Liguria makes a great weekend escapade and a chance to discover Mediterranean coast with its turquoise bays, colorful villages and delicious food.
- Genoa, Liguria’s capital and birth place of Christophe Colomb, lacks a bit of charm as it is a huge harbor. Try exploring some of its museums, ancient palaces, old frescos and narrow streets.
- Riviera di Levante is composed of picturesque villages surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation.
– Camogli: Lovely Mediterranean village built on the sea front with a nice beach and good restaurants. At sunset it takes on an orange glow.
If you get up early, there is a nice trail-loop (well indicated) from San Rocco passing by San Furttuoso (only accessible by foot or by boat) and Portofino with great Mediterranean scenery which I recommend.
– San Rocco, a quick climb from Camogli, the view from the church is amazing. This is where the trails starts.
– San Fruttuoso : a beautiful hidden convent next to a small turquoise Mediterranean bay. It is an incredible spot that will leave you with wonder. Take a dip there after the hot walk.
– Portofino : a charming colorful village filled with luxurious boutiques. Observing from the main plaza the wealthy people arriving in their yacht is an entertainment to itself. Don’t let it intimidate you. There is a small castle to visit as well as a walk to the lighthouse. If you explore the surroundings you will discover beautiful vineyards and olive grove.
- Cinque Terre classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site is composed of 5 colorful charming fisherman’s villages. Cars are forbidden inside the villages, the best option is to buy a train ticket (16€ from La Spezia) as it allows you to cover all 5 villages.
There is also a trail that goes from one village to the other although when I was there in the summer of 2017 half of the trail was closed off to visitors. The sentiero azzuro is a nice but hot walk with great coastal views, passing along vineyards and enjoying the beauty of la garrigue (or Mediterranean vegetation). It also possesses some of the best views of the villages.
- Riomaggiore is a narrow village that plunges into the sea. Explore its different street levels.
- Manorola: probably my favorite of the five, with large plaza, narrow streets, an interesting waterfront and superb views
- Corniglia: a small village on top of a cliff, surrounded by vineyards, with a clear view of the coastline.
- Vernazza has a great waterfront plaza. Take a refreshing dip while admiring it’s architecture.
- Monterosso possess lovely main streets. Climb to the church and it’s cemetery for the best view of the village.
Bonus Food Tip: try out Liguria specialties from the delicious foccacia, to its mouth watering pesto, and typical wine (sciacchetrà) !