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PORTOFINO BY KAYAK

Itineraries by kayak along wild cliffs and wonderful coastal towns
Travel itineraries, hiking, kayaking and sailing in Italy and around the world

Visiting the peninsula of Portofino by kayak is a memorable experience that allows enjoying all the most fascinating detail of this famous stretch of coast. The main destinations of a kayak trip in this natural park are Camogli, San Fruttuoso and Paraggi, plus of course Portofino and all the spectacular nature in the middle. However, the coast is well worth a visit beyond the Park of Portofino, both towards Genoa and Chiavari.
Under the map of this part of Liguria you'll find the description of these kayaking itineraries along the Italian Riviera. If you are interested in renting kayaks or in an organized kayaking trip along these routes in Liguria, contact us here: info@wildtrips.net or visit www.catchiavari.it.
A tip on how to visit this stretch of Ligurian coast: inflatable kayaks are a perfect solution and generally more comfortable than the normal ones, as they allow travelling by train, which is much easier than by car in this part of the Italian Riviera. By inflatable kayak, you can paddle in one direction from a train station to another, then deflate the kayak and go back by train, without the hassle of collecting the car, parking, tying kayaks to the roof, etc.
Please notice that the distances on the map are straight lines, but it is normal (actually, very recommended) to follow by kayak all the little bays and imposing rocks of the Ligurian coast.

Kayak at Portofino, Liguria
Kayak in Liguria: from Genoa Nervi to Chiavari visiting Portofino; map and distances

Kayak at Recco, Liguria Genoa Nervi - Camogli
This first itinerary is very surprising. The bars on the sea of Genoa Nervi are a hedonistic starting point (for those traveling by inflatable kayak, Genoa Nervi station is right on the beach). Then, paddling eastward, you meet cliffs, pine trees, villas and small castles perched on the sea. So, despite being a kayak trip in the nature, there are also some architectural highlights!

Before arriving at Camogli, there are some as typical Ligurian towns such as Bogliasco and Sori. Once in Recco, you can have a slice of focaccia with cheese or you can continue your kayak trip to the beautiful Camogli (in this part of the coast, between a cliff and another, you can enter with the kayak a dark and rather deep cave).
Visiting the fishermen marina of Camogli is compulsory:) Then, it's recommended to paddle along the castle and the beaches, behind which the typical Ligurian houses stand tall.
So, for those looking for a kayak trip full of interesting aspects that go beyond the sole beauty of the landscape, this 10-km itinerary from Genoa Nervi to Camogli is an excellent solution.
Kayak at Genoa Nervi, Liguria
Paddling on a kayak from Genoa Nervi to Camogli, it is possible to admire animated bars...
Kayak at Genoa Nervi, Liguria
... villas perched on the sea, cliffs and Mediterranean bush
Kayak at Camogli, Liguria Camogli - San Fruttuoso
With the stunning views of Camogli in the heart (or in the camera), you can then paddle along the promontory of Portofino, admiring the clear sea, the cliffs and the Mediterranean trees. There are some fishermen's cottages along the way and a tiny harbor with a few boats and some fishing nets before reaching the rocky Punta Chiappa. From here the coast becomes even more impressive: by kayak you can skim conglomerate walls hundreds of meters high. When you lose sight of Camogli, there is just nature in front of you. In the first deep bay that you meet (Cala dell'Oro) access is forbidden to all boats including kayaks (in order to preserve the environment).

