Just north of Cinque Terre in the Italian Riviera, lies the little beach town of Bonassola, Italy.
Ernest Hemingway once described the town as “so sweet, unforgettable, [and] inexhaustible“. Despite Hemingway making the statement many years ago, his statement still holds true to this day.
My visit to Bonassola occurred while staying at nearby La Francesca Resort. I was very curious about the little beach town that I saw from my hotel window so I decided to venture over to see it. The town seemed somewhat like a mystery as I could barely find any information about it online. My hotel manager told me that there was not much to do there, which made me even more curious to see it for myself.
Getting to Bonassola
Getting into Bonassola is very easy. The town can be reached via foot, bike, car, or train.
If opting to walk or bike to the town, talk the walking/biking path directly from the town of Levanto to Bonassola.
Exploring the Food Scene
Bonassola is very small and exploring the area can be done in less than two hours.
When you first arrive to the town, make sure to stop Caffe Delle Rose for some gelato.
Next, make your way a few doors down to Ristorante Lungomare for some delicious local food and wine (of course you could always eat your food first and gelato second too!)
Exploring Bonassola – The People
While you are eating a meal or walking down the street, you might see a group of little old ladies or little old men playing a game of cards. Stop by and watch them play for a little while as they curse at each other in Italian and use a lot of hand gestures.
Next, make your way over to the beach where you can see people sunbathing, swimming, rock jumping, treasure hunting, and fishing.
It is a lot of fun to watch the people enjoying themselves in the summertime or to go for a nice dip in the water. If you are brave enough, you can join the teenagers jumping off of a huge rock on the far right side of the beach.
Wander the Streets
After you have eaten and paid a visit to the beach, wander the streets and look at the colorful buildings and people.
There is no mass tourism in Bonassola and everyone seems to know each other. You won’t find hoards of tourists and you will only hear people speaking Italian around you.
Kids run around freely while riding their bikes or chasing after each other. Teenagers enjoy young love and lick gelato off of their chins. The area is filled with families, couples, and friends.
It is very relaxing, easygoing, and peaceful
Bonassola is a wonderful place to go and get away from it all without the crowds of people that are in nearby Cinque Terre.
If you have extra time in your schedule while visiting the Cinque Terre, pop on over to Bonassola, where time seems to stop and life is simple.
I was thinking about going to Cinque Terre next year so thank you for this tip as I’d never heard of Bonassola and if we get time to add it on to our trip, then looks like a beautiful place to visit!
Wonderful! I hadn’t heard of it either until I visited 😀 Truly a little gem!
Mmmm… gimme those tortelloni! One of the best meals I’ve had in my life was in Italy (Orvieto); it was gnocchi with butter and sage. OH MY GOD. Bonassola looks like a neat little place; I dig that tunnel!
They were so delicious yum! I really need to get back to Italy to try all of those suggested places you gave me 🙂
I’ve been there too recently! I loved La Francesca and Cinque Terre but we didn’t make it to Bonassola (sigh….) means I need to go back!
Ah! You definitely should go back and see it, such a cute little village 😀
I love your photos, showing the “everyday side” of Bonassola… looks like an amazing place thanks for sharing!
Thank you Sarah!
This looks so lovely! I has the opportunity to visit the Cinque Terre area in September while on my Mediterranean cruise but was exhausted after 3 days of long excursions. I love Italy and hope to spend a long period of time touring the country in the future.
It was wonderful! You definitely should visit Italy for an extended period of time in the future, it is amazing 😀
How long is the bike ride from Levonto? Is the hike difficult?
I don’t recall the bike ride being very long, definitely less than 30 minutes. Have a great trip!
The bike ride from Levanto is 10-15 min tbrough the old train tunnel along the water and not to be missed. Keep going to the next town and sit outdoors at their one cafe by the water
I wish that I had spent more time in Levanto. Are there any cafes you would recommend Den?