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Day Trips from Genoa: A Perfect Afternoon in Sestri Levante

One of the main reasons I picked Genoa as my home base for this trip is its proximity to a bunch of places I wanted to visit. I've got a trip down to Cinque Terre planned for when my cousin comes to visit and another to Nice and Monte Carlo for when the weather warms up a touch more.

For my first outing, I chose Sestri Levante, which is about an hour south of Genoa. The trains are plentiful, and it's such an easy process. I got a cappuccino to go at the cafe two blocks away where I'm quickly becoming a regular and a short walk later, I was waiting to board. I wish I'd pick a seat on the right (I was more concerned with sitting facing forward to avoid getting nauseous) because the views were beautiful. I was able to switch when most people got off at Santa Margherita/Portofino and snap a few pics. It got me excited about getting to my destination.

Side note: None of the photos in this post are edited AT ALL for color. I had to rotate them because I can't manage to hold my phone level, but I promise that's it. This color is exactly how it looked IRL, and it was beautiful.

I didn't really know much about Sestri Levante before going. All I'd planned was a walk along the beach and one to try to find a panoramic viewpoint I'd seen on google maps. (I'm including a map of Sestri Levante so you can follow along.)

By the way, I also want to set the scene because the weather was just perfect. It was sixty-five degrees with a warm breeze. I was in shorts and a tee. The sun felt warm but not too intense. Along the jetty, I was listening to the relaxing sounds of waves filtering through the rocks like some meditation podcast. The air was scented by blooming wildflowers. And the water was just such a gorgeous turquoise and with the epic mountains in the near distance... It was picturesque. I heard a woman exclaim "meraviglioso" (marvelous), and, yeah. It was.

After a panino* and another cappuccino, I ended up walking most of the main beach, going all the way down the jetty before heading to the other beach.

*One of the most confusing English language fails is that "panini" means "sandwiches." How did we manage to get "espresso" and "gelato" correct but not "panino?" Panino = one sandwich. Panini = many sandwiches. Panico = one Ben. Panici = many Bens.

I thought the first beach was nice, but it's nothing compared to the second. The two are, at their closest, less than three blocks apart, by the way. You could easily enjoy both without even air-drying off in between. The second is a much smaller beach, Spiaggia Baia del Silenzio (Cove of Silence Beach). I will say, it wasn't very silent: it was jam-packed with lounging sun-bathers (Italian, so all talking over each other) and children, likely sugar-happy off gelato, using their outside voices. I figure it's called that because the small jetty calms the waves way down to a very placid tide. I walked all the way up to the punto panoramico, and I'd say it was definitely worth it.

Finally, I had a really nice walk through town, which was very charming. There were a few busy streets with restaurants, souvenir shops, wine bars, and the like. There were a few nice parks with children's playscapes and fountains and statues. There was a church, a train station, lots of apartment buildings, and probably some other useful things like schools and hospitals. But with such gorgeous expansive views of the Mediterranean right there, what more could you want from a town, anyway?

All in all, it was a great day. Sestri Levante gets five stars from me. This was a really easy day trip from Genoa, an hour on the train each direction and only 12 euro round-trip. I also love that this town isn't one of the more famous spots in the Italian Riviera. I can't wait to see what Portofino and Cinque Terre look like!


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