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Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

Neuchatel...
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Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

20 years after my last visit - I will never ever visit again. Hordes of tourists jostling and pushing - so so sad. The absolute confirmation that tourism can really ruin the most beautiful places on this earth.

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Italy
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1. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

Tourism is now the largest industry in the world. This and many other forums facilitate tourists' interests and planning. Some places get a disproportionate volume of traffic now compared to what they did in previous eras. Arguably, like Venice, and some other places in Italy, it's a victim of its own success. The irony of the democratisation of travel.

Cambridge, United...
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2. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

But weren't you also part of the problem of which you complain?

California
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3. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

Cinque Terre hasn't lost its soul....what has been lost, though, is its timeless, historically quiet atmosphere and simple village life. I guess you might ask if that's not it's soul, what is....but yes, sadly, it has become completely over-run with tourists and most disturbing, the docking of cruise ships nearby. These little hamlets just can not absorb the throngs. What has lost its soul (if it ever had one), is the cruise ship and mass-tourism industry. I think 'soul' runs very deep in the Cinque Terre and I hope that during the quieter fall/winter/spring months, these villages can once again have space and privacy.

We went in 2011 for 4 nights in late September and it was so crowded that I couldn't relax in the little villages so we took a 1/2 day boat tour to Portovenere, walked around Santa Margherita for a day, visited Pisa one day and hiked the high trail from Manarola to Corneglia another. Rising early is a beautiful time...eating late is another...you have to figure out the type of experience you want and then go about finding it as best as possible even when things look bleak.

Edited: 5:21 pm, September 20, 2017
Canada
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4. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

One of the biggest problems is the fact that people are traveling more due to cheap flights, cheap accommodations (such as airbnb). Many of these places are now protesting against this type of tourism. While they still want tourists, just not your "check this off my bucket list" type of tourism. More of the "stop and smell the roses", spend some money at locally owned restaurants, buy locally made souvenirs etc.

Italy
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5. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

cruise ships should be restricted to docking at ports / cities which have the infrastructure to support them and the daily hordes they disgorge: Barcelona, Genova, Napoli, etc. And no, not Venice.

6. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

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Minneapolis, MN
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7. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

To the OP. Were you referring to the crowds within the villages themselves or were you hiking on the trails?

Chester9cat--We will be there for four nights early next month. I had been thinking of possibly extending a night, but it sounds as though you had to escape to some of the places we were thinking of as rainy day backups.

Roma
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8. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

Unfortunately it's true, and it is the logical result of the common attitude of most tourists, to have to go to the most popular and so called "must-see" places. Attitude which usually comes to ruin not only the places, but also each person's vacations, which are not everlasting and shouldn't be wasted just doing what all people do, no matter how and no matter why.

If you read some itineraries proposed on this forum, you'll mostly read always the same places; and if one tries to suggest some more original place, or, even worse, skipping some of the "must-see's", it's like beating a dead horse.

California
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9. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

hi juliest....well you will be going there later in the year than we did...the crowds start to wind down in October. I feel that 4 nights (3-3.5 days) is plenty of time to experience the area but of course, it is all personal. If the weather is inclement or the seas rough, the boats may not be running.....as mentioned, the quiet early morning and evening hours can be special.

I never wanted to go because it was a 'must see' ....when i was researching for our trip, I happened to catch a picture online that took my breath away and my reaction was 'oh, I must be THERE'...inside....tiny....by the water....hamlets that cling to the hillside like crabs...AWAY from "must sees"....i was all over it. Little did I know!

Last year, we went to the small village of Tellaro, tucked away in the Gulf of Poets -- had a wonderful time and enjoyed the best fish restaurants ever (and I'm not a big fish eater!).....

Neuchatel...
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10. Re: Has Cinque Terre lost its soul? Tragically overcrowded :(

Thanks all for your replies. Stuart G - I know, I know... although we really do try to have as little an impact as possible - and do not just hop off the train to click, click, click and go off in a jiffy. But yes ...

Trains were particularly busy as boats could not operate due to high winds. We had chosen Porto Venere as a base, and back country- to avoid crowds- but of course had no choice but to travel by bus back to La Spezia to take train, then bus back again later- visited 3 villages one day, and 2 the next.

We really had to laugh as a noisy group of American tourists on the train were complaining bitterly about the large noisy groups of Chinese - lol. Took all my strength not to comment.

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