Sailing to Marina di Loano — a coastal Italian adventure

The sun had barely risen, casting a soft golden hue over the horizon, as we embarked on our journey from Cavi and Marina degli Aregai to Marina di Loano. The gentle hum of the boat’s engine as we exited the harbor and the rhythmic lapping of the waves set the tone for what was to be an unforgettable voyage along Italy’s mesmerizing coastline.

As we sailed, the coastline unfurled like a beautifully illustrated map, revealing its secrets one by one. The most captivating of these were the quaint towns, each perched precariously on hilltops, their terracotta roofs gleaming in the sunlight, and their narrow cobbled streets winding down like serpentine trails. These towns, with their centuries-old history, seemed to whisper tales of ancient legends, love stories, and timeless traditions.

But here’s the thing: not all these picturesque towns are marked on conventional sailing maps. Even our trusted Navionics app, which had been our guiding star for charts, missed a few. Each unmarked town was like a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered, explored, and cherished.

As we continued our voyage, a thought lingered in my mind. What would it be like to traverse this enchanting coast by land? To feel the wind in my hair as we drove a camper or van along winding coastal roads, stopping at each of these hilltop towns? To wander through their ancient alleyways, savoring the aroma of freshly baked bread, listening to the melodious chatter of locals, and soaking in panoramic views of the azure sea below?

The allure of returning by car became irresistible. I imagined setting up camp near one of these towns, watching the sunset paint the sky in shades of pink and orange, and then gazing at the stars, with the rhythmic sound of waves in the distance.

Our journey from Cavi and Marina degli Aregai to Marina di Loano felt like a journey through time, history, and dreams. It was a reminder that sometimes, the most magical experiences lie in the unexpected detours and the uncharted territories. And as we later docked at Marina di Loano, I made a silent promise to myself: I would someday return, not as a sailor, but as a traveler on land, ready to explore every hidden nook and cranny of this bewitching Italian coast.

If you ever find yourself in Italy, with a heart full of wanderlust and a spirit ready for adventure, remember this tale. And perhaps, just perhaps, you’ll embark on your own enchanting journey, discovering the magic of Italy’s hilltop towns and coastal dreams.

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mathieu letailleur sailing to loano italian riviera
Mathieu Letailleur sailing to Marina di Loano on the Italian Riviera with Otto’s help

Slow travel on the Italian Riviera

There’s a unique beauty in slow travel, especially when it’s by sail. Each wave, each gust of wind, becomes an intimate conversation between nature and sailor. It’s not about the destination, but the journey itself, the essence of sailing that captures the heart and soul.

As the boat gently rocked to the rhythm of the waves, we got better acquainted with Otto, our automated helm pilot. Despite its older and simpler technology compared to newer-generation autopilots, Otto became an essential crew member. In the unpredictable world of the sea, safety is paramount. Otto ensured that our course remained steady, allowing us to enjoy the beauty around us while knowing we were in safe hands. His constant vigilance was a comforting presence, a silent guardian watching over us.

But the sea, with all its vastness, is never truly empty. As days went by, we encountered lots of fellow sailors on their own journeys. Each vessel we crossed paths with had its own story and its own adventures. From the distant mega-yachts to the nearby fishing boats, the marine traffic was a testament to the unpredictability of life at sea. One moment, the horizon would be clear, and the next, a silhouette of a ship would emerge, reminding us of the shared love for the sea.

italian riviera vacation sailing
Italian Riviera vacation: sailing is a dance

The journey by sail is a dance with nature, technology, and fellow sailors. It’s a dance that celebrates the beauty of slow travel, the importance of safety, and the unpredictability of marine traffic. And as we sailed on, with Otto by our side and the vast sea ahead, we were reminded of the timeless allure of the sea and the stories it holds.

