The Gulf of Poets is one of the most beautiful destination in Italy for sea lover and hiking addicted. It is very close to the superb Cinque Terre and took its name as many English, Italian and French poets used to live here and took inspiration by this enchanted region.
If you look it up in the Italian map, you will hardly find the Gulf of Poets (translation for the Italian Golfo dei Poeti) marked somewhere near the city of La Spezia. But if you follow the coast line from Genoa to the eastern side of Liguria, once you have passed Cinque Terre, you will meet Portovenere and the village of Lerici on the opposite part of the gulf. La Spezia stands in the middle of this paradise, the “gulf of Spezia“… known worldwide as the Gulf of Poets because writers and poets as D. H. Lawrence, Shelley, George Sand, Byron, Petrarca, Montale and Gabriele D’Annunzio among the others, spent their holidays or part of their life in the small towns of this gulf.
This is one of the most amazing area of Liguria: a region where mountains meet sea, “focaccia” is the best lunch ever tasted and “pesto” not only a way to cook pasta but it is a real magical word. Cinque Terre are just around the corner and if you are planning a family itinerary with kids, you can’t miss this little paradise.
How to organize a trip in the Gulf of Poets
The Gulf of Poets is a thin strip of land where families traveling to Italy will find little ancient towns, hidden trails, green hills, crystalline water, a coast rich of nature, history, art and local food. Like Cinque Terre, the Gulf of Poets will steal your heart!!
How to get to the Gulf of Poets
But where is this pearl and how can we get there?
The easiest way to get to the Gulf of Poets is by train, as the city of La Spezia can be reached in 3 hours from Milan and 3 hours and a half from Rome. The best trains to get there are the Intercity or the Frecciabianca. The villages of Lerici and Portovenere have no train station, so you can get there by ferry or by bus with the public transport.
Once in La Spezia, you can easily get to Riomaggiore (the closest of the Cinque Terre) within 7 minutes by train.
If you are driving to Italy, you can get to La Spezia and the Gulf of Poets by highway:
- From Milan: A7 highway that connects Milan to Genova + A12 from the city of Genova to La Spezia; or A1 highway untill Parma + the A15 from Parma to La Spezia (about 230km in 2 hours and a half)
- From Florence: A11 highway from Florence to La Spezia (150km in one hour and a half)
- From Rome: you can drive along the coastline following the E80 untill you reach La Spezia (410km in 4 hours and a half drive); or you can follow the A1 highway until Florence driving throught Tuscany (420km in nearly 4 hours).
Where to sleep in the Gulf of Poets
The Gulf of Poets offers many accommodations for all kind of budget: from apartment, to B&B, beautiful hotels, farms, hostels and a few campings that are not directly on the beach. This is because the Gulf (and Liguria as well) has a mountainous shape and is overhanging the sea, so if you decide to sleep in a tent or in a bungalow consider that the camping could be a few steps out of town.
Portovenere is a great location to stay at, and if you are looking to a great hotel we can reccommend Hotel Royal Sporting that is in front of the bay, with a magnific view on Palmaria island. The hotel offers private parking (consider it a plus in these little narrow villages) and has a private beach on the shore of Portovenere, where kids can play and have fun after you have visited the nearby.
If you are looking for a more relaxing and quite accommodation, nesteled in the hills, you can pencil B&B Il Tulipano, which is 15 minutes drive from the city of La Spezia.
Eating delicious food at Palmaria Island
“Focaccia al pesto” or “con le cipolle” (with onion), amazing fresh sea food and “Trenette al pesto” to die for!! Wanna try something really special and memorable? Ok, go to Locanda Lorena on the shore of Palmaria island. The Palmaria is the biggest island in the territory of Liguria and it stands in front of Portovenere. You can get there in 10 minutes by boat with special transfer organized by the restaurant itself.
The Locanda is a cute building overlooking the sea which was used by sailors as post office between the years 1930 and 1940. Today it is a truly pearl amongst the Italian restaurants, awards winning for the healthy food and the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Visiting the Gulf of Poets with kids: recommendation
The Gulf of Poets has definitely a romantic attitude, but if you are traveling to Italy with kids, we are sure that they will love it too! In every village you will find something different to discover: nice shops where you can buy hand made toys, shells to collect at the beach, artists painting up in the hills and the most amazing gelato ever tasted!
Baby carriers are the best solution to carry the little ones as there are plenty of stairs, rocky and slippery rises. Even the greatest country strollers could be quite inappropriate if you plan to visit the Gulf and Cinque Terre by train.
A part from restaurants it will be not so easy to find baby chairs or changing tables, so remind to bring always with you towels, diapers and be resourceful!! A bench in a playground or a rock wall in front of the sea will become your new best friends!
The Gulf of Poets is a truly Italian experience! Do not miss it and start organizing a family trip there!
|B&B Il Tulipano|
Via Rì, 2, Ricco' del Golfo di Spezia, SP, Italia
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|Hotel Sporting Portovenere|
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One of the best beach of the Gulf of Poets
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|Train Station La Spezia|
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