Today I am going to tell you about Lerici, one of the most charming towns in Liguria. Here are all the tips for a perfect Italian holiday!
Lerici is a small town in the province of La Spezia in Liguria. With its crystal-clear sea and breathtaking coves, it is the perfect destination for a relaxing, cultural and leisure trip.
Together with La Spezia and Portovenere, Lerici is one of the three municipalities overlooking the famous Gulf of Poets. The territory includes not only this town, but also many villages, including San Terenzo, Venere Azzurra, Fiascherino and Tellaro.
Lerici and its surroundings enjoy a rather high popularity. Do you know why it is called the Gulf of Poets? The name comes from the many artists who have visited and lived there. The picturesque villages with colourful houses by the sea, the cliffs, the hidden coves and the crystal clear water were all an inspiration to many artists and writers.
Famous personalities such as Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelly, Turner and Dickens, Dante and Petrarch, who not only took inspiration for their own works, but also spent long periods of holiday here. In fact, Lerici is one of the most famous seaside villages in Liguria and Northern Italy.
The Gulf of Spezia is known throughout the world above all for the marvellous area of the Cinque Terre. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, it offers many places to explore, allowing you to create all kinds of itineraries.
This is why I will tell you about what to see and do in and around Lerici, taking you on an exploration of one of the most enchanting places in Italy.
Let’s visit Lerici Italy!
The ideal starting point to discover what to see in Lerici is certainly Venere Azzurra beach, a wide sandy beach with clear water. Partially equipped and mostly free, the beach is considered the most beautiful in the area. From there, you can head towards Lerici or San Terenzo.
But let’s find out more about the old town of Lerici. This Ligurian town has ancient origins. In fact, thanks to its rather sheltered position, the Etruscans, and later the Romans, chose Lerici as a port.
Among the numerous monuments, the Tower of San Rocco and the annexed oratory are definitely worth a visit. The tower dates back to the 12th century. It was used as a watchtower in Roman times, before becoming a church bell tower a few centuries later. The oratory was built in 1287 to accommodate pilgrims arriving in the port on their way to the Via Francigena.
However, the most important monument for the history of the town is Saint George’s Castle. Located at the highest point of the small promontory, the castle dominates the small harbour. It is considered the symbol of the town. It was built by the Pisans in 1200, and later enlarged by the Genoese. Today, the castle hosts many art exhibitions and offers an enchanting view over the Gulf of Poets.
When you visit Lerici, you will notice a typical feature of Liguria’s historic centres, the caruggi. These are narrow alleyways that weave their way through the town and open unexpectedly into small squares, forming a veritable labyrinth. In this way, you can wander through these characteristic alleys in search of the city’s most hidden beauties.
What to do in Lerici?
1. Explore historic menhirs & crystal-clear beaches
Inland from Lerici, on Monte Caprione to be precise, you will come across Menhirs. They are megaliths, very long stones about 20 metres high, which were erected in the Neolithic period. Menhirs had an astronomical function, but by “collaborating” with nature they created a spectacular phenomenon, the “golden butterfly“. This is an amazing phenomenon, which occurs in the days around the summer solstice. What exactly happens? During sunset, the sun passes through a gap created by a dolmen, a megalithic tomb.
As a result, the beam of light is projected onto a menhir, taking the form of a butterfly. Hence the name “golden butterfly”, due to the brightness of the sun. An amazing phenomenon, perfect to post on “Instagram” and share with your friends!
The renowned beaches in Lerici are also a must-see. Apart from Venere Azzurra, there are many other beaches to explore, such as Baia della Caletta. This bay, as small as it is suggestive, is located in the stretch of coast from Lerici to Tellaro. Protected by caves and stacks, the landscape here also offers a beauty to be photographed. Thanks to its clear water with emerald shades, accentuated by the trees reflected in the hills.
There is also the well-equipped, shallow-water Lido di Lerici, several other coves, such as Cala Maramozza and San Giorgio’s beach, which is situated just behind the castle. Moreover, you can admire the beauty of San Terenzo’s beach, located in front of the typical coloured houses of the village, not far from Lerici.
