: free time (spend the morning at the beach, explore La Spezia, go on a hike around the National Park of Cinque Terre…)
Afternoon: We will head to Riomaggiore, 8mins away from La Spezia and known as one of the hidden gems of Cinque Terre. After exploring Riomaggiore, we will hike the famous Via dell’Amore (the Lovers‘ lane) to Manarola (30mins walk, low difficulty). For those who wish, taking the train (5mins) is also possible.
In Manarola, we will get some gelato (according to my Italian friends‘ recommendations, the best in Cinque Terre!), before exploring the old town and the marina and catch the sunset from one of the famous hilltop viewpoints of Cinque Terre. Manarola is also a great swimming spot as well, for those who feel like cooling off before dinner. Those who want can end the day by having a drink with me in a little restaurant with a gorgeous view over the cliffside of Manarola. Return to La Spezia in the evening by train (10mins).
DAY 3 (Sept 9)
Flexible times: We will head off to the remaining three Cinque Terre villages after breakfast / noon / early afternoon (depending how many you want to visit), starting with Corniglia, the least visited of all the Cinque Terre villages. Making our way to Vernazza (3min by train), we will spend some time exploring Cinque Terre’s best old town filled with photogenic buildings, lots of cute artisanal stores and hidden alleys that lead away from the crowds. After taking the train for another 3mins, we will reach Monterosso al mare, home to the best beach of Cinque Terre. Wander the streets, refresh yourself with a gelato and spend the day at the beach until our private sunset boat tour starts at 5pm!
Starting from Monterosso al mare, we will have a private sunset boat tour just for us, including drinks and some local produce. Seeing Cinque Terre from the sea is one of the best ways to experience and appreciate the colorful houses nestled into the steep coastline. If the weather permits, we might also stop for a swim and snorkel session (optional). After the sun has set and many pictures have been taken, we make our way home to our base.
DAY 4 (Sept 10)
Day trip to Portofino! We will make our way early to Portofino where we will have free time to explore this beautiful gem at the Italian Riviera. Full of pastel-colored houses, crystal-clear water, pebbled beaches, and sea-side trattorias overlooking the Ligurian Sea, this is one of the most beautiful destinations in Italy. Walk along the harbor, make your way up past the church of San Giorgio to Castello Brown, the highest viewpoint of Portofino Bay, have a panoramic lunch at a 16th-century Benedictine Monastery… Portofino is very small, but well worth the visit. We will have plenty of times to enjoy the views, take pictures and go for a dip in the ocean, if we want.
Afternoon (4.30pm): Secret Portofino
Transfer to Portofino National Park where we will have a guided tour of La Portofinese Eco-Farm, a renewable and self-sustainable farm where we will be able to visit the bees’ garden, the “eroico” (heroic) vineyard, the butterfly’s garden …and much more! Picnic aperitif with a view is included with local produce from the farm and Portufin’s wine tasting in the vineyard (for those who want).
Sample Menu (vegetarian/vegan): home-made focaccia, La Portofinese’s bruschettas, fresh fruits, farm-to-table vegetable pies, selection of honey, lemon jam and cheese; Trofie (typical fresh pasta), pesto and dessert.
Evening: Return to La Spezia
DAY 5 (Sept 11)
Check-out after breakfast by 11am. If you book a late return home flight, you can join me or the others for a half-day trip to Pisa or Florence until we all part our ways to the airport.
WHERE WE’RE STAYING
We will be staying in the possibly cutest accommodation in all of Liguria; in a very convenient location: 3* L’Opera Rooms & Suites located in the historical Enel Palace, built in 1914 La Spezia. This charming town is also known as the gateway to Cinque Terre.
The rooms are aesthetic but quiet and the train station that will bring us to the villages of Cinque Terre is 6mins walk away. From there, we will reach all five Cinque Terre villages in 5-20mins by train. (all five villages are a 5-min train ride away from each other).
Every double room has a private bathroom inside (with courtesy set, towels, hairdryer, slippers, shower cap), air conditioning, fridge, free Wi-Fi, TV, kettle, coffee, tea, camomille, buiscuits, bottle of water.
