Don't ask me why I was born in Genoa, I've had a blog for 6 years and I've never written anything about my region. I don't know why I never did it, probably because things to do here have always seemed obvious to me.
Now the time has come to remedy, because every day I too discover something new that I did not know. Here then what to do in Liguria (10 extraordinary adventures) you just can't miss!
In this article you will not find the usual things recommended on generic travel portals (which they copy and have never been here), but 10 slightly special things. You will probably already know some of them, but I still hope to give you some ideas on alternative things to really experience my region that has been underestimated for too long.
In Liguria there are things to do that you can't even imagine: you would never think that you can observe the only real herd of wild horses existing in Italy? Okay, and maybe if you're lucky you might even be able to see a wolf! Or did you know that in Monesi, in the province of Imperia, you can ski?
Do not you believe it? Keep reading!
Let's abandon for a moment the cliché that Liguria is good only for coming to the sea in summer!
1 - Observe the wild horses of the Val D'Aveto
Horses, horses ... my greatest passion together with travel, so imagine my enthusiasm as soon as I learned that here, in the Val d'Aveto Park, there is thethe only herd of wild horses in Italy!
It is certainly the first thing to do in Liguria on this list. A little bit because I spoiled it for you before, secondly my region is the only one where you will be able to see them.
In reality it would be more correct to define them as "wild horses": years ago, in fact, someone abandoned a dozen horses in the Park. Here the animals found a perfect habitat and instead of becoming extinct they decided to reproduce. In short, when we say that nature works miracles!
The new generations of foals they have never had contact with the man. Being born and growing in nature, completely free, led them to "change" and to assume the dynamics and behaviors of a wild herd, exactly like those of Mongolian horses or magnificent American mustangs.
Today the herd is made up of more than 50 members who live in the pastures and woods of one of the most beautiful parks you can find in Italy. The brilliant thing is that a project for their conservation has been born and among the various activities that are organized, tours have also been created to observe them (at a due distance of course).
To find out more about the project and the tours: THE WILD HORSES OF AVETO
2 - Diving in the Portofino Natural Park
Photocredit @Diving Group Portofino
Diving enthusiasts already know this and if they haven't already come to immerse yourself in the Park of Portofino, it's probably already on their "100 things to do before you die" list
THEThe protected area of the park is indeed a paradise for nature lovers which lives under the sea: here, due to the conformation of the coast, a very high concentration of flora and fauna develops.
There are about 20 different diving spots, which makes this place suitable for both beginners (beware you need the Open Water certification as a minimum) and more experienced divers.
If you do not have a patent, however, do not despair. The ravines of the western Ligurian coast are also perfect for snorkeling and for children. If you are looking for a place for this, go without a doubt to Paraggi bay and you will not be disappointed, it is a beautiful place with calm and transparent waters!
Psssst !!! For diving lovers, you should not miss the "Christ of the Abyss" in the wonderful setting of San Fruttuoso!
For more info: DIVING GROUP PORTOFINO
3 - Hiking in the 5 Terre
Le Cinque Terre... who does not know them, a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
They are a group of five villages perched on the spectacular Ligurian coast, and are easily recognizable at first sight, with the pastel-colored houses stacked on top of each other and overlooking the small fishing ports below.
Each town offers something slightly different than the others, and part of the fun of visiting Cinque Terre is choosing the one you like best. L'hiking in the Cinque Terre it's one of the best ways to explore (and especially to escape the tourist crowds).
The 5 Terre can be visited by boat (but for a more local experience choose the Ligurian gozzo!), Train or trail. Choose the third option.
The paths are different: the Ligurian coast on this side offers exceptional views: the mountains plunge directly into the blue waters of the Ligurian Sea, and there is no better way to see it than by walking through the broom and lemon trees.
My favorite trail is without a doubt the one that connects Riomaggiore to Portovenere. The path is very easy to follow, others (especially the initial parts) are uphill (then you walk along the coast).
The path can be covered in just one day, you arrive in Portovenere just in time for an aperitif!
Maybe you might like mine complete guide to trekking in the Cinque Terre, or the best excursions in Liguria (not only Cinque Terre!)
4 – Whale Watching!
Established in 1993 with an agreement between Italy, France and Monaco, the area called Sanctuary of the Cetaceans it has the highest cetacean population in the whole of the Mediterranean Sea. The reasons? Well the geological conformation of the seabed and the currents bring a high concentration of nutrients: in short, there is something to eat.
For some years now it has also been possible for tourists (and not just biologists) to go and discover the fauna: needless to say, you can see whales, dolphins, turtles, manta rays ... in short, it's a real godsend for those (like me) who love animals.
SEE THE PHOTOS HERE!