If you ever find yourself yearning for adventure, remember the magic of sailing. Embrace the slow pace, trust in technology, and cherish the encounters along the way. For in the dance of the sea, there’s a story waiting to be told, a journey waiting to be experienced.

sailing italian riviera itinerary
Sailing Italian Riviera itinerary

Sailing the Italian coast beyond landmarks into dreams

The Italian Riviera, a stretch of coastline that whispers tales of ancient towns, azure waters, and sun-kissed beaches, beckoned us for an adventure. The Comune Loano, a tapestry of history and culture, was only one of the Italian Riviera’s treasures waiting for us ahead. From the vibrant Loano Beach to the cozy hotels in Loano Italy, every corner held a story. And as we sailed, the weather in Loano Italy, with its gentle sun and balmy winds, was the perfect companion.

cervo italian riviera cities
Cervo Italian Riviera cities

Our first landmark on our way to Marina di Loano was the picturesque town of Cervo. Perched on a hill, it looked like a painting come to life. Its unique charm lay in its narrow streets, ancient churches, and the panoramic views of the Italian Riviera beaches. As we sailed past, the Italian Riviera map in our hands came alive, with each Italian Riviera town beckoning with its allure.

capo mele italian riviera map
Capo Mele Italian Riviera map

The bustling activity around Capo Mele was a sight to behold, especially during the weekend. Sailboats, yachts, and fishing vessels danced on the waters, each on its own journey. Our Italian Riviera travel guide mentioned the beautiful and intriguing tunnel on Capo Mele, a gateway to the South of France. Driving through it must be an experience in itself, with the Italian Riviera itinerary unfolding like a dream.

From the best places to visit on the Italian Riviera to the cozy Italian Riviera resorts, our journey was a blend of discovery and relaxation. The Ligurian coast, with its blend of Italian Riviera cities and small towns near Genoa Italy, was a testament to the region’s rich heritage. As we pondered on the best time to visit the Italian Riviera or where to stay in Liguria, the answers seemed to lie in the wind, the waves, and the endless horizon.

If you ever find yourself yearning for an Italian Riviera vacation, remember these landmarks, the tales, and the dreams that await. Whether it’s an Italian Riviera cruise, a stay in one of the Italian Riviera hotels, or simply a desire to explore Liguria destinations, the journey will be as enchanting as the destination. And your memories will remain etched in golden hues and azure waves.

italian riviera holidays
Italian Riviera holidays at sea

Changing dynamics of sailing along the Italian Riviera

The Italian Riviera, a stretch of coastline that has been the muse of poets and the retreat of royalty, beckoned us for a journey unlike any other. As we set sail to the Loano Italian Riviera, the vast expanse of the Ligurian coast unfurled before us, each wave telling tales of ancient Italian Riviera towns and sun-kissed Italian Riviera beaches.

mathieu letailleur italian riviera travel guide
Italian Riviera travel guide: Mathieu on Puzzle’s bow while I’m sailing by Isola Gallinara

One of my most cherished personal anecdotes was sailing past Isola Gallinara. The island, with its lush greenery and azure waters, was a sight to behold. But what intrigued me most was its curious naming. Legend has it that the island was named after the wild hens that once roamed its shores. As we sailed past, I couldn’t help but imagine a time when the island echoed with the clucks and crows of its feathery inhabitants. But try as I might to connect it to the image of a chicken, I keep thinking of turtles, because it really has a turtle shape!

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Italian Riviera resorts: Albenga

As we approached Albenga, the skyline transformed. The modernity of the Italian Riviera resorts gave way to the majesty of ancient architecture. Albenga, with its rich history, stood as a testament to the Italian Riviera’s timeless allure. The best places to visit on the Italian Riviera often hold tales of battles, love, and intrigue, and Albenga was no exception. Its historical significance, from being a strategic Roman outpost to a bustling medieval trade center, added layers to our journey.

Albenga was the last large city we passed by on our way to Marina di Loano. The Wikipedia page of Albenga says this city has the nickname of City of a Hundred Spires. But isn’t that Prague?

mathieu and mirela letailleur sailing the italian riviera
Mathieu and Mirela Letailleur sailing the Italian Riviera with some help from Otto

After having a quick bite for lunch while at sea, we still had plenty of time to rest and take in the sights before reaching Loano. I supervised the helm, and he did what he always does when I sit down and there’s a tiny bit of room for him next to me: he cuddles with his head on my lap! This time, his feet were on the handrail, that’s how he could fit. And yes, I was really red in this photo. I mostly burn and then (sometimes) I tan.

