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Monterosso al Mare, Italy
Fast Facts
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Monterosso al Mare, Cinque Terre

 

Photo by Nicoletta Marconi

Monterosso al Mare may be the least charming and most touristy of the Cinque Terre but it's the best suited for families. It's the easiest to access. It offers the widest range of services. It boasts the broadest beach and only sand shore. But don't book before noting the following. Monterosso al Mare, first documented in 1056, is two towns in one. The old section is the most characteristic but has steep streets, many with stairs. The new part of town called Fegina fronts the beach and is nearly flat. It's much less attractive but claims the train station. The 1.5 hour hike from Monterosso to Vernazza is the most difficult leg of the coastal footpath.
Getting There
 
Monterosso al Mare is the westernmost village in Italy's Cinque Terre. It is located on the seashore and is situated roughly 25 km or 15 miles from the A12 motorway. The nearest airports are located in Genoa and Pisa, roughly 1 hour away. The train is by far the most convenient way to reach Monterosso. The ferryboat is a fun way to make the journey. Car travel is the least kid-friendly option. - The 25 km trip from the motorway takes nearly 45 minutes. The narrow mountain road has many hairpin turns. Few hotels have car parks. The town's two public lots, one above the old city and one in Fegina, have limited spaces. - Family Travel Tips: Local and Intercity (IC) trains on the Genoa - La Spezia and Genova - Pisa rail lines stop in Monterosso al Mare. The ferry service operates May through September. Of note, routes vary with the day of the week and some routes are operative for a limited period, mid-July to mid-September. Inquire before making plans. For Monterosso al Mare, exit the A12 Genoa-Livorno motorway at either Carrodano-Levanto or Brugnato and follow the signs for Monterosso.
Getting Around
 
A short tunnel connects the old and new sections of Monterosso. The five lands or Cinque Terre are linked by train, boat and trail (and, of course, road). Take one out and another back. The train trip between Monterosso and Vernazza is a 5-minute ride. The journey between Monterosso and Riomaggiore is under 20 minutes. Passenger ferries offer a more scenic approach as well as a fun way to get about. The hike from Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore along the coastal pathway or Sentiero Azzurro via Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola is marked as 4 hours and 30 minutes, the time it takes an average walker to complete the 12km hike. The 1.5-hour hike from Monterosso to Vernazza is the most difficult leg of the pathway. Other trails from Monterosso include the easy route 9 to Soviore and moderate route 10 to S. Antonio and on to Levanto. Family Travel Tips: Heavy rains can affect the coastal path between Monterosso and Corniglia; check trail conditions at the local tourist office before setting out. A trail fee, currently €5.00 per day for adults and €2.5 per day for children aged 4 -12, is charged to all walkers accessing the Sentiero Azzurro or path N2. All other trails are free of charge. The park service rents mountain bikes.
When to Travel
 
Spring (April and May) and fall (September and October) are the best times of year for a Cinque Terre holiday. The weather is generally warm and sunny and the throngs have yet to arrive or long since departed. Summer (June through August) is hot and crowded. Winter (November through February) is cold and rainy.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
The beach in Monterosso is a mix of pebbles and sand. Pack watershoes. Monterosso al Mare is teeming with tourists in July and August. Advance booking is essential in the peak summer season and weekends Easter through September.
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Travel Trivia
Magellanic penguins breed in: