At the gates of the Cinque Terre, far from the confusion of the most famous villages in the surroundings, lies Levanto. The town is charming, full of things to do and a great base for exploring this area of Liguria.
I have had a home right here for many years and in this post I will recommend you what to see in Levanto and all the things not to be missed in its surroundings.
Levanto is unusual in the panorama of Ligurian holidays. It's not just about packaged and beach fun. You can simply relax, stroll through the mountains and hills, explore inlets and sea caves, get lost in the winding streets of the historic center, among pastel-colored houses with trompe l'oeil facades.
Levanto has indeed an interesting medieval center, shops, restaurants and a Blue Flag award-winning beach which is the perfect place for swimming, kayaking and surfing. It is actually one of the best places in Italy for surfers due to its long, smooth waves. Surfboards, boats and kayaks can be rented in town.
Advice on where to sleep in Levanto: Most of the hotels in Levanto are small family-run businesses. Try to find a place inHotel Garden of my friend Damiano, a three-star hotel in the center. The rooms are comfortable, the price is right and breakfast is offered on the terrace overlooking the sea!
If you're in the mood for an adventurous vacation, there are plenty of activities - from guided hill hikes, diving in the Cinque Terre marine park, surfing lessons, kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking.
Levanto is a paradise not only for those who love the beach, but also for the adventure lovers.
- 1. Visit the Historic Center
- 2. Beaches of Levanto
- 3. Visit the Cinque Terre
- 4. Take a boat tour
- 5. Ride on the cycle path to Bonassola
- 6. Trek to Punta Mesco
- 7. Mountain Bike
- 8. Fai surf o Paddle boarding
- 9. Visit the cellars
- 10. Visit Portovenere
- 11 - Try the local cuisine
1. Visit the Historic Center
The first piece of advice I want to give you is to visit the historic center of Levanto. Between alleys and squares you will find yourself immersed in the typical Ligurian atmosphere.
Here are some of the stops that I advise you not to miss.
- Garibaldi Street. This is the central street where, among shops and shops, you can admire the characteristic colored facades of the ancient noble palaces.
- La Medieval Loggia. Here, in the past, all the commercial activities of the city took place.
- La Church of Sant'Andrea. The beautiful striped facade recalls those of many other Ligurian churches: the white Carrara marble and the green serpentine, in fact, are typical of many places of worship in the Region.
- Il Castle of San Giorgio. Unfortunately today it cannot be accessed because it is a private house, but once this fortress was an important Genoese military outpost.
- The main square of Levanto, Piazza Cavour, was part of the convent of the Poor Clares from the 17th century, although the fourth side was never finished. The town hall and the tourist office are in the square and the little one is behind it Oratory of San Rocco.
- do not miss the opportunity to shopping: Levanto has many shops where you can find local products and many boutiques where you can buy classy clothing.
2. Beaches of Levanto
If you visit Levanto during the summer season you certainly cannot miss the opportunity to spend a few hours in beach and, at sunset, take a walk along the Lungomare.
The central beach of Levanto is very large and, unlike most of the Ligurian beaches, it is sandy. This also makes it perfect for an afternoon at the beach with the children. Here you will find both stretches of free beach and bathing establishments.
If you want to move around you could choose the Framura beach, one of the quietest in the area, or the Bonassola beach, busier and more chaotic.
3. Visit the Cinque Terre
As I mentioned at the beginning, Levanto is an excellent base for exploring this area of Liguria and, therefore, for visit the Cinque Terre.
The best way to do this is to take advantage of the frequent rail connections between the town and the villages of the National Park: especially during the summer season, in fact, trains are frequent and travel times are really short.
I advise you to use the train even if you have a car available: finding parking in the Cinque Terre is an almost impossible and very expensive undertaking.
Once you reach one of the villages you can choose to continue the day along some of the trekking paths of the Park: this is truly one of the best ways to fully enjoy the beauty of the Cinque Terre.
