Why Visit Camogli, Italy with Kids Instead of Cinque Terre

Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Camogli. Photo by prosign/AdobeStock
Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Camogli. Photo by prosign/AdobeStock

Camogli is a charming seaside village located in the Liguria region of northwestern Italy, along the Italian Riviera. We love it for its picturesque harbor, colorful houses and rich maritime history, as well as beaches families can easily enjoy while avoiding the crowds.   

If you’ve been to the Italian Riviera between June and August — specifically, to the towns of the Cinque Terre located south of Camogli — crowded beaches and packed streets may be familiar. For some families, this rocky stretch of coastline in Liguria is the ultimate summer holiday destination. 

In fact, questions about visiting Italian beaches with kids in the summertime come up more often than almost any other topic on Ciao Bambino. Given this, I thought it would be fun to showcase one of the best alternatives to the crowded coastal towns of the Cinque Terre, as well as need-to-know tips for visiting the area. 

Streets of Camogli, Italy. Photo by philippe paternolli/AdobeStock
The streets of Camogli, Italy. Photo by philippe paternolli/AdobeStock

Camogli, Italy Tips and Advice 

Where is Camogli, Italy? 

Camogli is not part of Cinque Terre. Surprise! While we love Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore (the five towns that make up Cinque Terre), it can be daunting trying to navigate the terraced towns in the summer months, whether you arrive at the train station for a day trip to tackle the hiking trail or you are looking for the perfect sunset photo of the Ligurian Coast.  

Rick Steves seems to be single-handedly behind the American obsession with visiting Cinque Terre. It’s not that I don’t enjoy Cinque Terre. In fact, I do, but I have to admit you couldn’t pay me to stay there between June and August as it’s simply too darn popular with everyone but Italians. 

The point is that there are other picturesque places to stay and visit in this part of Italy. 

Cinque Terre is known for being remote and accessible only from the water, although you can get there easily via train today, so the remote factor isn’t a reason to go anymore. Moreover, you can always visit Cinque Terre by getting off at one of the train stations and taking one of the famous hikes between the villages for a day trip; you don’t need to spend the night there to appreciate the experience. 

Camogli waterfront. Photo by oreundici/YayImages
Camogli’s waterfront. Photo by oreundici/YayImages

Fewer Crowds in June through August 

Now, even though Camogli isn’t as crowded, you will still find plenty of people on the beaches. Despite the fact that the average tourist doesn’t know about this Italian town, you cannot escape people anywhere on this part of the Italian coastline over the summer months; you can just enjoy fewer of them.  

Boats in the Camogli harbor. Photo by Florence Piot/ AdobeStock
Boats in the Camogli harbor. Photo by Florence Piot/AdobeStock

Rocky Beaches Offer a Different Kind of Stay 

If your Italy beach vacation includes miles of sand, look farther south in Forte dei Marmi. What makes this part of the Italian coastline so dramatic is the rocky shore. Swimming is appealing as the water is gorgeous, but you have to do a bit more searching to find the spots that are ideal for young kids (many families day trip to the sandy beaches of Monterosso). 

Ready to start planning the ultimate getaway to Italy with kids?

Our Family Travel Advisors can help you choose where to go, book vetted accommodations, design a custom itinerary, arrange private tours and experiences, and more. Click to get started!

San Fruttuoso Abbey in Camogli. Photo by Solarisys/AdobeStock
San Fruttuoso Abbey. Photo by Solarisys/AdobeStock

Things to Do in Camogli Off the Beach 

In between splashing in the water and day trips to the towns of Cinque Terre, there is plenty to do in Camogli with kids.  

Visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, known for its stunning Baroque interior and frescoes with sea views. 

Explore Castello della Dragonara, an ancient castle overlooking the sea with panoramic views of Camogli and the Ligurian coast. 

Camogli Italy in the Italian Riviera. Photo by antonioscarpi/YayImages
Spend some time on land exploring Camogli’s streets. Photo by antonioscarpi/YayImages

Stroll along the waterfront and harbor to see local fishermen at work and explore the colorful buildings. The people watching is wonderful and it’s a great place to wander if your baby has fallen asleep in the stroller. Alternatively, you can wander the narrow, winding streets of the old town, pop in for a coffee at one of the cafes or do a little shopping in the local boutiques.  

