From € 600.- / 7 days
Price per person - shared - min 2 people
On this guided walking holiday you explore some of the most scenic trails in the Ligurian Mountains. Liguria in Italy is still unspoilt by mass tourism, and this ancient land is steeped in culture and tradition.
You'll have many opportunities on this walking holiday to take in the landscape of this part of Italy, and your guide will take every opportunity to introduce you to the flavours of the local gastronomy.
Your holiday accommodation is in a charming little village with views on the Mediterranean. You stay in luxury apartments, lovingly restored respecting local, Italian traditions.
Your base during this guided walking holiday to Italy is the small village of Poggi on the Italian Riviera. From your accommodation you have beautiful views on the Mediterranean Sea and the olive groves below.
The self-catering apartments are family run. They're set in olive groves or in the village, and have been lovingly restored using traditional materials such as stone, terracotta and wood.
All apartments have a double bedroom, bathroom with shower, and a well-equipped kitchen. You can use the pool and gardens of the main house during your stay.
The owners of your accommodation grow and produce a range of wonderful olive pates, oil and wines. And of course you'll have the chance to taste these special home-grown delicacies.
Breakfast can be catered for at additional cost. For a small additional charge your guide can take you to gourmet restaurants in authentic places such as an old converted olive or water mill, or in a beautiful historic building.
If you prefer accommodation other than self-catering, your hosts can arrange this for you. Please contact the holiday provider for more information through the contact form.
This guided walking holiday is at a relaxed pace, with plenty of time to sample local culture and history. The walking is varied, and the programme can be tailored to your interests, requirements and wishes.
Your guide has extensive experience working in the outdoors, especially in the mountains. He has completed the Seven Summits challenge (climbing the highest mountain on each of the World's seven continents) and holds a valid British certificate in mountain first aid and rescue.
The guided walking holiday itinerary below is an example; your walking programme will be tailored to your interests and wishes.
Day 1 - Arrival in Italy. Start of your walking holiday.
Day 2 - The Orchid Paradise Trail. This circular scenic walk goes around the beautiful and most preserved medieval hamlet of Cervo (officially classified as one of the most beautiful in Italy).
You'll walk through a varied landscape of Macchia Mediterranea(a type of densely growing evergreen shrub typical for the Italian coast). The walk starts in the square at the top of the village by the old Feudal Castle. From here it descends rapidly down a footpath towards the sea and the beach of 'Porte Ghetto'.
Your guide takes you onto a historic old Roman road, a remnant of an ancient route. After a while you leave the road and climb steeply amongst olive trees through an abandoned landscape which is being re-colonized by spontaneous vegetation such as the maritime broom and the Aleppo Pine.
You'll enter the small country park of 'Ciapa', with thick woodland of Maritime Pine. Walking on you reach a natural elevation that separates Cervo from Andora. The view of the sea is stunning here. On a very clear day, which you often get in this part of Italy, you can admire the Tuscan coastline.
Walking further you arrive on the 'Colle of Castellareto', where the first people settled in this part of Italy (even before the Romans). You'll keep walking through lovely countryside and it is here that in Spring, you can see the flowers of rare wild orchids in the grassland.
Eventually the olive groves come back and you'll go past some ruins from which the old chapel of 'San Giuseppe' stands proud. You cross an old bridge and through olive terraces return to the old square at Cervo. A visit to this medieval village is a must with its impressive church of St. John the Baptist, beautiful historic palaces, a small museum about olive oil, and of course lovely Italian trattorias and bars perched high up with fantastic vistas over the sea below.
Day 3 - Bordighera to Seborga. Today you'll start walking at the lovely old citadel of 'Bordighera Alta'. The old part of this luxurious resort was once the place of many illustrious visitors. It is here that Monet was inspired to paint many of his masterpieces of the Riviera.
You'll be walking a well marked out path and then join a road overlooking the Mediterranean Sea below. There are exotic cultivations of flowers here, which are exported throughout Northern Europe in the winter months.
After about 40 minutes, you'll reach the truly stunning hamlet of 'Sasso'. This village was all built in stone and it's really worth looking around the ancient alleys and absorbing the medieval atmosphere.
Carry on the incline out of the village and follow the path that leads to the very unusual principality of 'Seborga'. This fabulous location has enjoyed Principality status (not recognized by the State) since very ancient times. Once you'll reach this airy location at above 500 metres above sea level, you can spend some time in the intricate and interesting streets. Swallows nest here in vast numbers and the skies seem to be always full of their cheerful and amazing acrobatics. You'll also find a Post Office and a Mint in Seborga where they issue their own stamps and coins. Mimosa trees abound around the hills, which grow extremely well here. In Winter the whole the area is a riot of fabulous yellow with the foliage used commercially in the flower industry. There are many wonderful trattorias with stunning views overlooking the Cote d'Azur and in the foreground 'Montecarlo'. A good place to eat and rest for the views is on the veranda of the 'Principe' restaurant.
From Seborga many paths lead to further scenic walks in the mid mountain range above and the possibilities to walk and hike in the area are endless.
At the end of the day you'll be transported back down to Bordighera Alta. Depending on time you can visit 'Villa Garnier'. This building was erected by the famous French Architect in 1873. It's a stunning white villa nestling amongst palm groves and now run by an order of nuns. By appointment they are happy to let you visit the interesting portico and hallway full of objects of art and the lovely exotic gardens with the sea below.
Day 4 - The Alpine Trail. This is by far the most beautiful walking trail in Liguria and one of the best in Europe. You'll be walking through a diversity of landscapes, beautiful mountains (very comparable to the Italian Dolomites), and an abundance of fauna, flora and history.
