Those who have already visited all the Cinque Terre villages, but still don’t have enough to discover Liguria seaside, may love to stop this time at the train station before Levanto going to the east, somehow teased by the sound that makes this little town name: Bonassola.
Driving the car along A12, any direction you come from, you’ll take the Carrodano-Levanto exit, then drive a few kilometers back to the west.
After climbing several curves, at the top of the hill you’ll be welcomed by one of the most wide-open panoramas, and also by a notice: “Le cinque terre sono 5, Bonassola è 1 sola” (“Cinque Terre are five, Bonassola is the only 1”), painted by anonymous and still not deleted.
Before taking the car, please consider that parking in Bonassola isn’t so easy, part of the car parks are residents’ only (less than 1.000 people live here) and all the remnants cost per hour/day.
One of the best ways to reach Bonassola is by bike. You can stop in Levanto, rent a bike and pedal along the coastal cycle path that runs along the route of the old railway, between ancient tunnels and incredible views of the sea.
But now let’s have a walk and dive into the old fascinating atmosphere of Bonassola, seeing what’s on the menu.
Cinque Terre tour: Food and Drink
We’ve been quite lucky, spending some summer in a wonderful house in front of the sea in Bonassola.
We loved to wake up early in the morning, breathing the sea breeze and enjoying the peace of the empty streets.
First mission: buy as much focaccia as possible, especially if it comes from the bakery called “Antica Liguria”
This is not the only good one, but certainly to us one of the best in town.
Use your time in the queue making a list, if focaccia is already over when it’s your turn, you may wait for more freshly baked (hot focaccia is delicious!), or choose something else to dip in your cappuccino: the marmalade and chocolate croissants or even the onions focaccia.
Here also you can book vegetable salad cakes for lunch and dinner.
The same family owns a pizzeria in the main street, where to eat under the gazebo or taking it away to the beach.
Nearby, the Caffè delle Rose, is quite famous for its wonderful ice creams, always made with local seasonal fruits and flowers: roses, violets, oranges, figs and so on.
Or, maybe you’ll prefer to try the fried anchovies that are served fried and hot in the Apecar you see going around.
We’ve eaten in more than one restaurant here, and all are good to taste the local fresh fish, meat and vegetables.
In Bonassola there is more to eat than to drink, actually, there’s not so much nightlife, but at cocktail hour any bar will serve you appetizers.
If you want to enjoy the best view at sunset, just go to the bar before the Levanto tunnel starts.
Once that was the train railway tunnel, now moved to the interior, where to get through by walking or bike.
Nature in Liguria
The bay of Bonassola has been studied a lot because of its position in the Mediterranean sea, that makes the waves taller than normal, if you’re interested you’ll find lots of historical photos and graphics in the main street, where also you’ll find the tourist office.
Even if everything is so tight, from the town you can reach the “Madonnetta” little church a very romantic spot right on the cape overlooking the beautiful bay. You can walk for about forty minutes to the west, or take a shorter way that runs along the east coast.
Also you can walk to reach the lovely village of Montaretto, crossing a wonderful forest for about two hours, where you’ll see also an old mill.
Montaretto represents one of the symbols of Italian second war resistance and hosts the annual “Critical Wine”, generally on the 25th of April, indeed a good occasion to find the authentic spirit of these remote lands.
In short, if you like to travel like a local and savor the most authentic atmospheres, Bonassola is the right place for you, just 10 minutes from the famous Cinque Terre.
More tips and ideas?