Today we are traveling from our Airbnb in Alba to Monterosso Al Mare in the Cinque Terre. We once again engaged the services of Daytrip to comfortably get us there. Along the way, we will be stopping in the resort town of Portofino for a short visit.
Our driver was Ivano and he arrived at the apartment right on time. The vehicle was a Mercedes Van and was very comfortable. We loaded in our bags and we were on our way. The total travel time, including the stop, is about 5 hours. The distance is just over 250 kilometers.
The route took us from Alba towards Asti, then over to Alessandria and down towards Genoa. From Genoa we continued south, clinging to the coastline. We then veered off and passed through Ripallo before arriving at Portofino. After Portofino, we continued along the coastline heading up and down the mountains until we reached Monterosso Al Mare.
Though the skies were overcast, the sun did peek out periodically while we cruised along. We could see the beginnings of autumn as there were patches of color in the trees – green being replaced by orange and yellow.
Once we got as far as Genoa, there were long stretches of road that were inside tunnels carved through the coastal mountains. In fact, I’d guess that about 50% or more of the road was through tunnels.
When we arrived in the area of Portofino, the road became narrow and winding as we made our way towards the Bay Area. There were a couple of times where we closed our eyes and hoped that Ivano would squeeze our way through – and he did.
When we arrived at Portofino, we made plans for him to return and pick us up in an hour rather than trying to coordinate a call for him to come back for us.
Portofino was really beautiful. Lots of high end shops, restaurants and souvenir kiosks, plus boats. There were actually lots of boats, including two large yachts that were moored.
We strolled down along the shoreline before heading back to our meeting point. Within a few minutes, Ivano returned and we were on our way to Monterosso Al Mare.
The remaining drive was up and down the mountain sides, across valleys and then down towards the sea. The scenery was incredibly beautiful. I was expecting a picturesque ride, but I never imagined it being as nice as it was.
When we reached Monterosso Al Mare, Ivano left us off with just a short walk down to our hotel. We thanked him for the great ride and made our way down through the town to our hotel.
Being a Friday afternoon, there were many tourists wandering through the streets. Our hotel, the Hotel Pasquale, was located at the end of the main street right near the beachfront. The location is exactly what I was hoping for.
Another successful trip with Daytrip. Our driver was very nice, professional and accommodating. The vehicle was extremely comfortable and the ride was vastly better than having to schlep our bags through train stations and on and off trains.
We truly thought it was worth the price to get from place to place, and we’ll definitely use them again.
I was interested in reading about your travels in this region. We have a French and Italian Riviera cruise booked for June 2023 that goes from Barcelona up the coast of France (Marseille and Nice), to Corsica, and then to Santa Margherita. At that port we have land tour options of places you mentioned here (Cinque Terre Villages, Monterosso al Marr, Portofino and Genoa.) We will have to choose as we only have one day in port before heading down Italy’s west coast. The cruise was not my first choice of travel (I prefer land tours) however we have a fairly large group going so a cruise works well as everyone can choose to do their own thing.
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I will be posting an update regarding Cinque Terre in the next day or so. We are really enjoying Monterosso Al Mare due to its convenience. You can catch a train or boat to the other towns, easily walk around the streets, the waterfront is pretty and there are some nice restaurants. It’s a nice place to hang out and relax. That said, except for walking around and checking out the little shops, there isn’t a lot of things to do. The big lure for many people is the hiking between towns and the beautiful views. The towns look pretty from the water as you approach them, but there isn’t much to see in them. Too many souvenir shops. Of the towns you mentioned, Genoa has the most “attractions”, but is also more urban.