The Alpine trail was hacked through the rocks in between the two World Wars. The hike begins at 'Colle Melosa' at a height of about 1,600 metres near the new refuge 'Fontana Allavena'. This well-run establishment offers food and accommodation should you want to extend your stay in this beautiful part of Italy. At the start of the walk you'll instantly notice extensive rhododendron plants which cover entire slopes. In late spring they colour the whole area.
Then you reach the connection to the Alpine Trail itself. The trail has been cut through the steep rock by hand; an amazing human feat. The route takes you through rock tunnels on exposed (but safe) ground, where beautiful dried stone walls support the steep descent. The deepest cave in the whole region is here and the rock faces all around are very impressive.
There are also two excellent Via Ferrata routes here (Italian for 'road with irons', a mountain route with fixed cables and ladders). They are very difficult, but it's possible to include them in the itinerary if you are keen on tackling them.
After a steep descent with spectacular views, you arrive at a lovely old fountain fed by cool spring water; a wonderful refreshment on a hot day. You'll then reach the crux of today's walk, the base of a deep and impressive gully called Gola dell'Incisa. To reach the top, a series of beautiful twisting tracks have been made. You'll reach the top with a height gain of some 100 metres.
Now there is the option to include a short circular hike to the summit of 'Mount Toraggio' at just less than 2,000 metres above sea level (this adds roughly one hour to the walk).
The walk then enters French territory and follows the north eastern side of 'Mount Pietravecchia' (2,038 metres high). You'll walk through woods of Larix and low growing Rhododendron shrubs and pick the wonderful sweet and juicy fruit of the wild raspberry bushes (from August to September).
Then you'll be walking on easy meadows to the 'Valletta Pass' which leads down a lovely path to the original starting point of the today's walk.
The beauty of this long walking trail is of course both from the spectacular panoramas and botanical aspects. The particular position of these mountains in an Alpine setting, but yet so close to the Mediterranean, have produced amazing endemism such as the spectacular flowering of the Peony officinalis and of the Saxifraga lingulata. There is also the chance to spot Chamois, Marmot and many birds of prey such as Falcon.
Day 5 - No walking today. A free rest day, with the opportunity to visit tourist attractions nearby.
Day 6 - The Old Bridge Trail. An easy and charming circular walk starting at 450 m above sea level amongst chestnut and oak trees with the backdrop of the Mediterranean.
Today's guided walk starts at the chapel of 'St. Brigida' dating back to the 15th century. The walk descends rapidly in the 'Rio Merea' valley. Immerse yourself into thick woodland and follow an old pathway which leads, after a very pleasant walk, to the first of the old stone bridges built in the early 9th century.
From here looking down to the river you'll see an old stone dwelling once used by a hermit called 'Pre Luigi'. Some say that he was able to see into the future and would talk of flying men and carriages without horses. Nearby are relaxing rock pools and a lovely little waterfall.
The walking trail continues and starts a gentle rise. You'll come across the typical old stone caselle. These are often rectangular drystone dwellings used in the past by the shepherds for shelter, only found in this part of Liguria.
You walk towards the valley and come across fields of lavender. You arrive at the second stone bridge, this one older than the first and called 'Ponte Martelli'. It used to connect the two villages of Dolcedo and Pietrabruna.
Soon after the bridge the trail gets quite steep and you'll be walking through the old olive groves which are so typical of this part of Italy. You'll come across the 'Casa', an old building now in ruins that was used by the shepherds to shelter the sheep. From here you'll follow the signs which will lead back to the old chapel where the walk started.
This pleasant walk can be finished by an interesting visit to the old charming village of Dolcedo on the opposite valley famous for its old bridges and fascinating medieval streets. Here you can take a pleasant refreshment in one of the many café bars.
Day 7 - The Small Athens Amongst the Olive Trees. Villa Faraldi is known as the small Athens because of its well established and renowned Theatre festival held each July. Lovely extracts from poems hang on slate frames throughout the old alley ways. Today's mid-mountain hike starts at the top of the village where you'll quickly gain height and leave behind the olive trees.
The tiny chapel of 'St. Bernardo' will greet you on the way and you'll carry on north towards Pizzo Aguzzo (Italian for 'sharp peak'). After a steep walk with breathtaking views all around, including to the blue Mediterranean Sea, you'll arrive at a high point that separates the two valleys: one gentle towards the sea and the other steep.
When you reach Pizzo Aguzzo, there are two options. Depending on the group and weather conditions it's possible to carry on towards 'Pizzo Evigno', the highest point in the immediate area at over 1,000 m (superb views), or to retrace the way back towards the small hamlet of Tovo.
Walking down you'll notice the predominance of La Roverella, the small Mediterranean Oak. Another small rural chapel by the name of 'St. Sebastiano' is on the way. It's very characteristic for its assembling of old buildings along the edge of the hilly crest and you can see an old Roman fountain here.
A short walk on the secondary road takes you back to the starting point of today's guided walk in 'Villa Faraldi', where you can relax at one of the many charming trattorias.
Day 8 - Departure - End of your guided walking holiday to Liguria in Italy.
The 'Walking the Trails of Liguria' holiday can start on any date to suit your travel plans. Maximum group size is 6, individual bookings also welcome. Discounts are available for sharing apartments when coming with a group (for example 4 people sharing). Transfers from and to Imperia train station are included. There is a regular train and coach service between Genoa and Nice. Airport transfers from Genoa and Nice are also available at a small additional fee. Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form, for more information.
Please contact the holiday provider, through the contact form, for more information.
Guided walking holiday
Board basis: Self-catering
From € 600.- / 7 days
Price per person - shared - min 2 people
7 nights self-catering accommodation, transfers from Imperia train or coach station, all transport to and from the walks, five days of guided walking.
All other costs, including travel costs to the starting-point of this holiday.
March - June
September - November
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