Looking for vacation advice? Discover this gem in Liguria and explore Alassio like a local with our tips.

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For many English visitors, the spark was ignited in the 19th century. Hillside villas, dreamlike gardens, an extensive collection of books and artworks, and a tennis club are part of the rich historical legacy of that period.

According to legend, it was the ancient romantic retreat of a princess and a soldier.

In current popular and tourist culture, it is believed to bring good luck for future marriage (but you need to touch the statue 'Gli Innamorati' by Eros Pellini to earn Cupid's favour).

Regional gastronomy enthusiasts are already in love with its 'kisses'.

Love is in the air in Alassio, and we are sure that you will fall head over heels. For its stunning sea, art, delicious cuisine, and sweet landscapes.

Here, we reveal what we believe are the best things to do in Alassio like a local.

Things to do in Alassio like a local

Things to do in Alassio like a local

For those arriving in Alassio by train, Il Muretto is one of the first attractions they are likely to encounter.

Over the decades, this low wall near the local highlight Caffè Roma has been adorned with colourful ceramic tiles bearing the signatures of those who have either loved, visited, or passed through and been captivated by Alassio's charm.

The names featured include athletes, entertainers, and cultural figures. Apparently, Ernest Hemingway was the first to be added. The great American novelist and journalist was a regular patron of the café owned by Mario Berrino, an artist and entrepreneur who played a key role in Alassio's cultural life.

The lively atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s still shapes the town's reputation today. However, it's important not to view it merely as a relic of the past: it would be a mistake.

Find why in our seven-stop journey.

We have summarized some of the key points that should always be on your list of things to do in Alassio like a local.

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7. Strolling Through il Budello

Things to do in Alassio like a local. Strolling Through il Budello

The Budello area coincides with the carruggio (the typical Liguria narrow streets) parallel to the sea, connecting Borgo Coscia to Barusso.

It is one of the best-preserved districts of its kind in the region, consisting of a maze of old fishermen's houses and elegant historic buildings offering picturesque views like no other in Alassio.

If it's your first time visiting, you'll find it irresistible for its Mediterranean and unmistakably Ligurian spirit.

The area is always bustling, practically at all hours of the day, and frequented by both tourists and locals. For the latter, it is a pillar of daily life, a meeting place to stroll with friends, do some shopping, and enjoy an aperitif.

Shops, boutiques, restaurants, pastry shops, and bakeries are everywhere. If you're wondering where to go to taste the delicious Baci di Alassio or take a bite of focaccia, the Budello is definitely the right place to start.

6. Discovering How Delicious a Kiss Can Be

You never forget your first kiss. 

In a place where everything seems to celebrate love—from the legends surrounding the city's origins to the artworks in the streets—even the most famous dessert is a (sweet) tribute.

Created by Pasquale Balzola in 1919, I Baci di Alassio, two cookies joined by a rich chocolate cream, has captured the hearts of generations of sweet-toothed fans.

Even notable admirers like Gabriele D'Annunzio were seduced by these small, creamy treats in the shape of a kiss made with cocoa and hazelnuts.

First baked in the historic Caffè Pasticceria Balzola, a landmark for taste enthusiasts since the early 20th century, they have been recognized as a DOP product since 2006. Be sure to stock up before you leave. 

Learn how to cook like a Ligure

5. Walking and cycle

Things to do in Alassio like a local. Walking and cycle

After that first unforgettable kiss, it's time to explore the area more in-depth.

We recommend checking out the marked trails that run through Alassio and its surroundings. There are many of them, forming a perfect itinerary covering relaxing hillside landscapes and coastal views.

As you begin your exploration, take a stroll around the port. You can witness the day's fresh catch being unloaded from the fishermen's boats and savour a local delicacy,'l'acciugotto,' a delectable sandwich filled with a flavorful blend of parsley and caper sauce and anchovies.

Continue to the nearby town of Laigueglia. The route runs for about 3 kilometres along the sea and is easy and pleasant to walk all year round.

For a more challenging but highly scenic and interesting route, follow Solva's mule tracks and narrow streets. This ancient hamlet is perched on a hill with just a few houses, a small square, and a frescoed church. It's more strenuous than a peaceful seaside walk, but the beauty and uniqueness of the views make it worthwhile.

