Lerici is an easily accessible town just a stone’s throw from the Cinque Terre and La Spezia, the major hub for trains and boats of all kinds. You will often see mega-yachts parked in the tidy Bay of Poets, while cargo ships and ferries scuttle to and fro.
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Lerici doesn’t disappoint in terms of summer concerts, terrific eateries, kayaking, bike tours and as a hub for ferrying guests to touristy Porto Venere or around the more crowded Cinque Terre. Lerici gives you the feeling that it is a playground for Italians and that certainly adds to its charm.
Situated with a towering castle above and cool tunnels used as bunkers below, Lerici and its surrounding towns are simply fun to explore. You can find a tourist info place nearer the shore and loads of hiking trails winding throughout the hills above and alongside postage stamp vineyards leading to nearby villages or further afield.Castello e museo di Lerici, P.za S.Giorgio, 19032 Lerici SP - https://lericicoast.it/en/strutture/castello-di-lerici/
With public beaches and many private beach clubs (you’ll have to reserve your beach lounges and umbrellas well in advance), you may want to head down some of the more hidden trails to less crowded swimming holes (try Map.Me for pretty accurate descriptions).
But beware: Those 350 steps down are exhausting when you have to head back up after a day in the sun!
What to see
Some sights to see include the castle, which often hosts exhibitions of one kind or another. And, just beyond the port area and pier, there’s a quiet lookout spot for a view of the sea. Beyond the castle, a hidden eatery situated right on the cliff attracts guests for drinks and sometimes dinner. It’s a great place to view the sunset, but don’t count on quick service. So if you’re not in a hurry, you can blithely enjoy the view whilst trying not to fret about your lack of drinks or food.Restaurant Ciccillo a Mare, Calata, Via Giuseppe Mazzini, Snc, 19032 Lerici SP - https://www.ciccilloamare.it/
The FAI villas
Italy’s Cultural Heritage Foundation – the FAI – takes over museum-quality villas and turns them into house museums. Lerici boasts the recently opened Villa Rezzola – a wonderful find after a meandering walk up to its graceful gardens. The staff exceptional, and rumor has it the stables (scuderie) will be opened as a coffee bar in the near future.Via Militare 33, fraz. Pugliona, Lerici (SP) - +39 3454338423 - https://fondoambiente.it/villa-rezzola-eng
Nearby, the Village of San Terenzo doesn’t disappoint for its nightlife. But at all hours of the day, the bars and eateries dotting the coastline are a beautiful spot for taking in the Bay of Poets. Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein had also rented the Villa Magni here with her husband, Percy, when he drowned in the very bay. The white-washed villa with its fine arcade is not hard to miss – and in what’s commonly called, Shelley’s Park, you can often find events and summer cinema there. The villa bears the inscription:
The sea roared unremittingly
So that we almost fancied ourselves
On board a ship…
After the high season
Keep in mind that off season, Lerici along with all the towns along the coast gets very quiet. But autumn is a wonderful time to hike or mountain bike along the trails. At Christmastime, you will find all the towns along the coast decked out in fanciful decorations, and a celebration of the Baby Jesus’ arrival on Christmas Eve – coming in on an oyster shell from the sea which may not be in your Holy Bible, is not to be missed.
My favorite sunset spot is right in the front of the Hotel Shelley, halfway between Lerici and San Terenzo. The music is soothing, the drinks near perfection, and you’ll always find a wonderful staff.Hotel Shelley e della Palme - Via S. Biaggini, 5, 19032 Lerici SP
After dinner, take a stroll or passeggiata along the coast from Lerici to San Terenzo. You’ll find kids of all ages, families and tourists mixing it up. In summer, live music from orchestral concerts to today’s beats light up the nightlife.
My restaurant tips.
The port of Lerici.
When in Liguria…you’ll want the fried fish take-away wherever you can find it. You can tell you’re in the right place when you see the line outside forming at Siamo Fritti.Siamo Fritti, Largo Guglielmo Marconi, 11, 19032 Lerici SP
For a luxurious meal, try Glam – Don’t be discouraged by the lack of diners. They offer a 4-star meal for those looking for fine dining portside.Ristorante Glam, Via calata Mazzini, 18, 19032 Lerici SP
Traveling with kids? There’s the Foccacceria – basically, a sort of pizza joint offering every sort of topping imaginable.Focacceria dei Fanti, Salita Arpara, 4, 19032 Lerici SP
Again, judge by the lines outside…the Rana Golosa Gelateria offers an array of outstanding flavors and other treats. Can’t even pick a favorite over here.La Rana Golosa, Piazza Felice Cavallotti, 19032 Lerici SP
Here, you’ll have to reserve well in advance. The tiny town is littered with wonderful family-style restaurants, with one tidy postage stamp on the seashore hosting just a few select tables for a really romantic spot. Try Fiascherino del Mare if you can get in. But all the places here serve up great food.Restaurant of Hotel Fascherino, Via Fiascherino di Lerici 148, 19032 Fiascherino SP - https://www.hotelfiascherino.it/
I love to take the boat over to Porto Venere for the shopping and eating, but even for a quick swim at one end where the water is blue. Be sure to bring your swimming shoes to scramble over the rocks on your way in and out of the water!
Swimming Pool: If you’re tired of the sea, Lerici boasts an amazing public pool complex, but be sure to have a swimming cap handy when visiting public pools across the country, just in case.Piscina Cicci Rolla, La Vallata, Via Biaggini II traversa, 19032 Lerici SP - https://lericisport.it
How to get to Lerici.
Head to the main parking garage. The local streets aren’t open to out-of-town traffic. With its elevator taking you half-way down the hill, you won’t have to huff and puff on your way back up (well, okay, just a little).
The NAVIGAZIONE from La Spezia is my favorite way to go to and from Lerici, or to explore the other Cinque Terre towns. Just watch out that the boats don’t run in the evening, so if you set out for a beautiful dinner, try to get to La Spezia where you can grab a taxi to take you back to your lodging.
Navigazione Golfo dei Peti, Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 13, 19121 La Spezia SP - https://www.navigazionegolfodeipoeti.it/
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