Liguria Hotel Guide & City Selector for 2018 - Portovenere Lerici La Spezia

Explore the Cinque Terre by Ferry Boat and Avoid the Crowds 

Guide to the Towns & Our Hotel Selections on the Gulf of the Poets  

The big question for a Cinque Terre vacation is Where to Stay? You can visit the Cinque Terre villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso while you stay in a charming seaside town without the crowd worry. There are lovely seaside towns a short ferry or train ride away. To help you find the right town and the right hotel, we have a Liguria / Cinque Terre Map and two articles:

Part 1 Liguria Hotel Guide & City Selector  This Article - South of Cinque Terre.
Lerici, Portovenere, La Spezia. Visit Cinque Terre & enjoy the Gulf of the Poets as well.
Part 2 Liguria Hotel Guide & City Selector  North of Cinque Terre.
Levanto, Bonassola, Moneglia, Sestri Levante, Lavagna, Chiavari. Visit both Cinque Terre & Portofino.
Part 3 Liguria Hotel Guide & City Selector  The Perfect Portofino Peninsula. Rapallo, Santa Margherita, Portofino, Camogli, Recco. Visit Portofino & its Park & even day trip to Cinque Terre.

Below is a quick summary of three communities around the Gulf of La Spezia: Portovenere, Lerici, and La Spezia. For each town we suggest some hotels to review with a short description to help you narrow the choices. There are links to helpful articles along with each town and below in More Info. You'll really enjoy this area of Italy; we know because we've been coming to this part of Liguria for 25 years. See About Us & Disclosure below.

 La Spezia Population 91,000.
Story Link: Getting Around La Spezia  Nearly everything about parking & transportation.
Story Link: La Spezia Travel Guide: Top Ten Attractions 
Madonna and Child, 1275, Lia Museum, La Spezia,Italy
Lia Museum La Spezia. 700 years before Picasso
Positive
Excellent transportation options: autostrada, train, boat & bus.
Economy not tourist dependent and hotels are less expensive. Good for Cinque Terre on a budget.
Good variety of museums, strolling areas, and tourist excursions.
Shopping, restaurants, food markets at all levels.
Relaxed atmosphere, quite safe, and drive-able (but still Italy).

Negative
Lacks compact historic or trendy areas.
Your friends never heard of it.
No beach facilities.
Trains to Cinque Terre very crowded.

Transportation
Train: Good service, especially north and south.
Bus: Good metro area service including Portovenere and Lerici.
Parking: Pay street parking, many pay parking facilities, some free areas with shuttles.
Ferry Boat: Boats to Portovenere, Cinque Terre, Levanto, Palmaria Island

La Spezia______________________________________________
Where to Stay     Use Booking.Com.Italy or Home Away.Italy  to reserve anywhere.
                                          All the La Spezia hotels are reviewed here: Booking.Com.La Spezia
                                          For multi-day stays, we use: Home Away.La Spezia                                      
Below are links to our La Spezia hotel recommendations. The downtown grid of La Spezia is not huge, and there are no especially trendy or dangerous neighborhoods. Parking is tight in the center, though. Considerations: train access, Cinque Terre ferry, parking, budget, shopping, museums.

Click on the hotel name for more information and booking.
Your click will support our efforts to help travelers like you. Thanks.
Hotel Crismar           € Economical to Moderate pricing.
Great location between the train station and the port, on the pedestrian shopping street. Loaner bikes, small, friendly, no hotel parking. Book early.
Albergo delle Spezie         € Economical to Moderate pricing.
 Close to the port, ferry dock, two museums, and the public gardens but still downtown with a funky, eco-friendly vibe. No hotel parking.
Hotel Birillo      € Economical pricing.
 On the edge of town, yet close to the ferry dock, the market, walking distance to the train.  Small rooms, friendly staff.  No hotel parking.
Affittacamere Casa Dane     € Economical pricing
Very close to the train station, shops and restaurants. Small, newly renovated, friendly. No hotel parking.
CMH My One Hotel        € Moderate pricing.
A larger business hotel, right in the center of town with a multilingual staff. Walk to the train. Parking can be arranged.
Hotel Corallo       € Economical to Moderate pricing.
A larger hotel. It's a manageable walk from the center, but close to the harbor. One of the few with with available hotel parking.
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Portovenere Population 4,000.
Story Link: Getting to Portovenere   Everything about transportation.
Story Link: Portovenere Travel Guide - The Top Ten Attractions
Positive
Portovenere on the Gulf of La Spezia, Liguria.
Portovenere on the Gulf of La Spezia, Liguria.
Genuinely charming and beautiful in a stunning location. Access to Cinque Terre, Palmaria trails.
Good variety of hikes, historic sites, and tourist excursions. Kid friendly.
Numerous restaurants and cafes.
Friendly and casual atmosphere.

