As a part of our Italian adventure, we spent one day in Camogli, a colourful little seaside town on the Italian Riviera. We went to Camogli the day after our visit to Portofino and Santa Margherita, and it was such a refreshingly different experience. Instead of being the playground of the rich and famous, Camogli felt very local and much more approachable.
Camogli is very, very colourful, as a lot of Italian towns are, and parts of the architecture almost reminded me of a beautifully painted dollhouse. The houses were so cute and quaint that they almost didn’t feel real – lots of the restaurants had their names painted in colourful handpainted letters and each building was a beautiful mix of different colours, all topped with those lovely wooden window panes and shutters.
If you only have time to spend one day in Camogli, make it count: eat out in one of its lovely restaurants, have a dip in the sea and, most importantly, take your time to walk around its colourful streets. I’ve added a few tips below – hopefully they’ll inspire you to travel to this lovely little town!
Being a small town, Camogli doesn’t have an airport of its own, but it does have a train station! It’s on the mainline between Genoa and Portofino, so it’s very easy to get to. We took the train from Genoa, which took about 45 minutes.
I’ve travelled by train in Italy a lot and have quite mixed feelings about it. During my first time doing it last year, all trains usually came on time, weren’t too full and were blissfully air-conditioned to boot. This time, however, we were using more local trains, which were late most of the time and a lot busier too. Still, they too had aircon, so even if you do get stuck on the train, you should still be (quite) comfortable!
Long story short, I would definitely allocate a bit more time for the train journeys than you’ll think you’ll need – you never know if they’ll be late or not!
We found a really lovely little restaurant (I’m so upset that I can’t remember what it’s called!) on the beach boulevard, which catered to all our needs (we needed both vegetarian and gluten-free options): this place had a full vegetarian and vegan menu, as well as a gluten-free menu. And it wasn’t even that expensive – hurrah!
I was so excited about the vegetarian menu that it’s possible that I went a bit overboard… I ordered something called Panisse which is basically fries made out of chickpea flour. They were so lovely: salty, oily and a little bit crunchy. It was, however, quite a big portion, which didn’t leave a lot of space for my main… Whoops! But, I tried a local speciality so it’s all worth it in my books.
For my main, I ordered a dish with potatoes, green beans and lentils, all covered with lots of beautiful Genoese pesto (also a local delicacy!). So. Good!
A few other local specialties that I didn’t have time to try (sob!) are Farinata which, again, is made from fried chickpea flour and is basically like a little flatbread (also, gluten-free!) and Focaccia, which is an oven baked bread seasoned with oil and salt (and sometimes other things like rosemary and tomato, too!). There are many focacceria’s around these parts, so it should be very easy to get your hands on one should you like to!
My friend Laura’s pesto pasta, using a local type of pasta (kind of like short pieces of fat spaghetti!)
My pesto & veggie dish
My friend Helena’s gluten free and vegan dish with roasted veggies and quinoa
Take a dip in the sea – Even though Camogli was originally known more as a fishing village, there’s also a perfectly adequate (though rocky) public beach, too. We spent a few glorious hours swimming and sunbathing here!
Shop from local artists – Just by walking on the beach boulevard you’ll find a few shops by local artists selling things like drawings and paintings, as well as beautiful handmade items like magnets. The magnets are slightly more expensive than your basic tourist ones (which I ended up buying – guilty!) but they would make a lovely memory. My friend ended up buying one and I got to say I’m a bit gutted I didn’t do the same!
Deciding to spend one day in Camogli was SO worth it, and so if you ever find yourself in the area of Liguria or Italian Riviera, I would very much recommend a visit to this little gem! I promise you won’t regret it.
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