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: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
click here to find the best offers for accomodation.
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:
If you love the sea, you'll appreciate also these trip reports full of photos: SAILING ITALY - PHOTOS AND TRAVEL ITINERARY
From Liguria to Sicily, 800 miles on a sailboat among paradise islands, picturesque villages and memorable wines