Alternatively, if you are a sportsman, you could opt to visit the Cinque Terre by e-bike starting from Levanto.
Another alternative (but beware that it starts from Monterosso, not Levanto, so you will have to reach it by train - it takes a few minutes) is this tour to visit the CINQUE TERRE by KAYAK and it is truly gorgeous.
4. Take a boat tour
Among the things to do in Levanto, if you want to enjoy its beautiful crystal clear sea, I recommend you a boat tour: in this way you will have the opportunity to discover the coast from a privileged point of view!
Obviously one of the most beautiful excursions is the one that will lead you to the Cinque Terre. What better way to enjoy this characteristic corner of Liguria?
There are so many boat tours that take you to discover the Ligurian coast and the Cinque Terre.
Beware that many tours depart from Monterosso!
Below you will find a tour that instead starts from Levanto:
BACICCIA BOAT 5 LAND TOUR (highly recommended, duration 3 hours, free cancellation) with which you can live a truly local experience on a typical Ligurian gozzo!
Among the boat tours to the Cinque Terre (but which depart from Monterosso), I can only recommend that you take a look here at the tour di SEA BREEZE BOAT TOURS which offer different tours, from sunset to private and shared.
If you prefer to take the public boat that connects Levanto with the Cinque Terre, La spezia and Portovenere sul website of the Gulf of Poets Maritime Consortium you will find prices and timetables.
5. Ride on the cycle path to Bonassola
If you love cycling, remember that one of the most fascinating cycle paths in Liguria starts from Levanto: the MareMonti cycle and pedestrian path which connects Levanto to Bonassola and Framura.
The route is truly fascinating and develops along the ancient single-track railway that connected Genoa and Pisa. Today pedaling or even simply walking along the route is a fun and evocative experience: the sea alternates with galleries in unforgettable views!
Along it you will also have the opportunity to visit the characteristic villages of Bonassola and Framura. In the first village I advise you not to miss the Madonnina della Punta, a characteristic pink church overlooking the sea.
You can choose to rent the bike (ask your hotel in Levanto) and go alone, or book a e-bike tour with professional guide like this one.
6. Trek to Punta Mesco
Lovers of sports and nature will find a real paradise in Levanto.
From here, in fact, they branch off a series of trails for each level: from trails for the more experienced, to walks also suitable for families with children.
One of the trails that I can recommend is the one for Punta Mesco. The route starts from the seaside promenade and, through a staircase, leads to the Castle.
At that point it continues along a mule track (follow the red and white banded signpost number 1). After the mule track it will be the turn of a staircase and then of a stretch of paved road. Arrived near Casa Giglio you will have to take a descent towards Casa S. Carlo where you will enter the woods.
- glimpses that will accompany you to Punta Mesco they are wonderful and the final panorama will leave you speechless: from there you can see the whole coast of the Cinque Terre!
You can of course also do it on your own, but if you are looking for a guide, this trekking with a picnic of Ligurian products is a great option.
7. Mountain Bike
Many of the excursions that can be done around Levanto can also be done in MTB.
One of the most suggestive routes is that ofAlta Via of the Cinque Terre: from Levanto you can reach Portovenere.
The route is challenging and not suitable for everyone, but during the path the stops will be accompanied by magnificent views of the villages and the sea.
If I can recommend a tour I recommend you great this e-bike tour with a visit to a winery, so you can also taste an excellent Ligurian wine!
Alternatively this E-BIKE TOUR from Levanto to Monterosso at sunset it is truly exceptional even if few have done it.
8. Fai surf o Paddle boarding
Another sport that you can practice in Levanto is the surf: there are many people who choose this town in eastern Liguria to wait for the perfect wave.
Just to understand: in November 2011 Levanto hosted the longboard surfing world championship.
Whether you are an expert or you simply want to try your hand at this discipline, know that you will easily find schools and equipment rental shops to spend a few hours at sea.