Italian Riviera travel guides often speak of the Ligurian coast’s beauty, the Italian Riviera hotels’ luxury, and the myriad of things to do in the Italian Riviera. But what it doesn’t capture is the soul of the journey – the changing dynamics of sailing, the personal anecdotes, and the sheer wonder of discovery.

Whether you’re planning an Italian Riviera vacation, pondering over where to stay in Liguria, or simply dreaming of the small towns near Genoa Italy, remember to let the winds guide you, the stars inspire you, and the waves tell you tales of a time gone by as you travel to the Italian Riviera.

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Sailing to Marina di Loano

Arriving at Marina di Loano

As our vessel approached the shimmering coast of the Italian Riviera, the vast expanse of Marina di Loano unveiled itself, gleaming under the sun. The marina, a jewel of the Loano Riviera, stretched out like a grand mosaic of boats, yachts, and the azure Ligurian coast. My first impression was one of awe – the sheer vastness of Marina di Loano was a sight to behold, a testament to its reputation as one of the premier sailing destinations on the Italian Riviera map.

Docking at the marina was an experience in itself because it was our first time dealing with a finger dock. The gentle hum of activity and the seamless blend of tradition and modernity were palpable. The Yacht Club Marina di Loano, with its pristine white sails and gleaming decks, stood as a beacon of luxury.

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Mirela Letailleur aboard Puzzle in Marina di Loano on the Italian Riviera

But what struck me most was the juxtaposition of lifestyles in and around Marina di Loano. On one side, the opulence of the Italian Riviera resorts, the luxury yachts from the Marina di Loano yacht club, and the elite guests discussing their Italian Riviera itinerary. On the other, we saw local fishermen returning with their day’s catch, children playing on the Loano beach, and families enjoying simple picnics under the sun.

The Comune Loano, with its rich history and cultural tapestry, added layers to our experience. From exploring the best places to visit on the Italian Riviera, lounging in the plush Italian Riviera hotels, to discovering small towns near Genoa Italy, every moment was a blend of luxury and simplicity.

Routine activities in Marina di Loano

We finally washed the boat after docking in our berth. And having a finger dock allowed us to really give the side a good scrub. I loved washing the boat and splashing everywhere (while still avoiding the neighbors’ boats), feeling the cool water on my legs after a day in the sun. It took me longer than it did Mathieu, and it sometimes annoyed him, but at least it was an enjoyable chore for me. And, after the boat, it was our turn to go shower.

Marina di Loano Yacht Club facilities
Marina di Loano Yacht Club facilities

Marina di Loano is the only other marina we’ve been to besides Cannes to have a full-bathroom cabin. But here they went even further because, besides the shower and sink, there was also a toilet and a bidet in the same individual space. And it was really spacious. (On the downside, I heard from Mathieu that the men’s bathrooms weren’t that nice, there were little tiles coming off the walls.)

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Doing laundry aboard in Italy

Then, after showering, we took advantage of the laundromat and did a laundry day! We washed and dried almost everything we could in Marina di Loano before continuing our trip the next morning.

As the evening approached and the weather in Loano Italy turned cooler, I reflected on our journey. From the bustling Italian Riviera cities to the serene Italian Riviera beaches, from the grandeur of the yacht club Marina di Loano to the simplicity of the Loano Italian Riviera, our voyage was a dance of contrasts.

No matter if you’re planning an Italian Riviera vacation, pondering over where to stay in Liguria, or simply soaking in the beauty of the Ligurian coast, remember that Marina di Loano is a symphony of luxury and simplicity, waiting to be explored.

visit loano italian riviera
Mathieu and Mirela Letailleur visit Loano Italian Riviera

Loano: a hidden gem of the Italian Riviera

As the sun began its descent, casting a golden hue over the Marina di Loano, our excitement was palpable. Our boat, modest compared to the luxurious yachts of the Yacht Club Marina di Loano, bobbed gently in the water. But as we often mused, the beauty of sailing is that regardless of the vessel, the destination remains the same. Our destination that evening was the enchanting town of Loano.