Negative
Small town with no train.
Access only from La Spezia, limiting day trip choices.
Tourism the only economic activity. No museums or shopping.
Limited beach facilities and nightlife.
Crowded streets & parking on peak days / times.

Transportation
Train: Nearest is La Spezia.
Bus: Good service to La Spezia
Parking: Pay parking always, shuttles to outlying areas in season.
Ferry Boat: Boats to La Spezia, Cinque Terre, Levanto, Lerici, Palmaria Island
Boat Excursions: Portofino in high summer

Portovenere___________________________________________
Where to Stay      Use Booking.Com.Italy or Home Away.Italy  to reserve anywhere.
                                           All the Portovenere hotels are reviewed here: Booking.Com.Portovenere
                                           For multi-day stays, we use: Home Away.Portovenere
                                           

A word to the wise: location is important in deciding on a Portovenere hotel. Be sure to understand where your choice is located. Hotels listed as 'Portovenere' might be a pleasant 20 minute stroll from the old town, or they could be in the little port of Le Grazie (della Baia, Le Grazie & Relais del Golfo, for example) which is a bus or car ride away from old town! Our six hotel recommendations are described from the old town outward.

Click on the Portovenere hotel name for more information and booking.
Your click will support our efforts to help travelers like you. Thanks.
Affittacamera La Darsena    € Economical pricing.
Darsena means wharf, and this B&B is right along the water in old Portovenere.  There are only 3 rather simple rooms, so book early.  
Hotel Genio      € Economical pricing.
Just outside the ancient wall surrounding the old part of Portovenere, with views of both the sea and the town.  The rooms are small, but parking can be arranged. 
Grand Hotel Portovenere       Moderate to Expensive pricing.
Recently renovated, the location overlooking the historic center cannot be better. Many rooms with sea views. Full service including free wifi. Parking on site is 20 Euro.
Affittacamera La Lanterna       € Economical pricing.
This B&B is just a few minutes outside the old area, along the waterfront in an evocative location. You may need to scare up the friendly staff.  
Hotel Belvedere        € Moderate pricing.
Well located and maybe the most popular choice, with friendly staff and small but clean rooms.
Hotel Paradiso       € Moderate to slightly higher pricing.
 Not far from the old town, closer to Portovenere's limited beaches with great sea views and helpful staff.  
Hotel Royal Sporting      Moderate pricing.
About a pleasant 20 minute stroll from the center along the waterfront. This is nearer to beach facilities, and you'll need the walk after what you will eat.  There's a pool for guest use.  
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Lerici Population 10,100.
Story Link: Castle to Castle Along the Gulf of the Poets All about Lerici sights & transportation.
San Terenzo, Lerici, Liguria
San Terenzo, a charming part of Lerici, Liguria.
Positive
Beautiful old Italian seaside town with constant Gulf views.
Good variety of hikes, walks, tourist sites & excursions. Kid friendly.
Pretty family-oriented beaches. Numerous restaurants and cafes.
Casual small town atmosphere.

Negative
Small town with a ZTL and no train.
Public transport offers limited day trip choices.
Relatively few museum, nightlife, and shopping possibilities.
Difficulty parking on peak days.

Transportation
Train: Nearest service in La Spezia and Sarzana.
Bus: Good service to La Spezia and Sarzana. Service to villages: Tellaro, Montemarcello, & others.
Driving: The town is entirely a well-marked ZTL in summer as well as spring and fall weekends.
Parking: Generally outlying pay parking but with free shuttles.
Ferry Boat: Boat to Portovenere and Cinque Terre. Connect to Levanto, Palmaria Island.

