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Home Italy Kayaking Tours Kayaking Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera

Kayaking Cinque Terre and the Italian Riviera

7 Days
Genoa GOA


Kayaking The Italian Riviera

The Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre – La Riviera di Levante – is one of the most magically beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. Steeped in history and set against a rough mountain background, the towns of the Riviera seem like pastel gems set against the vivid blue of the Mediterranean.

Life of the Sea

To explore this area by kayak is to experience the life of the sea that is at the heart and soul of this special place. Warm water, sun drenched beaches, great food, and the harmony of life at the sea’s edge has attracted artists, poets, and writers for over two centuries. Byron, Shelley, D.H. Lawrence, Hans Christian Andersen, and Virginia Woolf came here to write, and today, visitors from all over the world are drawn by the Riviera lifestyle.

Culture and Cuisine

Kayaking the Riviera lets us observe both the subtle details and the grand vistas of this unique place and at a pace that also allows us the time to immerse ourselves in the culture. With a focus on locally sourced Mediterranean cuisine, this trip is really a feast for the senses. We take time to enjoy crisp, warm, freshly baked focaccia scented with rosemary, a glass of chilled local white wine, and the very best reward at the end of a paddling day – a frosted cup of gelato! 

Incomparable Cinque Terre

To kayak the coast of the five villages in the Cinque Terre is to step back in time – tiny medieval villages tucked into ravines of this steep coastline thatched with vineyards, where each of the Cinque Terre has a distinct dialect and atmosphere. A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, in large part because of the extensive system of contoured terraces and muretti (low stone walls) that span this dramatic landscape, you’ll also visit the sixth “Terre” – Portovenere – and the jet-set haven of Portofino, both of which date back to Roman times.
Kayaking Vernazza Harbor

Slow Life Down

Clear warm water invites us to swim at nearly every stop and each afternoon finds us in a beautiful town with winding streets to wander and make discoveries, while every evening we go out to an intimate local restaurant to sample the best food the area has to offer. This summer – take time to slow life down to the pace of a paddle stroke and experience the beauty and culture of Italy from a truly unique perspective.
Evening Sun, Riomaggiore


Day 1

Arrival in Genoa

Your guides will meet the group at 5:30 PM in the lobby of our boutique hotel in Genoa’s Port Anticio historical district. We will enjoy the Italian tradition of aperitivo (wine and a light snack) while receiving an orientation on trip details. Once completed, we’ll walk through the lane ways of the fascinating Porto Antico that date back well over 1000 years. Our destination is a local Genovese restaurant for the first of a series of memorable meals on this trip. 
Overnight: Best Western Porto Antico
Meals: Dinner
Day 2

Recco, Camogli, and the Abbey of San Fruttuoso

Boarding our van, we will drive along the Riviera through beautiful beach towns and past pastel colored villas all the while enjoying enticing glimpses of Mediterranean blue waters of the Gulf of Genoa. Arriving at our launch point at the town of Recco, we’ll have a brief but comprehensive introduction to the kayaks before setting off. Our first stop is the town of Camogli and after a stop for refreshment, we’ll continue along the coast to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso that dates from the 13th century. A short paddle takes us to Stella Maris, an historical residence that has been converted to a boutique hotel. One of the most magical spots on the Riviera, the current structure is built on the ruins of a monastery from the 8th century, and it was here in 1821 Lord Byron wrote:
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore, There is society, where none intrudes By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the Universe, and feel What I can ne’er express, Yet cannot all conceal.
Overnight: Storica Residenza Stella Maris
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3

Portofino and the Sanctuary of Montallegro

Setting off along the coast of Parco Naturale Regionale Portofino, our first destination is famous Portofino. Dating from Roman times, it has long been Italy’s premier coastal resort and still attracts celebrities from around the world. We’ll paddle into the famously beautiful harbor and stop for a gelato before continuing along to our take-out at the Santa Margherita Ligure. A short drive takes us to the base of the cable tram then to the Sanctuary of Montallegro in the hills above the town of Rapallo. Our hotel for the night is near the neo-Gothic Sanctuary and offers sweeping views of the Golfo di Tigullio. 
Overnight: Hotel Montallegro
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4

Cinque Terre: Monterosso al Mare

After descending from the Sanctuary, we’ll drive along the Riviera coast to Monterosso al Mare, the first of the five towns that comprise the Cinque Terre. After settling into our hotel, there will be time to go for a paddle and then wander this popular beach town before dinner tonight at an open-air restaurant on Monterosso’s beachfront.
Overnight: Hotel Cinque Terre
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5

