Outdoor Yoga: 6 beautiful spots in the Ligurian Riviera
In one of the last blog articles, we talked about the benefits of yoga. Practising it with constance allows you to maintain a healthy mind and body, an essential condition in this difficult, uncertain period.
Lilla, our legendary Hungarian yoga teacher, loves spending her free time in the open air, going on treks and doing other outdoor activities. During her walks, she always practices yoga in the remote and enchanting places that she finds.
In this article we talk about her favourite spots on the Eastern riviera where you can do yoga in the open air, immersed in the wildest nature and in the traditions of the area.
1. Madonna di Caravaggio, Mount Orsena
Lose yourself alone in nature’s silence, far from the slightest sound.
The Madonna di Caravaggio is found at 615 metres above sea level at the top of Mount Orsena (also called Mount Caravaggio) in the hamlet of Santa Maria del Campo. It is sited where three ridges meet and can therefore be reached with lovely walks from Rapallo, Ruta di Camogli and from the Uscio valley.
From the mountain’s peak, exactly where the sanctuary is built, you have an amazing 360° view over the hills and coastline of all of Liguria, After the uphill trek needed to reach the top, a yoga session is a perfect pick-me-up for stretching your muscles. A few moments of meditation and attention in nature’s silence and a minute or two of long, deep breathing will “fill you up” with new energy.
During the weekend, the Sanctuary is often very busy with hikers. To enjoy tranquility and solitary peace, we suggest that you go there on weekdays or early in the morning.
Located high up above Rapallo, Montallegro is another place immersed in nature where you can switch off from everyday noise and stress, indulging in genuine contact with nature. Practising yoga up here has something mystical about it, especially if you then delve into the religious past and miraculous anecdotes that make this place so suggestive.
A panoramic view from Montallegro
You can arrive here in different ways:
- on foot, on the trails that start off from Rapallo, Chiavari, Zoagli (this last one is decidedly the most picturesque!)
- by cable car, from Rapallo
- by car
- by public transport from Rapallo city centre
Montallegro is 600 m above sea level and from here you can admire a marvellous panorama of the Western coast of the Golfo del Tigullio. Various ancient mule tracks lead off from the Sanctuary, connecting to Uscio, Cicagna and Chiavari and along the way there are several clearings which become ideal places for open air yoga.
A well-known fishing village, Camogli has maintained its great charm thanks to its still vivid traditions. Characterised by small (tall and narrow) colourful houses overlooking the sea and by a tiny port brimming with traditional fishing vessels, Camogli is the perfect place to immerse oneself in the traditions of long ago.
The quay, the Westernmost point once you have passed Piazza Colombo, is Lilla’s favourite place for practicing asanas, with its view over the harbour on one side and of Punta Chiappa on the other. The sound of the seagulls blending with that of the church bells makes a music that is very special for accompanying the flow of breath in movement.
An insider’s tip off the beaten track is the so-called “Bardiciocca” area. How do you get there? In front of the main door of the Basilica, descend a flight of stairs that will take you to a narrow (and dark) passage amongst the houses. Following on towards the light and after a series of passages amongst the rocks, you will reach a spot enclosed by chains, completely South-facing. Directly below the Dragonara castle, here you can enjoy a tranquil and privileged sea view. It’s the perfect place to take some time observing and listening to the voice of nature.
4. Niasca Bay, Portofino
Niasca beach, the flagship headquarters of Outdoor Portofino, couldn’t be left off our list. This is certainly Lilla’s favourite spot, where every summer she conducts Yoga and SUP Yoga classes in Paraggi’s beautiful bay. Practicing yoga in the morning in this setting, where the vegetation brushes the water and where the sounds of the sea blend with your breathing flow, is an experience not to be missed.
The best season and time to practise yoga here is in summertime at dawn, when the beach is still deserted and silence reigns. During the daytime the tiny beach fills up and it can be hard to find a quiet corner where you can be on your own.
A treat here is to enjoy a wonderful swim in the green crystalline waters (before or after yoga, as your prefer). If you would like to complete the experience, you can also hire a canoe or SUP and paddle in the protected marine area, visiting Portofino from a new perspective.
We suggest that you reach Niasca Bay on foot, by bike or by bus, from Santa Margherita or from Portofino. Particularly in the summer months, the traffic and the lack of parking spaces can turn driving here into a stressful situation (best to avoid that before doing yoga!). Here you can find more info on how to get to Niasca beach.
5. Piazza del Sole, Santa Margherita Ligure
On sunny days, the sun lights up the square all day long. Whether you want to practise open air yoga in the morning or afternoon, you can allow the sun’s rays to warm you up at any time of day. The real high point of Piazza del Sole is its closeness to the sea – why not take a refreshing dip after having done yoga? – and its convenience, being so close to the centre of Santa Margherita, even though the urban sounds are well muffled here. (Cover photo, Yoga in piazza del Sole)
You can reach piazza del Sole easily from the centre and from Santa Margherita Ligure’s train station; it is set behind the Hotel Helios, on the Eastern side of the beach.
In the Autumn and Spring months, Lilla conducts her Yoga Flow lessons here. Contact us if you would like to book some lessons here and/or private sessions.
6. Parco di Villa Tigullio, Rapallo
Another extremely picturesque location where you can practise yoga in Rapallo is the beautiful Parco Casale, an ample green area in the English romantic style surrounding Villa Tigullio which dates back to the 17th century. Overlooking the sea and circled by numerous centuries’ old trees, this park is our ideal choice for yoga at sundown. With a splendid view over Portofino Park, here you can practise yoga at any time of day: the warm colours as the sun goes down make this place perfect for immersing yourself in your breath and movement flow.
To get to the park, starting from Rapallo Castle continue on towards Zoagli on the pedestrian boardwalk that runs along the sea. The Park is easy to spot thanks to the large green area.
Sundown seen from Villa Tigullio’s Park, Rapallo
The list of course wouldn’t stop here, there are many spots that are just as enchanting all over Liguria where you can enjoy a profound moment of soul searching. Our selection comes from Lilla’s personal experience – our Outdoor Portofino yoga teacher – who wanted to share with you places that are full of charm, but are also (easily) reachable around here.
Share your experience and the places closest to your heart with us! We are curious to learn about other strategic points where you like to listen to nature and your own body.
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