Italian Riviera Holidays: Camogli and Rapallo

Italian Riviera Holidays -Camogli

Camogli is a delightful fishing borgo with a view on the Gulf of Paradise (on the Italian Rivera di Levante) and it is perfect if you want to enjoy a mix of relaxation, culture, seaside fun and great food.

Camogli has enchanted tourists the world over for centuries with its multicoloured buildings on the waterfront. The colours and the light horizontal lines (called marcapiano) were useful to sailors once they came back after fishing for recognizing their houses more easily among the several floors of the buildings.

The village consists of a pedestrian promenade, bordered by tall, colourful houses, which, in a succession of restaurants, bars and shops original comes to the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, and then the harbour crowded with fishing vessels and boats to tourists.

From this point, by sea, it is indeed possible to reach many places like Punta Chiappa, San Fruttuoso and, with day trips to the Cinque Terre.

If you’re looking for an Italy beach vacation, you’ll find a number of beaches in and around Camogli. The beaches in the area are pebbly, even rocky in some areas. A good pair of water shoes or waterproof sandals are a good idea.

Camogli is also a great base for a hiking holiday. The small mountain village of San Rocco is half an hour’s walk along stairways in the hillside, and from where you will have the most wonderful views of the Mediterranean sea and colourful Riviera.

For a longer trek you can head to the giant rock ‘Punta Chiappa’ and then onto the Benedictine Abbey of San Fruttuoso, traversing the Monte Portofino.

Don’t Miss

  • A must see is the castle of Dragonara, the fortress built around the thirteenth century, nestled on the beach that also hosts an interesting archaeological museum
  • During the month of May is celebrated the Fish Sagra (every second Sunday in May). The event’s symbol is a giant frying pan, measuring 4 metres in diameter. In the evening of the festival, there’s a procession followed by a beach bonfire.

Useful tip:

During the summer months and on weekends, it is difficult to park your car; most of the parking is reserved for residents and parking spaces available to tourists (paying) is often full, so we strongly advise public transport.

Italian Riviera Holidays – Rapallo

Rapallo (10 km from Camogli), is the largest seaside resort on the Italian Riviera and a gateway for exploring the region. The harmonious atmosphere, mild winters, and the tranquil seascape of Rapallo led many renowned thinkers and writers, including Friedrich Nietzsche and Ezra Pound, to draw inspiration from its breathtaking views.

Rapallo is particularly famous for the small castle in its centre: the castle was constructed over 450 years ago to protect Rapallo from the attacks of pirates who ranged across the Mediterranean from ports within the Ottoman.

Nestled among the green shores of the promontory of Portofino, Rapallo offers pleasant walks and a rich network of hiking trails.

We recommend the walk to the small village of San Michele di Pagana, a favourite destination for swimmers. Equally impressive, but more challenging is the path through the woods, salt to Montallegro Sanctuary, which offers a beautiful view of Rapallo, the Gulf of Tigullio, and in the clearest days, you can see Corsica. Montallegro can also be reached by cable car that leaves regularly from Rapallo.

Don’t miss:

  • The scenic waterfront promenade Vittorio Veneto with a long line of palm trees
  • Pozzetto Beach – Zoagli: About 3 km from Rapallo. The sand is dark and consists predominantly of pebbles and gravel and is partly public and partly private, equipped with sun loungers, parasols and a corner bar. Its waters are really crystal clear!

Italian Riviera Holidays – Useful tip:

Rapallo is a great base to explore the Italian Riviera. It’s centrally located along the coast: you can take a scenic half-hour seaside drive south to pretty Portofino, take a train ride to the Cinque Terre or enjoy an hour’s trip to Genova for a mix of history and family fun.

How to get to Camogli/ Rapallo:

  • By Plane: The closest airport is in Genoa, next in Milan, Bergamo and Pisa
  • Train: Genoa-La Spezia line. The railway station is only a short walk from the seafront through the old town centre.
  • Car parking is indicated close to the station and at the west end of the promenade.

Rapallo Hotels – Where to Stay

Best luxury hotel: Excelsior Palace Hotel 5*

Amazing location overlooking the sea

Featuring panoramic views of Portofino Bay, Excelsior Palace is a luxury 5-star hotel offering 2 restaurants, sun terraces and spacious rooms, many with sea views. Breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner are served at the on-site Lord Byron restaurant, overlooking Tigullio Gulf. The à-la-carte Eden Roc restaurant is at the private beach, open in summer for both lunch and dinner.

Best mid-range hotel: Hotel Riviera 3*

Great breakfast

Great location right in the centre of Rapallo. Spotlessly clean rooms with lots of wardrobe space. Plenty of choice at breakfast. The staff take care of all small details to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Rapallo Train Station is 600 m from Hotel Riviera, while Santa Margherita Ligure is 3 km away.

Best budget hotel: Hotel Stella 3*

Great location

Hotel Stella is centrally located in Rapallo and it offers a roof terrace and panoramic views over the gulf. The seafront promenade is 10 minutes’ walk from the property. Built in the early 20th century, Hotel Stella features comfortable rooms with classic décor. From spring onwards you can relax on the sun loungers provided on the large top-floor terrace.

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