For several hundred years Camogli was an important base for shipping in the region and once described as 'the city of a thousand sailing ships'. It has rather diminished in naval importance over the centuries and is now a small, pretty fishing town surrounded by the forested slopes of the Portofino Regional Natural Park.
Although only an hour or so drive from the extremely popular villages of the Cinque Terre, Camogli is much less visited than those villages and much more relaxing to visit, while losing little in terms of charm to its more famous neighbours - the area around the small beach and harbour is especially attractive.
Note: if you are arriving in Camogli by car, park at the top of the town and explore on foot.
Your visit to Camogli will focus around the harbour and seafront, attractively surrounded by tall pastel-painted houses. At ground level many of the buildings have now been converted into cafes and shops to divert your attention.
From the harbour you can continue your stroll along the seafront promenade and where you can also see the small Castello della Dragonara. The Dragonara castle dates from the 15th century and now holds occasional exhibitions.
In the town itself, many of the houses lining the narrow streets that climb the hill behind the harbour also feature various decorative and trompe l'oeil effects - often painted seashells. This adds to the enjoyment of exploring the town and distracts your attention slightly from the steepness of the cobbled streets!
There is also a popular pebble beach at Camogli just beyond the castle headland.
The other important historical monument in the town is the Basilica Santa Maria, overlooking the harbour. Originally dating from the 12th century, the basilica has been substantially modified over the centuries and now has an interior in the baroque style and a neo-classical facade.
The highlight of the year at Camogli is the second Sunday in May when a great fish festival called the Blessing of the Fish (Sagra del Pesce) is held - large amounts of fresh fish are fried up along the town waterfront and distributed to all present. And its free!
Local attractions and excursions
If you are passing some time at Camogli, the boat trips out to the Punta Chiappa - a good place for some quiet and sunbathing - and to the abbey at San Fruttuoso (in a remote location on the peninsula to the south-east of Camogli) make for popular and enjoyable excursions. You can also walk to San Fruttoso but it takes at least a couple of hours so bring walking shoes and water!
Hiking in the surrounding countryside is also very rewarding - for example the walk to the summit of Mount Portofino, from where there are lovely views out to sea, or to San Rocco, or perhaps the ancient roman style church of San Nicolò di Capodimonte. All are very enjoyable.
You can also organise boat trips from Camogli to other highlights along the Liguria coast such as the Cinque Terre and Portofino or visit one of the other resorts along the Paradise Gulf coast such as Sori.
Where is Camogli?
Map of Camogli sightseeing & popular sights
Selected places to visit near Camogli, Italy
See the Liguria guide for more travel ideas...