Surprising adventures, excursions and courses to discover the outdoor side of Liguria
One thing that really amazes anyone who spends a bit of time here is just how many outdoor things to do there are in and around Genoa! Overlooking the Gulf of the Ligurian Sea and sheltered by the Ligurian Apennines, Genoa is certainly a city to be discovered!
Genoa, thanks to its particular geographic conformation, is a great place to do outdoor training. The many walkways in front of the sea, the sea itself and the hills inland all allow you to choose among many different possibilities.
You can also choose between different types of sports, such as surfing in nearby towns Bogliasco or Recco (even under the moonlight if you want), running in Corso Italia or in Passeggiata Anita Garibaldi, playing tennis and football in many clubs, some of which, located in front of the sea (like the facilities available in Waterfront Marina!) and if you are willing to drive for just a little while or take an easy coastal train, you can also go hiking in the Portofino Promontory (check out our hiking blog.!
Of course, you don’t have the enormous rolling swells of the Atlantic coast here in Liguria, but the rounded, gathered bays and warm water make it an ideal place to learn to surf, even in Winter! When the swell really gets going it also offers a rocking experience for seasoned surfers, especially in Levanto and Varazze on the Eastern and Western rivieras of Liguria especially.
Black Wave surf school which is located in Recco, only 35 minutes away from Genoa, allows you to check the wind and wave situation or even check their live webcam before you hit the water. You can rent all sorts of boards, as they have shortboards and longboards available. They even have their own eco-friendly restaurant The Fish Market which inspires healthy and sustainable living. Water is rarely clear, but when there is a South Westerly swell, the spot is fantastic. When conditions are good it can become crowded, especially with beginners from the surf school.
You can also rent surfboards or do surf camps at the Roofless Surf school in Bogliasco which is only about 20mins from Genoa. Roofless also hold loads of different levels of surfing fitness courses held on land. They are also experts in skateboard training and athletic preparation in general, having carver ramps available at their training grounds.
Before you check out these surfing spots, stock up on any missing gear close to the city centre at Centro Surf which has all the gear that you might need for skimboarding, skateboarding, skate, surf, bodyboarding, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, SUP and flowboarding
Kayak & paddleboarding
A kayak tour in Portofino is one of the favorite outdoor activities for yachties. Portofino is set in an incredible natural park with uncontaminated nature and you can take a half or full day tour discovering this beautiful part of the world from a different perspective. Check out the video experience here.
Blackwave Surf School which is located in Recco, has paddleboards available for rent per day or per week or even nights if you are up for night adventures on the water! They have all equipment you need, including wetsuits, masks, snorkels and even phone charging stations, so you can take a train down the coast and enjoy a fantastic outdoor experience without needing to take any gear with you.
Roofless is another wonderful set-up in Bogliasco, just outside Genoa and around a 15-minute drive from the city. They organize kayak and SUP courses and excursions, even under the moonlight, catering for singles, couples and whole crew groups – try it out.
Another exciting watersport that you can try in Liguria is Coasteering. It’s an outdoor sports discipline that you perform in the sea, on rocky shores – a sort of trekking over marine rocks that allows you to explore the zone between the tides in the best possible way. It consists in performing “crossings” along the coast, by walking, diving, swimming, climbing horizontally, playing in the riptide, exploring recesses and grottoes. It does not envisage using ropes and harnesses because you are always in close contact with the water, without ever reaching any great height. Its certainly an adrenaline sport and you can practise it safely (and at the same time feel like a cross between a crab and a diving seabird!) by booking an experience at Outdoor Portofino. Coasteering is super new so don’t mish this adrenaline rush, to be had whilst you are inside the amazing natural Protected Marine Area of Portofino.
Genoa is a bit of a kitesurfing mecca!
Sturla, corso italia, Voltri, Andora, Arma di Taggia
It’s not just the shorebreak that gets underestimated here – in south-easterly Scirocco, Genoa might be the region’s most radical break. The most popular city spots are at ‘Centro Surf Club’ (for both kiters und windsurfers) in Corso Italia, ‘Sturla Beach’ (kiters only) further east and Voltri on the Western coast of the city. Further along the Western coast, Andora and Arma di Taggia are also fantastic spots..
Many people do not know that kitesurfing is a sport suitable for many people although at first impact it may seem something impossible, but what really makes the difference in learning a sport that requires a lot of technique and passion? Everything is hidden in the method that you use to learn.
There are several options for learning the sport if you have been dying to give it a go. Centro Surf right by the Foce quarter (near Amico & Co and Waterfront Marina) organises kitesurfing courses which can also give you recognised qualifications, providing intensive all-day courses. These Kitesurfing academy training courses also checking on your progress by filming it, so you can then go through it with the instructor. Zena Kite School offers all sorts of courses, from an hour to a basic 6-hour course or advanced techniques.
How about some outdoor training with a sea view? Located locally in Genoa, Davide Gallone is a personal trainer who has a lot of experience working with yacht crew. You can contact him and sign up for the “Hell’s week” which is an intense workout and weight-loss program which you can do live or via zoom.
Bushcraft & survival
Further down the Eastern riviera coast, but still less than an hour from Genoa, you can combine outdoor training and trekking with a survival course, learning bushcraft techniques, whilst immersed in the unspoiled nature of the park of Portofino. Bushcraft is the usage and practice of skills, acquiring and developing knowledge and understanding, in order to survive and thrive in the natural environment. Check out the Outdoor Portofino’s blog here about living with nature. They offer courses that last one or more days, with the possibility of camping and sleeping in a tent in the park overnight! Outdoor Portofino is the company that runs these courses, providing adventures deeply immersed in nature.
- Combine several activities: outdoor training, bushcraft, survival
- Sleep in tent in the Portofino Natural Park (an activity that is usually forbidden)
- Restore contact with the unspoiled nature that surrounds you
- Satisfy your yearning of discovery
- Stimulate adrenaline
- Team up with your friends or turn it into a crew team building exercise
Ironically named association “L.O.S.T.” (Ligurian Outdoor and Survival Team) also hold advanced survival courses that last 3 days and 2 nights with nationally renowned instructors, as well as tracking, orienteering and geocaching courses and events.
A Segway tour is a great way to visit the most important places in Genoa, which has the largest medieval historical centre in Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s just the most effective, fast, easy and fun way to not miss any of the city’s beauty, experiencing an exciting and amazing adventure. From the hidden alleys of the old town, to the beautiful noble streets, the Segway tour staff will guide you through magnificent palaces and fascinating views, breathing ancient atmospheres, scents and flavours of the whole world, in complete safety. A mix of culture, art, tradition, gastronomy and lots of fun … a stone’s throw from the sea!
If you really want to experience the best local experience mixing outdoor activities with local food. Try the Portofino Hike and Pesto Experience where you can hike from Santa Margherita to Portofino with a magnificent scenic trails of the natural park.
Along the way, you will pass an old watermill, now a little restaurant: the perfect place for a refreshing stop and for a pesto showcooking. Together, with the chef of the “Mulino del Gassetta”, you will discover how to prepare the world famous Ligurian recipe, and after the laboratory, you can taste “your work” with a piece of focaccia and a good beer