Liguria Italy, what to do? 5 Outdoor Activities

Wondering what to do on your trip in Liguria Italy? Here are a few ideas: 5 Outdoor activities and various itineraries for discovering wild and uncontaminated “Riviera”- let yourself be carried away by its charming history and traditions in a very active and enjoyable way!

So here are our tips, suggested itineraries and all the indications you need to choose the best experience.

Make the most of your holiday- our suggestions:

  1. Biking along the Eastern Riviera
  2. Paddling either in Portofino or Cinque Terre national park
  3. Trekking, orienteering and bushcraft
  4. Coasteering from Niasca to Cannon Bay
  5. Snorkeling in Paraggi

An enthralling journey, with something for everyone’s tastes, accompanied by the perfume of the sea and the Mediterranean maquis, that takes in breathtaking views and places that are almost unreachable.

This is what you can do on the weekend and not just on Liguria’s Eastern riviera! You can travel from Portofino to the Cinque Terre, passing by Sestri Levante, Framura and Palmaria and Tino islands. Whether on the saddle of a bike, paddling a kayak or SUP, going trekking, orienteering or doing survival skills, diving off the conglomerate cliffs or even admiring the sea bed with a mask and snorkel. These are all experiences that you must have at least once in a lifetime!

Discovering. Being amazed. Experiencing. And getting excited!

1. Liguria Italy, What to do: Pedal along the Eastern Riviera

Cycling is freedom. It lets you feel the breeze on your skin, the scents of nature and the sounds of village life. You can literally go wherever you want, without worrying about parking. You can load your bike on a train, on a car roof, on a ferry….

Suggested itinerary:

The two gulfs: from Portofino to Camogli


Breathtaking panoramas, historical villages famous the world over, street-food hopping Ligurian style, a natural park and a protected marine area, and a step back in time with thousand-year-old churches, towers and castles… what else do you need?

For whom:

If you are using an e-bike, this itinerary is suitable for everyone (apart from children, as this route takes you on national roads). If you opt for a more “muscle-driven” bike, you need to have a little more training.

When and for how long:

  • From September to June (it’s not recommended in the summer owing to the heat)
  • Perfect season: Spring
  • How long: a full day. In winter, when the days are shorter, I would advise leaving in the early morning.

More info: in this article you can find detailed info for organizing the trip

Liguria Italy, What to do: other recommended itineraries:

We have mentioned….(Definitions in a nutshell):

  • Electric bikes or e–Bikes: these allow you to tackle long and steep uphill stretches without strain
  • “Muscle-driven” bikes: the bike’s propulsion here comes only from the leg muscles and lungs of the cyclist!
  • MTB or Mountain Bike: bikes suitable for coping with dirt tracks

2.Liguria Italy, What to do: A paddle in the Portofino and Cinque Terre Parks

I like to define the Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and the kayak as coastal exploration tools. No other means allows you to admire the coast from so up close and to land pretty much anywhere.

In the sea (in my humble opinion…) the most interesting things happen exactly on the border between the sea and the water, so I reckon that travelling by SUP and/or canoe is the very best way to explore that area!

Suggested itinerary:

Salty Cinque Terre, from Monterosso to Vernazza (Corniglia)


Because you can reach places that are otherwise unreachable, escape the crowded beaches (in summer), you can seek a real, authentic and mindful contact with the sea, be in harmony with nature and enjoy the landscape and biodiversity that is only found uniquely here. Basically… why on earth am I still sitting here writing this instead of having my kayak under my butt??!

For whom:

Many think that paddling sports are tiring and difficult. Nothing could be more wrong! With the right equipment (for example with a sit on top kayak or using SUP for beginners) and a few basic notions they are sports that are suitable for all abilities and for all age groups. And when I say all ages, I really mean all! (My daughter first got on a SUP aged 3 months and my grandad paddled until he was 90… and I can assure you that he wasn’t a superhero!)

When and for how long:

  • All year round!! That idea that you have that the sea is only for having fun in during the summer must be prised out of your head!
  • Perfect season: every season has its own peculiarities and virtues, my favourite is decidedly Autumn (fewer people, spectacular light and the sea is still warm)!
  • How long: a half day

More info: in this article you can find more info on how to organise your trip

Liguria Italy, What to do: other recommended itineraries:

We have mentioned….(Definitions in a nutshell):

  • Kayak: a sort of canoe propelled by using a double-bladed (ended) oar. You paddle along in a sitting position (as opposed to a Canadian canoe) and by looking forward (as opposed to rowing)
    • Sit on Top: open kayaks
    • Sit In: “closed” kayaks, you sit inside the cockpit which is hermetically sealed by the splash cover. Paddling this sort of canoe requires courses and experience
  • SUP: also called a Paddle, stand up paddle, paddleboard. A board equipped with a fin, which you stand up on. Propulsion is by means of a long single-bladed paddle.

