Discover Liguria by e-bike and sail – 8 days

Verezzi, Finalborgo and the Western Riviera (Riviera di Ponente)

Our week will begin in western Liguria from the charming village of Verezzi, a beautiful hamlet perched on the mountain, from where you can enjoy a great view on the entire coastline. From Verezzi, on our E-bikes, we will continue on a secondary road that will take us between gentle ascents and descents towards Finalborgo. This independent municipality until the middle of the eighteenth century has developed over the centuries an architecture and traditions very different from the other Ligurian villages which remained under the control of the Republic pf Genova for 600 years. Here the delights of the western Riviera will spoil us for our lunch break in a traditional tavern. In the afternoon with our e-bikes we will continue descending towards the coast where we will cross the seaside villages of Noli, Spotorno and Bergeggi. In some of these villages the houses since ancient times have been built even on the beach in a truly unique setting.

 

Beigua GeoPark

Mount Beigua is placed along the migration route of the short toed eagle, great snake hunter that migrates from West Africa along Spain and France to reach this area in March, before continuing towards the Alps and Germany. From the plateau of the geopark, about 1000 meters above sea level, we will start our ride on the water spread, following a trail that will allow us to admire the vertical profile of the mountains that descend to the sea, on one side, and the wild valleys that lead up to the Po river, on the other side. The vegetation here is lush and varied due to the geological conformation of the soil, it is not by chance that the site is recognized as being of Community Importance and is part of the international geopark network. Alpine relics of the last glaciation like the saxifrages can be admired in all their beauty and in their uniqueness. After lunch in a characteristic mountain hut we will continue gently descending towards Genova, the main city of Liguria.

Genova la Superba

From la Commenda to Via Garibaldi, Genova is a succession of narrow roads (vicoli), ancient neighborhoods and beautiful renascence palaces. Main city of the Region Liguria, in the 14th century, Genova has been named “La superba” (the superb) by the poet Francesco Petrarca for its undisputed marine supremacy. Today the city show all the magnificent beauty and richness of one thousand years of history. Our itinerary brings you through the centuries. Starting from the mediaeval harbour, we will pass in front of the palace of San Giorgio (the first public bank in the world) and the house of Columbus. We will continue biking along Via Garibaldi, with the luxury residences of the ancient noble families, before moving up to the hills that surround the city. We will reach the beautiful viewpoint of Castelletto. Continuing along the surrounding hills, we will see the many fortifications built on top of the hills and linked by defence walls. We will be able to reach a couple of them to enjoy the wide view and the beautiful landscape. Biking downhill towards the sea, we will reach the small hamlet  of Boccadasse, a 16th century fishing village. A delicious gelato at the famous “Latteria Igienica” is the best way to relax after the biking effort.

Another option, after discovering the city centre, is catch the old narrow gauge train to Casella, a nice countryside village. The train, one of the oldest trains still circulating in Italy, dates back to1922. The journey across the beautiful landscape is pleasantly relaxing. Ones in Casella we will be welcomed by an histrionic local person, who will show us all the secret of the nice village. Lunch with local dishes will include the unmissable salami of Sant’Olcese. After lunch we bike back to Genoa on our E-bikes, following the narrow roads along the Bisagno valley.

Portofino

Departing from Santa Margherita Ligure we cycle to Ruta di Camogli following the panoramic Aurelia road. The Via Aurelia dates back to Roman times and links the villages of the Tigullian Golf with the ones of the Paradise Golf. Pastel coloured houses and the deep blue Ligurian Sea accompany us along the way.

We make a short stop in San Lorenzo della Costa, to admire the famous Saint Andrew’s triptych painted in Bruges 1499, a real hidden treasure! From here here we will ride all the way down to Camogli today one of the most typical fisherman villages that we have in Liguria. A walk in the caruggi, the narrow alleyways, that characterise this historical seaside town allow us to reach the beautiful baroque church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built on ‘the island’ right on the cliffs facing the sea, where we will see also the charming Castel Dragone, dating back to the 13th century. After enjoying a cappuccino and a slice of focaccia (the typical local breakfast!) in one of the coffee shops along the sunny promenade, it is time to catch the minivan that carries us up to the beginning of the track. Off road paths give us the chance to admire the lush vegetation of this protected area and reach the Mulino del Gassetta, one of the few ancient watermills remaining in the area.