I opted for La Spezia as our base, which is in itself a charming little town, rich with restaurants and beaches, as it is a very central and affordable location. With this hotel, you will have the full Ligurian experience from the city to the charming towns of the seaside at the most affordable price. All rooms are double occupancy and include Italian breakfast in a nearby café.
PRICING & INCLUSIONS
TOTAL COST PER TRAVELER: €750
DUE AT REGISTRATION: €100 (NON-REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT)
SECOND PAYMENT DUE APRIL 1: €300
THIRD PAYMENT DUE MAY 1: 350
- 3* accommodation double occupancy in a historical palace
- Daily breakfast
- Walking tour La Spezia
- Welcome dinner in La Spezia
- Private sunset boat tour along all five Cinque Terre villages with drinks and local food, swimming and snorkeling optional for those who want
- Day trip to Portofino incl transportation (train, ferry or bus)
- Farewell sunset picnic with a breathtaking view over Portofino’s Bay (including pick-up transfer, guide through an eco-farm, bee’s garden and eroico vineyards, home-made foccacia, farm-to-table vegetable pies, full tasting of the eco-farm’s production, wine tasting and much more)
- Meals not mentioned
- Transport on personal time
- Trains not mentioned (about 20€)
- Travel insurance (required)
CONSIDERATIONS FOR CINQUE TERRE
Bring comfortable walking shoes! The whole area of Cinque Terre is built into steep, hilly terrain so be sure to bring some comfortable shoes! While we will not do big hiking tours, there are many steps up and down the hilly terrain inside the villages as well, so be prepared for that. Flip flops and sandals are also prohibited to be used on the hiking trails itself.
HOW TO GET TO CINQUE TERRE / LA SPEZIA
You will be responsible for organizing your own arrival/departure. Our base La Spezia is easily accessible by direct train from the following airports: Pisa (1hr), Florence (2.5hrs), Genoa (1.5 hrs). Train travel in Italy is incredibly easy and does not require a reservation or ticket purchase in advance in the local trains by Trenitalia. Trains usually run every 30mins and cost an average of 10-14€. Flight tickets are currently around 100-150€ return trip from most major European airports. I recommend to book your flights as soon as possible as September is still a popular time to take advantage of the Italian shoulder season. If possible, I recommend a moderately early flight (less prone to delays) and your flight back from the afternoon to avoid unnecessary stress.
Policies & General
This group trip is for friends visiting Cinque Terre. I have written these T&Cs in order to make you feel more comfortable about joining 🙂
This trip is aimed at women and non-binary people, please note that by joining us, you are comfortable sharing with others in the same room.
Sam @colorcrrush is acting on your behalf to book accomodation and group activities to reduce the admin associated with everyone booking separately.
The deposit of 100€ is not refundable.
The whole trip costs 750€. If you need to cancel, 50% of the total price of the trip will be refunded up until 1 July 2023. After 1 July 2023, you will not receive a refund. This is because I will pay for the hotel and activities in advance where most, if not all, are not refundable. All attendees will need to have their own travel insurance to cover any personal losses for last minute cancellations. This includes if you are ill and cannot attend.
You will need to send a copy of your passport/identity card before we get to the hotel. Any data collected stored will be used for booking related purposes only and will be deleted 1 month after the trip.
Attendees are responsible for organising any necessary visas, and ensuring their identity documents (e.g. passport) are in date.
This trip is organised as a friends group trip and you are responsible for your own safety. Each person who attends accepts full responsbility for themselves and their property, and the organiser (Sam @colorcrrush) is not in any way responsible for your safety, your personal belongings or personal liability and not responsible for the actions of any members of the group. You will need to purchase your own travel insurance.
All attendees agree to be respectful of all other individuals of the group. Any individuals exhibiting violence, extreme hostility, aggression or any illegal behaviour may have their spot revoked without a refund. Sam (@colorcrrush) reserves the right to refuse spots on the trip at their discretion.
Sam (@colorcrrush) shall not be liable to you for any loss, additional costs or expenses connected with the inability to fulfil our obligations by reason of any force majeure event, including but not limited to fire, earthquake, flood, bad weather, epidemic, explosion, strikes, riot, act of terrorism, civil disturbance, war, act of God or any failure or delay of any transportation, power or communications system. For the avoidance of doubt, force majeure events may include disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In such event, I will endeavour to provide alternative arrangements or refund any sums paid.