On our way to Loano’s center, we passed by the historical Torre dell’ Orologio that stood tall, a testament to Loano’s rich past. Its majestic structure, juxtaposed against the modernity of the town, was a sight to behold. As we meandered through the streets, the beauty of Piazza Italia unfolded before us. The square, pulsating with life, was a tapestry of laughter, chatter, and the innocent play of children.

Stepping onto the cobbled streets of Loano, the vibrant terraces beckoned us with their allure. The aroma of freshly baked bread, the sizzle of street food, and the distant hum of conversations filled the air. But, remembering the events of 2020, we hesitated to dine amidst the crowd. Instead, we embarked on a culinary adventure, wandering the streets in search of delectable street food. Our quest led us to a quaint bar that prepared takeaway food, where we discovered delightful homemade burger-like delicacies that were a treat to our taste buds.

We stopped to eat our dinner on a bench in a tiny park next to Piazza Italia while people-watching. From our spot, we could also see Oratorio di Nostra Signora del Rosario. On its left, besides the cross, there are also some old and pretty big anchors. The whole square was really animated. It was like a gathering place, and there were so many kids out at play.

But the crown jewel of our exploration was the Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista. Its magnificent dome, which we had spotted from the sea, beckoned us. Getting to it was a delightful maze, with every wrong turn revealing another facet of Loano’s charm. As we stood before the church, its architectural grandeur left us in awe.

piazza italia loano italian riviera
Piazza Italia in Loano, Italian Riviera

As the evening drew to a close, we reflected on our journey. As we headed back to our boat, the cheapest on the pier yet already rich in stories, we realized that Loano, much like the rest of the Italian Riviera, was a tapestry of contrasts – modern yet ancient, bustling yet serene, opulent yet humble. And it’s these contrasts that make Loano a must-visit on any Italian Riviera itinerary.

yacht club marina di loano liguria
Yacht Club Marina di Loano Liguria Province

Beyond the horizon: more of Italy’s coastal wonders

As the last rays of the sun kissed the horizon, casting a shimmering glow over the Marina di Loano, we found ourselves enveloped in a profound sense of gratitude. Every twist and turn, every cobbled street of Loano, every whisper of the Ligurian coast, and every echo of the Italian Riviera towns had etched unforgettable memories in our hearts. From the bustling terraces to the serene beaches, from the historical significance of Torre dell’ Orologio to the architectural marvel of Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista, our journey was nothing short of magical.

But as the saying goes, every ending is a new beginning. The Golf of Genoa, with its vast expanse of azure waters, beckoned us. The allure of Arenzano, with its pristine beaches and vibrant culture, awaited our exploration. Our hearts raced at the thought of the new memories we would create, the new stories we would weave, and the new horizons we would discover.

To all our readers, if the tales of our journey have ignited a spark of wanderlust within you, consider this: there’s no experience quite like sailing. The Italian Riviera, with its mosaic of colors, sounds, and flavors, offers a unique adventure that’s best experienced aboard a sailboat. Let the winds of curiosity guide you, let the waves of excitement propel you, and embark on a sailing journey of your own. The Italian coast, with its hidden gems and untold stories, awaits your discovery. Set sail, explore, and let the magic of the Italian Riviera captivate your soul!

About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Living in the heart of the South of France, Mirela Letailleur is a connoisseur of the Italian Riviera, Marina di Loano, and the mesmerizing Ligurian coast. Hailing from Romania, Mirela’s journey has taken her across Europe and beyond, and she chronicles her affordable travel escapades on The Travel Bunny blog. Her unique free travel guides stand testament to her expertise, making her the go-to local travel expert for those yearning to explore Europe’s hidden gems.

Beyond her captivating tales of the Italian coastline, Mirela is a problem solver at heart, always ready with a solution for any travel hiccup. And while she might jest about being a wannabe coffee guru, her insights into European travels are nothing short of expertly brewed perfection. If you’re looking to sail the Italian Riviera or meander through the Marina di Loano, Mirela is the best compass you could ask for.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

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