3. Liguria Italy, What to do: Trekking, Orienteering and Bushcraft in the Portofino Park

Liguria Italy is not just about the sea – it is the perfect marriage of the sea and the woods, the coast and the hills. Italo Calvino described it thus:

Once the allotments had finished, the olive grove began, grey-silver, like a cloud that peeped out halfway up the coast. In the distance there was a village all stacked up between the port below and the rock above; and there too, amongst the rooftops, was a continuous springing up of plants […] Above the olives the woods began. Once upon a time the pines must have reigned over the entire region, because they still filtered into the blades and tufts of woods all along down the slopes, running as far as the sea shore […] Higher up, the pines gave way to the chestnut trees, the woods climbing the mountain, with no visible borders. This was the universe of lymph within which we lived…

Walking along the trails, “crêuze” – local steep alleyways that lead from the hills to the sea – and mule tracks (often overlooking the sea) is one of my favourite things to do. Orienteering and bushcraft (see the definitions, below) are two ways to get to know nature better in an active and fun way.

Suggested itinerary:

Santa Margherita – Nozarego – Mulino del Gassetta (Gassetta mill) – Valle dei Mulini (the Valley of the Mills)– Paraggi


Because it’s a concentration of biodiversity. Mediterranean maquis, olive groves, chestnut woods, lush ferns and water mills that date back to 1300. It takes you from a fishing village – now an international tourism destination – to a more rural Portofino where you can churn the earth in your hands, a trip dense in history and ecological riches.

For whom:

The Portofino park has an extensive network of trails, for all levels. They range from routes suitable for families with children and seniors (eg: Portofino Vetta – Pietre Strette) to walks that are almost alpine in their complexity (Via dei Tubi, Passo del Bacio).

When and for how long:

  • All year round, in the summer I would recommend the shadier trails through the woods
  • Perfect season: Spring
  • How long: half day

Senso dell OrientamentoLiguria Italy, What to do: other recommended itineraries:

We have mentioned….(Definitions in a nutshell):

  • Survival and bushcraft: techniques and knowledge that allow you to live in nature autonomously. It is based on 4 cornerstones:
    • Shelter: being able to build yourself a shelter with the elements found in nature
    • Water: sourcing drinking water
    • Fire: being able to light and maintain a fire
    • Food: finding food for yourself (foraging)
  • Orienteering or orientation: notions and techniques for navigating in Outdoor situations. With or without instruments (map, compass, GPS).

4. Liguria Italy, What to do: Coasteering (new in for 2020!)

Coasteering is the coastal sport par excellence! You essentially turn yourself into a crab, having to climb, traverse, dive and swim. A completely new way to explore the coast and it is a complete blast!

It was started in Northern Europe (where by now it is a really common sport) as a spin off of Canyoning; in Italy it is still virtually unknown. In Liguria we are the first (and only) people to practice this sport. Giuseppe and I are combing the Eastern riviera, opening up new ways, discovering grottoes and marvelous spots, but above all we are having as much fun as when we were little kids! Yes, because when you do Coasteering it takes you back to your childhood!

Suggested itinerary:

Niasca (Paraggi) – Cannon Bay (Portofino)


The best one to start off with. It’s the right length, with all the things you could wish for. Two grottoes, various dives between 2 and 4 metres (that can be easily avoided), easy accesses and a few wonderful swims, all with a view.

For whom:

This activity needs you to have a great relationship with the water, good general physical fitness and an aptitude for adventure. No particular technique needed, but the right conditions and the right mindset!

When and for how long:

  • All year round. The Ligurian Sea never goes below 13°C, so all you need is a 5mm wetsuit and you will be fine.
  • Perfect season: Winter (it lets you really feel the sea in your soul, even in the season that is erroneously considered “bad”)
  • How long: a half day

More info: in this article you can find all the info that you need to organise the trip

5. Liguria Italy, What to do: Snorkeling in the Portofino protected marine area

Mask, flippers and snorkel (and perhaps a wet suit). You don’t need a lot of gear to open the doors onto a whole new world, the underwater dimension. A magical place, full of surprises, teeming with life.

Have you ever watched as the fronds dance in a meadow of Posidonia? Have you ever been attacked by a sea cucumber? Have you ever watched as an octopus squirts its ink at its prey or as a starfish goes hunting? Have you ever stood by and admired the magic of the refraction of colours when you meet a comb jelly?

No? I have some great news, it’s so simple… just go snorkeling in Portofino’s protected marine area!

Suggested itinerary:

Snorkeling in Paraggi Bay


It is simply the best place in Liguria in which to admire the submerged world with your mask and snorkel. Thanks to its very special geographical location, you can  discover many environments that are very different from each other (coralligenous, Phanerogame meadows, sand, hard habitats, and so on).

Fare Snorkeling



For whom:

For everyone, just as long as you know how to swim and are curious!

When and for how long:

  • It depends a lot on the gear you have. With “normal” kit and in the most comfortable conditions, I would say from May to October
  • Perfect season: beginning of Autumn (September)
  • How long: even an hour is enough for an unforgettable experience

Now you have no more excuses – whether you are from Liguria or not, Liguria’s nature is waiting for you! Add these activities to your list and if you have any questions or need any more tips, write a comment here below

Author: Luca Tixi, sea & outdoor coach// professional kayaker// Biologo Marino // Founder & Chairman of Outdoor Portofino (grew up and lives in Liguria Italy)

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