La Spezia


Photo of La Spezia

About La Spezia

Probably best known for being the gateway to the Cinque Terre, La Spezia actually has plenty of charm itself: the same pastel-coloured architecture hugging a dramatic coastline that includes a beautiful sweep of bay, bright blue seas, and backed by the purple-haze of Mediterranean hills. It’s also home to Italy’s largest naval base, which, probably puts quite a lot of people off. However, if you’re not put off, the best places to stay in La Spezia offer a much more affordable place to stay on the Cinque Terre coastline, and the gorgeous Ligurian coast generally, but with same quality of hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs.

La Spezia’s train station makes it easy to get to, but it’s also the first stop on the railway that passes through the pedestrianised towns of the Cinque Terre, so it’s the only route in unless you’re planning to walk. This means it can be busy with visitors, but what many of them miss is La Spezia’s quintessentially Italian Old Town, with its winding, cobbled streets, and marble-fronted, 15th century basilica. Above the town centre is a 13th century castle, and just below it is a palm-lined waterfront. La Spezia also has a number of excellent museums and art galleries.

The best places to stay in La Spezia are also perennially popular with walkers starting off on the Cinque Terre trail, and some of our picks are just outside town, on the hillsides overlooking the town, and the towns to come. These are stunning properties to escape to and relax, but our recommendations are also ideal as bases for exploring further into Liguria: to Genoa, Portofino or Rapallo, for starters.

The Best Places to Stay in La Spezia

For an Opulent Villa

  • Resort Villa Ito is a wonderfully characterful villa turned guesthouse, the sort of place with great lion statues in the gardens, oil paintings on the walls, and an impressive collection of antiques. Its six rooms and suites are all unique, this is much more like staying as a guest of a well-off family friend, and the communal areas are welcoming, yet grand. The pool and garden are equally charming, and they offer a very civilised cold breakfast buffet daily. Some of the suites are suitable for families, but they ask that children are over 10, what with all those impressive antiques…

For the Views

  • With just 12 rooms, Le Ville Relais is a small simple hotel, our Gurus love it for its spectacular views of La Spezia and the Gulf of the Poets. The view from the infinity pool and terrace is really something. Each of the rooms is individually decorated in a range of soft hues, furnished with antiques and comfortable details. The restaurant serves regional classics and has a well-stocked wine cellar, and there’s a terrace for enjoying sundowners with a view.

For a Central Location

  • The Benso Rooms are eight rooms in a 19th century townhouse in central La Spezia. All of the rooms are light and airy, with French doors, or large windows, and our favourites have private balconies too. Expect simple, city-style decor and a chic bar. Breakfast is included, and you’re well located for La Spezia’s many restaurants, and the public gardens. An easy choice for families too.
  • The Via Chiodo Luxury Rooms offer a similar set up: a converted 19th century townhouse in the centre of La Spezia, divided into nine guest rooms and suites. In the case of the Via Chiodo, more of the building’s original features have been retained — there are a few frescoes dotted amongst the new parquet and wood-panelled walls. Expect lots of white, and white marble too. There’s no restaurant, but there’s a bar on the ground floor, and you’re within a short stroll of a myriad of choices. Perfect for visitors who want to feel more like residents than tourists.

For a private apartment or villa

  • If you’d prefer to stay in an apartment or private villa we recommend you visit our online partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Depending on where you start out, Pisa International Airport, Florence Airport, Genoa Airport, and Milan’s Linate Airport and Bergamo Airport are all convenient airports for La Spezia. Pisa is about an hour away by car; Florence Airport is about an hour and a half by road, or about three hours away by train; Genoa Airport is similar; and Milan’s airports are about two an a quarter hours away by road, or almost five by rail. Once you’ve arrived in La Spezia you can catch the Cinque Terre Express, which stops at all five towns of the Cinque Terre: Monterosso, Corniglia, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
  • If you plan to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.
  • If La Spezia is your primary destination you might want to plan your trip to coincide with festival of San Giuseppe, held in March, when the naval base is opened up to the public, and the city overflows with markets and impromptu parties. If you’re visiting the Cinque Terre more generally, it’s no longer the under-explored treasure it was 40-odd years ago, and summers here are now quite busy, on the trails, on the train and in the towns. Many visitors are only here for the day, so if you opt for one of the hotels we’ve recommended within the towns you can expect quieter evenings. But if you’re planning a trip in July or August you should steel yourself for crowds. May and June are quieter, as are September and October, but the long, warm hours of sunshine are still very appealing, so it’s definitely worth booking in advance. 

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in La Spezia

Best Hotels in La Spezia

  • Via Chiodo Luxury Rooms La Spezia 9 rooms from £55

    Local exploring  -  This will most appeal to those with a car looking to explore the area and return to a well-located and comfortable base
    Value chic  -  Considering the central location and beautifully designed rooms, this is excellent value for money
    Sights nearby  -  Technical Naval Museum, St George's Castle and Amedeo Lia Museum are all walking distance
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Air conditioningPet friendlyDisabled accessParking

    Elegant rooms situated in a 19th-century building in central La Spezia, walking distance from the port. The 9 rooms have frescoes and large bathrooms. Will suit those who want to feel like residents, rather than tourists. There is no restaurant but options in the area, including a ground-floor bar. See More

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  • Benso Rooms La Spezia 8 rooms from £65

    Local exploring  -  Well-located to explore this scenic Italian region known for its coastal villages, national parks and crystal blue sea
    Groups  -  The Benso Rooms can sleep up to 9 people, making a great base for groups of friends
    Sights nearby  -  St George's Castle and gardens, Cathedral of Christ the King, Technical Naval Museum and Amedeo Lia Museum are all walkable
    Sailing  -  Venture out by boat to explore UNESCO World Heritage Site Cinque Terre National Park or the islands of Tino and Palmaria
    Air conditioningNo pets

    An 8 room property located in a 19th-century building in central La Spezia. Rooms are light and airy, with high ceilings, contemporary furniture and crisp white sheets; many have balconies. There is a bar and breakfast is included. The city's public gardens and many restaurants are on the doorstep. See More

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  • Le Ville Relais La Spezia 12 rooms from £108

    Local exploring  -  Well placed to discover the historic, cultural and natural sights of the East Ligurian Riviera.
    Sights nearby  -  Set minutes away from picturesque Portovenere and the Cinque Terre area, a UNESCO World Heritage
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParking

    A small friendly hotel offering spectacular views overlooking La Spezia and the Gulf of the Poets. The twelve rooms are light and spacious with soft hues and antiques. Featuring an infinity pool, a restaurant serving regional classics and a well-stocked wine cellar. Ideal for exploring the region. See More

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  • Resort Villa Ito La Spezia 6 rooms from £115

    Local exploring  -  Spend mornings exploring the beautiful area by car and return to a haven of calm for afternoons by the pool
    Sights nearby  -  In La Spezia visit Amedeo Lia Museum, St George's Castle, Technical Naval Museum and the Public Gardens
    Sailing  -  Take a ferry or hire a boat to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cinque Terre National Park
    Restrictions on children  -  Only children aged 10 and above are allowed
    Air conditioningSwimming PoolGardenParking

    Characterful guesthouse located 3km outside the port city of La Spezia. Rooms are housed in a historic villa, surrounded by gardens with an outdoor pool. Decor is traditional Italian; think statues, opulent paintings and antique ornaments. A cold breakfast is provided and restaurants are nearby. See More

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