3 beautiful public beaches in Liguria

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3 beautiful public beaches in Liguria

Some of Liguria's most beautiful beaches are open to the public without a cost. You just have to know where to look.


There are lots of beaches in Italy that require a fee in order to pass through their gates for a swim. Perhaps you’ve spotted those perfectly aligned, colorful umbrella-deck chair duos along the coast? Those would be private beaches, complete with an on-site bar and individual cabins for lilo storage and discrete bikini changes. But fear not – there are also public (read: fee-free) beaches aplenty that are just as beautiful, as long as you know where to look.

3 top Ligurian beaches worth a stop (fee-free)

Varigotti

This little town west of Genova is flanked by public beaches, like the Baia dei Saraceni (Saracen Bay) on its eastern side. However, weave through Varigotti’s streetside shops and follow the laneways towards the water and you’ll find a smaller, more intimate beach where miniature ochre townhouses back right onto the shore. Varigotti. © Roger Kolly Varigotti. © Roger Kolly

End your day with a spritz at Stravento Café – its interior is so tiny that most of their tables have spilled out onto the adjacent terracotta-tiled piazza.

Camogli

Around an hour’s drive away from Cinque Terre territory, Camogli offers the appeal of the dramatic cliff-clinging towns nearby, but with far less tourist traffic. Head east from Genova along the winding Strada Statale 1, hugging the coast until you reach this little fishing village. A number of paths lead downhill to the rocky beach – as well as your towel, take a yoga mat for padding between the smooth but uncomfortably lumpy giant pebbles –  where towering, candy-hued buildings line the shore-front promenade. Camogli. © Andrea Rossi Camogli. © Andrea Rossi

The beach is sectioned off into private and public areas. Be warned that the town’s church bell tower, fixed on one end of the beach, lets out a thunderous chime that echoes across the water.

Alassio

Though this four-kilometre stretch of sand is studded with the sun-faded pastel changing rooms of pay-to-use areas, there’s so much space that there are also some gratis spots. Alassio. © Martina Rathgens Alassio. © Martina Rathgens

This sizable town has it all – a shady historic centre, a never-ending promenade, and restaurants throughout to satisfy your post-swim cravings for a  fritto misto. Balzola shop in Alassio. © Marco Trovò Balzola shop in Alassio. © Marco Trovò

Don’t miss their namesake baci di Alassio (‘kisses of Alassio’; chocolate ganache sandwiched between two dense hazelnut-cocoa biscuits) which Balzola pasticceria on the main road claims to have invented. Try them with a glass of Golfo dei Poeti I.G.T. Passito made from the local vermentino grape. Baci di Alassio. Baci di Alassio. © Chef per caso