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Genoa is in the heart of the Italian Riviera along the Ligurian Sea which is divided into two main sections: the Riviera di Ponente (coast of the setting sun) and the Riviera di Levante (coast of the rising sun). The Riviera di Levante extends from Genoa southward to Capo Corvo.
Three of the most gorgeous beaches on the Riviera di Levante are Zoagli, Cavi di Lavagna, and Sestri Levante. The entire area is known for its pesto Genovese, its soft focaccia bread, and its fresh seafood dishes. It’s also the perfect area for all kinds of outdoor sporting activities from mountain biking to boating to hiking trails. The climate is beautiful and mild the entire year, but summer is of course, when the area thrives.
The Beaches of Zoagli
Zoagli is only about an hour by train or car from Genoa. It has been known for centuries for its production of fine silks. Beginning in the 19th century, it was already well known as a tourist destination and visitors such as Nietzsche, Kandinsky, Ezra Pound, and Sem Benelli were singing its praises. The rocky shores hug the deep blue Gulf of Tigullio and some of the most renowned spots are Pozzetto Beach, Duca, and Arenella.
The city built a fantastic railed walkway that hugs the shore and even connects Duca Beach to the main square. Although beautiful, it may not be the easiest choice for families with young children. There are various hiking trails from Zoagli including the Sentiero dei 5 Campanili trail and one that reaches the Montallegro Sanctuary.
Cavi di Lavagna
Cavi di Lavagna is a four-kilometer stretch of gorgeous beaches along the Tigullio Gulf. You’ll find both sandy and rocky beaches with loads of amenities to make your beach day pleasurable. Bars, restaurants, beach equipment rental and bathing establishments line the shore which is perfect for visitors that do not want to haul a lot of stuff from their hotel room down to the beach. There are kiosks as well for quick meals. This “blue flag” beach is an ideal stretch for families with young children. The village of Cavi is a tiny, picturesque fishing village with colorful buildings and shops that look like a postcard snapshot. You can also reach the nearby town of Lavagna on foot if you feel like exploring.
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Sestri Levante is also known as the “City of Two Seas” because it is divided between the Baia delle Favole or the Bay of Fairy Tales and the Baia del Silenzio or the Bay of Silence. The beaches of Sestri Levante are truly fairytale-like and have seen the likes of illustrious guests such as Lord Byron and Goethe. Its deep blue waters and calm sea combined with both “free” beaches and bathing establishments make it the ideal destination for any beach-goer. The Baia del Silenzio was awarded the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ Beaches Awards 2019 and came in fifth place among the most beautiful beaches in all of Italy. Its crystal clear water and fine sand are protected to the west by the Punta Manara promontory. It also hosts a beautiful boat festival called the Barcarolata on the last Sunday of every July.
Read more about fantastic destinations in the Genoa province