Lerici___________________________________________
Where to Stay      Use Booking.Com.Italy or Home Away.Italy  to reserve anywhere.
                                           All the Lerici hotels are reviewed here: Booking.Com.Lerici
                                           For multi-day stays, we use: Home Away.Lerici

The following Lerici hotels are along the Castle to Castle walk. Listings are from Lerici harbor toward San Terenzo. If driving here, remember to contact your hotel regarding entry to the ZTL.

Click on the Lerici hotel name for more information and booking.
Your click will support our efforts to help travelers like you. Thanks.
Lerici Hotel at Venere Azzurro Beach
Hotel Florida overlooking Venere beach.
Doria Park Hotel    € Moderate pricing.
The upscale Doria overlooks the center of Lerici. It's quite close, but a bit of a climb walking from town. The views of the Gulf are the compensation and its restaurant is well regarded. The entrance by auto does not involve the ZTL.  
Hotel Shelley Delle Palme      € Moderate pricing.
Close to the center of Lerici and on the lungomare. There are balconies on the front rooms with sea views, although the rooms are rather small.
Hotel del Lido       Moderate to expensive pricing.
On the little bay called Lido, further along the lungomare, is the   a very popular choice.
Hotel Florida     € Moderate pricing.
Hotel Venere Azzurra     €  Economical pricing.
Florida and Venere Azzurra are side-by-side overlooking the beach at Venere Azzurra, and both have sea-view balconies in the front.  Venere Azzurra has older and smaller rooms.
Hotel San Terenzo      € Moderate pricing.
A new hotel on the Lerici side of San Terenzo's bay. Set below the lungomare, it's has a beach and views of the town and castle. Only rooms with a sea view are recommended, as others have a road view.
The B&B Il Nido  € Economical pricing.
Less than a 100 meters from the water, located on the third floor of a Ligurian house from the 1800's in the village of San Terenzo. _______________________________________________________________________________
Travelling beyond Liguria? Use Booking.Com.Italy  or Home Away.Italy for accommodation anywhere in Italy.
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Some of Our Area Stories
Cinque Terre - 16 Tips for Avoiding the Crowds  Yes, it's popular, but you can have a great time.
Spring Weather & Holidays in Liguria  When should you should visit? Answers to the left.
Getting to Portofino - Walking, Hiking and More  Walk, Hike, Boat or Bus to famous Portofino.
Portovenere Travel Guide - The Top Ten Attractions  All about beautiful nearby Portovenere.
Complete Summer Cinque Terre, Portovenere, La Spezia Boat / Ferry Schedules
La Spezia Travel Guide: Top Ten Attractions No one who goes to La Spezia doesn't like it!
A Guide to the Local Food around La Spezia  Food of the Gulf area, including Cinque Terre.
Most Beautiful Villages of Liguria Part 7 Four Gulf villages including Tellaro, Montemarcello.
The Jewish Ghetto of Lerici  An ordinary Ligurian street crowded with a unique history.
The Forgotten Villages of the Gulf of the Poets  Hike to ancient abandoned villages above Lerici.

We help everyone, Yankees included.
           
About Us & Disclosure
We are Martha and Mike from Boston - recently retired photo editors who enjoy travel, food, and helping people. We have visited Italy for three decades, and we live in Liguria part-time. We have no connection to the car rental or hotel industries, and we receive no payments or free stuff for our writing or opinions. As is internet convention, we receive the standard commission for clicks on many of the commercial links that result in a purchase.

Renting A Car? 
Links: Independent Car Rental Reviews for Italy
            Car Rental Tips for Italy - Pick It Up Right 
            Where to Rent a Car from Cinque Terre? Also applies to Portovenere.
We can recommend the car hire broker Auto Europe where you can compare companies, get zero deductible insurance if needed, cancel easily, and have 24/7 English customer service.  If you will be renting a car, please consider the links below (which do not affect the prices offered).
AutoEurope(US)                   Auto Europe(UK)       
Avis(English)                         Avis(IT)                        Budget Rental (Europe in English)            
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Hotels selected by Martha

Written by Mike and Martha