A colourful, characterful harbour town between Portofino and the Apennines
It’s easy to see why writers W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound found inspiration in Rapallo. In many ways, the town is a bigger version of nearby Portofino. Townhouses come in summery sorbet colours – tangerine, lemon, pistachio, vanilla – and throw in elegant façades, green shutters and terracotta roofs for good measure. Italian-label clothes boutiques and classically dressed restaurants stock their ground floors.
But that’s where the similarities stop. Rapallo is bigger than Portofino, so there’s more for your to-do list. The harbour is busy with boats heading for neighbouring cliffside towns, and a 16th-century pirate watchtower still guards the water. A handful of sand and pebble beaches scallop the town, too. Lido & Flora comes with a couple of swimming pools, while San Michele offers the best sea-view trattorias.
The foothills of the Apennines rise up behind Rapallo. You could dip into the local golf course (rare in these parts) or catch a cable car up to the marble Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montallegro.
Direct flights from the UK to Genoa (usually the best airport for Liguria) take approximately two hours.
Rapallo is around 40 minutes' drive from Genoa Airport.
Summer is a fantastic time to visit Liguria – temperatures can reach 30 degrees, and the coastline (particularly the colourful villages of the Cinque Terre) looks particularly lovely when the sun is shining. May, September and October are also great times to visit, with temperatures in the early 20s – ideal for walks along the coastal paths. From April to October, while the weather is pleasant, boats run up and down the coast stopping off various towns and villages along the way.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.