Lerici on the Ligurian Coast: Everything You Need to Know

Home » Lerici on the Ligurian Coast: Everything You Need to Know

By now, the Ligurian coast is certainly no secret. Names like Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and Portofino have made their way into travel magazines and bucket lists for travelers from all over the globe. There are still a few spots that aren’t quite as well known but yet, are equally fabulous. In this article, we’re going to explore Lerici and find out everything there is to see and do. 

Lerici is part of the Riviera di Levante and is just a few kilometers from the Tuscan border and seaside towns of Carrara and Massa. Overlooking the breathtaking Golfo dei Poeti, or Gulf of the Poets, Lerici is said to have inspired numerous Italian poets such as Dante and Petrarch as well as English literary geniuses like Lord Byron and Mary Shelley. 

San Giorgio Castle

Let’s begin our tour of Lerici by visiting its magnificent San Giorgio Castle. In the year 1241, there was a great naval battle on Giglio island between the maritime republics of Genova and Pisa. Pisa proved victorious and part of the deal was the port of Lerici. At the time, Lerici was defenseless and so a very basic castle was built.


You can visit the castle in about one hour’s time and the view from the terrace overlooking the entire gulf and coastline is absolutely spectacular! There is also a QR code that can be scanned for a free audio guide. Visit the official website for tickets and more information. Tip: To truly experience the town, reach the castle by zig-zagging and climbing its narrow alleys called carruggi. You’ll be amazed at the architecture in such tight spots!

Piazza Garibaldi

Garibaldi square is Lerici’s main piazza overlooking the sea and lined with the pastel-colored houses so typical of the Ligurian coast. Here, you’ll find all kinds of shops, restaurants, gelaterias, and cafes where you can taste some of the finest cuisine Lerici has to offer. Be sure to visit the Oratory of San Rocco which originally dates to 1287. 

Coves and Beaches

Obviously, what draws most people to Lerici is its mesmerizing sea. Lerici offers a combination of small stretches of sand where you can either set up your umbrella at no charge (“free beach” or spiaggia libera) or rent one at a private establishment for the day. However, its best attractions are its secret coves and inlets known as cala or caletta in Italian. Here is a quick guide to Lerici’s most picturesque spots.

Venere Azzura is a fairly small stretch of sandy beach offering both “free” beach and the possibility to rent an umbrella and chair. There is also a parking lot nearby if you happen to be driving. From here, you can see the islands of Palmaria and Tino.

Lido Lerici is the next sandy beach which is also equipped with a private bathing establishment where you can rent your umbrella and lounge chairs. 

There is also a tiny beach near the castle appropriately named La Spiaggia di San GiorgioYou can access this beach via a tunnel that runs from the castle. 

The tiny Maralunga peninsula is beyond magnificent but its beaches are only accessible via the campground facilities or by boat. There is also a sea grotto to explore, the Maralunga Grotto.

Moving inland from the Maralunga peninsula you’ll find one of the most revered coves in the area, the famous CalettaThe remains of a Roman ship dating to the first century AD are still visible under the crystal clear water! This beach is mostly accessed via the sea but there is a tiny trail that leads to it from above. 

Another exclusive cove is Cala Maramozza. There is a trail but it is not recommended unless you’re a local and know the area well. The best way to reach this tiny piece of heaven is by kayak or boat, preferably with a local guide. 

lerici-cala maramozza
Cala Maramozza

Explore Lerici’s Coast by Kayak

In fact, a kayak is one of the very best ways to explore Lerici’s breathtaking coast, hidden coves, and sea grottos. We recommend Kayak Escape located in Calata Mazzini just below the castle. They rent kayaks for you to use independently or hire one of their expert guides to truly get an insider’s experience. You can find their Instagram profile here

A Castle-to-Castle Hike

Of the many trails in the area, we recommend a simple hike along the coast from the Castle of San Terenzo to Lerici’s San Giorgio Castle. It is only about 30 minutes long and provides stunning views of the sea and shore on one side and the characteristic towns of San Terenzo and Lerici on the other! 

More to See 

From Lerici’s port, you can easily hop on the Golfo dei Poeti ferry line and visit Portovenere and Palmaria island. 

Another village you won’t want to miss is Tellaro which has been inducted into the “Most Beautiful Villages of Italy”. If you can, try to visit at sunset when the sun’s fading rays illuminate the colorful buildings in fantastic warm hues.

We have no doubt that Lerici will soon become one of your most treasured destinations and will have you coming back year after year.