Travel goals: finding somewhere completely amazing that’s totally off the beaten track and you’ve never heard anyone talk about before. I love achieving this, finding a hidden gem of a destination that doesn’t have heards of people in it. And one of my faves is Levanto in Italy.
I admit I didn’t purposely visit Levanto to see Levanto. I was invited to stay at La Francesca resort in a villa just outside Levanto, which was then a 5 minute train ride to the Cinque Terre. Which was definitely my main draw to the area. But I hadn’t expected anything from Levanto itself.
But I was super impressed.
I should mention that this was my first visit to Italy so this may apply to a lot of Italian towns, but I just found Levanto full of culture yet completely chilled out. Here’s why I loved it so much:
1) The beach was deserted.
Along the Cinque Terre, only Monterosso has a beach and it was jam-packed when I went. The beach in Levanto on the other hand was pretty empty with what seemed like just locals enjoying the sunshine and children playing in the sea. Such a nice vibe.
2) Some of the best gelato I had in Italy was in Levanto.
There were no queues and loads of flavours, my favourites being limoncello and hazlenut flavours. Yes. I also ate it on the beach so extra points for that.
3) The shops weren’t that touristy.
The Cinque Terre can be full of shops selling tat and shopkeepers pressuring you to buy, but in Levanto everyone was chilled and I pottered about looking at shops selling fresh pasta and pesto and floppy hats and trinkets. Much more my style.
4) The 7th best pizza in the world.
This still makes me laugh, but trying the 7th best pizza in the world in Picea, a restaurant in Levanto, was great! It gets super busy though so get there early! (Read full post here)
5) The town itself is beautiful.
From cobbled streets to typically Italian architecture, Levanto is real good to look it. It even has one of the stripey churches that are typical of the region but is 34234% less busy than the one everyone is taking snaps of in Monterosso.
6) It’s an authentic place to experience Italian evening appertivo.
I love this amazing slice of Italian culture. The idea of the evening appertivo is to enjoy a drink or two with friends around 7-9pm, socialise and eat nibbles or stuzzichini as they’re called. Then you have a late dinner. It’s all so European I bloody love it. And in Levanto it feels more authentic indeed.
7) The people are lovely.
They’re chilled out and approachable and they really love their town, with posters everywhere showcasing Levanto. Like seriously, where can I get one of these posters, I bloody love them?!
8) It’s a gateway to Cinque Terre.
Despite Levanto being far more laid back and authentic, you still definitely need to see the colourful houses and amazing restaurants in the Cinque Terre. So Levanto is the perfect base to explore from, just jump on the train and 5 minutes later you’re there.
There you have it, the reasons I thought the fairly unknown town of Levanto in Italy was just top knotch. If you’re heading to that part of the world, I urge you to try it out. If only for the 7th best pizza in the world…
Have you been to Levanto or the Cinque Terre? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @HeelsInBackpack!