The mill has been lovingly restored and now hosts a small museum and a charming little restaurant. The perfect place to stop for lunch, where you can try local dishes like pansoti with wall nut sauce, a pasta filled with herbs and cheese, or the classical trofie with pesto sauce, green beans and potatos.

After lunch, riding along paths carved in the rocks, completely surrounded by nature we enjoy breath-taking views of the Ligurian Sea. Passed the little hamlet of Paraggi, we reach the elegant resort of Portofino.

In Portofino we climb up to the Church of St George and take in the view of the Two Gulfs before some free time in the famous ‘Piazzetta’. On the way back we cycle along the costal road to Santa Margherita Ligure, where our excursion ends.

Lago delle Giacopiane

A great tour brings us at an elevation of 1000 mt. above the sea level, in the middle of the Ligurian Apennines. The place is famous to host the only stud of wild horses in Italy. They normally move around the lakes eating the fresh grass and relaxing or even fighting for mares… anyway they are fascinating animals to spot, never dangerous for people.

From Giacopiane, on one hand, we can admire the blue of the sea very far away, and the deep crystalline water of the lake, on the other hand. This is the wild side of the region, protected by a Nature Park. The bicycle tour continues around the lake, following a nice country road crowned by ancient woods and few farm houses. We keep going through the lush forest to reach a “Malga” (mountain cottage) where we can stop for lunch, enjoying the traditional local cheese, meat and polenta.

Passo del Bracco

On this day we will discover Chiavari, Sestri Levante and the Bracco pass. From the flat coast of Lavagna we bike towards the hinterland between Chiavari and Moneglia, where ancient mule tracks alternate with little asphalt roads. Historic villages such as Bargone and Tassoni are the background to this landscape that remained motionless for centuries. The charming quietness will surround us while we cross this part of the Apennines, unknown to mass tourism. We will have lunch along the way tasting local products such as the famous baciocca, a typical salty cake of the hinterland. After lunch we descend towards the area of the Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre unconventional

On this day we move by minivan from our hotel all the way up the hills between Levanto and Monterosso, to about 500 mt. above sea level. We will spend the day in the National Park of Cinque Terre, Unesco Heritage Site since 1999.

We will bike between the azure of the sky and the intense blue of the Mediterranean sea, spotting the 5 Villages from a different and unusual prospective. Our e-bikes allow us to move up-hill and down-hill between the hamlets, giving us a unique chance to enjoy the area avoiding the crowd.

On the way we will stop in San Bernardino, one of the oldest farmer villages located at 600 meters above sea level, and in Corniglia, the smallest of the famous five villages, counting only 150 inhabitants. Here we will have lunch in fancy and a panoramic restaurant: pasta ai frutti di mare, seabream prepared according to the Ligurian style, panissa and much more!

The quite asphalt and dirt roads give us the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful landscape and the incredible stone work operated by the local farmers through the centuries, to build miles and miles of walls to retain the terraces made to produce the precious “gold” of the Cinque Terre: the amber coloured dessert wine called Sciacchetrà.

Monterosso al mare, the largest of “the five”, will be our final destination. Here we can relax on the sandy beach and take a swim in the crystalline water, but also taste the local wine!

Portovenere and Palmaria Island

The last day will be dedicated to relax, hiking and sailing. In the morning we will discover  the island of Palmaria on foot, hiking the beautiful trail leading us to the fort Umberto I, built at the end of the 19th century to control the eastern sector of the Ligurian Sea. The trail continues following the outline of the island, offering breath-taking views from the vertical cliffs that characterize the southern part: the sight stretches from Lerici and San Terenzio towards East, to the enchanting village of Portovenere to the West, capturing the harbour of La Spezia in its whole splendour.

Sailing the Gulf of the Poets, we will disembark also in Portovenere. Called also “the most faithful”, Portovenere represented the eastern border of the dominions of “The Superb”, how the Republic of Genova was called in its golden age. Even today we can admire the banner of Genoa waving from the windows and the towers of the village. We will visit the 12th century centre, with its tower buildings, the castle Doria and the picturesque church of San Pietro, built on the bare rock overlooking the sea.

DAY COST

Including: E-bike rental, guide, water bottle, helmet, in some days snacks on the way

Tour         H.D.        F.D.

– 1 pax     160 €       220 €

– 2 pax    140€       190 €

– 3 pax    140 €      170 €

– 4 pax    120 €      150 €

– 5 pax    110 €     130 €

– 6 pax     100 €     110 €

Minivan for bike and transport 150 € per day to be divided between the pax; to add vat 22 %