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Overlooking the sea on the Ligurian Gulf of Tigullio, the village of Chiavari stands out.

Often known as a resort town, it is a city rich in history and art, with numerous points of interest.

Let’s find out together what attractions to visit, what to see, and what activities not to miss for an unforgettable itinerary.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

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What is Chiavari Italy known for? The 8 best attractions

Chiavari historic center

Your journey of discovery in Chiavari can only start from the fascinating historic center.

The beating heart of the city, this center was once a medieval village, an ally of the maritime republic of Genoa.

You will have the opportunity to lose yourself among the narrow alleys, known as the caruggi of Chiavari, on a path of about 3 km embellished with medieval arcades, ancient churches, monuments, and historic buildings.

You will come across colorful craft workshops and historic places that offer the chance to discover some unique aspects of the city, such as the 16th-century waxworks or the workshop of a carver who still makes figureheads for boats.

As you stroll through the city center, through arcades, and over mosaic-painted floors, you will also encounter many old business premises, such as a 19th-century jewelry store with perfectly preserved wooden doors.

Church of St. John the Baptist

Continuing your visit through the streets of Chiavari’s historic center, you will arrive without difficulty at Piazza San Giovanni Battista, where the parish church of the same name is located.

The building is also known as the Shrine of the Black Christ and was founded in 1181. Inside you can see a striking wooden crucifix with a very dark color.

According to legend, the Chiesa dei Disciplinati was destroyed by flames in 1600 and only the crucifix was saved: it is said that no one managed to clean it by completely removing the blackness from the fire.

Rocca Palace

Adjacent to the wide Giacomo Matteotti Square, one of the city’s main squares, you can meet the Rocca Palace, surrounded by the Rocca Municipal Park.

It was built in 1630, commissioned by the Marquises Costaguta, and was later enlarged through the work of the Grimaldi family.

Since 1912, however, it has been owned by the municipality, and recently its park has been restored.

It is a perfect place for a relaxing break among the rich architectural elements and local flora. I also recommend visiting the old stables, which now house the Archaeological Museum and the Civic Gallery.

Shrine of Our Lady of the Garden

Continuing your visit to the city of Chiavari, another must-see destination is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Vegetable Garden, considered one of the most beautiful shrines in all of Liguria.

The monumental cathedral, located in the square of the same name, was built in 1613: later, a striking and impressive marble pronaos was built, designed by architect Luigi Poletti and completed in 1907.

Inside, the shrine still preserves a rich artistic heritage.

The Castle of Chiavari

Leaving the city center, via a stepped climb, you can reach Chiavari Castle, located on a hill near the northern section of the ancient city walls.

It was erected in the 12th century and then, unfortunately, largely destroyed in the 16th century.

It has been privately owned since 1913, but can be admired from the outside.

Of the original building, mainly the keep and, on the opposite side, a fortified parade ground is still clearly visible.

In addition, in front of the tower, it is still possible to observe the old cisterns, which ensured water supplies for the castle’s inhabitants in case of siege.

The seaside promenade

Parallel to the beach, an attractive promenade runs along the waterfront for about 2 km.

This is a great place to walk, run and take leisurely breaks at one of the area’s typical small restaurants.

This scenic promenade connects Chiavari to the marina.

The town is popular and famous for its beautiful and well-equipped beaches: west of the marina is Chiavari beach, characterized by four lidos with pebbly and sandy beaches.

The coastline is protected by rows of rocks, making the location perfect for families and suitable for children as well.

Villas and civil buildings

In addition to the already mentioned historical buildings, the city of Chiavari is rich in numerous villas: among the best known are Villa Casaretto, Villa Giorgi, and Villa Puccio Bancalari.

Their beauty reflects the history and splendor that have characterized this area since ancient times.

Also, among the civic buildings, in the city center, you will come across the Palazzo Bianco, with its characteristic neoclassical style, now the Town Hall, as well as the Palazzo Franzone and the Palazzo Gagliardo.

Shrine of Our Lady of Grace

Moving away from the city and proceeding to about 200 meters above sea level, at the highest point of Aurelia Road, you will be amazed by a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace.

The building is very distinctive, overlooking the sea: it was built in the early 1400s and houses a cycle of frescoes from the 1500s inside, the most important of which, representing the Last Judgment, is a work by the artist Luca Cambiaso.