Furthermore, our sea is "healing": the cleaning works and the greater attention to pollution, ecotourism and the environment are slowly recreating the perfect habitat for animals. For example, the verducci (small shark fish) that have not been seen for years are returning to repopulate the sea. Not bad right?
You can do Whale Watching both from Imperia and from GenoVa, with daily frequency in high season and with extraordinary tours such as the one at sunset.
For more info: WHALE WATCH GENOVA
Let's keep it up !!!
5 - Paragliding… overlooking the sea
After my first time in paragliding I can assure you that it is really one of those experiences that you remember. I was in the Friulian Dolomites (and it was beautiful), then later when my husband (who did not forgive me for not having brought him with me) began to say that he wanted to do it too, I decided that I would give him one of those experiences that are never forgotten in a lifetime.
Well, what experience is better than paragliding? True, paragliding can be done in many places ... but can it do it overlooking the sea by jumping off a mountain and landing directly on the beach? In short, because it can be done, it takes a unique environment, right? Just like our mountains attached to the sea, in this crazy region which is a thin strip of land squeezed between the Ligurian Alps and the Ligurian Sea!
Here in Liguria you can: in the splendid setting of Bergeggi (which by the way is one of the most beautiful places to come to the sea and also has small and intimate spas). be careful that given the winds and the tourists it is not always feasible in every year.
Alternatively it can be done in the gulf of Tigullio.
For more information: LIGURIA ADVENTURE
6 - Skiing ... in Monesi (overlooking the sea)
Monesi is a small town located in the Ligurian Alps, not far from Imperia. In the summer it is exceptional (look at the trekking to the Mongioie refuge!) And in the winter, well you can ski!
Monesi di Triora (this is its real name, to be precise) it is located on the highest mountain in Liguria (Monte Saccarello, 2201 meters high, but its summit is in French territory) has 9 slopes, suitable for both intermediate and to beginners.
Il ski area it has been renovated with new chairlifts and in addition to a track with a treadmill for children, there are also rings for cross-country skiers.
For more information: SKIINFO
7 - Visit the Toirano Caves
Le caves of Toirano they are very famous. The first time I went there I was small and I was on a school trip, I still remember them, especially because I saw the bones of the Ursus spelaeu bear (dating back to 27.000 - 24.000 years ago) and the prints of the hands and feet of men primitive.
The concretions are fantastic: stalactites and stalagmites of all shapes and sizes, some as white as cream and you will have to force yourself to not reach out and want to touch them.
They are located in Hamlet Holy Spirit (motorway exit) near Loano and Pietra Ligure.
This it is a must for families with children, absolutely not to be missed.
For more information: OFFICIAL SITE TOIRANO CAVES
8 - Visit the Gambatesa Mine
This is a little "gem" that few know. If you look at my page "About me"You will see that I have a degree in geology. So during the university with a colleague of mine I started to go to collect minerals around Liguria. I have a lot of stones.
At first I had a showcase where they were beautifully displayed, then my mom when I changed the house began to use them to hold the books in the library!
Okay, during this time I have visited a lot of caves. Some abandoned (with acetylene lamp) others more popular. One of those I never set foot in because it was dangerous is there Gambatesa mine.
Well, this mine it was subsequently made safe and was open to visitors. That same guy I was going with at the time for minerals has been driving there for a while.
La mine in Gambatesa it is really a gem, one of the things not to be missed for those who have children or, simply, are fascinated by the history of the earth and of the human beings who have been digging for years to extract its precious materials.
For more information: SITE OF THE GAMBATESA MINE
9 - Take the cycle path between San Remo and Imperia by bike
Even bike lovers and families will find in Liguria "bread for their teeth" and exactly long the cycle path that goes from San Remo to Imperia. For now it is 24 km, but the plan is to extend it up to 60.
The route is simple, flat, overlooking the sea and is perfectly in line with European standards: the track is well maintained, two lanes, with various refreshment points and even bike rental.
Another one exceptional adventure for families!
For more info: BICYCLE LANE
10 - Climbing in Finale Ligure
I have climbed a few times in my life, but I have many friends who are very passionate. Finale Ligure it is one of the best gyms for climbing.
The white cliffs rise vertically above the sea and the rock is limestone, which makes the Finale area one of the most technical places to practice this sport, but not only: with more than 3000 routes with a variety of climbing styles and degrees of difficulty different, the Finale is really suitable for everyone!
Finale is simply one of the most famous places in the world for climbing
More info: FINAL ALPINE GUIDE COMPANY
Disclaimer: I was unable to include in this post all things to do in Liguria. For example, I have not talked about so many wonderful paths for trekking, about historical beauties of "my" Genoa or artists' boutiques of Bussana Vecchia and its hippie vibe. I reserve the right to do so later. In the meantime, if you have ideas or want to learn more, let me know in the comments!