Save some energy for a journey through time on the Via Iulia Augusta, a Roman road tracing the Liguria coastline. The itinerary represents one of the most fascinating historical and natural trails in the region.

If riding is your passion, you'll love the cycling path. You can choose to follow the paved road for a more straightforward ride or embark on adventurous off-road trails. 

Discover what to do near Alassio

4. Exploring Alassio beaches

Things to do in Alassio like a local. Exploring Alassio beaches

Part of Alassio's success is due to its reputation as a chic beach destination, which blossomed in the 1960s.

The main beach, a 3-kilometre stretch of sandy coastline featuring equipped lidos and accessible areas, is literally just a stone's throw from the historic centre, making it incredibly easy to reach.

If you're looking for a classic, stress-free seaside vacation, you're definitely in the right place.

Restaurants and cafes, well-integrated with the landscape and in harmony with the holiday atmosphere, are conveniently close to your sun lounger, perfect for even the laziest travellers.

Even the sea near the harbour is clean, so the beach areas near the pier are also quite popular.

Punta Murena boasts a decidedly different atmosphere. This stretch of sand, facing Gallinara Island, lies at the foot of a lush pine forest and, on certain days, delivers moments of absolute tranquillity.

You'll love Alassio beach life, but we are sure you will enjoy exploring the nearby coast, too. For example, if you are travelling with young children, you will appreciate the shallow Blue Flag waters of Ceriale Beach or the nearby Borghetto Santo Spirito.

DIscover Liguria sea

3. Witnessing the Bloom at Villa della Pergola

The 19th-century residence of the Hanbury family is now a luxury hotel featuring a Michelin-starred restaurant.

A living testament to the grandeur of yesteryear Liguria, Villa della Pergola exudes the aristocratic ambience of a specific historical era. It was a time when many British vacationers made Alassio their winter haven.

Its gardens are a gem in their own right. They span 22,000 square meters of colours and scents, with such a diverse array of trees and plants that there is a different bloom almost every month.

Stunning wisterias, an impressive collection of agapanthus—the largest in Europe—a citrus grove with 40 different varieties, including rare and curious specimens like the Murraya Paniculata, the smallest citrus in the world.

Additionally, there are fountains, lily ponds, a myrtle grove, and many other species, some extremely rare.

The park is part of the Grandi Giardini Italiani network and can be visited by reservation from March to November.

2. Excursion to Gallinara Island

Things to do in Alassio like a local. Excursion to Gallinara Island

A protected nature reserve since 1989, Gallinara Island defines the seascape of Alassio with its turtle-like silhouette.

The island is entirely uninhabited and not open to visitors. However, you can hop on one of the boats that depart daily from Alassio harbour to explore the waters surrounding the islet and discover the extraordinary natural wealth of this lush area.

Many animal species find their natural habitat here, with birds choosing it for nesting and a multitude of marine species that make it a favoured destination for diving enthusiasts.

Among the top spots for divers is the statue of Christ the Redeemer placed on Gallinara’s seabed in 1998, and the wreck of an ancient Roman ship, discovered in the 1950s with its cargo of amphorae, now housed in the Roman Naval Museum of Albenga.

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1. Discover All Facets of Alassio's Art Scene

From June to August, the Festival della Cultura brings a packed schedule of events and activities focused on art, music, theatre, cinema, literature, and poetry to Alassio's streets, squares, and curruggi.

Undoubtedly, Summer is a vibrant time to discover Alassio's lively side, but with so many galleries, museums, and initiatives, this seaside town proves to be an interesting cultural destination year-round.

Start your museum exploration with the Berrino Art Gallery, entirely dedicated to the renowned local artist who conceived the famous Muretto, the town's symbol.

A short ten-minute walk will take you to the Carlo Levi Art Gallery, located in the heart of the Budello. Housed in the 17th-century Palazzo Morteo, the museum pays tribute to the Turin-born writer and painter with a permanent exhibition of canvases, manuscripts, letters, and personal notes.

At the Richard West Memorial Gallery, you can admire 76 paintings by the British artist depicting the Ligurian landscape of the late 19th century. The place is also one of Italy's most prominent English libraries, housing about 15,000 volumes of the Anglo-Saxon Literary Fund.

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