2. Nature, sport, food & wine
You will certainly have no problems with how to spend your time in this town! In addition to the beautiful, relaxing beaches, Lerici is full of just as many activities. You can admire nature and Ligurian wildlife on an exciting hike. Or, for those who like to be active, a bike ride is ideal.
Through trekking, you can get into the most hidden corners of the place, enjoying the warm sunshine and fresh, clean air. And that’s not all! Many other sports await you, such as mountain biking, tennis, not to mention swimming and sailing, which are essential activities for a seaside location.
After all this exercise you’ll be hungry, so here’s what to do in Lerici to work up an appetite. You should certainly treat yourself to a fish lunch or dinner, perhaps in a nice restaurant on the seafront. The traditional Ligurian dish par excellence is the seafood soup “alla Lericina”, which pairs perfectly with a good glass of Golfo dei Poeti IGT wine. Otherwise, I recommend mussels alla marinara, spaghetti with seafood and trofie with pesto genovese.
And if you want to end your meal with a nice dessert, I recommend Lerici biscuits. These are tasty aniseed biscuits that can be eaten either on their own or with a good cup of milk or cappuccino.
3. Snail Festival, the oldest festival in the province
You must know that every year, in August, the Sagra della Lumaca (Snail Festival) is held. It is the most ancient festival of the province, which has been characterizing the town of Lerici for 43 editions. It takes place precisely in La Serra, a hamlet of Lerici. It is a real occasion, for the fans of Lerici and its surroundings, to taste the famous snails cooked in stew according to an ancient local tradition. The festival has also become famous for the many other fish delicacies that can be savoured while admiring the wonderful view over Lerici and the Gulf of Spezia.
What to see and do around Lerici?
If Lerici is rich in attractions and places of interest, the surroundings are just as beautiful and interesting.
One of the most beautiful places around Lerici is Tellaro, the easternmost part of the municipality. Tellaro is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. It is a seaside village which, despite its small size, encapsulates the essence of Liguria.
In addition to the typical Ligurian coloured houses, Tellaro is characterised by its position, which allows you to enjoy a breathtaking view. In fact, the village is perched on a cliff overlooking the Gulf of Poets.
Every year, in August, Tellaro hosts the octopus festival, which is the symbol of this village. Legend has it that, during an attack by pirates, a large octopus came out of the sea and rang the church bells to alarm and save the population. Curious, isn’t it?
San Terenzo and Fiascherino
San Terenzo, another hamlet of Lerici, is also a very charming place, which can be reached by a short walk along the seafront. The village of San Terenzo was already known in medieval times. Born as a fishing village, it was used to trading in wine and olive oil. The Castle of San Terenzo, a fortification of the seaside village built in 1360, is definitely worth a visit.
It is located on a rocky spur that closes the small bay of Lerici. In San Terenzo, Villa Magni and Villa Marigola are also famous, not to forget the very beautiful and sandy beach of San Terenzo. Perfect for enjoying a bit of relaxation.
Staying on the subject of beaches, it is also necessary to mention the two small beaches of Fiascherino, another place to visit on a tour of Lerici and its surroundings. These beaches have a typical rocky Ligurian coastline decorating the sea, which is the main tourist attraction of Fiascherino. Compared to Lerici and San Terenzo, it is a valid alternative for those who prefer peace and relaxation.
Moreover, Lerici is in a very strategic position, from which it is possible to reach several places. In fact, there is a ferry that allows you to reach Portovenere. In this way, you can visit Cinque Terre and Palmaria island.
How to get to Lerici
Lerici can be reached in many ways. Certainly the car is a good option, especially for the more adventurous ones. Otherwise, it is possible to arrive by plane, train or sea.
What to see in Lerici? Everything I have just shown you and much more! Are you ready to visit the beautiful Ligurian coast, to discover the most hidden treasures of Lerici and its surroundings?
Italia Delight offers you the chance to enjoy several unique food and wine experiences, such as a Ligurian Vermentino wine tasting in Castelnuovo Magra, about 11 km from Lerici.
What’s more, you have the possibility to create a tailor-made trip that you can customise with the local Expert. We already have several tour ideas in Liguria, compare them to choose the perfect experience for you!