Cinque Terre: Vernazza and Corniglia

After breakfast, we’ll load our kayaks and begin paddling the coast of Cinque Terre National Park. As we glide through warm blue water, the panorama of Cinque Terre unfolds before us – steep cliffs topped with vineyards along which the towns are set a few kilometers apart. Our first stop is the picturesque village of Vernazza. After landing on the beach in the town’s small harbor, we’ll explore narrow alleyways and climb into the vineyards for a view that captures the iconic scenery of Cinque Terre. After lunch, we’ll re-board the kayaks for the paddle to Corniglia. As we skirt the shoreline, Corniglia reveals itself like a castle set atop the cliffs overlooking the sea. After landing and perhaps a refreshing swim, we’ll take a short climb up ancient stairs into the village proper where numerous winding paths lead to delightfully expansive views in all directions. This evening we’ll watch the sunset while sampling local wine and dining on the terrace of our hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Cecio
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6


This morning we’ll load our gear into the vans for the transfer along the scenic upper road to Portovenere which is considered the “sixth village” of Cinque Terre and on the New York Times’ list of “The 45 Places to Go in 2012”.
After lunch, we’ll launch our kayaks and paddle around Isola Palmaria, then explore the Rose Cliff along the coast from the town, keeping our eyes open for the entrances to hidden sea caves. On returning, we’ll paddle around a dramatic point topped by an 11th century church that is built on the much older site of a Roman temple and enter the picture perfect harbor of Portovenere. After landing at our beachfront hotel, we’ll have time to explore the town and castle before our final Riviera dinner.
Overnight: Le Terrazze
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 7

Portovenere and La Spezia

After a relaxed breakfast on the hotel’s terrace, we’ll transfer to La Spezia Centrale railway station. From this rail hub, it is possible to easily return to Genoa or continue on to popular destinations in Tuscany and beyond. Your guides will ensure that you make the right connection to the next part of your Italian journey. Arrivederci! 
Overnight: N/A
Meals: Breakfast


Best Western Porto Antico, Genoa

A beautifully renovated old building located in the heart of Genoa’s Old City is an ideal starting point for our journey. Nicely appointed comfortable rooms along with very friendly helpful staff are what we like the most about this hotel.

Stella Maris

An elegant boutique resort with a beach and an excellent restaurant located on a site that was a favorite of Lord Byron's.

Hotel Cinque Terre, Monterosso al Mar

Conveniently located and comfortable, the Cinque Terre is another family operated hotel in Cinque Terre.

Hotel Cecio, Corniglia

Cecio is a local family owned and operated hotel with simply the very best views in all Corniglia. Dinner on the terrazzo at Cecio is one of the highlights of the trip.

Le Terrazze, Portovenere

Set on the water’s edge, Le Terrazze has a private beach and sweeping views of Portovenere and the Golfo La Spezia – “The Poets Gulf”. A modern hotel that is designed to mirror the tall multihued buildings of Portovenere, Le Terrazze has comfortable rooms and a very good restaurant.


At this time we do not offer any extensions for this trip but please feel free to call us about added travel options at 1-800-677-0877. We have spent a lot of time in and around the destinations we offer and are more than happy to share our experience.

Dates & Availability

Trip Length
9/12/2017 - 09/18/2017
9/12/2017 09/18/2017 7 days
Sold Out
6/7/2018 - 6/13/2018
6/7/2018 6/13/2018 7 days
9/11/2018 - 9/17/2018
9/11/2018 9/17/2018 7 days
NOTE: Trips showing as 'Available' have at least 4 places open. All prices are $USD unless otherwise stated.

What Is Included

  • All accommodations as specified in Itinerary
  • All meals as specified in Itinerary
  • Train station transfer on the last day of scheduled itinerary
  • Ground transportation and attraction entry fees
  • Expedition sea kayaks and equipment including PFDs
  • Safety equipment including medical kit, radios, and cell phones
  • Support van and luggage transfers

What Is Not Included

  • Airfares
  • Meals other than specified in the trip itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages and items of a personal nature
  • Tipping of guides
  • Insurance of any kind (we strongly suggest that you purchase travel insurance that covers medical and evacuation as well as cancellations for medical reasons).
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