Kayaking The Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre

The Italian Riviera  and Cinque Terre – La Riviera di Levante is one of the most magically beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. Steeped in history and set against a rough mountain background the towns of the Riviera seem like a series pastel colored jewels set against the vivid blue of the Mediterranean and backed by rugged mountains. To explore this area by kayak is to experience the “Marineria” (the life of the sea) that is at the heart and soul of this special place. Warm water, sun drenched beaches, great food and the harmony of life at the sea’s edge have attracted artists, poets and writers for over two centuries. Bryon, Shelley, D.H. Lawrence, Hans Christian Andersen and Virginia Woolf came here to write and today visitors from all over the world are drawn by the Riviera life

Kayaking the Riviera lets us observe both the subtle details and the grand vistas of this unique place and at a pace that also allows us the time immerse ourselves in the culture. With a focus on locally sourced Mediterranean cuisine this trip is really a feast for the senses. We take time to enjoy snacks of crispy, warm, freshly-baked focaccia scented with rosemary, a glass or two of chilled local white wine and, the very best reward at the end of a paddling day, a frosted cup of gelato!  Clear warm water invites us to swim at nearly every stop and we’ll have time to snorkel or simply relax in the sun.

Each afternoon finds us in a beautiful town with winding streets to wander and discoveries to make while every evening we go out to an intimate local restaurant to sample the best food the area has to offer.  This summer take time to slow life down to the pace of a paddle stroke and experience the beauty and culture of Italy from a truly unique perspective.


- Genoa’s Old City (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

-  Portofino

- The Abbey of San Fruttuoso

- The Sanctuary of Montallegro

- The Five Villages of Cinque Terre  (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

- Portvenere (on the NY Times list of “Places to Visit in 2013″)

- Wine tasting and great local cuisine

Kayaking Cinque Terre Village of Manarola

Kayaking Cinque Terre Village of Manarola


Kayaking Italy – The Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Genoa
Your guides will meet the group at 5:30 pm in the lobby of our boutique hotel in Genoa’s Port Anticio historical district. We will enjoy the Italian tradition of aperitivo (wine and a light snack) while receiving an orientation on trip details. Once completed we’ll walk through the lane ways of the fascinating Porto Antico that date back well over 1000 years. Our destination is a local Genovese restaurant for the first of a series of memorable meals on this trip. (D) Best Western Porto Antico

Day 2 —  Recco, Camogli and the Abbey of San Fruttuoso
Boarding our van we drive along the Riviera through beautiful beach towns and past pastel colored villas all the while seeing enticing glimpses of Mediterranean blue water of the Gulf of Genoa. Arriving at our launch point at the town of Recco we’ll have a brief but comprehensive introduction to the kayaks before setting off.  Our first stop is the town of Camogli and a after a stop for refreshment we’ll continue along the coast to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso that dates from the 13th century. A short paddle takes us to Stella Maris, a historical residence that has been converted in to a boutique hotel. One of the most magical spots on the Riviera the current structure built is built on the ruins of monastery from the 8th century and it was at here in 1821 Lord Byron wrote, “There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the Universe, and feel What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal. .” (B, D) Storica Residenza Stella Maris

The 1000 Year OldAbbey of San Fruttuoso

The 1000 Year OldAbbey of San Fruttuoso

Day 3 — Portofino and the Sanctuary of Montallegro
Setting off along the coast of Parco Naturale Regionale Portofino our first destination is famous Portofino, dating from Roman times, it has long been Italy’s premier coastal resort and still attracts celebrities from around the world. We’ll paddle into the famously beautiful harbor and stop for a gelato be for continuing along to our take out at the Santa Margherita Ligure. A short drive takes to the base of the cable tram to Sanctuary of Montallegro in the hills above the town of Rapallo. Our hotel for the night is near the neo-Gothic Santuary and offer sweeping views of the Golfo di Tigullio. (B, D) Hotel Montallegro

Day 4 — Cinque Terre: Monterosso al Mare
After descending from the Sanctuary we drive along the Riviera coast to Monterosso al Mare, the first of the five towns (Cinque Terre).  After settling into our hotel there will be time to go for and paddle and wander this popular beach town before dinner tonight is at an open-air restaurant on Monterosso’s beach front. (B, D). Hotel Punta Mesco or equivalent

Kayaker Approaching Corniglia, Cinque Terre,Italy

Kayaker Approaching Corniglia, Cinque Terre,Italy

Day 5 —  Cinque Terre: Vernazza and Corniglia
After breakfast we’ll load our kayaks and begin paddling the coast of Cinque Terre National Park. As we glide through warm blue water the panorama of Cinque Terre unfolds before us. Steep cliffs topped vineyards along which the towns are set a few kilometers apart.  Our first stop is picturesque village of Vernazza. After landing on the beach in the town’s small harbor we’ll explore narrow alleyways and climb into the vineyards for a view that captures the iconic scenery of Cinque Terre. After lunch we’ll re-board the kayaks for the paddle to Corniglia . As we skirt the shoreline Corniglia reveals itself like a castle set atop the cliffs overlooking the sea. After landing and perhaps a refreshing swim a short climb up ancient stairs takes us into the village proper where numerous winding paths lead to delightfully expansive views in all directions.  This evening we’ll watch the sunset while sampling local wine and dining on the terrace of our hotel. (B, D) Hotel Cecio

Day 6 — Cinque Terre: Manarola, Riomaggiore and Portvenere
After breakfast and espresso we descend to our waiting kayaks and continue our exploration of Cinque Terre. After passing through Manarola’s waterfront we’ll paddle alongside the famous Via dell’Amore ( the Road of Love) before landing at Riomaggore.  We’ll explore this scenic town before setting off along a stretch of coast that leads us to a dramatic point topped by castle walls and a 11th century church. Rounding the point we enter the harbor of Portovenere the “sixth village” of Cinque Terre (on the New York Times “The 45 Places to Go in 2012” list). Our ultimate destination is a waterfront hotel. After landing there will be time to explore before our final Riviera dinner. (B, D) Le Terrazze

Kayaker Early Morning Portovenere, Italy

Kayaker Early Morning Portovenere, Italy

Day 7 — Portovenere and La Spezia
After a relaxed breakfast on the hotel’s terrace we’ll transfer to La Spezia Centrale railway station. From this rail hub it is possible to easily return to Genoa or continue on to popular destinations in Tuscany and beyond. Your guides will ensure that you make the right connection to the next part of your Italian journey. Arrivederci! (B)

Arrivals and Departures
The trip starts with arrival on the first scheduled day of  the trip and ends with railway station transfer on the final scheduled day. There are several European hubs that offer flights to Genoa including: Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome and others . When booking your flights, please ensure that you arrive in Genoa (GOA) in time for our briefing and welcome dinner on the evening of first scheduled day of the trip.  Our hotel; The Best Western Porto Antico, Via Al Ponte Calvi, 5, 16124 Genoa is a short ride from the airport or Principe train station.


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The trip was very enjoyable which had a lot to do about the quality of service provided by your guides, Segio and Marcos. They had extremely good interpersonal and guiding skills, a fantastic positive attitude about everything and worked...

Wayne Scott, Calgary AB

This was my first experience sea kayaking , and it was great! I have been on a number of trips with other adventure travel outfitters – Tofino Expeditions is class operation.

Lee Meyers, Harrisburg MO