Camogli is a picturesque seaside village located in the Paradise Gulf. It is about 20 kilometers from the Ligurian capital and is characterized by the colorful little houses leaning against each other overlooking the waterfront.
It is thought that the bright colors of the houses were used by sailors to recognize their home from the sea and return to it more easily.
Camogli is definitely one of the most beautiful villages in Liguria and is also the starting point for many excursions by land, thanks to the many paths that cross the Portofino mountain, and by sea thanks to the boats that leave from the small port to San Fruttuoso and Portofino.
Camogli is my place of the heart. When my sister and I were little, our parents used to take us here in warm weather to have a swim and eat a piece of focaccia from Revello.
I remember at that time, we are talking now 25 years ago, there were already parking problems but we would arrive at 7:30 in the morning and somehow my father always managed to find a little place to stick the car without getting a ticket!
As you may have guessed, I am a great lover of Camogli and below I will point out what to see and do in this wonderful little village that attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.
What to see in Camogli: how to get to Camogli and where to park
By car – The nearest highway exit (A12 freeway) is Recco: drive through the town and onto the state highway following the signs for Camogli (it takes about 15 minutes).
Paid parking spaces:
- Via Ferrari
- Via Cuneo
- Matteotti Square
On Wednesdays, parking spaces on Via Ferrari are free!
Need to know: you can leave your car in the paid parking lot in front of the Gulliver supermarket (Via Ruffini 25) between Recco and Camogli, and take the free shuttle bus in the direction of Camogli.
By train – From Camogli station, via the Scalinata Martiri delle Foibe stairway, you will arrive directly at the beginning of the promenade (right near the Giant Frying Pan).
You can also take advantage of the boat that leaves from Genoa’s Porto Antico.
What to see in Camogli: informations
If you go to Camogli on the weekend you will have to arm yourself with a lot of patience in looking for parking.
Actually if it is not summer time, parking is not a mission impossible because there is enough turnover, those who go for a simple walk or get a piece of focaccia in winter then quickly return.
In summer that you stay several hours at the beach instead becomes more complicated then our advice is to arrive very early, by 8/8:30 in the morning or around lunchtime when many people return.
There is a drinking fountain right at the beginning of the promenade next to the Giant Frying Pan.
The center of Camogli is ZTL zone so be careful not to drive in.
There are two pharmacies in Via della Repubblica, which is the inner parallel street to the waterfront street.
What to see in Camogli
Frying pan of the Fish Festival
Right at the beginning of the promenade leading to the waterfront, on the wall to the right near the steps leading to the station, you can find a giant frying pan hanging.
It is the frying pan used in the very famous Camogli Fish Festival usually held on the second Sunday in May. For info on dates click here.
In the frying pan every year something like 30 quintals of blue fish are fried in 3,000 liters of oil! The frying pan is made of stainless steel and no longer of iron or cast iron (for hygienic reasons), and has a diameter of 4 meters.
It is definitely a folkloric event but keep in mind that they have come to prepare 30,000 servings of fish so you will have to deal with a flood of people.
Promenade along the waterfront
Via Giuseppe Garibaldi is the pedestrian street that skirts the beaches on the left side and brightly colored buildings on the right side, with your gaze reaching as far as the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta.
Along the promenade you can find ice cream parlors, bakeries, souvenir stores, beach games for children… In the “where to eat” section we will point out our favorite places.
Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption
To visit the Basilica, one must arrive at the marina and climb the marble stairs leading to the entrance. The building, overlooking the sea, follows the Baroque style and boasts fine stucco and frescoes.
What to see in Camogli: Marina
Take a look at the small harbor crowded with boats and continue under the arches in the walk along the pier leading to the lighthouse, passing by the lovers’ net.
This is a net sewn by the fishermen of Camogli where lovers hang their love dedications…. It always makes children very curious!
It is a fortress built in the Middle Ages to protect the small port that will give you an exceptional view of this portion of Camogli.
Later the castle from a fortress became a place of imprisonment and then a warehouse. It was restored in 1950.
It is located next to the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in the small harbor. Since temporary exhibitions are set up inside, you will find it open only during these events with a ticket cost that varies depending on the exhibition set up.
You can, however, climb the steps up and up to the cannons where children enjoy riding up and playing pirates! You can then walk around the castle until you get to a small terrace overlooking the sea from where you can admire Camogli from above.
Along the seafront promenade, on the right side you will be able to find narrow streets heading inland: such alleys that pass between the long narrow buildings typical of the village, characterize the historic center.
You can browse among the typical stores as far as the Piazzetta delle Signore Secche and then descend back to the sea via steps.
What to see in Camogli: where to eat
Several establishments have opened and closed over the years, but as far as we are concerned, two certainties remain: the Revello bakery and the Gelato e Dintorni ice cream shop.
Revello, historic bakery located in front of the last beach in Camogli. It is tops for Genoese focaccia and focaccia with cheese; try it and you will not regret it. For the girls we also often get some vegetable pies.
