Five excellent reasons why Sestri Levante is the best place to stay in Cinque Terre and Portofino area and what to do and see there.
Sestri Levante is a delightful small town, mid way between Cinque Terre and Portofino, the most well known destinations of the Italian Riviera.
In my view it’s the perfect place to stay when visiting Cinque Terre and Portofino.
Let me explain you why.
1) It’s a very beautiful place
Once a fishermen village, the original part of Sestri Levante is actually on a peninsula, with the beautiful bay Baia del Silenzio on one side and Baia delle Favole on the other.
These two bays were named in honor of the Danish author HC Andersen, who lived in Sestri for some time. He used to call Sestri Levante “the town of the two seas”.
Even though the Grand hotel dei Cavalieri occupies the promontory, you can walk in the park and admire teh great views from the cliffs.
The ancient hamlet houses are built in the typical Riviera Ligure stile and painted with fancy trompe l’oeuil.
2) Food and accommodation is better and much cheaper than Cinque Terre
Despite being one of North Italy most praised touristic destinations, due to scarcity Cinque Terre accommodations are generally poor and outrageously expensive compared to the quality. There is only one high level hotel, the rest being in great majority old houses poorly refurbished.
Sestri Levante may not have Cinque Terre dramatic appeal, but has plenty of good / very good level accommodation, at reasonable prices. You don’t need to reserve months in advance, accepted during the high summer season (July and August).
3) There are two nice beaches in Sestri Levante, perfect if you are travelling with your children
In Cinque Terre the only “real” beach is in Monterosso, and it is small and narrow. Not the best option if you would like to spend some time relaxing and sun bathing, or if you are travelling with kids.
Sestri Levante has two sandy beaches, one of which, the Baia delle Favole, is among the largest in the Riviera di Levante. You can rent sun beds or just lay down on the free Baia del Silenzio beach.
4) It’s very easy to move from and to Sestri Levante by train and by boat
Sestri is very conveniently located to visit the area. You can get to Monterosso in 25′ by train, and in 20′ you get to Portofino station (which is actually in S. Margherita). In high season there is also a regular ferry which connect Sestri with both Cinque Terre and Portofino.
Click on the image to open the Google Map.
If you are on a tight schedule and would like to visit both Portofino and Cinque Terre, then staying in Sestri Levante will reduce your transfer time.
You also have direct trains to and from Florence and Milan, so no need to change train in Pisa or in La Spezia, an advantage if you are travelling with large suitcase.
5) Sestri Levante food is great
Sestri has a number of great restaurants, serving typical local dishes. They are definitely less touristic (and expensive) than their equivalent in the Cinque Terre.
What to do and see in Sestri Levante
Not only Sestri Levante is a perfect place to stay to visit Cinque Terre and Portofino, it has also a lot of sights worth mentioning
Visit the bay of silence
(“Baia del Silenzio”). It’s a very instagrammable lovely sand beach, with the colored houses arriving at the seashore. This hidden jewel is among Liguria most beautiful and romantic beaches.
Walk the path to Punta Manara. Punta Manara
is the end of the promontory separating Sestri Levante and Riva Trigoso. To get there, follow the path from the old town and follow the signs. From Punta Manara you can enjoy the magnificent panorama and admire the coast from Levanto to Portofino.
Attend the Hans Christian Andersen Festival
. Every year in May Sestri Levante celebrates the famous Danish tales writer with a lively festival with jugglers, street artists, motley stands, and, of course, children everywhere.
- Participate to the Sagra del Bagnun, the anchovies festival which takes place in July. Huge quantity of fish are cooked on the jetty and offered to the visitors.
Where to stay in Sestri Levante
Sestri Levante has a wide variety of accommodations, from high end castles and palaces to simple hence lovely hotels.
I stayed several times at the Suite Hotel Nettuno.
It’s a recently refurbished hotel, just on the beach. as the name states, you get a fairly large suite, perfect for a family or a group of four friends. Click here to check prices and availability.
If you like the view, then the Hotel Vis a Vis is what you are looking for.
It’s located on a hill in front of the Baia del Silenzio. Lavish rooms, many terraces, amazing view and a gorgeous swiming pool. Leaving th eVis a Vis for your next destination won’t be easy. Click here to check prices and availability.
For great value for money, the B&B Portobello is just in front of the main church, between the 2 beaches. Click here to check prices and availability.
Enjoy your stay in Sestri Levante!
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