Levanto is a charming town in eastern Liguria that offers many things to do and see. Let's discover it together.
Levanto is a quaint and picturesque Ligurian village best known as a starting point for excursions to the more famous Cinque Terre. This ultimate guide to Levanto will take you to discover its beauty and the many activities it offers. You can stroll through the streets of the historic centre and enjoy a lively nightlife with clubs and restaurants, or relax by the sea, surfing or kayaking. The town is also a starting point for boat trips, cycling and trekking routes.
Levanto: a dip in the historic center
We begin our tour in Levanto by starting in its historic centre, strolling through alleys, small squares and colourful buildings.
Start from the central Via Garibaldi, where you can find numerous shops and restaurants and old noble buildings with their colourful façades. Walk through the old town to reach 'Le Grottesche', nine small half-length figures dating back to the 16th century. In the oldest part of the town, known as the Borgo Antico, you can stop to visit the Church of Santa Maria della Costa. From this colourful little square, continue along the walls of the Salita San Giacomo, which leads to the medieval municipal loggia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the town's commercial activities took place in the past. Going on, you will notice the Church of Sant'Andrea, dating back to the 14th century, characterized by a beautiful façade in white Carrara marble containing treasures from the Renaissance period. Descending towards the seafront you can admire the large beach and Villa La Pietra, a belvedere surrounded by the sea and connected to the mainland by a bridge.
While strolling through the old town centre, don't miss out on some healthy shopping among the elegant boutiques and mouth-watering shops selling local products.
Beach and sea
Photo by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay
The Levanto beach is located near the centre of the town and, unlike most Ligurian beaches, is very large and sandy. Perfect, therefore, for spending relaxing days with children also thanks to the shallow waters. There are both free beach and beach resorts where you can rent sunbeds, beach umbrellas, pedalos and canoes.
In addition to the Levanto beach, there are also the quieter Framura beach and the Bonassola beach, which is very busy.
If you are looking for wilder-looking beaches, explore the coves along the coast corresponding to the Maremonti cycle path.
An amazing coastline
As we said at the beginning, Levanto is an excellent base for exploring the amazing Ligurian Coastline.
The best way is to take advantage of the frequent train connections; the route is very short and it is in any case not recommended to arrive by car due to the lack parking spaces. With a single card, you can move as you please throughout the day between the Cinque Terre, getting off and on at each stop.
Those who love trekking can follow the paths that connect the villages with each other, it is definitely one of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of this area.
With its beautiful sea and breathtaking coastal landscapes, don't miss a boat tour from Levanto to discover its beautiful coastline from a privileged point of view. There are many tours that, starting from Levanto, can take you to discover the coast, in the direction of Cinque Terre, but also Portovenere, towards the Gulf of Poets and Portofino.
Cycle path to Bonassola
For bike lovers, one of the most fascinating cycle paths in Liguria starts from Levanto: Ciclopedonale MareMonti (MareMonti cycle path), which links Levanto to Bonassola and Framura.
The route is wonderful and fascinating and runs along the old single-track railway that connected Genoa and Pisa. Cycling or even simply walking along this route is a fun and suggestive experience during which you can admire the sea, the coast and unforgettable views. Along the way you can visit the characteristic villages of Bonassola and Framura or stop for a swim.
The route is asphalted and completely flat, no element of difficulty so.... suitable for everyone!
If you prefer hiking, a beautiful trekking route starts from Levanto, passing among olive trees, vines and lush Mediterranean scrub, leading to Monterosso, the first and westernmost village in the Cinque Terre.
The route passes within the Cinque Terre National Park and is about 7 km long, which can be covered in about two and a half hours. The height difference is limited. This route is easy and, therefore, suitable for everyone, even beginners and families with children (used to walking). The best times are spring and autumn; however, it is also feasible in winter, since the temperatures are never particularly low, and in summer with some precautions.
Once you reach Monterosso, you can enjoy the village and its sea. To return, you can then take the train back to Levanto in a few minutes.
For hiking enthusiasts, there are more than 50 trails in the area for all levels: from easy walks to more challenging treks for experts, they are all fascinating routes through villages, forests, olive groves and vineyards that also wind along the coast.
In addition to sea and nature, Levanto also offers extraordinary local products. These include olive oil and delicious wines that should definitely be tried.
The vineyards in Liguria are really interesting to visit due to the particular conformation of the region with mountains overlooking the sea. Imagine how difficult it is to cultivate this land facing hundreds of metres of altitude difference. Therefore, the characteristic 'fasce' were created with typical dry stone walls, monorails and small cable cars used to transport the harvested grapes from the bottom to the top. For this reason, a tour of the wineries in the Levanto area is an experience not to be missed.
Vineyards climb the mountains overlooking the sea, giving rise to excellent wines such as the white 'Colline di Levanto', DOC produced exclusively from grapes grown in the province of La Spezia.
Levanto and its local food
During a stay in Levanto, one of the most pleasant aspects is undoubtedly the cuisine. In practice, you can eat well everywhere, whether quick meals to be eaten standing up, on the beach, on the benches in the centre, or real meals in restaurants.
First of all, you absolutely must try the focaccia, seasoned in every possible way: with onions, with cheese (the famous focaccia di Recco), with cherry tomatoes, with tomatoes and capers, with pesto or plain. Also chickpea farinata is an excellent and delicious quick snack to take to the beach.
At the restaurant, the trofie with pesto, seafood dishes and stuffed anchovies are not to be missed. The typical Levantine speciality is gattafin, large fried ravioli filled with ricotta and vegetables. Don't forget to stock up on pesto before you leave, this definitely has nothing to do with what you find in supermarkets.