Portofino & the Cinque Terre

Our last stop in Italy was in Liguria, on the way round to the South of France. We had been tipped off about a good value campsite in Rapallo from which we could visit the beauty spots of Portofino and the Cinque Terre.

We had read in the book that the site was easy to find as it was close to the motorway junction – they weren’t wrong! The main carriageway was on stilts virtually above our pitch. We weren’t sure if we wanted to stay but the very friendly welcome persuaded us to set up camp. The small swimming pool was just 5 metres from our door, so Dot could swim while we sunbathed on the loungers (Ali) and wrote the last blog (Al).

It’s been a strange correlation that campsites run by friendly people tend to have friendly campers in them, and we met an Italian couple who had just got married after 10 years together, an older German with a teenage wife in a campervan the size of a juggernaut, and there were even a few kids for Dot to muck about with.

Portofino is like a small scale St Tropez, and apparently we missed Elle Macpherson by 24 hours. She must have been gutted when she arrived in her super yacht, as she was dwarfed by the huge grey one in the photo below. There is always someone else with more money than you!

After spending 17 euros on three squares of foccacia and a drink, we headed round the headland for a quick swim in the sea before getting the boat back to Rapallo.

The next day we again left the car behind and took the train to visit the Cinque Terre area. This is a rocky peninsula with 5 small tiered fishing villages, some of which you can only get to on foot. Apparently the time to visit is Spring or Autumn, as the Summer Sun doesn’t make for pleasant hiking conditions.

We spend the day in Verzanna, one of the 5 villages, pottering around and edging our way through the crowds on the rocks to swim in the harbour.

The Cinque Terre was one of the few places in Italy we made a note to return to in the future. Being honest, we were all happy to be packing up the next day for France, leaving behind in Italy some of the rudest people and worst roads we have encountered on our travels so far!

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