Levanto is the city that marks the beginning of Cinque Terre, the 5 small towns with their colourful houses spread out along the coast all the way till la Spezia.
The roads which lead to the city right by the ocean will make you feel like you’re driving through a jungle. All kinds of greens and vegetation do not only grow next to the street but also above and sometimes even in the street.
Whereas a few hundred kilometres away the countryside is as flat as a pancake, the landscape around Levanto and Cinque Terre is determined by mountains and sea. Tiny serpentines going up and down, around and on top of the hills provide fantastic views over the area.
Yet be aware that not all streets are fun to drive and especially the ones leading to small towns may become very tiny and narrow, lead into dead-ends or even turn out to be private property. We found that especially the region of Cinque Terre caused the most effort in regard of finding a spot to leave the car. Since the cities are bordered by the ocean and the mountains, free parking spots are rare, the streets are narrow and the parking lots expansive. But hey, it always worked, and if you keep your eyes open there is always the perfect spot. Little side note: You don’t have to do it the way everybody else does it. For example parking is free during the hours 7am till 8am, so why not visit a city while the locals are preparing their stores and tourists are still sleeping. Those hours are the creators of a special atmosphere with extraordinary memories 🙂
As the first groups of tourists arrived, we had already walked through the tiny alleys, up the stairs and hills, among the pretty houses, up to the old fort on the other side of the town, by the striped church S. Andrea and ended at the ocean, where hundreds of beach chairs are just waiting for the day to start. In the morning those beaches were quite and calm but even though they cost money to enter they will be packed by noon.
Off course there is way more to a city than what can be seen in an hour of walking through the streets, reading the signs with information and taking some pictures, but Levanto was just one town out of 34 we would visit in the next 10 days or so. Nevertheless we were able to get a good look at the beautiful city and saw a few things I would recommend to anyone who is travelling to the area of colourful houses right by the ocean (my own definition of this region lol)
Following I put together 7 things I liked best about this city:
- Enjoy the ride and the view on your way to get there
2. The small streets with the pretty houses
3. The view from different parts of the city
4. Pay attention to the life in the streets
5. The old fort
6. The striped church S. Andrea
If you like this area, happen to be travelling there or just generally are interested, stay tuned for the following posts. I will also continue to write about the way we travelled with tips and tricks.