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bettyo70 Sep 7th, 2016 07:17 AM

Help! Finalborgo or Apricale as daytrip from our base in NOLI?
Hi Everybody,

We'll have limited time in Western Liguria in late-September,

We'll be based between NOLI and SPOTORNO.

If you could only do one daytrip: would you explore FINALBORGO (in Finale Ligure) or APRICALE (further North)?

Thank you!

frencharmoire Sep 7th, 2016 09:43 AM

I am curious about what you are doing around Noli/ Spotorno that you don't have time to visit Finalborgo for a few minutes one of the days you are there. However, while Noli and Finalborgo are not all that different from each other, Apricale would be too far for me to drive to enjoy a day trip. Realistically it will take you 2 hours to get there, and the drive is not really all that pleasant on the autostrade. Lots of fast traffic and tunnels, and then a very winding road through Dolceacqua and even more so to Apricale. Then you need to hike up into Apricale. Once you are there it is a very very tiny village without much of anything as I recall. It is more interesting to look at the town from the road, I think, than to actually "explore" the town.

If you like art, there is a beautiful town called Albenga on the way to Apricale that has great mosaics and the whole town is worth exploring. It also has great food. There is also a famous but very good fish restaurant near Finalborgo in Varigotti called Muraglia Conchiglia d'Oro. Or you can go to Mondovi or Murazzano or Dogliani in Piemonte if you like to eat and drink red wine. That would take all day however.

bettyo70 Sep 7th, 2016 10:27 AM

frencharmoire: Thank you so much!

Someone was actually recommending us to do a scenic hike from ISOLABONA to APRICALE... not too strenuous, she said.

But we'll think about it.

We may also go to the French side as an alternative.

Cheers! :)

Keren Sep 9th, 2016 06:10 AM

Finalborgo is lovely, it's so close to where you'll be staying which makes it the ideal choice. You could hike from the village into the wonderful Strada Beretta, but this isn't too easy. Still, you don't need to do the whole stretch.

After Finalborgo you could also drive to Borgio Verezzi and explore a little. Also, don't miss Finale Ligure itself, it's nice and has fabulous gelato in Carlin on the main Piazza of the old town.

You could also find other villages in the vicinity that belong to the list of the most beautiful:

I think it makes much more sense to stay in the immediate area of your accommodation and explore its surroundings rather than drive south for hours, all the more so if what you have is only 1 day.

bettyo70 Sep 9th, 2016 07:42 AM

Karen: Thanks so much on your advice. I was interested in Apricale because of its interesting layout.

I would love to hear more about the specific hikes that you did in the area.

Also I'm always trying to avoid paths with too many cars.

Keren Sep 11th, 2016 03:23 AM

You have what looks like easy hiking trains from Noli itself. I was surprised to have come across them: it's a bit above town, just a few minutes walk from the old section, near one of the towers. Noli is a joy, by the way, so don't miss it. I started the walk to Spotorno but cut it short since I didn't want to miss lunchtime in Noli and restaurants closing after 14:00...but this is but one of several trails starting from that point. Surely you could find out by asking at the tourist office (if open this time of year). Or at your accommodation. The bit I walked was easy, with wonderful views and hardly any people. On a Sunday afternoon.

The Strada Beretta is a historic trail that goes back all the way to the 17th century. It starts from Finalborgo, where you have to climb all the way to the tiny village of Perti (it's rocky terrain, not too comfortable but well marked, still you have to watch your every step), from which the trail is easier, since you walk on an asphalted road. (not busy at all, there are few fellow hikers, some mountain bike people, a few cars). The further you go, the wilder it gets, with huge trees, you'll see people tending their olive groves, one farm sells honey, it's all busy with bees and smells. The asphalt ends at some point, which is where I decided to go back when I hiked there last year, since I figured time was running out, and it turned out had benn right. Apparently the whole things climbs even further and I'm not sure on the way back other than tracing your steps. Generally, it's far from easy trying to find any info on this particular trail on the web. Once there, though, it's well marked.

I would also make a note about the church of San Biagio, in Finalborgo. Absolutely beautiful. The same goes for the Cathedral in Noli and the Basilica in Finale Ligure, which front should be in the open right now, after 3 years of scaffolding, to which I was witness last year. This should be something special to behold, if indeed news about the work being done by April 2016 were correct. I'm visiting the area soon (although staying further north this time) and might be back to check all of these one day. There's always the temptation to go back to a beloved place even when there's so much new stuff to explore.

