One visit to Camogli, Italy leaves you eager to return.

Even these two Americans, notorious for dining early, enjoyed leisurely dining at Bagni Lido. The seaside restaurant in Camogli is on the Ligurian coast north of Portofino. We had elaborate dinners, starting with raw swordfish cut onion-skin thin, melting in our mouths.

Camogli, Liguria, Italy
Camogli – lovely coastal city in Liguria, Italy

Camogli invites you to arrive with breathtaking views and asks you to linger with scrumptious meals and fine wines.

Although Camogli may claim to be a fishing port rather than a tourist destination, you could have fooled us. Boats in the Golfo Paradiso support that fishing still dominates the area. But swarms of people enjoying a hot May day attests to it as a tourist destination. A half-hour drive from Genoa and close by train from Milan, folks choose this spot for glorious beach respite.

One of the meanings of Camogli is, “houses close together” and what a lovely description. At under 6,000 people, Camogli looks like the Cinque Terre villages smushed together to form this charming, colorful town. The buildings rise up from the coastline in a maze of winding streets and corridors. The hills and steep stairs help you roam the shops and restaurants, seeking whatever strikes your fancy. In this store, it could be a comically rounded ceramic fish-shaped dish cast in sea-foam green. In that coffee shop, it could be indulging in an after lunch Macchiato that you’ll never find stateside.

Camogli’s Delightful Fish Festival

We missed the annual fish fry by two weekends and what a sight that would be to see. The Italians, their humor dominate, cook a “blessing of the fish” dinner in a massive frying pan (12 feet). What fun!

 Sagra del Pesce festival
Camogli Frying Pan

Camogli’s promenade is astounding. You can:

  • Strolling the streets.
  • Bask in summer sunlight.
  • Sit on a rock wall watching the bathers frolic in the cool water, stepping expertly across the stone beaches.

Dining on the coast, you to watch the setting sun cast multiple shadows in the Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta. Catch the warm glow reflected in the glass of a tower window, evoking thoughts of medieval fireplaces and warm mead. 

Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta, Camogli
Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta with sunset glow

Which, a few hundred years ago, you drank in the dining room of the Castel Dragone on the nearby cliff. It has a ragged history of being torn down and rebuilt, but lucky for the visitor, has remained whole since the 14th century.

Castel Dragone, Camogli, Liguria
Castel Dragone, Camogli

Camogli’s Harbor attests to the fishing history of the city with boats of many colors and sizes bobbing in sync with the ever-moving waters. It’s difficult not to spend an hour simply photographing them from various angles.

Arriving in Camogli by regional train from Rapallo or Santa Margherita is simple. Driving is fine as long as you know parking is limited. Or you can opt for the ferry. Every view into the town, from the shore, the hill at the train station, or on foot, invites you to be delighted by the colors, the people, and the stone streets.


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