I recently discovered the joys of winter hiking in Liguria, a region by the sea just a couple of hours from Milan. If it isn’t raining then this region tends to stay mild in December and when the sun’s out it can reach around 15’C, providing perfect hiking conditions.
I’m usually keen to spend time in the mountains during the winter, however there’s something appealing about being by the coast off-season. Perhaps it’s the tranquility of being by the sea without the crowds, or the calming sound of the water, needless to say it was a perfect little escape from the cold city air.
We started this particular hike on the Sentiero del Pellegrino from Noli, a small seaside town on the western side of Genova, which can be reached by both car and train. There are several points at which you can take the trail up onto Capo Noli, with sweeping sea views greeting you along the path. During the hike we came across the derelict Santa Margherita church and some houses, long abandoned and surrounded by fallen trees, having lost their battle to the wind and rain in the harsher weather. The paths were shaded and dappled by the sun whilst the meditative sound of the sea was always present.
The route can be hiked from Varigotti to Noli, although you would need to allow for around 4 hours or so. We opted for a shorter route, spending just a couple of hours hiking due to limited time, however it was definitely enough to enjoy and take in the surroundings.
We finished the hike at the Grotta dei Falsari, before turning back and looping back around to Noli. The grotto looks out across the sea and feels like something out of Treasure Island, although unfortunately no smuggled treasure or pirates were to be found.
From the look out at the top of the route to Grotta dei Falsari, you can see the wintery waves crash against the cliffs edge, where I’m told that there are some sport climbing routes, including sea traverses – something to be added to our 2020 adventures!
All of the paths along the route are well marked with the direction and approximate time it takes to reach it. If you prefer to do a little research beforehand for the specific route, you can find some entries on All trails, such as this one, as well as some information on trip advisor.
The great thing about Liguria is that due to its mild weather, sea border and hilly terrain, there are plenty of activities available all year round, from mediterranean hiking to climbing in Finale Ligure, sea kayaking, paddle boarding and trail running, you can even spot surfers in Recco’s bay, patiently waiting for some waves when the sea is a little rougher than usual.
I’m hoping to return very soon to discover some more hikes along the Italian riviera, will keep you posted.
Emily x x x
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