You can reach this place conveniently by car or on foot, with a walk of about 30 minutes starting at the back of the waterfront.

Chiavari Beach

If you are wondering what the sea is like in Chiavari, well, you should know that the beach is very nice, ideal for a family vacation with children.

There are essentially five beaches in Chiavari: the spiaggione (former colony) is the largest and easiest to reach, ideal for sunbathing in serenity; then there are two small central beaches halfway down the promenade, a beach under the marina, and finally the nudist beach.

Below I will tell you about the best beaches in Chiavari and you will find my list of the best beach establishments, selected through user reviews on the web.

The free beach of Chiavari

The beach consists of soft sandy shore and is about one kilometer long.

The seabed is sandy, and the waters are particularly calm, thanks to the presence of artificial jetties and breakwaters that limit waves and make it safe for young children to play on the shoreline.

Accesses are simple and easily accessible (even by disabled people) from the wide waterfront promenade.

  • Where it is located: Viale Tito Groppo, 2, 16043 Chiavari GE
  • Beach type: sand, pebbles
  • Accessibility: within walking distance of the Chiavari marina

Lido Beach

If you are looking for an establishment, I recommend Bagni Lido, which according to Google is the most popular with tourists: it is a beach equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas with plenty of space between them, the bar staff is friendly, and in addition to children’s games, there are hot and cold showers, changing rooms, and cabins. Average prices.

  • Where it is located: Viale Tito Groppo, 2, 16043 Chiavari GE
  • Beach type: sand, pebbles
  • Accessibility: within walking distance of the Chiavari marina

Beach Club: La Spiaggetta

This is an establishment established a few years ago following the expansion of the Chiavari marina. Because of the type of sand, the water is not very transparent, but still clean. La Spiaggetta occupies part of the beach, while the other half of the beach is free. According to web reviews, most tourists liked the restaurant: delicious dishes at very honest prices. There is a very large parking lot nearby; it is the Porto parking lot. If you are looking for a beach with a restaurant in Chiavari, Spiaggetta is the one for you.

  • Where it is located: Corso Valparaiso, 16043 Chiavari GE
  • Beach type: sand, pebbles
  • Accessibility: within walking distance of the Chiavari marina

Nino Beach

Located within an inlet on the Chiavari waterfront, Bagni Nino is a well-equipped bathing establishment ideal for families and the handicapped. Thanks to an elevator, it is also possible to get to the beach in a wheelchair and a wheelchair to transport those who cannot walk to the water. The Lido also features a large bar and the possibility of dining in a shaded area. The sea protected by the reef allows anyone to swim in absolute safety and serenity.

  • Where it is located: Corso Valparaiso, 56, 16043 Chiavari GE
  • Beach type: sand, pebbles
  • Accessibility: within walking distance of the Chiavari promenade, ideal for handicapped persons

Nudist beach Chiavari

Among the wilder and more natural beaches, however, we find the Chiavari naturist beach. The Gruppo del Sale nudist beach is about 1,500 meters from the town’s train station; it is easily reached on foot along a mostly dirt path that starts near the shipyard, and features about 30 meters of rocks and cliffs on which to plant your umbrella. In summer the beach on weekends is almost always overcrowded, less so on weekdays. There are no facilities at the Chiavari nudist beach.

  • Location: Chiavari (GE) – GPS: Lat. 44.323127, Long. 9.302663
  • Beach type: pebbles, pebbles, and rocks
  • Accessibility: 10-minute walk
  • How to get there: reach Chiavari and park near the waterfront, then walk north until you reach the end of the promenade.

What to see around Chiavari

Chiavari hinterland: what to see

Beyond the sea, among the hills, vineyards, and olive groves, the Chiavarese hinterland will give you another jewel not to be missed: the Basilica of San Salvatore dei Fieschi.

I recommend it as a perfect location to take a sunset walk for a dreamy photo shoot in front of an example of Ligurian Romanesque architecture.

The church was built at the behest of Pope Innocent III, who belonged to the Fieschi family, at a time when the republic of Genoa (13th century), along with that of Venice, was one of the richest and best known in the known territory.

You can reach this fascinating destination from the center of Chiavari, either by a walk of about an hour or by public transportation.

Camogli

what to visit in camogli italy

Near Chiavari, you can also visit Camogli, a beautiful and romantic village overlooking Paradise Gulf within a natural setting.

You can reach this location in minutes by taking the train from downtown Chiavari or by car.

