OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN GENOA
There are some great outdoor activities to do in and around Genoa, here we present you with some suggestions of places to visit, hiking path itineraries and short trips that are not too far away from the city centre that will transport you to an unforgettable journey!
The Promontory of Portofino
The Promontory of Portofino (Or Monte di Portofino in Italian) the most northern protected coastal area of the western Mediterranean Sea, has some of the most famous views and landscapes in the world!
It has over 80km of trails of different lengths and with varying difficulty levels, making it suitable for everyone, whether you want to stay inside or step outside of your comfort zone.
Formed by giant conglomerate deposits overlying limestone banks, it has geomorphologic and microclimatic features creating very different environments within a very limited territory.
Within short distances, you can move from the cool forests of the northern mountainside to sunny cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean world: from the civilization of the chestnut to that of the olive tree, from the peasant traditions to the sea and the fishing industry.
Itinerary: San Rocco - Batterie - San Fruttuoso
There are many itineraries to choose from, however this is one of the more fascinating itineraries of the Promontory, with a panoramic view over the seaside and the coastline and many particular points of interest. It starts off from San Rocco, a 20-minute walk up vertical stairs above Camogli (reachable by train in 35 minutes from Genoa). The “Batterie” were lookout stations from the second world war, perched above the sea. The second part of the hike, to the bay of San Fruttuoso, a tenth century Abbey reachable only by sea or on foot, is particularly challenging. Certainly, this part is for sporty and fitter people, as this is a difficult path and there are sections which have chains attached to the bare rock to facilitate the transit along the exposed sides! A lot of thrill factor here and not for you if you suffer from vertigo!
There are many others, such as the route from Kulm to Pietre Strette and Nozarego, which are much more easy-going, allowing you to stroll through the shady trees of the promontory in its deep woods. There are drinking water stations at Gave, San Rocco, Semaforo Vecchio and Pietre Strette.
There are also a number of great MTB tracks through on the “Monte”!
Caravaggio Sanctuary walk
Another wonderful, long walk just outside of the Portofino Park is the walk from Ruta di Camogli to the Caravaggio Sanctuary – this takes you up above the Tigullio and Paradiso Gulfs walking along the ridges with the most incredible views imaginable. It takes in Camogli, Recco and then after a wooded part you will finally see the Sanctuary before you, on the top of Mount Orsena at 615m above sea level and you will need to climb the final steep steps.
The whole hike takes about 4 hours and if you like you can continue on past the Caravaggio church and on to Rapallo which will lengthen the trip by a couple more hours. Do go prepared however – there is no water along the route, and you will need to take at least 4 litres per person with you. There is something other worldly about being up at the Sanctuary – it transports you back through the centuries, and in the early mornings and midweek is also a very popular yoga spot.
Like many cities, Genoa was historically defended from land-travelling invaders by a series of forts dotted all up above the city. If you enjoy a more historical walk, why not choose a hike to go up to ”Forte Sperone”? There are some incredible routes through various forts and walls of Genoa and needless to say, the view from up above is astounding. On a clear day you can see all the way to Corsica.
Casella train experience
Something to definitely add to your travel #bucketlist is taking the little Casella train, a very characteristic narrow-gauge railway that runs along the mountains stretching across the hinterland of Genoa.
The departure of the Casella train is near Piazza Manin, just a short distance from the centre of Genoa, reached by going up the central Via Assarotti (you can catch a bus). The route we recommend is circular and takes as its starting point the train departure station; once you have got on the Casella train, we recommend that you get off at the Campi station.
From Campi station, after a climb that runs along the ridge of the mountain, you can reach Forte Diamante in about half an hour, and then the roads take you through various passages where you can see many different views of the forts and breath-taking valleys.
The final stop of the train, Sant’Olcese, is well-known for its air-cured salami and delicious red wine, so grab a local picnic and take plenty of water with you and enjoy a lunch with a spectacular view!
Beigua Natural Park
Parco Naturale regionale del Beigua
Set between the mountains and the sea, the Beigua park is the largest regional park in Liguria! It is a geopark and is known throughout Italy for its wonderful wildlife and particularly its birds. You can find very different types of environments and landscapes, with mountains, nature, history, culture and ancient traditions, all elements of extraordinary value and interesting to visit. There are many trail itinerary suggestions here.
One of the most satisfying and fun hikes you can do is to the Lago della Tina, a set of tiny freshwater lakes in Beigua Parks above Arenzano. (Itinerary is here Itinerary Agueta – Gua Pass – Lago Della Tina | Parco Naturale Regionale del Beigua (parcobeigua.it)
These are small, beautiful, isolated lakes near Arenzano, formed by the river Leone. They have the good fortune to be in 40/50 minutes’ walk from the last useful place where you can leave the car, which protects them from tourists who prefer the crowded beaches.
The starting point is near the restaurant Agueta du Sciria, excellent point of reference for the car navigation system. Once you reach the exit Arenzano on the highway, turn right twice and follow the directions to the restaurant (the road is a bit narrow), leave your car here and after a few meters you will find the info panel. The journey begins on a sunny track, with some torrents flowing from the walls. The valley is full of water and the scenery is lovely, with flowers, butterflies and dragonflies. After about 1.4 km, you reach a crossroads, from where it is about 35 minutes to the lakes. There is no shade and the water is very cold but a swim is refreshing and invigorating and you can do some fantastic jumps and slides – better than any manmade waterpark!