Visit This Underrated Italian Town For A More Laid Back Coastal Vacation

As one of the smallest regions in Italy, Liguria often flies under the radar in comparison to the neighboring Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna regions. Mainly, people stop at this slice of Italian coastline to visit the famous Cinque Terre or Portofino and maybe its capital, Genoa, but rarely do they stop anywhere else. Little do tourists know there is a place where you can escape to have a more laid back coastal vacation — Camogli.

First, along with these basic words and phrases in Italian, it's also important to properly pronounce this city's name. This can be difficult, considering the "gli" sound in Italian is notoriously difficult to master. However, for ease of use, let's say the "g" is silent. Here's how it's pronounced — ka-MO-lyee. Now that you know how to say the name, here are a few good reasons why you should consider visiting this underrated Italian town.

Thanks to its location between Genoa and Portofino, Camogli doesn't get quite the same volume of crowds, especially during the best time year of to visit Italy. That said, it still has all the creature comforts and sightseeing opportunities one would expect from any other popular city in Liguria. There are beautiful beaches, hiking trails, hotels to suit every budget, and — as we have come to expect from Italy — incredible food. So, if you want a stress-free quintessential Italian Riviera experience, then Camogli is a must-see.

Experience the Italian Riviera in Camogli

Camogli is one of many towns that make up the Italian Riviera, the stretch of coastline that extends from Liguria's French-Italian border to its border with Tuscany. To the west of Genoa, the coastline is called the Riviera di Ponente ("the coast of the setting sun"), and to the east, where Camogli lies, the Riviera di Levante ("the coast of the rising sun").

What sets Camogli apart, though, is its slow-paced vibe, which requires you to relax and take in its colors, smells, and flavors, which it has in abundance. The buildings are painted in every color of the rainbow, and some feature trompe l'oeil ("deceive the eye") artwork that beautifully mimics the look of windows. The promenade is perfect for walking along slowly as you observe the many boats in the marina and gaze out to the distant sea. The food — in particular the focaccia and seafood — are also not to be missed.

While exploring, you can't pass up the opportunity to also check out Castello della Dragonara and the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, which are located right next to each other in the middle of town. The castle is a medieval watchtower originally built to keep an eye out for pirates. Today, it offers tourists unmatched views of Camogli and the Riviera to the west and east. Just behind the castle, the basilica is filled with beautiful baroque-style finishings, including crystal chandeliers, and exists as a stunning symbol of Camogli.

Summer activities to do in Camogli

Along Camogli's seaside promenade, you'll find both public and private beach areas. If you have your own beach accessories, you can set yourself up along any of the public beaches for free. However, if you don't and you want comfortable chairs, an umbrella, and refreshments, we definitely recommend checking out the nearby bar-slash-restaurant that doubles as a lido (beach rental shop). But besides lazing on the beach drinking Aperol spritzes, there are tons of things you can do in Camogli to get full enjoyment out of the Italian Riviera.

If you like to scuba dive, Camogli is the perfect place to get a dive in. Just off the coast, there is the Marine Reserve of Portofino, where you can dive to see the beautiful Mediterranean sea life as well as a statue called Christ of the Abyss. This may sound a little spooky, but it's actually very beautiful!

If you're looking for more land-based activities, the hiking along the Ligurian coast is unparalleled. Similarly to Cinque Terre, there is no shortage of hiking trails to be found in Camogli. One of the prettiest hikes in the area that will also give you a good workout is the hike to Punta Chiappa. It's about a three-hour trek (4.5 miles out and back) along both paved and dirt trails that give you unparalleled views of the coastline from the "punta."