I close my eyes and feel the light breeze ruffling my hair. Down below, framed by the rugged coastline, the sea sparkles underneath the glowing afternoon sun. I’m in Camogli, a seaside resort town on the Italian Riviera, facing the Golfo Paradiso. With a name like that, how can you go wrong? Located in the Liguria region, this coastline is one of the most geographically stunning areas in Italy. Perhaps best known for the famed Cinque Terre or the jet-setting Portofino, Camogli is a jewel on its own, embodying all that is uniquely Ligurian, with its own exquisite beauty.
WHEN TO GO
For the warmest weather, liveliest evenings, and that busy summer vibe, high season is the obvious option. Be forewarned, like all summer hot spots, Liguria becomes insanely crowded and expensive in July and August.
Alternatively, I would suggest a visit in the Spring – from the end March to the beginning of June – when the sun rays are warm and pleasant, and you can spend a few days relaxing in tranquility.
WHERE TO TAKE PHOTOS
Camogli offers a plethora of gorgeous views that create the perfect backdrop for a photo op. The town’s picturesque harbor is a true gem directly after sunset. Lights from the restaurants and cafes reflect on the water creating an idyllic romantic atmosphere. The moon adds to the magic, especially on nights when it’s low in the sky, casting a mellow beam over the sleepy skyline. Observing this scene, everything was in perfect harmony, and I couldn’t help exclaiming, “This looks like a movie set!”
I fell in love with this harbor. It almost feels like you are walled inside, surrounded by colorful buildings, and its compact size makes the setting seem so intimate and peaceful. I’ve seen countless harbors throughout my travels, and from a purely romantic perspective, Camogli’s rivals Chania’s harbor in Greece, which has remained one of my favorites.
Stroll down Via al Molo toward the little white lighthouse and admire the twinkling lights on the hillsides.
Did I mention the sunset?
Other breathtaking views can be seen from the piazza of Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, which also has a lovely, distinctly Ligurian stone mosaic floor.
Climb a little higher and you’ll reach the Dragonara Castle to get an impressive panorama of the magnificent Ligurian coastline, and the town below.
WHERE TO CATCH SOME RAYS
Camogli’s main beach is a spacious stretch of gray pebbles, located below the town’s seaside promenade. The water is a medium shade of blue that turns turquoise when the light hits. The water is crystal clear at some points, but because the beach is made of gray pebbles, the water appears much darker. Seaside restaurants, shops, and cafes are abundant in the area. Beach clubs are open exclusively in the summer.
WHERE TO FIND A MOMENT OF PEACE
Originally built in the 12th Century, the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta is located right on the edge of the beach. The baroque interiors are lavishly decorated with gold and marble, while crystal chandeliers hang from the ornate ceiling.
Where to Breathe in…Breathe out…
As someone who is new to meditation, it takes me awhile to settle my mind. On this particular morning, I walked to the end of the rock platform that juts out into the sea in front of the church. It was early morning so there were very few people around (remember: the earlier the better!). I was hoping the calm sea would lull me into my own world, but it was surprisingly challenging as even the smallest waves seemed amplified around me. After a few minutes, however, I fell into a sweet groove.
WHERE TO EAT WELL
We stumbled upon 5 Frutta e Gelato, a little vegetarian/smoothie lunch spot while walking on the main promenade. I’m not a Vegetarian, but I try to be mindful about what I eat, and I happen to love vegetarian food. Their tomato avocado salad was to die for. We also grabbed a fruit salad with Greek yogurt (you can pick Greek, regular, or frozen) and fresh coconut juice.
Must Eat: Focaccia di Recco
If you’re craving something savory and scrumptious, focaccia di recco is an absolute must when visiting Liguria. You can find it any bakery, pizza shop, and restaurant here in Camogli. The floppy flat dough is just firm enough support the soft and gooey cheese which has has a distinctly sharp flavor that will leave you drooling. I’ve seen it made in both pizza-style (with cheese on top of one layer of dough), and with two pieces of dough sandwiching the melting cheese. A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about my first experience with focaccia di recco. That’s how strong of an impact it had on me!
For a Romantic Night Out
Pair a glass of white wine with some delicious seafood dishes at Mille e Una Notte, a quaint yet elegant restaurant with a gorgeous panoramic view.
The seared octopus with burrata cream was a work of art.
For travelers looking to indulge in some tasty seafood, sun-drenched relaxation, and natural beauty, Camogli is the perfect getaway. How can you say no to that blue sky?