Travel writer Mollie Johnson reveals how to do dream destination, Bali, on a budget, without forgoing the ultimate island experienceWritten by molliejohnson on 8th August 2017
Hidden Gem: Camogli
Travel editor, Carys, unveils the best kept secret of the Italian Riviera
Italy is a European destination that attracts thousands of tourists every year. Many flock to the cities, favoring Rome, Milan and Venice. However, in the summer months these cities, whilst undeniably beautiful, can be incredibly humid and claustrophobic. So why not move out of the heat of the cities to experience the breeze and serenity of the Italian Riviera?
In the North-West region of Liguria, a two-hour drive from Milan, you will find the picturesque fishing port of Camogli. It fits the exact stereotype of an Italian coastal village; multi-story palazzi’s built into the cliffs painted in light pinks, yellow and terracotta’s, finished off with rustic window shutters. As you walk through the narrow streets and lanes the residents washing hangs above you and homemade pizza and garlic is a constant scent. It could not be more Italian if you tried.
The small bay is complete with a pebble beach, flocked with beach loungers and camisoles. A perfect spot for some Italian family people watching (up there as some of my top people watching). If you feel like getting your blood pumping then rent a kayak off the beach. You can paddle out into the ocean and then look back at the stunning view of the village. A top tip: do this just before sunset; you really won’t regret this on a warm, summer evening. You can then put your appetite to good use. Considering how small Camogli is, there are a number of restaurants and bars. The food is all of high quality, however it is basic, as there are no Michelin stars floating around here. The menus basically consist of fish and homemade pasta, but the fish was some of the freshest I’ve tasted so you won’t get bored quickly. Additionally, all the restaurants boast al fresco dining with views out to sea. Grab a sundowner in one of the small bars and then move on to enjoy your meal once the temperature has dropped.
Again, due to its small size, the choices of accommodation in Camogli are slim. However, for me, there is only one place you can stay to make the most of your visit. Hotel Cenobio Dei Dogi lies at one end of the harbour meaning that when you look out from the balcony you get views across the whole of the town, it is truly stunning. What more do you need to know than that the main house is painted bright pink with green shutters and looks out onto the Portofino bay? Well if that still hasn’t quite sold you then the fact it has its own private access to a beach, as well as 3 different restaurants has got to have you pressing that booking button. It is luxurious, and if you are on a student budget going in the peak of summer is going to be very pricey, however if you travel out of peak season the last-minute deals on it are great value. Value that you may not get in other, more well-known areas along the coast such as Cinque Terre.
Despite its remote location, in the centre of the town you will find the old railway station. Hop on one of these trains and you can ride up and down the coast.
“The perfect day trip from Camogli is to visit the world-famous town of Portofino. It is even smaller than Camogli but equally as charming.
As you start to plan this summer’s vacation, give the Italian Riviera a thought. Airports and trains easily access it, its bursting with energetic Italians and, most of all, it is absolutely stunning. If you want a true Italian experience, step away from the tourist hotspots and give Camogli a thought…you won’t regret it!