santa margherita ligure - the italian riviera

I spent last week scooting around the Italian Riviera and it was just as good as it sounds.

I stayed in Santa Margherita Ligure, a lovely seaside resort, 5 kilometres from Portofino. From Santa Margherita you can walk to Portofino, or you can catch a bus or a ferry if you prefer. Whilst Portofino is pretty, it's also tiny, over crowded and expensive so I was very glad I chose not to stay there.

These photos were taken during my walk from Santa Margherita Ligure to Portofino.

Most of the walk clings to the coastline.

The final stretch deviates from the road and you climb into the Portofino National Park where you spy this magnificent villa. I wonder who owns it? It would have the most spectacular views.

You enter Portofino where once you make your way through the crowds, this is what you find.

I didn't fancy walking another 5 kms back home so I jumped on a bus back to Santa Margherita Ligure.

I did climb up the hill to visit the Villa Durazzo though. 

It's set in beautiful gardens overlooking the coastline.

Down-town where I found some beautiful Italian tomatoes.

The next day was a bit gloomy but undeterred I set out for the nearby fishing village of Camogli. I planned to walk from Camogli to San Fruttuoso to visit the Abbey. The Abbey can only be reached by sea or by hiking in. I decided to hike in to San Fruttuoso then catch the ferry back home to Santa Margherita Ligure.

Camogli is just a 5 minute train journey from Santa Margherita Ligure but the 2 towns are quite different.

Santa Margherita Ligure feels like a resort town while Camogli is a working fishing village.

It would have been lovely to arrive there by boat.

However I had a walk to do and no map with which to do it. I'd been assured by other blogs that the walk was well marked so off I set. The first leg of the journey was to San Rocco and I found that trail easy to follow.

You walked higher and higher, giving you these views over Camogli.

The next part of the walk I found a bit more tricky because I couldn't find it. The symbol for the second half of the walk changed and it took me about 30 minutes before I could track down the correct symbol. I couldn't access any data on my phone up there in the National Park so in the end I retraced my steps and basically followed my nose until I located a sign for the Portofino National Park. I was back on track.

I just about had this walk to myself. I saw a mountain biker, a guy running along the track and heading in the opposite direction, 5 people coming from San Fruttuoso. The second half of the walk was mainly through forest and lots of descent, so not very scenic until eventually you arrive in San Fruttuoso and the Doria Tower. 
Then you see this through the trees.

It was a hot day once the clouds cleared and I wish I could say I had the place to myself but I didn't. There was a ferry load of people on the very small beach so I headed in the opposite direction.

I found this cute little beachside restaurant.

and a different view point of the beach and and abbey

And finally this lovely cove. I'd thought about continuing the walk onto Portofino but by this time my quads had gone all wibbly wobbly so I jumped on the ferry back to Santa Margherita.

I'd heard how busy the Cinqueterre was at this time of year so on my last day in Santa Margherita I jumped on the train to have a look at the village of Vernazza. It was so crowded with hikers and day trippers as to be unpleasant and I was there for a total of 40 minutes before jumping on the first train back to Santa Margherita. 

See you all again next week with some pictures from my stay in Portovenere at the southern tip of the Italian Riviera.

Bye for now,


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