One of the most famous spots in Levanto where to wait for the perfect wave is that of Gritta, on the far right of the bay.
Personally I thought in my life to try a surf lesson, but every time I was in Levanto the waves were never high enough: the sea was flat as slate.
If you happen to be in the same situation as me, however, you have an alternative: it stand-up paddle boarding.
If you don't want to book a tour in advance you can go to the Brothers Surf, the best surf school in Levanto (which also sells great t-shirts!).
The best tour is without a doubt the sunset tour.
Even if it sounds simple, don't fool yourself. Paddle boarding requires good balance and I assure you it is a great way to do gymnastics (I came back that I no longer felt my arms).
The tour is really nice, you can go to visit some sea caves and coves where you will find absolute peace and you can enjoy a moment of detachment from the crowd of tourists who in summer simply crowd the beaches and streets of Levanto.
9. Visit the cellars
Levanto, as well as sea and nature, also offers lovers of good food and good wine the opportunity to get to know the excellent products of the territory of my beloved region, Liguria.
Among these, in addition to olive oil and many others, some really delicious wines stand out and if you come here to visit us it is something you absolutely must try.
Among other things, the vineyards in Liguria are something really interesting to visit. Imagine our territory with the mountains overlooking the sea: creating spaces where to cultivate was truly a hero's feat, facing hundreds of meters in altitude. You will be able to see the characteristic “bands” created with the dry stone walls typical of Liguria, the monorails and the small cableways used to transport the harvested grapes from the bottom up.
For this reason I recommend that you organize a turn around the canteen of its surroundings. On the heights overlooking the sea, in fact, some vineyards climb that give rise to excellent wines and I assure you that they will really be a surprise.
Furthermore, by visiting a winery, you will help the few heroic farmers left and their company: it is hard work between the conformation of the land, the collapsing walls, the wild boars that devastate the vineyards, but as good Ligurians they do not give up!
Not to be missed, of course, a white "Colline di Levanto", DOC produced with grapes exclusively from the province of La Spezia!
Caution: indicatively in May in Levanto it is held "In Mangialunga", a food and wine walk of about 10 km between the villages with tasting of typical local products, all washed down with our wines. If you come you don't have to miss it. You can find more information on the site of the municipality of Levanto.
The event requires a ticket and is limited.
10. Visit Portovenere
Finally, I recommend that you visit the magnificent village of Portovenere which can be reached in about an hour by car or train.
The town was one of the most loved by Lord Byron, so much so that even today one of the most evocative caves of its coast is dedicated to him.
Portovenere can be easily visited in one day. My advice is to take a walk in the historic center, admire the peculiarity of the Palazzata (the houses on the waterfront), visit the Church of San Lorenzo, the Doria Castle and then take part in aboat excursion between the Palmaria islands, Tact e Tinetto.
11 - Try the local cuisine
If you like quick meals, you will be spoiled for choice, but definitely try the focaccia. There are a myriad of types to choose from. Simple, with onions, the one with cheese (characteristic of Recco, another village, but which you can now find practically everywhere in Liguria), the focaccia pizzata (with cheese, tomato and capers), the focaccia with pesto and the one with tomatoes fresh.
There are two great places for excellent focaccia: one is there Focacceria Domè (try the cheese and pesto variety) and the Raso Bakery, which produces a delicious simple version, brushed with olive oil.
If it is the pizza you are looking for, go to La Picea, an award-winning pizzeria offering delicious and creative pizzas, thin and crunchy and just the right size. Try the "Tricolore" one, with tomato, stracchino (soft cheese) and pesto.
Speaking of drinks go to Gambrinus brewery, a pub serving craft beers from around the world. It is in the lively via Dante, the main street of Levanto. For something more sedate, go to The purchase, a wine bar in a small square in a quiet area of the historic center. They serve local wines by the glass accompanied by plates of cheeses and cured meats. The best choice in town for an aperitif!
I hope I have left you some interesting ideas for visit Levanto and surroundings!