Gelato e Dintorni (Ice Cream and Surroundings), is the first ice cream shop you come across as you enter the promenade. In our opinion it is the best in the borough as far as quality is concerned. As for table service, we cannot say because we have always bought and eaten it outside.
Weather permitting, the ideal lunch to have with the children is what we do when we go to Camogli i.e. spread a towel on the beach and binge on focaccia and then finish with a nice ice cream.
As an alternative or in addition to focaccia, you can buy a cone with fish fritters from Semmu Friti.
Restaurant in Camogli
If you want to eat seafood sitting at a table, we recommend Vento Ariel which stays in the marina, Ostaia da u Sigu (more couple’s location), Ristorante Mille e una Notte (on the Aurelia about 4 km drive away).
If you’re in the mood for Mexican, Don Ricardo, which remains inside, open only for dinner and with a somewhat rowdy atmosphere, is very good.
For aperitifs we really like the view of the sea from Il Barcollo which is at the beginning of the promenade and from Bar Auriga at the opposite end.
Finally Bar dai Muagetti in San rocco with a great location (winter closure from December to March). Book in advance because it is difficult to find a place.
Camogli in summer: beaches
Along the promenade there are alternating free and paid beaches. The best beach in our opinion for location and crystal clear water (especially in the morning, around lunchtime it gets a little cloudy) is the last one on the promenade.
It is a free beach with pebbles. For children you may need maybe some booties. If you want, you can rent umbrellas and sunbeds (the price is around 30 euros) and it has two showers that dispense cold water for 20 cents.
It is always very crowded. Note that it has little shoreline and quickly becomes deep.
When to go to Camogli: best time of year
Certainly for those coming from outside, Camogli fascinates at any time of the year.
One must consider, however, that in the winter months many activities are closed and the town goes into hibernation. On the other hand, you will find parking without particular problems.
In any case, the best time to plan a visit in our opinion is April/May and September/October to enjoy the fabulous view while sitting at the small tables in the bars and for nature lovers to be able to go trekking in the surroundings avoiding the scorching heat of the summer months.
What to see in Camogli: parties
In addition to the fish festival, which, as mentioned earlier, is held on the second Sunday in May, one can also attend the Stella Maris or the festival of Our Lady celebrated by fishermen, which takes place in August.
Both the procession on the sea of boats to Punta Chiappa for the celebration of mass and the laying of candles at sea in honor of the Madonna as soon as the sun sets are very impressive.
The candles are biodegradable and are distributed free of charge. A must see at least once!
For all information I refer you to the Events section of the official Camogli website.
Ferries in and out of Camogli
The boat ride is always a fun experience to do with children plus from the sea you have a different view of the village.
Several boats leave from the small port of Camogli for Genoa with intermediate stops in Recco, Bogliasco and Nervi and arrival at Porto Antico, or to Portofino via Punta Chiappa and San Fruttuoso.
There is a line that docks at Monterosso in Cinque Terre but has no intermediate stops.
In unfavorable weather and sea conditions, there is no departure.
What to do around Camogli: hiking
Among the things to do in Camogli, we recommend to trekking lovers a walk to Punta Chiappa (a village set on a rocky outcrop): this is one of the most beautiful sea points in Liguria where the water is deep blue thanks to the exclusively rocky shoreline.
This point can be reached from Camogli either on foot from the center through a beautiful path surrounded by olive and holm oaks and wonderful views of the sea (if you want to shorten a little, you can get to San Rocco by car and leave it in the paid parking lots) or by boat that leaves from the small port and docks at Porto Pidocchio.
From here you have to walk a short distance and in a few minutes you arrive at Punta Chiappa. Continue reading…
San Fruttuoso di Camogli
Another not-to-be-missed stop during a stay in Camogli is the walk in the direction of San Fruttuoso with arrival at its Benedictine abbey positioned among the woods of the promontory and the small beach often voted among the most beautiful in Liguria.
There are two trekking paths that connect Camogli to San Fruttuoso Abbey: one, the one that passes through Batterie, is the most beautiful and scenic but without protection and therefore not very suitable for children; the other, which passes through Pietre Strette, is easier and suitable for children.
Alternatively, you can take the boat that takes you to your destination in about 30 minutes.
Portofino Regional Natural Park
In the Portofino Natural Park there are 80 km of paths with wonderful views of the sea among pine, holm oak and olive trees. In an hour’s walk, for example, passing through the hamlet of San Rocco you can reach the summit of Mount Portofino.
Camogli – Recco promenade
The distance between Camogli and Recco is 1.4 km: the simple walk connecting the two villages is convenient and, overlooking the sea, provides breathtaking panoramic views.
Where to sleep in Camogli
Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi – Breathtaking location on the bay of Camogli, has a swimming pool and private parking. Rooms with buffet breakfast included and possibility to request additional crib and a babysitting service, both for a fee.
Villa Virginia for families – Two-bedroom apartment. Positioned on Via Aurelia so not quite in the center of Camogli. Could be a somewhat cheaper alternative.
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