Keren Sep 11th, 2016 03:43 AM

I didn't have a car for my trip. So to the village of Verezzi I took a taxi, a lovely 15-min drive from Finale Ligure, which was where I was staying last year.

Once in Verezzi, it's tiny. So I explored for a short while but then noticed the marking for the walking trails (there are 3, I think: "nature", "geology" and "culture", marked green, red and blue). So I took the green, the "nature" one, and went all the way down to Borgio, the town on the coast. Again, you step on stones, but it wasn't too bad, the smells again gorgeous, the vegetation too, and the view to the sea always there, always lovely. I was slow and savouring every second, I loved that hike. Once I got down, the Borgio caves were just there more or less in front of me:

But I didn't go in, instead I took the train to the lovely town of Laigueglia. You could hike from above there too but it all takes time and planning (I was too late to hike there, just enjoyed the beach and the flaky old historic centre). Cervo is very beautiful as well, with hiking trails above the town, for which the tourist office gives out brochures. But the day I visited turned out to be much too windy for my taste so I didn't even try hiking.

The thing with the Verezzi trail is, I realized afterwards that the tiny village is the highest point. So the problem is, if you park near the village and take the trail down, you have to come up somehow, to retrieve your car. Either climb back up by foot or a take a taxi which I l'm not sure is readily available, it's a small town. There might be a bus but I wouldn't know its schedule or route.

I'm also interested in Apricale and other villages in the vicinity, and will be staying not too far pretty soon (I"m dividing my stay between 2 towns along the coast, one is close to France, the other to Geona), but not having a car makes it a rather long affair for one day and since there's plenty to do anyway, even getting to other villages by bus, bike or foot, I'll give it a miss this time and maybe go back one time with a car, taking the opportunity to visit France as well.

bettyo70 Sep 11th, 2016 01:12 PM

I've never heard of the Borgio caves... interesting!

It sounds like you've had some great explorations.

I would like to investigate Cervo as well.

Cheers, Keren!

Keren Sep 11th, 2016 11:50 PM

The most famous cave in the area is in Toirano (highly recommended in every tourist guide I've read) but this time I didn't visit any. The one in Borgio is easier to get to. This is the website for Toirano:
By far the easiest way to get there is by car, it is not too far from Finale or Noli.

I also recommend getting to know the website of easyhiker. They live in Menton and often take easy hikes in Western Liguria. Mostly further south from Noli because they tend to visit places nearer to them. But they made reports on Genoa, Finale and Savona as well. I found their website by chance about a month ago and it's been a tremendous source of information since.
Finale Ligure 1:
Finale Ligure 2:

And they have much more.

Yes, Western Liguria is lovely and I'm going back there very soon. There's lots to explore, with far fewer tourists than in Eastern Liguria, which suits me perfectly.

bettyo70 Sep 12th, 2016 08:05 AM

Keren: That's Terrific because we're thinking of Daytripping to Menton as well. Have you been there?


Keren Sep 12th, 2016 08:37 AM

No, I've never been to the French Riviera. They have a whole section devoted to it and they know the area well. Hopefully you'll be able to get some information on that too. So far i've only read their Italian entries. Forgot to mention, they have one on apricale as well.

frencharmoire Sep 12th, 2016 04:15 PM

I've been to Menton. It helps to understand that at one time Italy controlled all of the coastline of the Riviera as far as Nice, and that the the towns of along the coast all share the same construction, and often the same layout. The food is different once you cross the French border, along with the language of course, and other cultural differences. But visually, most of the towns look very much alike, from Genoa to Nice. (Actually, from le Cinque Terre to Nice.)

Among the few exceptions along the coast are Albenga and Cervo. If you go inland, some of the inland hilltowns have some unusual quirks and features, but basically these are dry stone villages, very very rural in character.

If you like "discovering" places, you might as well go without much of a plan and see what you discover. All the towns, whether on the coast or inland, have their own personalities, crafts + food specialities, even if they otherwise look rather the same. But driving along the highway for long distances to get to a "destination" is just a lot of driving. Sticking close to your own neighborhood probably has enough variety, or it would for me. If I wanted something really special, I would go to Albenga.

bettyo70 Sep 12th, 2016 08:26 PM

Thank you!

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