A confession: unlike my co-blogger, Judy, I am unlikely to hike the Cinque Terre. The will is strong but the knees ache and the hills can be steep. Yet the thought of sea views, sail boats in the distance, and hidden beaches is pretty compelling. Lucky for me there is a perfect walk along the Ligurian coast, just above the Cinque Terre, that is gorgeous and flat. For me, this counts as a hike!
This walk begins in the small town of Levanto and heads northward to the even smaller town of Bonassola. In the marvelous Italian tradition of recycling, reusing, and making the best of what is available, someone had the brilliant idea to create a paved walking / biking path through abandoned train tunnels between the two towns.
The tunnels provide shade and cool breezes, making this walk pleasant even on a warm day. Between the tunnels lie short stretches of the rocky coastline, secluded small beaches, mysterious stairways, and gorgeous views out to sea.
The walk is about 25 minutes at a comfortable pace, 40 minutes with plenty of stops to admire the views, watch people and dogs cavorting on the beach, take photos, and generally just enjoy the experience.
I had my daughter and two of my grandchildren with me - and the walk was perfect for the kids. In fact, my 10-year-old granddaughter proclaimed this walk her favorite Italian experience!
The town of Bonassola is also a treat. Small and pretty, it has a sandy beach, appealing shops, friendly people, and lots of flowers. We enjoyed tasty pastas and salads, along with friendly service, on the patio of Caffe delle Rose for lunch. In early June, the tourist crowds had not yet arrived and Bonassola was peaceful and quiet. Delightful!
There is train service between Levanto and Bonassola, but we enjoyed walking back the same way we came. Why take a train when there is a pleasant walk with great views? We even encountered a wedding party along the way back and found a little dog beach. This is an easy and beautiful walk and one I highly recommend. I can’t wait to do it again! -post by Joanne