Camogli, Santa Margherita Ligure, Portofino, are three enchanting places in the Ligurian Riviera, that you shouldn’t miss and you’ll never forget.
I was born and raised in Genoa, I lived for many years in Pieve Ligure, along the Via Aurelia, which connects Genoa to the Riviera, and for me, these places are home.
I traveled along that coastal road by car, on foot, but most of all on my motorbike, and I know that road by heart.
The Eastern Ligurian Riviera has not only wonderful small villages actually, but also a stunning road between the mountains and the sea where breathtaking sceneries pop up at every turn, and Monte di Portofino approaches more and more.
I’ll start from here, showing you the Via Aurelia between Genoa and Santa Margherita Ligure, which around Recco is called Ruta and takes you to the first place I want to talk about, i.e. the small fishing village named Camogli.
Camogli is a dream, a small village of fishermen and sailors where nothing has been changed from the past.
Try to come here at sunset and stop to observe the village from the top, with the Monte di Portofino in the background, and the colored houses all piled up that looks like a small crib.
Then, from this panoramic point, go down the narrow staircase that leads directly into the center of the village, and stop a little at the marina to wander around among the fishermen’s boats and to browse along the pier.
Stop and eat fried anchovies in one of the restaurants with tables facing the sea along the pedestrian promenade; it’s an experience not to be missed.
I remind you that Camogli is also the venue of an important festival about communication and journalism every year in September; for more info click here.
Santa Margherita Ligure
The Aurelia road between Camogli and Santa Margherita Ligure is named Ruta and rises up to San Lorenzo Della Costa; from here, a detour will take you back down by the sea, in Santa Margherita Ligure.
The view from this panoramic point is, again, breathtaking and the road leading down to Santa Margherita Ligure is surrounded by some of the most beautiful villas of the Ligurian Riviera.
Santa Margherita Ligure is another charming village of the Riviera.
It’s a quiet and sunny place, elegant and posh, with nice hotels and restaurants, and trendy shops.
The small streets are full of suggestive corners with tall and colorful houses adorned by green shutters and the sea in the background.
The promenade and the port are the ideal places to walk with an ice cream in your hand.
Try Pinguino, a special ice cream cone covered with melted chocolate.
If you would like an Aperitivo instead, got to the little square under the arcades and stop at Miami or Sabot.
But, if you prefer to stay for dinner you’ll find a lot of restaurants both in the arcades facing the promenade or along the pier.
Between Santa Margherita and Portofino
Leaving Santa Margherita Ligure, take the coastal road to Portofino, which deserves a separate chapter.
The road between Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino is another reason to come to Liguria.
It is a very narrow road dug into the rocks, squeezed between the mountain and the sea, where every turn seems to end in the sea.
If you come here for a day at the beach, you’ll find a lot of different solutions, including luxury beaches. But I like also Punta Pedale, close to Covo di Nord Est (the popular nightlife spot of the Riviera), very comfortable and cheap.
Along the road to Portofino, you will then find Paraggi, which, just like Portofino, is a unique place in the world.
Paraggi is a very small village with a magical atmosphere.
Paraggi is less than a village, actually, just four or five houses with a couple of beaches, the famous club Carillon, and one of my favorite restaurants by the beach called Langosteria Paraggi.
I don’t know why Paraggi so special.
But perhaps it is that incredible emerald color of the sea, due to the reflections of the Monte di Portofino’s vegetation, that does not exist anywhere else in the world.
Just a few steps and you will rich Portofino.
Have you ever wondered why everybody in the world knows Portofino?
What is so special about it?
Try to go to Portofino during summer in the early morning, before the tourists arrive.
Walk along the small street that leads you from the car park to the Piazzetta and sit in the first bar you’ll meet with the small tables outdoors. Then order cappuccino and focaccia for breakfast.
Stop for half an hour or so to watch and to listen, and you will understand everything.
You will see the small Piazzetta of Portofino in the early morning without tourists around, the scent of the sea, the Brown Castle in the background, the sparkling yachts near the small fishing boats in front of you, the morning sun and the view of Mount of Portofino above you. It worths the trip, wherever in the world is your starting point.
Then come here in the evening, when the tourists left, and stop to look at the houses surrounded by small white lights, with the boats moving all together because of the really limited space.
Go to dinner in a restaurant by the sea, in the moonlight.
And you’ll surely understand why that little square is so famous all over the world.
Did you enjoy visiting Ligurian Riviera with me?
If you would like to discover Genova, you can read that post, click on the link.