If you are exploring the Italian Riviera on the northwestern coastline of Italy, consider staying on the coast in the lovely and affordable town of Rapallo. Transportation to and from Rapallo is quick and easy from Cinque Terre, Portofino, and Genoa via car, train, and ferry. The town itself has an old market, a small castle, a nice beach, sea view restaurants in a variety of price ranges, and a variety of hotel and lodging options. Use this plan with suggested walking tour, maps, and podcast to plan your perfect visit to Rapallo.
Click on the audio bar at the end of this post to listen to the accompanying podcast for even more insight about visiting Rapallo, Italy. Use the included maps and, for interactive maps, access more detailed maps by searching for Rapallo on the website www.walkli.com.
Rapallo Train Station – Rapallo Map Point A (and Rapallo Map Point N)
You will most likely arrive in Rapallo via train. Rapallo is easily reached from Milan and Rome. Several of the train routes from Milan and Rome do not require a change of trains, so this makes Rapallo a convenient trip if you are flying in to Milan or Rome.
Rapallo is only about 40 minutes via train to the five lands of the Cinque Terre. Check routes of interest to you and/or buy tickets in advance to save time at the English version of the Italian rail service here: http://www.trenitalia.com/tcom-en
To reach the center of town while carrying your luggage, take a taxi from the taxi stand on the right in front of the station as you walk through and then outside of the building (pictured) into the plaza in front of the station. Or, to walk to the center of town, pass the taxi stand to the right as you exit the front of the station and continue walking one block to the main street of town. Turn to the right at the main street, Corso Giuseppe Assereto/SS1 Via Aurelia, toward Via Allesandro Lamarmora. Turn left at Via Mons/Agostino Giustiniani.
Best Western Tigullio Royal Hotel – Rapallo Map Point B
For a beautiful, affordable hotel option, you may want to consider the Best Western Tigullio Royal hotel, one block toward the sea on the left. Sea view rooms are about 200 Euros per night. For a splurge, pay about 250 Euros per night for a room with a balcony (pictured) or pay a bit more for a junior suite with a separate seating area. The buffet breakfast is reasonably priced and offers a wide variety of food options daily. Breakfast is served on a veranda with views to the sea. At night, the rooftop bar affords unparalleled views of the sea. Appetizers are often served with the drinks. Don’t miss visiting it even if you are not staying at the hotel. For more information about the hotel, check out the official website here:
Excelsior Palace Hotel – Rapallo Map Point C
For an even more luxurious hotel option, take a right on Via Antonio Gramsci as you face the sea. This road will become Via Marco Polo. After you cross the bridge, turn left on Corso Cristoforo Columbo. This road will become Via San Michele as it curves back toward the sea and up the steep hill to the 5-star Excelsior Palace Hotel on the right hand side of the road. Rooms range from about 375 Euros to 600 Euros per night or more. The Lord Byron restaurant is a fine dining restaurant located inside the hotel, and it is open year round. Menu options include seafood, pastas, and meat dishes.
The Eden Roc Restaurant and Beach Club of the Hotel Excelsior Palace – Rapallo Map Point D
Across the street from the main building of the hotel, the Eden Roc Restaurant and Beach Club of the Hotel Excelsior Palace overlooking the sea are open in summer only. The Eden Rock Restaurant is open daily for lunch and for dinner except for on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Beach Club has two outdoor infinity pools and whirlpools.
Check for more information about the hotel, including rates and dining information at the official website of the hotel here: http://www.excelsiorpalace.it/en/
Rapallo Marina and Ferries to Portofino and Cinque Terre – Rapallo Map Point E
Walk back down the hill on Via San Michele and turn right to reach Via Langano. Turn right to walk along the road with the marina to your left. There are also ferries to reach Portofino, Cinque Terre towns, and other locations from this area.
Pedestrian Bridge – Rapallo Map Point F
Turn around and walk back on Via Langano with the marina on your right toward the pedestrian bridge on your right. This bridge will take you back to the main center of town.
Christopher Columbus Statue – Rapallo Map Point G
After crossing the pedestrian bridge with the sea to your right, you will quickly reach the statue of Christopher Columbus. As a native son of nearby Genoa, the people of Rapallo are understandably proud of the famous explorer from the Liguria region of Italy.
Bagni Lido and Fiora Beach and Swimming Area – Rapallo Map Point H
Continue walking along Via Antonio Gramsci to reach the Bagni Lido and Fiora Beach public swimming area. This area is open in the summer and offers public beach access and casual outdoor dining.
Porta delle Saline (Ancient Saltway Gate) – Rapallo Map Point I
Just after passing the public beach area, turn left at Via Mons/Agostino Giustiniani, away from the sea, and take the first right on Via Fratelli Cairoli to reach the only remaining ancient gate of the old town of Rapallo. Look for the bas-relief depicting the Madonna of Montallegro, the Patron Saint of Rapallo.
Chiosco della Musica (Music Pavilion) – Rapallo Map Point J
Continue along Via Fratelli Cairoli through the old town and turn right on Via Marsala. Continue walking on Via Marsala until you reach the Piazza Martiri per la Liberta. The Chiosco della Musica (Music Pavilion) in the center. Concerts are frequently held here, especially in the summer. Be sure to notice the beautiful painted mural on the ceiling of the pavilion.
Seafront Restaurants and Frigidarium – Rapallo Map Point K
Walk a short block toward the sea and turn left on Lungomare Vittorio Veneto. As you walk along the sea toward Rapallo Castle, notice the restaurants along the sea on the left. Amici Miel Restaurant serves pastas and seafood. The Frigidarium serves baked goods, gelato, and ice cream.
Castello di Rapallo (Rapallo Castle) – Rapallo Map Point L
Walk along the seafront to reach the small, 16thcentury Castello di Rapallo (Rapallo Castel). The castle is located at the edge of Rapallo’s old town. It is lit at night in the summer and often house special art exhibitions.
Old Town Shopping, Market, and Dining Area – Rapallo Map Point M
From Rapallo Castle, walk away from the sea on Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi to reach the heart of Rapallo’s old town shopping, market, and dining area. Turn right and walk through town on Via Magenta to reach the large road of Corso Giuseppe Assereto. Turn left here and then right at Piazza Molfino to return to Rapallo’s Train Station at Map Point N (also Map Point A).
Rapallo Cable Car
About one-third of a mile (500 meters) away from the Rapallo Train Station in the opposite direction from the sea, the Rapallo Cable Car takes tourists above town to the Sanctuary of Montallegro, the shrine that commemorates the apparition of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the patron saint of Rapallo. The Rapallo Cable Car opened in 1934. It rises 600 meters in seven minutes and provides views of the Gulf of Tigullio. For more information about the Rapallo Cable Car, check the Rapallo Tourist Information website here:
If you will be using Rapallo as a base for exploring the Cinque Terre, check out my Cinque Terre post and podcast at this link: https://oneperfectdayin.org/2018/06/16/easy-5-step-plan-for-visiting-cinque-terre-italy-with-maps-and-podcast/
Remember to click on the audio bar below to hear even more insights about visiting Rapallo. Subscribe to my “One Perfect Day in Travel Podcast” on iTunes/Apple Podcasts to get all of my podcasts and plans. Stay tuned for much more to come!
Until next time, I hope all of your travel days are just perfect!