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13 Jul 2016

Liguria walking adventure over New Year

We are off to warmer climes again, this time to the Italian Riviera which has a mild climate where you can go walking all year round.
NB Don't book flights unless we confirm you have a place.
Portofino Natural Park
We will be walking in and around the Portofino Natural Park (a nature reserve since 1935) crisscrossed by ancient mule trails, with coastal mountains which plunge down to the sea, a thousand year old monastery in a secluded bay with no roads and a massive 13th century Torre Doria that towers above the bay.
Coastal walks in the 'Little Cinque Terre' (Levanto to Moneglia)
NB We won't be visiting the main Cinque Terre on this trip as that is a tourist hotspot and should only be visited completely out of season. Instead we will be walking in the 'Little Cinque Terre', a largely unspoilt mountain landscape with lovely old villages and beautiful coastal mountain trails without the crowds of the five villages further south.
La Spezia Bay - the Gulf of Poets
In the 19th and early 20th century, writers and poets such a Byron, Shelley, Keats and Lawrence fled the cold dark winters of northern Europe for this wide bay between two promontories. Since then, La Spezia town has become the second largest town in Liguria and is busy and bustling with a large naval base, but the two green promontories on either side have kept their Mediterranean charm with old towns and villages and lovely coastal walks.
Details;
Flights: Easyjet to Pisa. It is also possible to fly to Genoa depending on dates.
Where we are staying
We have booked a plush villa with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms with private garden and all mod cons in Santa Margherita which is walking distance from the Portofino National Park.
During this part of the trip we will walking in the Portofino Park and the 'Little Cinque Terre' (not the main Cinque Terre as that will be too crowded at this time).
Assuming everyone shares a twin, this part works out at just over 30 Euros per person per night for 6 nights from 29th December to 4th January.
The Gulf of Poets part will be an optional extension to the trip and we will be staying in reasonably priced hotels in Sarzana (fortresses and churches), which works out around £25 to £30 per night if you share a room (more if you have a single)
The Gulf of Poets extension is 4 days (from 4th January to 8th January). It may be possible to come just for the extension.
At present the flights are reasonably cheap - we paid just over £80 return (included a shared checked bag).

Transport
Buses and trains. Cars are not very useful in this area.
Rainy weather/rest day options
Genoa, La Spezia, Sarzana or Pisa.
Maximum number of places for the main part of the trip is 10. Numbers might be more flexible for the extension.

Liguria walking adventure over New Year