This is Barry

Bharat Krishna Swaminathan

Things To Do In La Spezia in Two Days

We got into La Spezia from Florence via the intercity train. The platform doesn’t really have escalators or lifts. But it does have disabled passenger assistance. If you are patient and are able to keep the call button pressed for 5 min, you can surely ride up or down one floor. I did not understand why a disabled person needs to keep the call button pressed till the lift makes its way to the floor. Isn’t a disabled person already in discomfort? It’s a small station with the information centre on platform 1.

Stay

We stayed at a quick walk from the station at Via XXVII Marzo. This is also near the city centre. Close to cafeterias, shopping, restaurants, etc. The boat pier was a bit of a long walk but nothing unmanageable. Our host gave us a map of the area and good information on where we could go and places we could eat. La Spezia on, the costs started going up.

City : Sights, Sounds and Safety

  • It’s a small town with a large pedestrian areas, good to walk around in.
  • Many of the restaurants and shops close in the afternoons
  • Shops also close by 7PM – 8:00PM
  • The place is filled with tourists.
  • The shops are relatively empty so it’s a lot easier to get some shopping done here.
  • There is an exclusive Kappa store with good buying options, good price.
  • The city is safe but when travelling on trains, keep your bags close as pick pockets are quite abundant on the trains.

Food in La Spezia

  • As you move from the southern side of Italy to the north, the prices start going up but the food gets less tasty.
  • Pizza’s weren’t too great, tough base.
  • Pasta, just alright.
  • Lots of sea food options.
  • The wine was good though.
  • Coffee continues to remain amazing but the breakfast breads were not too good.
  • Bread tends to be dry, cold and sugary, yeah sugar on top.

Getting Around

  • You walk around in La Spezia.
  • Busses take you out of town. You buy bus tickets off newsstands, tobacco shops or bars.
  • Always buy return tickets so you can avoid looking for a store to buy tickets on the way back. You need to validate tickets.

Porto Venere

Porto Venere

Porto Venere

  • It’s a 30min winding bus ride to here from La Spezia, try getting a seat.
  • Porto Venere is extremely scenic and beautiful.
  • There is a fort located at the edge of the rocky rough sea.
  • The top sports a fantastic view.
  • It’s a great place to just grab a coffee and take in the sights.
  • There are many narrow roads with souvenir shops. These roads take you up to the top.
  • Each of the buildings are pastel coloured small buildings.
  • You can take a boat from Porto Venere to some near by ports and get back to La Spezia by bus. We didn’t end up doing that but do go if you have the time.

cinque terre 1 cinque terre 2

Cinque Terre

This literally translates to Five Lands. These are five towns alongside steep cliffs. The cliff view is something you can get only from the sea, which means you need to take a trip via the boat. You can return by train, which is faster but the view is that of the sea. Trains offer no view of the facade. In short – go by boat, not train, return by train if you would like to save time.

The boat takes you all the way to the last of the 5 lands – Monterosso. The cliff view of each of the towns en route is amazing. Monterosso is a small hilly town with small roads and pastel coloured buildings and souvenir shops. These are similar to Porto Venere. Honestly, the view Porto Venere offered were much better.

The place is usually swarming with tourists. Of course, there are locals but it is a mystery what they really do there. The five towns look similar one to another. You can chose to take the multi travel train pass or simply buy tickets as you go. Remember to validate your train tickets. Try to spend time in a town or two and ensure that you aren’t spending all your time getting from one town to the other. The platforms do get quite crowded.

Food : Monterosso

Do try and head for lunch. It’s a place that serves fantastic Napoli style pizza. How close is it to the Napoli pizza? Quite darn close – chewy and runny baked to perfection. There are pages and pages of options. Also do try the pizzettas – they are filled with cheese in the middle. Brilliant. The staff is super friendly and are full open to customizing all their dishes. Their wine is good too. Do visit this place.

Monterosso pizza

Train to Milan

  • Intercity trains are on time.
  • We picked up tickets online at https://www.italiarail.com/.
  • Not sure if La Spezia being a small town is the problem but the trains to and from this place are not very comfortable.
  • This was a smaller train for a very long journey. One would expect it to be the other way, but no.
  • The seats are priced the same but some have more space than the others. You can’t book your exact seat online either. It’s left to luck.
  • The journey is long thanks to the slow train. It’s apparently the slowest train there is in Italy.
  • No ticket validation is required. The Online print is enough.
  • There are no charging ports
  • No WiFi
  • Lots of tunnels that will cause your ears to get blocked. Do carry earplugs if you have sensitive ears.
  • The view is lovely.
  • Avoid the coffee on the train, it’s very ‘meh’. Grab a lovely cappuccino in the station if you have the time.

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