Several stops along the train line from Sestri Levante is Rapallo.  It’s the first of the coastal towns worth visiting on the train line and is just across the bay from Portofino.    This is another place where the Italians go on holiday and rarely do you see a Brit here – just Italian families with their children and dogs.

Rapallo sea front

The Seafront

It is a city that perfectly fuses history, art and beautiful natural scenery

Castello Sul Mare, Rapallo

Castello Sul Mare

Castello Sul Mare, Rapallo

Castello Sul Mare

The 16th-century Castello Sul Mare (Castle-on-the-Sea) is Rapallo’s most prominent landmark, sitting at the eastern end of the promenade on the Lungomare.  It was built to protect Rapallo from pirate invasions.  Later it became a prison but is now a venue for exhibitions. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when we visited so we could only photograph it from outside.  The modern marina with lots of very expensive large yachts is located at the other end of the promenade.

Seafront Promenade, Rapallo

Seafront Promenade

Seafront promenade, Rapallo

Seafront promenade,

The lovely wide seafront promenade is shaded with palm trees and lined with very attractive and elegant buildings, hotels and plenty of restaurants and shops which were full of life when we visited (It was a bank holiday weekend and a lovely sunny day).  The street musicians made it a really lively and enjoyable experience.

Ristorante Italian, Rapallo

Ristorante Italian,

The Bandstand, Rapallo

The Bandstand,

Ceiling painting in the Bandstand, Rapallo

Ceiling painting in the Bandstand,

There is an attractive bandstand (Chiosco Della Musica) in a small square just across from the waterfront which is fascinating – inside its domed roof, the ceiling is decorated with paintings of typical gods and goddesses of Italian myths and legends, all swirling round in a blue heaven.  Concerts often take place here in the evenings.  We sat and drank coffee in a nearby restaurant watching some youngsters practising their breakdancing inside it.

Rapallo tourist train

Tourist train

After coffee and a relaxing hour people watching we crossed from the bandstand to the small tourist train and decided to do a tour of the town for 3 euros each.  It was well worth it and took us a good distance around Rapallo.

Bridge in Rapallo

Bridge in Rapallo

We passed an interesting old bridge which dating to early Roman times.  The bridge itself is gated off so you cannot cross. You can walk to either end via small alleys on either side.  There is a historical marker on one end in the alley.  It’s definitely worth a quick stop.

Town Centre, Rapallo

Town Centre

Just behind the seafront promenade is the historic town centre with narrow streets, old buildings and a lovely assortment of shops.

Rapallo narrow shopping streets

Narrow shopping streets

Food & wine shop in Rapallo

Food & wine shop

Ham & Cheese Shop in Rapallo

Ham & Cheese Shop


Sun decks in Rapallo


Ristorante Italian, Rapallo

Ristorante Italian


Rapallo red carpet

The red carpet

The day we arrived the red carpet had just been laid which stretches from the Rapallo Castle to the Portofino Square.  They hold the record with the Guinness book of records for the longest 8.5km red carpet for the “Walk of Spring”, organized by the Liguria Region with the towns of Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino.   This is to celebrate the arrival of the “beautiful season”.

Rapallo tourist boat

Tourist boat

Rapallo sea front


Further Information

How to get to Rapallo

Rapallo is a municipality in the province of Genoa, in Liguria, northern Italy.

By Car

Genoa is the nearest airport  34 min (27.4 km) via A12/E80

The average train journey time from Genoa to Rapallo is 40 minutes and the fastest journey time is 26 minutes.  The distance is 26km

The minimum price of a train ticket is €7.9.  It is cheaper to book your tickets as early as possible to get the best price.  Book tickets and see the timetable here.

Distance between Sestri Levante and Rapallo is 16 kilometers (10 miles).
Driving distance from Sestri Levante to Rapallo is 26 kilometres (16 miles).

Car Hire

We always find the cheapest and most reliable cars to hire while we are away with RentalCars.com here and we always take out a car hire excess insurance with insure4carhire

Accommodation  in Rapallo

Miramar Hotel

Hotel Miramar, Rapallo

Hotel Miramar, Rapallo

The hotel is right on the waterfront so has lovely views of the bay. It’s very convenient for the boat trips and walking around the coast to Portofino as well as walking in the town. It’s just 5 minutes from the station where you can get to Camogli, Sestri Levante, Cinque Terre, and other smaller coastal towns. It’s a clean, comfortable hotel with friendly staff

Find this hotel on Trip Advisor, Booking.com


Fossa Lupara, Sestri Levante

GPS: N44°16’25” E9°25’21”

We stay at Fossa Lupara and then travel from there by train to Rapallo. The campsite offers a taxi service to and from the station.