If you have some time, I recommend you take one of the ferries that leave from Chiavari: this solution will allow you to see the waterfront from a different perspective, with a very impressive panorama.

Visiting Chiavari: useful info

When to visit Chiavari Liguria? the weather

You may have wondered: what to do in Chiavari if it rains?

The city can boast of a mild climate, typical of the Mediterranean: temperatures are always pleasant, and in warm weather, especially in summer, there is a lot of heat.

In general, the city is livable year-round, as extreme temperatures are not reached in either winter or summer.

I recommend visiting the city between the months of April and September, avoiding October, which is usually the rainiest month.

During the summer period, however, there is very little rainfall, and in case of rain, there are many historical and architectural points of interest to visit, with museums, civic and religious structures, as well as places with culinary specialties, all ideal places to stop while you wait for the weather to improve.

How to get to Chiavari

Chiavari is about 43 km from Genoa and is bordered by Leivi, Carasco, Cogorno, and Lavagna.

To reach it, there are several possibilities.

If you arrive by plane, from Genoa’s Cristoforo Colombo Airport you can take a shuttle bus or arrive at the Genoa Principe train station and reach Chiavari by train.

If you travel directly by train, you can conveniently get off at the train station in the city center.

If, on the other hand, you have decided to travel by car, you will have to exit at the Chiavari exit on the A12 highway: you will encounter a traffic circle and can continue to the right in the direction of the city center.

Where to park in Chiavari

If you plan to arrive in Chiavari by car, you will be able to find parking in one of the many paid parking lots, which provide excellent value for money, as you will not have to worry about its safekeeping: the staff is very vigilant and will ensure security for your vehicle.

There are also on-street parking lots near the center, which are charged by the hour and are unattended, while there are few free parking lots and are located, for the most part, at a greater distance from the city center.

The closest free parking to the center is the Parcheggio Colmata A Mare Chiavari, which has dozens of free parking spaces 24 hours a day.

Where to eat: the best Chiavari restaurants

If you’re wondering what to eat in Chiavari, you don’t have to worry: the city center is full of trattorias and osterias where you can order typical local dishes.

One dish not to be missed is farinata, a Ligurian dish served hot, fresh from the wood-fired oven.

In addition, on the shoreline, it is possible to have an aperitif or dine in a small restaurant with quality seafood.

For a sweet snack, however, not to be missed are the smiles of Chiavari, chocolates with liqueur that are made only in this city and can be found in all cafeterias.

To experience town traditions and savor culinary specialties, town festivals and events are perfect, if you have a chance to encounter them while traveling.

Among the most anticipated events for locals is the Palio Marinaro del Tigullio, a set of competitions in which residents participate between May and August, and the patronal feast of Santa Maria dell’Orto celebrated on July 2 and 3.

Where to sleep: the best Chiavari hotels

To stay in the city there are many possible solutions. Among the best proposals, you will find Hotel Monte Rosa (4 stars), a well-known establishment located in the heart of the city center, just 10 minutes from the train station.

Other establishments I recommend are the Hotel Santa Maria (3 stars), with a sea view, very well equipped for families and children, and the Hotel Stella del Mare, which is in the center but allows a short walk to the beach.

Otherwise, there are also many proposals for vacation homes, which are more suitable for long periods.

Click on “search” below to find the best hotels and bed and breakfasts to stay at in Chiavari.

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Frequently asked questions

Where is Chiavari located?

Chiavari is an Italian municipality located in northwestern Italy, about 36km from Genoa.

In what region is Chiavari located?

Chiavari is located in Liguria.

How big is Chiavari?

The municipality of Chiavari has an area of 12.23 km2 and a population density of 2,241.21 inhabitants per km2.

How many people live in Chiavari?

The municipality of Chiavari has a population of 27,257.

Chiavari tourism: conclusions

In Chiavari today it is possible to make numerous visits and observe wonders of various kinds, for quality tourism among the excellence of the Ligurian territory.

From the medieval old town to the fortified castle to the breathtaking waterfront, this city is a must-see destination if you want an all-around experience, taking with your unique memories, flavors, and traditions.

Photo credits:

Andrea Semonella

Hey! I'm Andrea and I am a little bit obsessed with exploring the world and meeting people on the road. I'm in love with my city, and I'm happy to share with you all the best place and most incredible secrets of Genoa, Italy.

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