Don’t worry! Nothing has changed 🙂 The official Cinque Terre are still five 😉 However, in my opinion, Levanto could be one of them. Then we could call them “Sei Terre” (Six Lands) 😉 Levanto is located just before Monterosso and from the architectural point of view it is very similar to the famous Five Lands. What is more, a shore of Levanto is a part of Area Protetta delle Cinque Terre (a part of Ligurian Sea that is protected as a National Park). Well … Levanto is a kind of “Cinderella” that stays close to its famous “sisters” Cinque Terre.
How to reach Levanto?
- by car
– A12 motorway – you exit with Carrodano/Levanto motorway exit. Then you follow the road signs to Levanto and you take an SP 566 dir. The town is located quite far away from the motorway and it takes about 20/30 min to reach it. More info here.
– SP 32, SP 43 – the provincial roads. From the western side, the road is quite nice. It is narrow but the views are stunning. The biggest disadvantage is that in Moneglia and Deiva Marina are the one-way tunnels with traffic lights. The lights change every 10/15 minutes so you have to wait in a queue.
From the eastern side start Cinque Terre. The road there is narrow and leads through forests (no views) and very often is interrupted (with many deviations). The motorway is better … especially from the eastern side 😉
- by train – Levanto has a quite important railway station where stop majority of trains. What is more, from here starts Cinque Terre Express the train that brings tourists who visit Cinque Terre. More info here.
- by ferry – Levanto has a nice, small harbour where stop many ferries. More info here and here.
The first settlement was created here during the Romans domination. In that time the town was called Ceula. Then after the Western Roman Empire had collapsed, Levanto became a part of the Eastern Roman Empire. Then in the Middle Ages was a part of the Republic of Genoa. After that in the XVIII century was conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte and at the end in 1861 r. together with whole Liguria became a part of United Italy.
Things to see & do
A main street of Levanto is via Roma. It connects the railway station with an old town and a beach. When you go in the direction of the sea the old town is located on your left. It is enough you turn left and after a short time, you are in the heart of Levanto’s old town. Here the most important monument is black and white striped church. You will find it easily because it is located on a small hill and it is well visible from any point of Levanto.
Chiesa di Sant’Andrea (Saint Andrew church)
It is not sure when it was built. However, it was mentioned in a document from the XIII century. The church represents a Romanesque style and has a characteristic black and white striped facade (made of marble and slate). Inside you can admire many paintings from the XVI century that were made by local artists.
On the right side of the church, you can see a small path. It is Salita al Castello that leads to a local castle.
The castle was built in the XIII century. It was used for defending the town from pirates attacks. Then in the XVII century became a prison. After a French domination lost its importance. Was restored in the XX century and was bought by private owners. Nowadays it is still a private propriety and it is impossible to visit it.
Trails to Cinque Terre
For those who love trekking. In the front of the castle starts a trail to Punta Mesco (a panoramic point on the top of the Mesco peninsula) and to Monterosso (Cinque Terre).
If you back to the old town you go down along medieval walls. You can see there very well-preserved fortified towers and rests of a drawbridge. Then the path leads to another hill. If you follow it you’ll arrive at a town gate and a clock tower. When you pass through the gate you can be surprised cause you will arrive into a garden! However, there is still the path that leads to a nearby church and to the old town. The church is called Chiesa della Madonna della Costa.
Chiesa della Madonna della Costa (Church of Saint Mary from the Shore)
It is not sure when it was built. The first document that mentioned it comes from the XIII century. Its facade is decorated with a relief made of marble and its interiors are richly decorated with the XVIII century frescos. Nowadays the church is deconsecrated and closed for tourists. However, next to the church is located a small, lovely park. Here you can see a panorama of the old town of Levanto.
From the church, you can go down, through the old town. You can reach and cross via Roma and go on foot or by car in via Trento e Trieste. The street leads you to a fantastic panoramic point from which you can admire whole Levanto and its beautiful bay.
However, if you don’t care about the panorama or simply you’re not interested in climbing on foot on the hill you should surely see the biggest attraction of Levanto, a cycle lane that connects Levanto-Bonassola-Framura.
It leads through old, train tunnels and it is adapted to bicycles and pedestrians.
Length: 5,6 km
Along the cycle lane, you will see many, beautiful beaches. After 15 minutes walk or 5 minutes bike ride you will reach a beautiful town named Bonassola (by car it takes about 30 minutes to reach it !!!). In Levanto, you find a large parking place where you can leave a car and also a bike rental company (more info here).
Surfing in Levanto
The beach in Levanto is long and large. However, the things that attract many persons to Levanto are … its waves. Thanks to a construction of a sea bottom here are fantastic conditions for doing surf. Levanto is a capital of this sport in Liguria and surfers call it the “big wave spot”. When the wind is favourable the waves can become even 3 meters high! In that case, the town is literary swarmed by surfers 😉
Where to sleep in Levanto?
A Casa Mia
Would you like to visit Cinque Terre but you can’t find anything in the Cinque Terre villages? So here you have a solution! A new, modern holiday house located close to the Levanto’s railway station. Very comfortable for visiting the famous villages. What is more, the house is surrounded by a countryside and total calmness far away from the Cinque Terre crowds. More about A Casa Mia here.
Appartamento della Piazza
Located in the very centre of Levanto. It is very nice if you wanna stay in Levanto, a little bit less if you wanna visit Cinque Terre because it is far away from the railway station. Extremally comfortable if you wanna spend your time on beach and swimming (or surfing, remember that Levanto is the Ligurian capital of surfing!). The flat can host up to 4 persons. More about Appartamento della Piazza here.
3* hotel is placed in the front of the sea. It is a little bit old fashioned but clean, very comfortable and with sea view. It is a perfect place for whom wanna stay in Levanto and visit its zone. The hotel rent bicycles that are the perfect mean of transport in that town. More about Hotel Garden here.
Levanto is located close to the Cinque Terre, has beautiful beaches, the cycle lane, delicious food and fewer tourists than the Cinque Terre … what else do you need? Come here and try!