Hike through Portofino Regional Park to the secluded bay of San Fruttuoso, home to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso (great to do with older kids!). 

Take a boat trip to Portofino to see the breathtaking views of the Ligurian coastline from the water, a view you can’t find anywhere else.  

Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Camogli. Photo by prosign/AdobeStock
Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Camogli. Photo by prosign/AdobeStock

Attend the Sagra del Pesce (Fish Festival) on the second Sunday in May to watch as the locals cook fish in a giant frying pan. 

Visit the Maritime Museum (Museo Marinaro) to learn about Camogli’s maritime history through exhibits and artifacts. 

No matter what you do or when you go, Camogli is the perfect town to stay with kids when you want to explore the region.  

Swimming pool at the Cenobio dei Dogi  Photo by Cenobio dei Dogi 
Photo by Cenobio dei Dogi

Our Favorite Hotels in Camogli

Cenobio dei Dogi 

When we last visited Camogli, I stopped to have lunch and check in on Cenobio dei Dogi, one of our recommended hotels in Camogli along the Italian Riviera, and I was reminded why I like it so much for families. Located just south of Genova, the highlight of this 4-star hotel is, without a doubt, the view. It’s perched on a cliff above the town with stunning sea and coastline views, and guests have permanent smiles throughout their sun-filled stay.  

Although there is no flat grass for kids to run around (in short supply in this area), there are plenty of families at the pool during holiday periods. There are a few large “rocks” that have chairs on them, as well as a small beach club where guests can go. 

The food here is excellent and the service is friendly. The main public areas aren’t shabby, but they are dated. Guest rooms, however, have undergone renovations and feature updated (traditional, not stylish) furnishings and bathrooms. 

Hotel Continental in Santa Margherita Ligure Italy. Photo by Hotel Continental
Photo by Hotel Continental

Hotel Continental 

South of Camogli in Santa Margherita Ligure, Hotel Continental is highly recommended by Shannon Venable of ItaliaKids.com, the author of our review of the property. Although I haven’t stayed here, I did a walk-through a few years ago. Given the close proximity to Portofino, you get a bit more of the jet set factor in this area than you do by Camogli.   

There is also some grass for kids to roam. Rooms and public areas are fully updated and upscale, with a more modern feel than Cenobio dei Dogi. 

Relevant Links:

Browse all family-friendly accommodations and activities in Italy on Ciao Bambino

52 things to know before traveling to Italy with kids

1 to 2 weeks in Italy: The best itinerary for families

Understanding the 5 towns of Cinque Terre, Italy with kids 

3 ideas for a perfect day in Italy’s Cinque Terre with kids


Start a Discussion

  • We will be traveling to Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome in early June. We have a couple of extra days and we are trying to figure out the best place to visit. We thought about taking the Chunnel from Paris to London for a day trip. Or visiting the Amalfi coast, Pompeii or maybe Cinque Terra. Do you have any recommendations on which may be the most interesting for my 7 and 10 year old girls?

  • Hi. thanks for the helpful info!
    we will be visiting camogli, italy next summer (late june early july)
    i am not familiar w/ crowded italian beaches. we were in positano a few years ago, but we spent our time on the hotel’s private beach w/ no crowds.
    w/ the public beach in camogli, do you have to go out pretty early to claim your spot? i guess we would rent a few beach chairs and umbrellas and hang out all day and relax. do you have an idea of how much something like that costs? (to rent.) also, do you know if you can you just pack a picnic basket and drink alcohol on the beaches? i am thinking that we are all going to need the water shoes too, but i am going to look for something that looks alittle chic! gotta keep up w/ those stylish europeans!

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let Ciao Bambino! Plan Your Dream Trip with Kids

Get the latest family travel news, exclusive deals & more!

Sign up for our newsletter and you’ll be the first to know about special promotions, perks, tips and hot destinations.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign In

Want to save all the great intel and tips you are finding on Ciao Bambino? My Trip Planner allows you to bookmark articles, family-friendly hotel reviews, and family vacation packages. Simply click the heart icon on anything you want to save. Site registration is required to get started. Happy planning!

Create an Account

Please fillout the form below to create your free My Trip Planner account.