If you usually read my posts, you know that I prefer the sea in winter, when the beach seems to be all mine, the air tingles my face and the walks can become very long.
However, summer allows us to immerse ourselves in the beauty of the western Riviera in a completely different way, more intense and vivid, like the colours of this season.
From my immersions in this splendid natural setting, a review of my favourite corners of the beach between Alassio and Ospedaletti was born. Corners to experience in summer because the variety of settings along this stretch of coast allows us to choose a different beach for each experience we wish to have.
Here I suggest a short version, hoping it will give you inspiration and help you choose your ‘sea flavour’.
Alassio promenade: how many reasons to choose it!
It is the beach I see from our houses facing the sea in Alassio, when I have breakfast from the large living room of the Arabesque house or during one of the endless aperitifs on the balcony of the Tango loft.
There are endless reasons to choose to go down in flip-flops and stay on this stretch of beach, I will tell you the main ones here.
- If your goal is to get your fill of iodine on a long seaside promenade, this is the right place. You can walk without interruption along a 3-kilometre-long sandy shore, from the romantic Cappelletta ai Caduti del Mare to the cliff that separates Alassio from Laigueglia.
Personally, when I am here in summer I carefully avoid shoes and try to walk barefoot as much as I can, because I find beautiful feeling the sand under my feet. The contact with the soil helps me to listen to myself and the world immediately seems a better place. If you too would like to walk barefoot, this beach is the ideal place for the consistency of its sand: pleasantly fine and never dusty because it is of siliceous origin. There are no stones even in the shoreline that slopes gently into the sea, studded with tiny white shells.
- If, on the other hand, you want to spend a refreshing day swimming in the sea, but you are not an expert swimmer or enjoy the company of children… the beach at Alassio is also an excellent choice in this case, due to the slight slope of the sea bed. In fact, you can walk several dozen metres touching it.
- More than 100 beach resorts, many with bars, also make Alassio the ideal destination for a day out with friends chatting under a beach umbrella, riding on a pedalo and drinking a long aperitif at sunset.
Alassio welcomes also your pets: the official Alassio tourism website lists dog-friendly beaches, which provide dog bowls, spaces and even showers for dogs.
- If, on the other hand, you shy away from the hustle and bustle and you are looking for a slow, quiet day in the silent company of your favourite books, you can opt for the free beaches at the East and West ends of this stretch of coast. This is the ideal place to savour the magic: the view of the sea and the panorama of the Gallinara island, the breeze that mitigates the high temperatures and spreads the scents of the Mediterranean scrub combined with the smell of saltiness. Alternatively, for a regenerating and peaceful day, you can head for the Laigueglia seafront, which I’ll tell you about now.
Laigueglia: the beach that inspires
Baia del Sole is the stretch of coast that connects Laigueglia promenade to that of Capo Mele which you can walk along barefoot. The sand is very similar to that found in Alassio: clear, fine and never dusty.
Here, too, there are lots of beach resorts, but the boats docked at the marinas, the historical village overlooking the sandy shore and the rich vegetation of the hills behind it make Laigueglia a destination where beaches mean not only sun, sand and beach umbrella, but also botanical surprises and creative inspiration.
In particular, the Museo della Spiaggia, located at the Bagni Capo Mele in Laigueglia, enhances the uniqueness of this village and amazes with the poetry it evokes.
The museum is the brainchild of Livio Lovisone, an architect and artist from Turin, who took over an establishment just below the Capo Mele slope with the dream of bringing the ancient botanical varieties of the sandy shoreline – such as the sea lily – back to the beach and promoting a new way of seeing and experiencing the beach.
The objects in the museum are artistic artifacts created by putting together or working the woods washed up on the beach by the sea. Woods bleached and polished by the work of the sea, which tell of its inexhaustible power over time. The sensory workshop on salt, on the other hand, reminds me of how the sea can become journey, memory and taste.
These interventions have made the Capo Mele oasis a truly magical destination, where you can spend a few hours recharging yourself with sea-related inspirations and memories, in the context of a marvellous spontaneous botanical garden.
Diving and snorkelling around Gallinara Island
In my review, I could not miss a dive into a wild nature close to the embrace of the sea. This is Gallinara Island, an oasis protected as a regional nature reserve one kilometre from the coast, where herring gulls live and nest and over 200 species of flora grow.
Seen from afar, it reminds a giant tortoise or a snail, but the legend says it takes its name from the wild chickens that populated it in the past.
In summer you can get close on a boat excursion from Alassio. It is not possible to dock, but if you take a pair of flippers with you, you can explore the rich sea bed that surrounds it, populated by sponges, moray eels and sea breams. And if you have enough breath to swim to its coast, you will have no less than 10 km of footpaths to follow.
Balzi Rossi: the très chic small beach
To continue my review, I will move on to the stretch of western Liguria that borders France, telling you about enchanting stretches of coast that I visited while based in our large Étoile House, close to Ospedaletti cycle path and San Remo seafront.
This area already smells of the chic atmosphere of the French Riviera. Like the Balzi Rossi beach, which I choose when I need a day of pampering and silence in an enchanting natural setting. This beach is in fact equipped with every comfort and is located in a small inlet made unique by the reddish rocks overlooking the sea from which it takes its name.
Here I can lose myself for hours between the pages of my books, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the waves smoothing a promenade of perfectly spherical or ovoid-shaped pebbles.
Arma di Taggia and Riva Ligure: two beaches two worlds, just a few steps from each other
When I say that the Ligurian coast is very varied, I think of the 3 kilometres of coast between Arma di Taggia – the home of the olives I love most – and Riva Ligure.
The first historic beach, spacious and well-maintained, is my favourite for a day of sunbathing and simple relaxationwith my family or friends. The umbrellas and sunbeds are well spaced out and even in high season it is never particularly crowded. On cooler days, I like to reach it by bicycle starting from Casa Ètoile, along the western Liguria cycle path, which I have already told you about in a spring blog post.
The peculiarity of Riva Ligure beach is the dark colour of its sand, which stretches for hundreds of metres along a rather irregular coast. A truly fascinating sight, which contrasts with the beautiful cliffs behind the beach and the transparent water of the pebble-rich seabed.
Because of its colours, the sea at Riva is my favourite for long, revitalising swims. But I am not the only one to choose it for water sports: to the west, the beach closes with a surfing, windsurfing, SUP, catamaran and beach volleyball school.
And did you know these thousand faces of the beaches of western Liguria? With a stay in the Vayadù houses you can try them all or enjoy only those closest to your holiday style.