Sestri Levante is a small town on the Ligurian coast and a place the Italians like to holiday. It’s much quieter than some of the nearby towns of San Margherita and Portofino. In fact, this trip we were the only British visitors on the campsite and we didn’t hear any British voices in the town at all.
On one side of the town is the larger main beach called Bay de Favole which in typical Italian style has zone controlled beach areas with their own bar/restaurant, toilets, changing facilities and regimented layout of umbrellas and sun beds for hire.
The narrow streets between the two beaches are a mixture of shops, bars and more restaurants.
On the other side of the town is the Bay of Silence which is very scenic, peaceful and the smaller of the two beaches. It’s by far the most beautiful. It is only a narrow strip of sandy beach but it is an intimate bay with a hotel cut into the cliffs. Unlike the beach, on the opposite side of the peninsula, this one is a public beach with pretty fishing boats bobbing up and down in the water. It would be easy to miss the Bay of Silence because it is hidden behind the old buildings in the narrow shopping street. The first time we discovered it by accident and now it is the place we head to. It is just on the corner of the main sea-facing beach at Sestri. You just walk through a narrow alley and you arrive at the bay.
The small beach bar just below the Helvetia Hotel at the far end of the beach is the perfect spot to watch the sunset and listen to the waves lapping on the beach whilst drinking some Giancu de Purtufin wine (a wine that combines several of the territory’s grapes and that is produced locally). We like to do what the locals do before dinner in Northern Italy and that’s to head to a bar for an aperitivo where they serve you with a small platter of Genoese focaccia, olives, crisps and other snacks free with your drink.
The setting is very romantic.
The main reason we base ourselves in Sestri Levante is that there is a train station at the back of the town that stops off at all the little coastal towns along the way. You can travel in one direction to the Cinque Terre or in the other direction to Rapallo, San Margherita, Portofino, Camogli and beyond. If you prefer you can take a ferry from the waterfront. What we particularly like about this place though is that it has a train station and from here you can visit many lovely places. The first place we visited last year was Santa Margherita and as I didn’t do the blog on it last year I thought I would include it in this one.
Sestri Levente, Italy
GPS: N44° 16’26” E9° 25’ 22”
We love this campsite although a couple of years ago we pulled up outside and decided to come away and find another one as it didn’t seem to be in the best location. It was very near the toll booths on the motorway and there seemed to be a lot of concrete bridges and pillars around along with a builder’s merchant near the entrance. Straight away we thought it wouldn’t be nice for getting anywhere by foot or cycle.
Daniel, the campsite owner, provides a taxi service into Sestri Levente or the station for just 4 euros each way and you just give him a call when you want to be picked up and he or one of his family pick you up. You can walk into Sestri Levente but it is quite a long walk. We cycled once but it was along a busy main road.