Sestri Levante is the queen of the eastern Ligurian Riviera: it is an ancient village in Liguria overlooking the Gulf of Tigullio.
Sestri Levante is also called the “city of two seas” because of its geographical location: it is in fact situated on a small promontory and overlooks two bays, the Baia del Silenzio and the Baia delle Favole.
In the list of my favorite seaside resorts, besides Camogli, there is definitely Sestri Levante because it has a nice old town full of small clubs and stores, lively and full of life even in winter so it is a destination that can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
In addition, there is a nice playground for children in the surroundings and there are interesting scenic treks within the reach of the whole family.
Therefore, below you will find a small guide on what to do in Sestri Levante.
A day in Sestri Levante: what to do in Sestri Levante
Walk through the old town with a stop at an ice cream shop or bakery
The first thing to do to familiarize yourself with Sestri Levante and immerse yourself in the typical Ligurian atmosphere is to stroll aimlessly through its historic center, amidst the colorful buildings, where clubs and souvenir stores alternate with historic stores.
In itself this does not have a great attraction for a child, but a stop at the many ice cream parlors or bakeries in the area where you can taste focaccia, definitely does!
The focacceria/rosticceria “Le delizie della Baia” on Via XXV Aprile, produces a very good Genoese focaccia.
Overlooking the square near the Baia del Silenzio, you can find the Basilica Santa Maria di Nazareth: erected in 1604, the façade is neoclassical in style and recalls a Greek temple with its portico supported by 4 columns; the interior, where you can see splendid frescoes, recalls the Baroque style instead.
It is worth a quick look!
Going to the beach: Bay of Silence and Bay of Fables
Sestri Levante’s beaches are one of the city’s main attractions and are located in the Baia del Silenzio and the Baia delle Favole.
In both you can find a sandy beach with small pebbles and shallow water which is ideal for children.
Baia del Silenzio
The Baia del Silenzio is located in the eastern part of the promontory and is the smaller of the two.
Thanks to the colorful little houses overlooking the beach where the small boats are moored and the crystal clear water, the beach in the Baia del Silenzio entered the list of the 10 most beautiful beaches in Italy, ranking fifth.
It is a very picturesque place and I would also say very intimate.
Walking on the rocks, you can notice the Statue of the Fisherman, very similar to the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.
The Bay of Silence is accessible by people with motor disabilities.
A day in Sestri Levante: Baia delle Favole
The Bay of Fables is located on the opposite side of the promontory and is much larger than the previous one.
A variety of bathing establishments and seafood restaurants line the waterfront. A few free-access beaches can also be found.
Its name is a tribute to Hans Christian Andersen, a writer of children’s fairy tales who stayed in Sestri Levante for a long time.
A beautiful festival dedicated to him in June is dedicated to unpublished fairy tales, in which both children and adults can participate. All the information here.
Promenade along the waterfront
As we said a few paragraphs above, the promenade is very wide and winds among flower beds, benches and places to have something to eat.
It is pleasant to take an afternoon stroll in mid-season or in the evening during the summer months. One can also ride a bike on the bike path.
Toward the end of the promenade, there are little games for children such as the apple burner and various merry-go-rounds while the classic playground with slides, can be found in reverse at the beginning of the sea promenade.
Visit to the archaeological museum “Musel”
Inside Palazzo Fascie, is housed the Musel, or the town’s archaeological and historical museum.
The museum houses finds and artifacts from the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Metal Age, Roman Age, and the Middle Ages.
A large section also is devoted to outlining the history of the twentieth century in Sestri Levante: migrations, war, the birth of industry, traditional crafts and those related to the town’s tourist development.
For times, tickets and all other information, visit the official website.
A day at Nelson Mandela Park
With an area of 5 hectares, the Nelson Mandela Urban Park is the second largest park in Liguria.
The park includes a bicycle path, a pedestrian path equipped with a fitness trail, an athletics track with an attached long jump track and a shot put ring.
In addition there is a bike park (reserved so it cannot be used), an archery area, and a basketball court.
Added to all this are several nice children’s games such as swings and a giant slide, and several small tables where you can sit and have a picnic.
About a couple of times a year, we come to the Mandela to spend a few hours at leisure and then end the day with a walk and an ice cream in the historic center of Sestri Levante which is about a kilometer away (a quarter-hour walk).
☛ Points in favor: presence of toilets and drinking fountains inside the park and two free parking spaces near the two entrances. Access to the park is free of charge.
☛ Unfavorable points: there is no café nearby to drink coffee or buy ice cream for the children. There would be two vending machines inside the park but the one containing snacks has been smashed while the one dispensing coffee every time we find it not working. Too bad!
Park hours: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.
Trekking to Punta Manara
A wonderful walk to take with children in Sestri levante is the one that leads to Punta Manara.
It is a fairly easy trek, to be done if possible in the mid-seasons, which offers striking panoramic views of the Ligurian coast.
If you wish, from Punta Manara you can continue on the path that leads to Riva Trigoso and from there return to Sestri Levante by train.
For all the information about trekking to Punta Manara starting from Sestri Levante, you can read this article.
Where to sleep in Sestri Levante
Hotel Helvetia – Little Madness in Sestri Levante. The hotel is in a fantastic location next to the Baia del Silenzio. Heated pool, parking and breakfast are included in the price which cannot be said to be exactly cheap but the services offered are really quality – Look here.
Ca’ a’ Samba – Apartment located 2 km from the center of Sestri Levante, equipped with everything (stove, dishwasher, washing machine) and with parking included. A somewhat cheaper and viable alternative if you need to prepare meals for small children – Look here.
A day in Sestri Levante: what to visit around Sestri Levante
Camogli is a quaint seaside village, located half an hour from Sestri Levante.
It is worth popping into Camogli to stroll along the seafront promenade where the characteristic colorful Ligurian houses face each other, eating a piece of focaccia at Revello’s or a good fish dish at one of the many typical restaurants.
To learn more, you can check out this link.
If you are visiting the capital city of Liguria, you may be interested in some of the main attractions such as: