Just a few hours' sail from Genoa lies one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in Italy: we're talking about the Portofino Nature Park, whose 610-meter-high peak is covered with forests and trails and fosters such remarkable biodiversity that it was established as a nature park back in 1935.
From the sea, the park is bordered on the west by the marina of Camogli and to the east by the Bfarmyard of Paraggi. The scenery from below is no less impressive, with towering cliffs overlooking the sea and seafloors teeming with fish, not to be missed by snorkelers.
First in order of appearance, Camogli is the most beautiful village in Paradise Gulf thanks to its unparalleled architecture. Home to Italy's greatest sailors and shipowners, it is still home to the prestigious Nautical Institute.
Not to be missed is a visit to the fishing harbor and the famous waterfront protected by the Dragonara Castle, built overlooking the sea next to the iconic church of St. Mary of the Assumption.
To enjoy the walk, there is nothing better than street food: in the bakery Revello you will find an excellent focaccia di Recco, while in the marina Semmu Friti offers delicious fried cones of the freshest fish.
The marina is very small and unsuitable for recreation, better to anchor the boat in front of the beach in 8/10 meters redoxed by first and second quadrant.
If you love snorkeling this is the place for you: thanks to the marine protected area groupers, amberjacks, octopuses and dozens of fish species inhabit the seabed of this peculiar rocky reef undisturbed.
A little higher up is the restaurant Stella Maris (tel. +39 0185 770285)allows you to enjoy the sunset over Paradise Gulf in an unspoiled natural environment.
Anchoring is difficult because of the high depths and because of the delimitation of the nature park, but the park authority provides buoys for stopovers at a derisory price (tel. +39 334 2549868).
Abbey of San Fruttuoso
The foundation of the abbey blurs with legend: it is said that in the 8th century AD Fruttuoso himself appeared in a dream to the Spanish bishop Prospero, fleeing from the Arabs, pointing to this bay to bring the saint's remains to safety. The fate of the abbey later passed into the hands of the Genoese Doria family, who built the tower of the same name in 1562.
This magical place is surrounded by dense forests, accessible only by sea or by winding paths.
On the bottom of the bay at a depth of 15 meters lies the Christ of the Deep, A bronze statue nearly three meters high A must-visit destination for diving enthusiasts.
On the beach there are some excellent Ligurian cuisine restaurants, specializing in local fish, including the following La Puntetta (tel. +39 0185 771781).
Anchoring is prohibited; moor your sailboat at the buoy (tel. +39 0185 289649) with taxi-boat service to restaurants.
Perhaps the most famous Ligurian municipality, it is a luxury resort thanks to the splendid villas that have sprung up since the early 1900s. The village is delightful and definitely worth a visit: the more willing can climb a short path that passes through the church of St. George, the Castle Brown and ends at the distinctive lighthouse, all topped off with splendid views of the small harbor below.
For dinner we recommend the following. Sailor's Tavern (tel. +39 0185 2691030)
overlooking the famous small square, which despite high prices offers high quality dishes.
For the mooring of the sailboat, one must contact the Marina of Portofino (+39 0185 269580). Places at the buoy and dock are few, so it pays to book well in advance.
A few meters from Portofino opens the enchanting bay of Paraggi, also part of the marine protected area, on whose promontory stands the beautiful Paraggi Castle.
Sailboat anchorage is allowed outside the buoys bordering the beach on high depths, ridged by the third and fourth quadrants.