So you have to go straight to the next cape, after which there is the bay of San Fruttuoso. Here you can dive over the Christ of the Abyss, the famous statue resting on the seabed. When the sea is clear - very frequently - you just need a mask to admire it... no need to be experts in diving. The Christ of the Abyss is about 10 meters deep, on the right side of the bay (facing San Fruttuoso).
Obviously, the beach overlooked by the Abbey of San Fruttuoso is worth a stop. At this point you can either continue kayaking towards Portofino or, if you are tired, deflate the inflatable kayak and get a ferry to Camogli and Santa Margherita Ligure. Prices 8 euros per person. Inflatable kayaks travel for free and must be accompanied with loving attention.
Kayak at San Fruttuoso, Liguria
From Camogli to San Fruttuoso by kayak, exploring the crystal clear waters...
Kayak at San Fruttuoso, Liguria
...of the park of Portofino and finishing the kayaking trip with a well-deserved beer
Kayak at Portofino, Liguria San Fruttuoso - Santa Margherita Ligure
From San Fruttuoso, when you continue by kayak towards Portofino you can flank conglomerate cliffs and pine trees leaning out over the sea. At one point you can see, at the top of the steep rocky walls, the first villas and the church of Portofino: here some artificial tunnels were dug into the rock, crossing the mountain; you can see the narrow entrances from the kayak, in the cliffs a few meters above sea level. Access to these incredible tunnels, unfortunately, is forbidden, as they are private.
Then you reach the lighthouse of Portofino, in imposing position. You can enter the natural harbour of Portofino by kayak, that you can moor directly in its famous square.

This is not the best place to sit at a bar and drink something - prices are crazy - but take-away focaccias or ice-creams are not overly expensive; a t-shirt in a boutique, instead, might cost three hundred euros.
Back on the kayak, you can follow the coast to Santa Margherita Ligure, also touching Paraggi. This route is great, although less wild than the Camogli - Portofino itinerary. Santa Margherita Ligure is also a great arriving point, with the train station close to beaches.
Kayak a Portofino, Liguria Kayak a Portofino, Liguria Kayak a Paraggi, Liguria
From San Fruttuoso to Santa Margherita Ligure, you meet not only the picturesque Portofino, but also imposing cliffs and surprising tunnels
Kayak a Portofino, Liguria Kayak a Portofino, Liguria Kayak a Santa Margherita Ligure, Liguria
Santa Margherita Ligure is a very glamour seaside town where to conclude the kayaking itinerary
Kayak between Chiavari and Zoagli, Liguria Santa Margherita Ligure - Chiavari
This stretch of coast is initially too developed with buildings and villas, yet it offers some corners of really superb nature.
Santa Margherita Ligure is a town well known to tourism, but in a few minutes by kayak you arrive at Prelo, almost in another world: it is a small beach at the bottom of a bay overlooked by some typical houses and the park of the luxurious villa of the Knights of Malta. Someone at the bar, after a few drinks, might tell you that Prelo is not in Liguria, not even in Italy... it's an independent country. Of course it's nonsense, but a fascinating nonsense.
After Prelo you meet the town of San Michele di Pagana, picturesquely located at the bottom of a small, green bay. By kayak, it is then advisable to skip Rapallo, really too developed, and paddle straight towards the cliffs that rise immediately after the city. In fact, the stretch of coast between Rapallo and Zoagli is a pleasant sequence of small houses and rocky cliffs.
Zoagli beach is a good landing place for a break, a cold beer, some trofie with pesto, a cigar and a whiskey (or even for healthier alternatives). Proceeding towards Chiavari, the coast offers a beautiful natural environment made of rugged cliffs. There are also some small beaches and some small natural caves before reaching the Salt Block, a wide beach accessible only by sea and surrounded by cliffs and pine trees. This is a great place for a quick kayak trip from Chiavari.
The last strokes of paddle lead to Chiavari, where you can choose either one of the beaches or the port (very handy for the station) as landing points.
Kayak at Zoagli, Liguria
Proceeding by kayak from Santa Margherita Ligure to Chiavari, the coast becomes really fascinating especially from Zoagli
Kayak at Zoagli, Liguria
Rocks, villas perched on the sea and small caves make this stretch of coast highly recommended for a kayaking trip
In conclusion...
All these parts of the coast deserve to be visited in depth. Obviously, some good kayakers with fast kayaks could paddle from Genoa Nervi to Chiavari in a loooong and intense day, but they would miss a lot of the beauty of the coast... A kayak is an ideal means of transport to enjoy the charm and the particularities of each bay, town, cliff or beach, so our advice is to visit this part of Liguria with more calm and to dedicate time to each section of the whole itinerary.
It is a very good idea to spend more days in the area, so you could look for the most convenient places where to sleep here. Further from the coast, the hotels are cheaper.
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You can find more photos (with higher resolution) of all the kayaking trips in Liguria in this photogallery:
Photos of Liguria by kayak
All photos from Liguria visited by kayak

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