When you think about Italy, most people instinctively picture renowned places such as Rome, the Colosseum, the ever Leaning Tower of Pisa. While these are all beautiful Italian staples, there are other places in Italy that are just as wonderful and scrumptious as these.
As some of you might have known from my stories on instagram, I spent a weekend with my family and my girlfriend to Liguria. Many travelers know Liguria only for its Cinque Terre or Genoa. But the Ligurian coast is a striking landscape of cliffs, beaches, fantastic cuisine, uncompromised seaside towns and remote inland villages that stretches all the way from Cinque Terre to the French border.
I hope I caught your interest so far! What are we waiting for? Let me go into detail, telling you more about the places and little towns we visited during our weekend trip!
Our journey kicked off in the quaint town of Sestri Levante near the Cinque Terre.
*take in consideration weather was not on our side, it was grey and later on it started raining as well. If you visit, make sure to come on a sunny day! It will be completely different.
Formerly a fishing village, Sestri Levante is very popular with Italian and Foreign visitors and it is easy to see why. This town is both beautiful and full of life. It is a great place to laze about, walk up and down the carrugio or main street, sip an espresso in one of the many bars or relax with stunning sea views on the two sides of the town. The restaurants and bars are busy starting from the late afternoon serving aperitivi and nibbles, and the main street of Sestri is full of boutiques which remain open until late.
The small old town sits in between the beautiful bay and broader sandy beaches with colourful beach clubs on the other side of the peninsula.
Pastel-colored houses and an impressive, suggestive seaside. A small glimpse totally immersed in an atmosphere of calm and relaxation, as the name suggests. It is the Silent Bay. The Baia del Silenzio is hidden just off the main street of Sestri and you will be surprised by its beauty the first time you see it. You will want to return time and time again whatever the time of year.
The first striking characteristic of the Silent Bay of Sestri Levante is its shape: it is an almost perfect crescent, surrounded by the typical landscape of the Cinque Terre in Liguria, with mountains that reach to the coast.
Secondly, and thanks to its form that protects the bay both from the ocean currents and the wind, the sea waters of this place is very calm and transparent. Moreover, the seabed is shallow, and this feature makes the Silent Bay also suitable for those who wish to visit this locality with the children and the whole family.
Tips: exploring the tiny inlet of Baia del Silenzio, lunch focaccia, an afternoon gelato stop in Sestri Levante’s pretty old town, and hanging out at the sandy beach clubs.
Ospedaletti is the town with the most temperate weather of the Italian Riviera. Many choreographic palm trees and the sea gives you a warm welcome.
Here the first thing that struck me were the houses, in old Ligurian style, simple and for this pretty, then the beach, the Ligurian stone beach style. Let’s not forget about orange, lemon trees and small vendors.
It’s a small town known, especially, for a good trek: the 13-mile-long Ponente ligure (West Liguria) cycle track from Ospedaletti to San Lorenzo al Mare — an easy and scenic route along the Italian Riviera.
We spent a night at the Hotel Le Rocce Del Capo, set on the seafront in the Ospedaletti Gulf, in a beautiful and tranquil location. The hotel is straight from the 70s- it’s clearly been modernised, but the 70s vibe still remains.
The room my girlfriend and I stay at was spacious and clean. I liked the blue colors of the walls, reminds me of the sea. However, the bathroom was tiny- this needs an update.
It was the perfect spot for an off-season break with room windows that open literally over the sea. This was the view from our room:
The highlight was the sea salt indoor swimming pool with water from the Mediterranean Sea. @ninamclernon and I tried it at night before dinner and we loved it!
Staff was always very friendly and welcoming. Breakfast was pretty good too. There were a variety of juices, coffee and croissants to choose from. Option with an additional price – a continental breakfast with scrumbled eggs, pancakes, fruit etc.
Where to eat in Ospedaletti
I find that Liguria hides gems such as historical towns and cutting edge cuisine, and they’re an absolute delight to discover.
The Ristorante Byblos, which I highly recommend, is definitely a treasure to discover. Located near the sea, it is a predominantly seafood restaurant, with a selection of meat dishes also available in the menu.
Every dish we had was fantastic. My aboslute favorite dish of the dinner was the Crudités Royal “Byblos” followed by the mix fried seafood.
I want to thank you the owner, Marco and his staff for the great experience and their hospitality. Their enthusiasm and passion for great food, served in a great manner, ensures that each and every guest will be totally wowed.
Tips: better to reserve if you’re planning a visit; try their dessert as well, you’ll be delighted.
Dolceacqua is one of those historical towns I mentioned before, a rare gem to visit, in my opinion. Located in the Province of Imperia, about 120 km southwest of Genoa and about 35 km west of Imperia, on the border with France.
Sanremo is just over the border from Monaco and France. We only spent a quick morning here but it was enough to have a good cappuccino, stroll the old squares and take in the Mediterranean breeze. Again, weather tricky and grey but we still enjoyed it.
Gorgeous stretches of seaside promenades, posh, pastel-colored hotels and towering canopies of palm and cypress trees line this delightful Italian resort town.
On the ride into the city, you will see glass hothouses scattered on the hills. Sanremo is known as Riviera dei Fiori or the ‘City of Flowers’. Mercato dei Fiori, Italy’s largest wholesale flower market is here and each year more than 20,000 tons of cut flowers like carnations, roses and mimosa are sold.
Tips: don’t miss the cycling path, the casinò and the Ariston theatre.
Laigueglia is another little gem which is still relatively unknown to tourists. The architecture is similar to its neighbouring Alassio; however it’s more quiet and the atmosphere is more relaxed.
Laigueglia is an old fishing village with narrow alleys called “carruggi” in the local dialect and spacious beautiful squares which were once used for trading. The colourful houses seem to be built literally one on top of each other, creating a corky yet charming visual effect and giving a gracious sense of continuity.
We had a quick lunch stop before going back home. Those handmade gnocchi with pesto were so good!! Rain ruined the tour of this enchanting town so I hope I’ll come back here soon.
Have you ever been to Liguria? What’s your favourite village/town? I hope you liked this post and see you to the next one!