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Camogli, huh? Never heard of it. Where in Italy is that? I’m not at all surprised if you’re asking this question right now. When compared to famous “hot spots” like Cinque Terre and Portofino, Camogli is much less traveled by American tourists. Well, international tourists in general. You won’t necessarily see this adorable town on the front of magazines and guidebooks.
But, I gotta say, I absolutely loved this place. Camogli’s precious. I’d even say it’s a “hidden gem,” but I kinda hate how overused that term is nowadays.
Anyway Camogli is a fishing village that’s located on the west side of the Portofino peninsula. Although somewhat off the beaten path, Camogli is also a coastal tourist resort packed with rocky beaches and restaurants.
When I visited this charming town in April, I noticed the crowds mostly consisted of Italian travelers, all seeking out the beauty present within their own country.
Ultimately Camogli was refreshing compared to Lake Como and Cinque Terre – though I loved both places. Camogli just felt authentic if that makes sense, haha.
So … Why Should I Visit Camogli?
First of all, you should visit Camogli if you want a quieter and more laidback Italian Riviera experience. I felt like I was competing with soooooo many tourists spending 2 days in Cinque Terre – even though I had the extra time built into my schedule. I had no issues with crowds in Camogli.
Full disclaimer, though, I went here at the end of Easter week. I wouldn’t be surprised if Camogli draws way more people in the summer months when everyone and their mother takes a holiday in Europe, haha.
Secondly, hikers need to add Camogli to their itinerary. Why? Because hiking is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Camogli Italy!
You’re very close to Portofino National Park, one of the gorgeous protected areas in the region of Liguria, and therefore have plenty of opportunities to explore outdoors.
If you’re an avid hiker, I’d recommend basing yourself in Camogli for at least two or three days. At least.
Finally, visit Camogli if you’re seeking a relaxing “beach” vacation with plenty of seafood. I spent part of my afternoon lying on the rock beach with my Kindle. Camogli doesn’t have a ton of famous sites, meaning you’re able to slow down the clock a bit and soak up your surroundings.
Best Things to Do in Camogli Italy
Alright now onto the best things to do in Camogli Italy. Are you excited? I know you are! Buckle in, skipper.
I tried to incorporate a variety of activities into this post. Camogli, luckily, has diverse options available for every type of traveler.
Full disclosure. I only stayed in Camogli for one day (so sad!) and know there are plenty more things to do and see here. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
Hike to San Rocco
Like I’ve said, Camogli has plenty of hiking trails for travelers who love the outdoors. As always, bring comfortable shoes when hiking to San Rocco and beyond. Your footwear is even more important if you want to continue your walk to San Fruttuoso Abbey or Punta Chiappa.
The Church of San Rocco is a lovely place of worship that’s perched high into the cliffs. Follow along the harbor road until you reach a parking lot and see signs for San Rocco.
The stairs are very clearly labelled, making it nearly impossible to get lost. Nearby the church, take a stroll and see Camogli from above the clouds. The view is gorgeous.
Just a word of warning, though. Plenty of people say Camogli to San Rocco is an easy hike, but, uh, there are a lot of steps. A lot. Personally, I was winded as hell. You should be in decent shape to do this walk. At the very least, make sure your knees are able to handle the climb especially going back to Camogli.
Reflect at Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta
Camogli’s Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta is beautifully situated on the rocky beach’s peninsula. I definitely think this is the most photographed spot in all of Camogli. As for myself, I must’ve taken about fifty photos of this basilica. It’s gorgeous.
Basicilia di Santa Maria Assunta was built in the 1800s. Feel free to take pictures outside. If you go into the church, though, demonstrate respect that’s expected in places of worship. For example, bring a travel shawl with you if you’re traveling in summer and have bare shoulders exposed.
Keep in mind the sea is very rough depending on the water. Exercise caution out on the rocky peninsula. You don’t want your camera (or heaven forbid, yourself) getting washed away in the waves.
Climb Castello Della Dragonara
You’ll encounter Castello Della Dragonara (aka Castel Dragone) not far from Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta. If you’re a fantasy novel nerd (cough, like me, cough), then you’ll have a lot of fun climbing to the top of this castle and pretending you’re fighting off dragons.
Built in the 13th and 14th centuries, Castello Della Dragonara protected Camogli, but eventually fell into disrepair. Today Castello Della Dragonara is a museum for curious tourists.
The museum, as far as I can remember, is free, but leaving a donation is always appreciated!
This castle reminded me a lot of the one in Vernazza, but with a lot less tourists. The views of the sea are awesome.
Read More: Solo Travel Italy Guide
Eat Plenty of Fresh Seafood
You need to eat seafood in Camogli. I mean, obviously. It’s a fishing village, after all. There are plenty of delicious eateries in the main harbor, but be expected to pay more to have lunch with a view.
My favorite meal in all of Camogli was seafood pasta. The mussels and shrimp and fish were wonderfully fresh and light, and provided the right amount of nourishment to take a hike.
If you’re on a budget, then grab a cone of fried calamari (my favorite!) as you explore the town of Camogli and wondrous natural surroundings. But don’t skimp on seafood. Just don’t.
Relax in the Sun on the Rocky Beach
The beaches are obviously a major attraction in this part of Italy.
Pack your swimsuit and towel if you’re planning on coming to the beach. Keep in mind July and August brings incredibly hot weather. And Italian sun? Is strong. Very strong. Sun lotion isn’t optional for those long lazy afternoons on the beach.
Finally, if you come in summer, bring water shoes for swimming in the sea. Camogli has a lovely beach, but it’s a rock beach. Your feet will hurt a lot without water shoes.
How to Reach Camogli by Train
Camogli is super accessible by public transportation given it has its own train station. Camogli’s station is small, only two platforms, so it’s impossible to get lost – which is another bonus.
The train station is located on the Genoa-Rome line, which makes Camogli well-connected to other places in the region. For example, it’s a ten minute ride on the local train from popular Santa Margherita Ligure and only thirty minutes away from Genoa.
Make sure you arrive for your train on time. Although the “pace of life” is slower in Italy, the trains still run on time for the most part, and you don’t want to ruin your travel itinerary.
Furthermore, make sure to validate your ticket. Failing to do will result in a fine.
Where to Stay in Camogli
Now for the sad news. Camogli is actually pretty expensive to stay in. There are no hostels, as far as I know, and the harbor side hotels come at a premium. By all means, if you have spare cash to burn, stay at a resort right on the sea.
However, I think AirBNB is a fabulous option for finding a place to stay in Camogli. Even better if you’ve the chance to stay with a local. As all you guys know, locals are the best way to receive insights on the places you’re visiting on your travels.
I stayed waaaay up in the cliffs with a local woman. The views were gorgeous even if the climb to the house was … tough, haha.
I hope you liked reading about the best things to do in Camogli Italy. Have you ever visited Camogli? What about nearby towns such as Portofino? Share all your thoughts in the comments.